Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The other Lake Zurich

On May 13th a small group of us traveled to Zurich, Switzerland. One of the reasons that we decided to go to Zurich was because Barb (the wife of another delegate from Charlotte) had a cousin that had invited us to visit and explore the area. We found a cheap hotel nearby and took off toward the mountains. I was personally excited about the trip because of all that I had read about the beautiful Lake Zurich. I grew up in a small town outside of Chicago called Lake Zurich and was excited to see if there were any similarities.

The 3.5 hour drive from Erlangen to Zurich was absolutely beautiful. Even though the weather was overcast you could still see several snow capped mountains on both sides of the autobahn. As we entered into Zurich we drove straight to Barb's cousin's house to say hello. Her cousin's name was Alex and he has lived in Switzerland for the past 15 years with his wife (who did not speak any English but was incredible kind). We were immediatly offered snacks and sat down to get to know our guide for the next three days. Alex used to be a chef (in fact in 1965 he was the head chef at the Rainbow room in NYC) and immediatley wanted to map out what we were going to eat for each meal. We all agreed that as long as we were able to try fondue and a little bit of Swiss chocolate, we were open to anything else. Alex did not waste any time. As soon as we had discussed food we grabbed our coats and headed to the train station to get our first tour of Zurich before the sun set.

The next morning Alex drove us to a few beautiful spots just outside of Zurich so that we could get a good view of the Alps. As we were driving we came across a team of grass skiers. Aparently the Swiss do not stop skiing just because there is no snow on the ground. We were all very impressed by these young kids that were flying down the mountain so we decided to introduce ourselves. I also snapped several pictures.

After driving a little bit further we came across a luge park. We all took turns jumping in little wooden buckets and shooting down the side of a mountain. We had a great time even though it was a little scary in the rain. I am still trying to track down who has the pictures from that activity. We kept saying to each other, " who gets the chance to ride a luge down the Swiss Alps? We do!" We all feel really blessed to be able to experience all of this.

The next day we started to see the sun creep out behind the clouds and thought it would be a good day to take the ferry around Lake Zurich. It was beautiful!

After the ferry ride we continued to walk around Zurich and made a very important stop at a major Swiss chocolate factory...Lindt. As we walked up to the building the sweet smell of chocolate poured out of the front door onto the street. Now this is experiencing Switzerland. We all went to the shop and bought freshly packaged Lindt chocolate for family in the States. We were told that most of what we bought could be not bought in the States. I am not sure how true that was but we bought it.....literaly. Here is a picture of the front of the factory.....

I tried to get the entire building in the picture but could not have backed up any further. I literally had my heals in Lake Zurich.

We had a wonderful time in Switzerland and were grateful for Barb's cousin Alex for showing us around and giving us a little history lesson along the way. We all decided that we will be back next year and will plan on returning in August when the weather is warmer. Luckily next week we will be in Garda, Italy where the weather forcast calls for 80' and lots of sun.

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