Hello beautiful people!
I just came back from our first adventure of Eurotrip 2013, Switzerland! To my surprise, it ended up being a surprise trip to Germany as well. Well, we stopped in quaint town for about 3 hours but hey, that is still considered 'going to Germany', right?
On Friday evening, we rushed to the main bus station here in Prague and boarded our...small, uncomfortable...bus. I must say we were surprised because the brochure for the tour said 'comfortable bus, screens, bathroom and complimentary drinks'...yeah, no. Not the case whatsoever. I guess that's what you get for booking an extremely cheap trip to Switzerland. Aside from that and the 10 hour sleep-less bus ride, we arrived in the beautiful Zurich at about 6 (AM).
Zurich looked like a city out of a fairy-tale; castles, churches, bridges and flowers were everywhere. We got out of the bus and walked the empty streets of the city with wide eyes and flashes from our cameras going off every few seconds. I was in love with the city before I even got to the canal and bridges. Before heading to the most beautiful area of the city, we walked through the cute streets, all adorned with Swiss flags and flowers in the windows. If you ever have been given a stereotypical description of Switzerland (blonde haired people, mountains galore, flowers, chocolate, cute streets and adorable houses/stores all squished together), it is exactly what you imagined. When we did make it over to the canals, I fell in love and wanted to hug this place. I think I took about 200 pictures in a solid 10 minutes, there was so much to take in at once; it was all almost overwhelming!
We split off from the tour group and wandered through the streets of Zurich, stopping in a public bathroom to brush our teeth, freshen up and take on the rainy, cold city. Yes, we really did brush our teeth in a public bathroom, I couldn't help but laugh at the reaction of some of the local Swiss women. When we freshened up, we strolled through the streets and into a few shops. After about 45 minutes of aimlessly walking around and snapping pictures everywhere, we stumbled upon Sprungli (which we later found out was one of Zurich's must go to places) and drooled over the macaroons, pastries and CHOCOLATES. Of course whenever a macaroon presents itself near me, I have to buy one...or some...so I bought a little box of them. Two salted caramel (my favorite), one gold champagne and one complimentary rhubarb. Deliciiiiiious. I also bought two bars of the house Swiss chocolate which was AMAZING. Seriously, one of the best chocolates I have ever eaten (the best I have had thus far is Norwegian chocolate). You know when they say Swiss chocolate is to die for? They mean it, even if you aren't a big chocolate fan, definitely try Swiss chocolate because it will change your life!
After satisfying our sweet teeth...sweet tooths? Never wrote about plural sweet tooth(s), hmm. Anyways, we wandered around some more and the sun finally began to shine (yay!) We headed back towards the canals and churches and ran into a wedding, yes, literally ran into a wedding. We attempted to go into the church when we realized wait...they are having a wedding here! Oops! So we quickly went off in the other direction towards what we thought was the Lindt chocolate factory. After a few minutes of trying to figure out where the door to this factory might be, we realized it was just a sign for the chocolate and not actually a factory. Defeated, we turned the corner and discovered the Saturday market! Full of fake Louis Vuitton, Burberry, antiques, hot-dogs, overpriced sandwiches, Cinderella shoes, fur coats and Indian home decor.
My one friend bought the Cinderella-esque shoes for about 20 euros and we went on to explore the rest of what Zurich had to offer. We stumbled into a cafe for coffee to warm ourselves up and avoid the rain. We lounged for about an hour and I laughed as my friends paid a ridiculous amount of money for a cup of black coffee and a cafe latte. Crazy, crazy people I am friends with! When the rain let up a bit, we walked on some of the smaller, quieter streets and came across a cheese shop. Overwhelmed by the amount of cheese and all the possibilities, we finally came to a decision and bought large amounts of cheese. I got just one, a mild house cheese, while my friends bought a little portion of several different kinds. I am one of those cheese and crackers type of people and I love cheese on pretty much anything so I was excited to try this super-hyped about Swiss cheese. Thankfully, I randomly chose well and got myself a yummy portion of authentic Swiss cheese.
We finished our time in Zurich by sitting by the lake, surrounded by mountains, yachts, geese and beautiful homes, with a bratwurst, bread and cheese and Swiss chocolate pieces in each of our hands. Happiness at it's finest; enjoying the little things in life, as I like to say. The view was so beautiful and the sun was shining which made it that much better! Definitely a good time in Zurich and I will be back in Switzerland, maybe not Zurich because it seemed to be more for business-types, elders but still a good welcoming to Switzerland. I would love to see Geneva (my flight from Barcelona to NYC this summer goes there, why? Who knows, doesn't make sense), the Matterhorn, the Alps, some of those beautiful meadows/fields full of flowers and Lucerne. Maybe not this year but definitely one day!
After Zurich, we headed to Rhein Falls which was incredible! The falls were so powerful and fast I was just amazed by it all. The water was so unbelievably clear too. There was an option to head on a boat and close to the falls but we declined in fear of getting too cold and soaking wet before the 10 hour ride home. So, we just walked around and went down as close to the water as we could. We got back to the visitor center just before a storm rolled in so we relaxed in the bus before heading off to the next place...Constance, Switzerland. Constance is a town on the border of Switzerland and Germany but with the rain we just went to Germany and stopped there for a few hours. My one friend and I stayed on the bus and slept some of our exhaustion off but went to explore shortly later. We wandered through the Bavarian-style town and tried to find something quick, cheap but filling to eat. We gave up the search as it started to rain and went into a random Indian hole-in-the-wall. It was one of those dark, creepy restaurants but with very friendly owners, who told us where exactly in Germany we were because frankly, we had no idea when the bus parked. We bonded with them in broken English for a few minutes before our takeaway was ready.
When we got back to the bus, we ate like there was no tomorrow...me not so much because I had a strange feeling that my chicken was not cooked all the way...and proceeded home. We were lucky with a beautiful sunset towards our drive through Germany which put us to sleep for the next few hours. 10 hours later, at about 5 (am) we arrived back in freezing Prague and I rejoiced at the sight of a shower and my comfy bed.
All in all, I would say weekend trip to Switzerland and unexpected Germany was a success! All I know is that I am just so happy to be traveling again and I cannot wait for the rest of travels this coming month and the travels coming throughout the rest of this year! It will be a year of traveling with wanderlust.
Mis Luftchüssiboot isch volle Aal! Next stop: Budapest, Hungary this weekend!
Travel on wanderlusters!
If you are going to Zurich, be sure to visit:
1. Wander through Old Town (Altstade)
2. Window shop along Bahnhofstrasse
3. Indulge in Swiss chocolates from Sprungli.
4. Eat a lunch of Swiss cheese fondue at an outdoor cafe.
5. Take a boat tour of Lake Promenade.
6. Visit the Zurich Opera House.
7. Snap some photos of the Great Church (Grossmunster), Church of Our Lady (Fraumunster) and the canals nearby.
8. Make it over to the Saturday markets by the lake.
9. Spend a rainy afternoon in the Swiss National Museum or Museum of Art (Kunsthaus Zurich).
10. Smell the flowers at the Botanical Garden.
11. Get splashed by the Rhein Falls.
12. Spend a few hours in the west area of Zurich.