Sep 24, 2019

Switzerland: Part 2

One of the days while staying in Zurich, we took a train to Bern which was about an hour ride.
We were told the train system in Switzerland was superb and easy and it was.  We sat in the upper car, second floor, in red velvet(ish) recliners. 

Bern was beautiful and very different from Zurich. 
Medieval, with its many watch towers and stone walls. 

The most famous landmark in Bern is the medieval clock tower  (Zytglogge). We did a tour of the inside of it. It was really interesting to see the original designs and mechanisms.
We were up inside when the clock struck on the hour and it was fun to peep out and watch the crowd looking up at us as the rooster crowed, the bears dance and the jester juggled.   

Bern has one long main street lined with some really neat shops and places to eat. I literally could've stayed in the ribbon shop for hours. I didn't buy anything because I wanted it ALL and couldn't narrow down what I wanted most.  We caught the train back to Zurich after wandering Bern for a bit and having our usual snack - a charcuterie board, but with humus this time. 

(Can you imagine an entire shop of ribbon!)

The next morning we packed up our bags and headed towards Lauterbrunnen, a small town in the Swiss Alps. We had a driver that new the area like the back of her hand and she detoured and made stops to show us things that we would have never found on our own. 

Our first stop was in Lucerne. It was cold and rainy so we did not stay the entire two hours that was planned.  I would have loved to wander around and explore more of Lucerne, because it was my kind of was full of lots and lots of beautiful flowers! The Chapel Bridge is Lucerne's claim to fame along with the Lion Monument. 

After Lucerne, we drove through so many little towns and villages and I couldn't name them or tell you where we were if my life depended on it.  Melanie, our driver put up with me asking all kinds of cultural questions as we twisted and turned up into the alps.  I would rather know about the every day culture of the places I travel than to hear about all of the history. I have all of the scoop on Swiss holidays, Christmas family traditions, every night dinners, the school system, school lunches, weddings and even their funerals. 

Melanie, stopped at a little spot so we could get lunch to eat on the road.  Behind the little snack shop was this view.....

and on the other side of the road was this view...

like I said before, Switzerland is beautiful. 

This was my Swiss fast food lunch, a hot ham and Swiss cheese panini, 
 paprika potato chips and a filled gingerbread cookie. Melanie told me you would find these cookies in a lot of childrens' lunch boxes.  Pretty much it is a  Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie, but gingerbread. 

Our last stop before getting to Lauterbrunnen was the Gelmer Funicular.
It is the steepest funicular in Europe - and we were nervous about that. 
We had to walk in the rain and WIND through the woods, on the most beautiful paths....

turning the corner above was a terrifying sight... the swing bridge that we had to cross (in the wind and rain) to get to the funicular. 

At the top, we had to walk in heavy fog along a path and we literally had no idea what there was to see until the fog lifted.  It was crazy how one second we could not see anything at all but fog and the next second was a crazy blue lake, cliffs and even a few buildings we walked by and didn't even see them.  


This is the fog rolling in, up from the valley.

We headed to Lauterbrunnen after getting back down off the mountain and crossing that long hanging  bridge again. We were ready for some dry clothes and dinner!

Coming up next time is our three days in the Alps, waterfalls and snow in August!

And just so you know...

Sep 22, 2019

Switzerland: Part 1

Hello Blogland!
How are you?

Time has its way of taking advantage of good intentions. 
I have set blog goals and blog restart days/weeks many times, but never lived up to my own expectations.
I have said many times here, that I started blogging to document my family and it makes me so mad that I dropped that ball for a few years, but all I can do is move forward now and perhaps play a little catch up along the way.  

Hubs and I went on a wonderful vacation this summer in August.  
We spent two weeks in Europe, one in Switzerland and one in northern Italy.

Our flight flew out of Raleigh to Laguardia and after that layover, we boarded our flight to Zurich.
Hubs traded in a lot of his points to gets us the fancy seats up in front.  We ate and slept well. 

We arrived in Zurich around 8:30 and surprisingly, our room was ready for us.
We stayed at Hotel Schweizerhof which was a great location. It is directly across the street from the train station and is on the Bahnhofstrasse -  
("Widely regarded as one of the most exclusive shopping destinations in the world.").

After we rested a bit and showered, we got acclimated with the area around us and that evening we met our guide for a private Zurich food tour.
Peter took us down some of the most beautiful streets in Zurich as we made our way to our three different stops. 

Our first stop was our "appetizer stop".  
Peter ordered us the Swiss version of a charcuterie board and a Swiss beer sampler.  
I wasn't sure how all `three of us were supposed to share the sampler, but he talked and explained about how the Swiss just pass things around and not think about it.  So we shared bevrages with a complete stranger and lived to talk about it.  
(When in Switzerland!)

Second stop was at the oldest Swiss restaurant in Zurich and of course we had fondue as our main course.  Basically, we had a pot of boiling cheese and a loaf of bread for dinner and it was delicious.  
I was given the most authentic recipe for Swiss fondue - maybe I'll share it one day.  
After stuffing ourselves with fondue, we walked to the most unique gelato shop. I had a cup of ginger, black pepper and brown sugar gelato.   

The next day, we wandered Zurich.  Zurich is not a large city and it is very walkable. It may have some history, but Hubs and I did not take it upon ourselves to worry about learning it.  We walked, ate, drank and shopped. We even bought some souvenirs from the fancy designer stores!
Who are we?


Yes, absolutely, Swiss chocolate lives up to its name!
We stopped in several chocolate shops while in Zurich, they are everywhere.  
One of the most popular chocolatiers is Sprungli. 

We made quite a few stops in this shop which was luckily very close to our hotel.  Every time we walked by, we would get two pieces of chocolate and share them. As a souvenir for our 3 girls we bought them a box of chocolates and I wish we would've bought some for ourselves.  BUT, no joke, our hotel had a chocolate cart and everyday the cutest little man would knock on our door and ask us if we wanted anything! We were shy and well mannered the first time, but the second and third, not so much! I'm talking HUGE chocolate bars, six different flavors and we were each welcomed to select several each time.  

This picture is from another chocolate shop.
and most of their store was sheets of different chocolate barks.
This Christmas, I will be attempting and experimenting with chocolate barks, for sure!

I didn't know what expect form Swiss food, except for the obvious fondue and potatoes that are served everywhere.  Most of our lunches ended up being a Swiss style charcuterie board. I loved that they serve vegetables with it, especially the pickled pearl onions.  Veal was on every menu we saw. I cannot get over where veal comes from so I had a hard with that, but Hubs ordered it several times.
 I tasted it and it was really good. 

sausage (veal) salad - very common 

a lot of fresh water fish from the local lakes


sliced cold veal with seared tuna app

We went to Swiss Chuchi for dinner, our last night in Zurich.
We hadn't had our fill of fondue just yet and so we went for it.
Yep, a pot of melted cheese and a loaf of bread for dinner again, but at least we ordered the side of pickled veggies to go along with it. That's healthy, right?  

us - after our fondue :)

We shuffled back to our hotel and of course ate one of those big ol' chocolate bars for dessert!

When in Switzerland!