Monday, November 10, 2008

2008: Week 45

Sunday was spent cleaning our apartment and taking care of last minute details (like booking train tickets from Zurich to Paris) before leaving our home for the last month and heading to the bus station. A bus from Amsterdam to Zurich is cheap, but fairly inconvenient. The trip ended up taking 15 hours with multiple stops in 4 different countries and a long stop at the Swiss border. But we made it at last and finally made it to my grandmother's apartment. It was weird to be there without her - oddly quiet. Last time I was in Zurich both my grandparents were there along with a few other relatives!

Our week was spent sightseeing, not the frantic kind where you rush from place to place, but more relaxed. We discovered that a number of attractions were closed for the seaon, and some of the smaller museums are no longer free, and didn't seem worth paying for. Actually, pay is exactly what you do in Zurich. Restaurant food is quite expensive, and a coffee and cake at one of the lovely cafés doesn't seem so tempting when you see the price. But not everything is over-priced. We enjoyed warm chestnuts from street vendors and plenty of chocolate!

We climbed the tower of Grossmünster Cathedral for a great view of the city, and visited the Landesmuseum to learn about Swiss history. We also visited the nearby towns of Zug and Schwytz (less than an hour by train, but very different). In Zug we tried their famous Zuger Kirschtorte (lots of cream, nuts, and cherry brandy), while in Schwytz we gazed at the Alps and saw the first contracts of mutual assistance between the states which eventually became Switzerland. The earliest is from 1291!

Best of the week
- the view from Grossmünster Cathedral
- hot chestnuts
- Schwytz, and the view of the mountains

Worst of the week
- language - Dutch has many words in common with English, but it was much harder to work out what's going on in German. At least the food is labelled in French, so we knew what we were buying .
- difficulty feeling like a local. It's a little hard to explain, but with the language and high prices I felt I was observing, rather than experiencing, life in Zurich.

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