Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Day in Zurich and a Drive into the Alps - Zurich and Swiss Alps




Late Friday night, Andy arrived on a train from Stuttgart, so on Saturday morning, he was excited to explore Zurich before we headed into the Swiss Alps for the night.  Andrew is the head coach for the varsity basketball team at the international school and they had a tournament during the day, so we would pick him up in the late afternoon.  That meant the three (five if you count Brady and Leila) of us went off to explore the city.



 


Our first stop was Lake Zurich.  Nadia told us that they come down almost every day or so during the summer and the area is usually packed.  There is swimming in the lake, people sunbathing in the park, and public grills for people to use.  Sounds like heaven.  It was early Saturday morning, so there weren't many people out and we could just enjoy the view.



 

A view of the city from the side of the lake



 A family shot with Zurich in the background



 Brady enjoying some sun






Probably one of the nicest things about Zurich is that it's in a small enough area that you can walk everywhere.  They have a convenient tram system, but we decided it was a beautiful mild morning and we'd rather walk.  We walked from Nadia's apartment to the lake, and then from the lake into the city.  The lake feeds two rivers, one big and one small, that flow through Zurich and create beautiful waterway views.






 I just loved how there were many little walkways throughout the city.  It felt so quaint and I loved it!



 A family pic in front of the convent



 The monastery in the background across the river






While we were on this side of the river, we doubled back to Bahnhof-Strasse, which I mentioned before is the most expensive street in the world.  On this street is a famous chocolate shop that also happens to be the oldest chocolate shop in Zurich, having been there over 125 years.  It's called Sprungli and we headed there.  On the second floor of the building is a cafe and we headed there first to get some refreshments.  I ordered a hot chocolate (where better than Switzerland) and Andy got an eis coffee.  It's said the same as ice coffee, but in German that means coffee with ice cream in it.  We both had whipped cream on our drinks and Andy immediately gave a scoop to Brady.  We're not used to the fact that Europe uses less sugar in most things than the States, and Brady spit it out so fast.  After that, he didn't even want a taste of my hot chocolate.

When we finished our drinks, we headed downstairs to the chocolate shop.  Nadia pointed out a good assortment and then told me about the specialty of this shop.  It's called a Luxemburgerli and it's a treat only made at this shop fresh every day.  It resembles a small cake sandwich and comes in many flavors, some with alcohol and some without.  I ordered an assortment and every single flavor was delicious!  They were so light and creamy.  Pictured below are some of the flavors they have and a better picture of what I'm trying to describe.















Brady was literally screaming outside the shop while I waited to pay and we knew he was extremely tired.  He had been waking up way too early because he was in a new place and often insisted on being in the bed with us.  We weren't done with what we wanted to do and see in the city, so we kept going, hoping he would fall asleep in the stroller as we walked.  He did, but only for about 20 minutes before we hit the cobblestone streets and he was jarred awake.  That was the extent of his napping that entire day.







A great shot of the monastery.  You can pay to climb up to the top of the tower and we decided to do that to see the city from above.  Nadia had warned us that it was quite a narrow climb, so we decided to leave Brady with her when we went up.




Nadia wasn't kidding about the narrow climb.  This picture is from halfway up.  That first half had a tight stone spiral staircase that was uneven and we were fortunate not to fall or take a wrong step, so we were very glad we left Brady down below.
 


The rest of the climb wasn't as narrow, but it seemed like every time we reached a new level, there were more stairs.  We definitely got in quite a workout on the way up.  Pictured above and below are some of the breathtaking views from the very top of the tower.










Brady could never make up his mind whether he wanted to ride in the stroller, walk, or be carried.  He seems pretty happy up on Andy's shoulders though.




A great group shot



We decided to walk back to Nadia's apartment instead of taking a tram and it was such a gorgeous day there were certainly no regrets.  We had lunch and packed up all of our things to head into the mountains.  We got in Nadia's car and picked up Andrew at the international school.  Then it was off to the Swiss Alps where Nadia's family owns a house near Triel, Switzerland.  Below some pictures of the drive up before the sun went down.



Just starting to see some mountains



 A little bit closer . . .






 







There were amazing views all the way up to the house.  It was really cool how the roads curve and twist back to get you up into the mountains.  The higher we went, the more snow that was on the ground.  Since Brady had barely napped all day, he ate dinner and went straight to bed.  The rest of us hung out talking and drinking wine, while we waited to eat dinner.  Nadia made us a traditional Swiss fondue and it was so good.

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