After four fun nights in Barcelona it was time to change gears somewhat and make our way to Switzerland. We boarded an early flight to Zurich on Thursday 22 August and enjoyed the most scenic flight of our lives. On a crystal clear day we crossed the Mediterranean Sea and flew over Marseilles and the majority of the Swiss Alps. The mountain peaks were in absolute abundance and the huge lakes were filled with the most brilliant sapphire coloured water you have ever seen.
We were greeted at the airport by Carola, a family friend who was to be our host for the next two nights in Zurich. We went to her house to drop off our bags and to have lunch with her two daughters who were home from school, a part of the Swiss culture.
In the afternoon we went for a drive out to the Rhine Falls, the largest waterfalls in Europe by volume. The power, sound and sight of the falls was spectacular and we spent a long time at the multiple lookout points, built close enough to the falls to feel the water.
We returned home via Germany – a real novelty for two Australians! – and got ready for dinner. Carola’s boyfriend Thomas joined us and we drove to a local street festival for dinner. After staying in Barcelona we thought we had seen some pretty good festival night life but this held its own. Great food including raclette (melted cheese on bread), good beer and a really exciting buzz around the street provided for a great night.
On Friday morning Kate and I took a train into the heart of Zurich to explore the old town. We started with a ride down the Limmat River on a boat that sits low on the water to just clear the multiple bridges. The waters of the river and lake were clean enough to drink and we saw a few brave teens jumping off a 10m platform into the deep blue.
We walked around the town for a while and stopped in at Zeughauskeller for a traditional lunch. The setting was an old beer hall where they served enormous meals and steins of beer with a great atmosphere. The food was delicious but slowed us down for a while.
After recovering we continued along our route, browsing the windows of glitzy shops and laying our eyes on $50,000 Rolex watches.
In the evening we caught a train up the Üetliberg mountain to a restaurant called Uto Kulm (‘The top of Zurich’) where we were treated to breathtaking views of the city and countryside.
We were joined by our hosts for dinner and had the best food of the trip so far. If you ever go to Zurich, try the veal strips with mushroom sauce served with rösti, it was truly amazing.
On our last morning in Zurich we went around to Thomas’s house for breakfast where he further confirmed that the Swiss know how to eat. He put on a huge spread for us, including Zoph (‘Sunday bread’), cured meats, cheese and nutella.
The river flows past Thomas’s house so we went out for a swim in the fast currents before heading on to Lucerne.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Carola, Thomas, Chantal and Sereina for showing us some truly great hospitality and we hope to return the favour when they next visit Australia.