Easter in Switzerland


It was really hard for me to send Kevin home knowing that I won't see him for another few months, but it was really nice having my sister come that day. Julie and I started off by exploring Dam square and the shops around it. She got her first coffee at the coffee company and put on all the warm clothes I had brought her in my backpack. We hung out at the Amsterdam Museum for a bit and decided to head back to Utrecht where Julie fell asleep at 4 pm and slept solidly until the next morning when I woke up for class.


I unfortunately had school the week Julie was here, so I went to all my classes on Monday. After I finished, Julie and I took the bus down to the Oudegracht and walked along the shops. We picked up some nice little souvenirs and gifts around town and some traditional Dutch candies. I showed her all of my favorite stores and a really cool tunnel of lights. We passed by Albert Heijn on the way back to school so she could get some typical Dutch foods and spent the rest of the night relaxing in my room since she was jet lagged.


Since my Tuesdays are free, Julie convinced me to take her into Amsterdam. We started off the day trip with a visit to the NEMO where we blew some giant bubbles and learned some interesting things about science and technology. We started walking towards our next destination and came across a giant carnival set up in the middle of Dam Square, so we bought some poffertjes and finished them within seconds. We walked down some side streets so my favorite thrift store called Episode and tried on grandpa sweaters for a while. We headed down another main street to check out some shops and a card store and a book store. We went to the cafe inside the book shop and had some hot chocolate and tea and just caught up for a while until we had to head back to Utrecht so I could work on a group project.


I had class on Wednesday too, but I got to bring Julie along for one. My first class was a walking tour of Utrecht, so it was really nice that Julie was there that day to see the city and meet my classmate sand my professor. I had two more classes and Julie packed for me while I worked n the group project. We rushed to the airport right after my class and just barely caught our flight to Zurich. We arrived at the airport, exchanged money, found the main station, and eventually found our hostel, which was down a little ally from where it was supposed to have been. After a 4 floor walk up, we arrived at the reception desk that was just closing. We were so lucky to have made it at the time we did. We got our sheets and went up to our room. We both went to sleep immediately.


We started our day off by going to a little Swiss bakery for breakfast followed by a trip to an incredibly expensive Starbucks for free wifi. Since it was pouring rain, we thought a museum would be a good idea. We spent most of the morning in the Swiss National Museum, which was very beautiful. There was a giant wheel inside the museum with little compartments in it containing typical "Swiss" things like chocolate, cheese, a watch, a mountain peak, and things like that. I didn't get very good photos of it because I had to sneak them. They also had a temporary exhibit called Animali about animals and mythical creatures which was quite interesting. They had some strange things like a "dragon" and a big white sculpture. They also had a really cool gift shop with some very tempting souvenirs.

After the museum, we went down the main shopping street stopping at all the chocolate stores along the way. We must have stopped at at least 5 of them on our way to Old Town Zurich. Old town was really cute and quaint. The buildings were different colors of pastel mostly and there was a church right in the middle of it. The streets were narrow and hilly. We realized we were hungry and found one of the cheapest restaurants in the area, a steakhouse called Churroscos, where I had the most delicious vegetable plate I've ever had.

After lunch, we tried to visit a botanical garden close by not realizing that gardens probably aren't very pretty in the middle of winter. Most everything in the garden was dead, but there was still a nice view from the top of the hill in the garden. We gave up on the rainy garden pretty quickly and went back to get more chocolate. Lots of chocolate. And it was amazing. As we were leaving the chocolate store, I walked right by a guy and it took me a few seconds to realize what was happening, but he was flashing me (and the two other groups of girls behind me for that matter). That's something I never would have expected from Switzerland. We swung by a grocery store on the way back to the hostel where we bought more chocolate and where I accidentally caught my thumb on fire with a stupid souvenir lighter shaped like a bar of gold. We wanted to take a nap before dinner so we went back to our hostel, but accidentally fell asleep for the night at 7:30 pm. It was a much needed night sleep though.


We woke up Friday morning to two new girls that had moved into our hostel room. They were two sweet Australian girls and it was really nice getting to know them a bit. We started our day off at Starbucks again because free wifi is just so hard to come by. Then we ventured out to the city of Lucerne by train. Right when we got there, we caught a bus to a gondola station and got on a gondola that took us up into the Alps. It was so snowy on the way up that we could barely see anything. It was a sea of white. There was a little outdoor patio that normally would have had an amazing view, but we could barely see 10 feet in front of us.

After we spent some time outside, we went into the cafe and grabbed some lunch and caught up some more while looking at the patterns in the snow out the window. It was so peaceful and isolated on the montain. After one more trip to the patio and a phone call from Dad, we headed back down the mountain. We wandered around the stores in Lucerne and took some photos of the beautiful river and city. Julie told me that Dad said to do something daring, so we decided to follow a stranger. We picked a guy who was walking quite fast because everyone else around us was walking at a glacial pace. We tried to keep up with him, and did quite well until we lost him at a church/cemetery. We walked a little bit farther than the church and found the Grand Casino, but we didn't feel up for gambling, so we walked back towards the main part of town. We found a lovely chocolate shop here too, so we stocked up. We were just asking to get fat by going to Switzerland during Easter. There were more chocolate bunnies than I had seen in my life in one room. When it got close to dark, we headed back to Zurich for dinner. Julie picked a very stinky fondu place down the street from our hostel. It was hard to get through dinner with the place smelling so bad and sadly they did not have chocolate fondu. Just cheese on cheese on cheese.


Julie and I both had little guidebooks about Zurich where we would search for things to do. She had found a flea market that sparked her interest among other things, so we decided to start there. It was pretty small when we arrived and it was again pouring rain. We walked around for a while and both found little trinkets that we wanted to take home with us. Julie bought a few little glasses and a mouse ring holder and I bought a lock for when I visited the Love Lock Bridge in Paris the next weekend. From the flea market, we went to a park that is supposed to be really beautiful. I found it quite cold and wet, but sure you could still say it was beautiful. We waited here for a while waiting for a friend of mine but ended up leaving because the cold was too much. We walked towards and then along the lake. We found a statue wearing a lovely yarn outfit and went to the Opernhuis from there. There was a little restaurant just next to the opera house where we decided to have lunch and some poached pears. They weren't as good as the ones I make, but it was still nice to have something that reminded me of home.

Julie had also been talking about going to find an Einstein memorial which turned out to be just a plaque on a house where Einstein used to live. There wasn't much to see there. There was a really cute little shop that we went in on the way back to the bus. It was owned by an older woman who only spoke German, but we managed to communicate just fine. Julie and I picked up two little bearded companions to take home with us. From the shop, we went to an area called Neumarkt which had some cool looking shops. We went into a nice looking tea store. I always get intimidated in tea stores. I always want to get Kevin tea as a souvenir, but I know nothing about tea and always panic and leave with nothing. I bought something this time, but I couldn't tell you what it is if my life depended on it. It's tea...I think. Our time in Zurich was coming to an end, so we stopped by the National Museum one last time so that I could get a tea light that I couldn't stop thinking about. We said goodbye to Zurich and headed to the airport from there. I imagine that Switzerland would be a breathtaking country if it was not pouring constantly. It was still beautiful in the rain though. Julie left very early the next morning to go back to the States and to real life.


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