Location @ Zurich, Switzerland
Think of a cake topped with all the traits that make a cake delicious; perfectly balanced icing, the moist texture, the right amount of vanilla, a crisp, unburnt bottom and not sickeningly sweet. That is the kind of cake you can never have enough of. That cake is Switzerland.
Before visiting, there had been a certain mystery that clouded Switzerland – my family and I basically walked in with our eyes blindfolded. None of my friends had visited before and from what I looked up on my daily blog reads, not many bloggers had either. I only knew Switzerland as the ‘neutral’ country, the creators of the legendary Swiss cheese and home to the renowned Lindt Chocolate. We stayed in Zurich, Switzerland for 4 nights, covering the city itself (on foot may I add) in essentially one and a half days and traveling to the countryside for a day trip and Geneva for another day trip. (So you can imagine, 4 nights is more than enough time in Zurich alone.) If you plan on traveling to Switzerland soon, I’d advise to take a trip to the countryside; you’ll experience some magnificent scenery; something along the lines of…AN ARMY OF SUNFLOWERS! Every time we passed one, it got me into a wild, childish flurry to quickly stare at the yellowness of such a scene before we drove past it. And if you’re not planning to I’d advise to GET ON IT ASAP. Or if you are planning a Europe Trip and Switzerland isn’t a destination listed, well…you’re missing out on A Whole New World. Seriously though. I hope I will convince you why (I certainly have myself convinced).
When I was writing this blog post, I asked my family: “So what should I say about Switzerland?” I got a list of things thrown at me (verbally): safe at all times, beautiful countryside, clean streets, breathtaking architecture/buildings, most friendliest people and a cheese lovers heaven. All of the above, I assure you, will be justified in the photographs. It’s times like these I’m thankful that I chose English Ext because there is no other way of describing Switzerland but “ubiquitously” picturesque. It is the epitome of the scenic landscapes you find on postcards and think “That is 200% photoshopped and filtered” except not photoshopped and filtered.
BUT the bad before too much of the good.
A downside of this lovely European country sandwiched between Germany, France and Austria is the fact that its so freaking expensive. My brother and I joked about feeling like we were throwing cash like it grew on trees. For example, mmm… a McDonalds meal for 6 people cost 70 Swiss Franks? Say again? Did I accidentally walk into an overpriced cafe for hipsters?
Oh and another heads up: if you are traveling in groups over 4 or 5, maxi cabs are rare. In fact, finding an available cab to hail from the sidewalk is rare as you’ll barely see any free taxis driving around at all.
One of the very first things our taxi driver told us about Zurich was that it was incredibly safe – you could walk the streets at all hours of the night and be completely fine. This sense of security allowed us as tourists to simply enjoy our long walks and touristy activities without overly worrying. Phew, don’t have to be paranoid about pickpocketing and holding tightly onto my bag with sweaty palms eyeing everybody suspiciously, or imagining scenes where I would have to use my PE-learnt self-defense moves on any European stranger. (Don’t get me wrong though, always have your guard on!)
Having the opportunity to wander and explore the beautiful city for ourselves, we witnessed locals swimming in the clear River Limmat, got a shock reading “warning shark” signs, trams making their way downtown and the bustling roads of the tiny city – by tiny, I mean, you can walk from one end of the city in half a day. The main street in Zurich is Bahnofstrasse. It’s one straight road leading to Zurich Sea and is a watch store magnet with the entire street from top to bottom having a watch brand store in sight. At the end, you’re greeted by the relaxing scenery of the open Zurich sea with boats docked in its small harbour.
Old Town is exactly what its name says it is – the more older part of the city that consists of small cobblestone alleys surrounded by low, brightly coloured buildings with flower-decorated balconies. It’s situated very close to the Zurich’s main river, Limmat and is always bursting with life in its small squares, restaurants, shops and water fountains. As you wander past, each building will try to impress you with its bright palette, as if each one were continually trying to out do the other buildings by its side. Old Town is certainly a place I will ways be in love with. Even looking back at the photographs I miss walking on the uneven cobblestones and admiring the fresh flowers everywhere. Old Town is perhaps the center for dinner and it never once failed to impress. Imagine the ultimate degree of HOT cheese. Put this in a pot. Cheese lovers out there – I know you’re mouth is already watering. It gets better. Now, imagine a diced pieces of a homemade loaf of bread and DIP this int the cheesy goo called cheese fondue. If you extract your bread, it will be oozing with Swiss cheese…When in Switzerland, cheese fondue is compulsory and the best place to have it is Adler’s Swiss Chuchi.
On one of our days spent in Switzerland, Dad was heavily insistent on hiring a car and becoming our own tour guides. I admit to being reluctant to this idea but I’m incredibly glad that we did because if we hadn’t, I would of missed the bountiful fifty shades of endless green farmlands and sunflower farms. So on that Sunday, there we were, six Australians in basically a mini bus driving on the wrong side of the road and going 20km/h. We drove north, crossing to Germany, smuggling nothing but Switzerland’s local chocolate, Cailler and peach gummies. Here we visited the great Mount Titisee (or what Mum likes to call, Mt Tities) from the town of Titisee, home to the popular Black Forest cake.We lost our way to Rheinfall, by missing a turn and not having the exact address – a road trip doesn’t count as a road trip until you get lost. But we got there and it was well worth getting lost for. We traveled into thec entre of the waterfall on a tall rock and from there was surrounded by the water at 360 degrees. No further explanation needed – if a picture is worth a thousand words, whats a video worth?
Adding what feels like an incredibly long list of Switzerland’s greatness, the people of Swiss are the kind you just want to group hug. You’ll find that everyone is always willing to help. We met this random gal at the Europcar return parking and she 1) took us to a 24hr petrol station 2) saved us from a $1000 parking ticket and 3) being well-travelled, gave us a detailed itinerary and tips for Paris, taking a good 45 minutes of her time.
I’m sorry for that extra long blog post (and I have a lot more to say, but to save your eyes I’ll stop there for now), but hey, now you’re going to walk away from your computer knowing Switzerland is a fabulous country and that’s what counts.