Part 2: A Week in Zurich
Here it is! The second blog post commemorating my first ever trip to Europe. After spending a week in Paris, Jesús and I took a train (well, first we missed a train and then we took a train - ha) over to Switzerland to meet up and stay with our friends, Martin and Anita, who live about 20 minutes or so outside of Zurich in the countryside!
Our time in Zurich was really unique to our other experiences of traveling abroad (or even domestically), because Jesús and I found a sense of community with Martin, Anita and their friends in a way that we normally aren’t used to when we travel just the two of us. In all our trips, we try to make friends when we can - but with this leg of our vacation, it felt almost as if we were coming home to a community. This feeling of total immersion into our friend’s typical summertime holiday at home - their life and relationships - opened up the doors to the most special experiences that we otherwise wouldn’t have had if we were staying somewhere on our own, discovering Switzerland by ourselves.
I am so thankful for the unique experiences that they shared with us, invited us into, and for their incredible hospitality which made us feel so embraced. Which made us feel like we walked into a behind-the-scenes look at Switzerland.
When we weren’t enjoying time around their home or in their beautiful garden, we were taking walks down to Lake Greifensee, picking all the roadside blackberries (or at least I was, and everyone was waiting for me), swimming in Martin and Anita’s pool, visiting a makers market or antique market, eating brunch or dinner with their friends, picking flowers in community gardens (yes, they are everywhere around the countryside and I freaked out every time we passed one), and making flower crowns with those garden flowers around a table of new friends.
There was peace and comfort in the air around us, and an excitement in my heart about the symbolic nature of the experiences we were having. The LOVE that God was showing us, how crazy it was to be where we were at such a young stage in our marriage. And the list of gratitude goes on and on.
So. Because our trip looked so different in the sense that we spent most of our time resting and hanging out with friends - because our itinerary wasn't the usual hustle to see, eat and do everything a city has to offer, my list of recommendations will look a little different than the last post (part 1).
Here it goes!
• Don’t miss your train to Zurich. Ha. This one was on us, but got things off to a rocky start. In all your international train travel, just be sure to give yourself a solid window of time at the station to find your train.
• I would recommend renting a car in Switzerland. There’s just so much to explore outside of Zurich, and if you’re going to experience those scenic Alps, I think you’ll be best off with a car.
• Take advantage of any chance to swim in the summertime! The lakes and rivers are the prettiest I’ve ever seen, and you can swim just about anywhere!
By nature of our plan to stay with friends, we actually didn’t end up eating out much at all! Which was an incredible blessing to us, because Zurich can be reallll expensive when it comes time to eating out. When we didn’t eat home cooked meals in the garden, we were out improvising at things like cute roadside convenience stores at the bottom of a mountain, a deli counter at a little butcher shop downtown, or a grocery store run on our way to a party with friends. It really wasn’t about hitting all the super trendy restaurants in Zurich, it was about experiencing places, with the people around us - and our approach to eating was something I truly enjoyed during our stay.
• Daizy - When we did go out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary, Anita recommended we try Daizy. And it had all the hipster charm we could have ever asked for packed into one restaurant, in the industrial side of town, that looked straight out of an Anthropologie catalog. Incredible food. I would definitely recommend visiting!
• Lake Caumasee, near Flims - OKAY - Lake Caumasee might be the coolest place I’ve ever been to in my whole dang life! A glacier-fed lake in the Alps, with crystal blue water, and an elevator that takes you right down to it. Yep. It is absolutely stunning. You could spend a whole day there sunbathing on the grass, swimming in the chilly water, eating at the restaurant, and renting SUP boards or paddle boats. It’s a must-visit in the summertime!
• Rigi Kulm - take the train up to this INSANE mountain top look out. It will seriously take your breath away with its 360º views, and charming stops along the way to the top.
• Lake Zurich - As a Florida native, I was quick to take advantage of and soak in any opportunity to swim in a body of water in Switzerland. Clean, blue waters, without any threat of creatures trying to kill me. Ha. But seriously. When in Zurich, do swim in the lake, take in the views of the city and homes all around, and soak in all the summery, carefree vibes for me.
• Downtown Zurich - there are so many charming streets, shops and beautiful museums to check out in this city. Just give yourself the opportunity to spend some unstructured time wandering in and out of these places, and I think you’ll be surprised and in love with what you come across.
• Drive over to Bern or Basel for the day! We got the chance to visit Basel (because that's where the back up train ended up taking us - ha), and it was lovely. Next time, we would really like to visit Bern! Everyone had such good things to say about that city.
And now for the photos! Thank you SO much for reading and re-living my trip with me!
So much about travel can feel really exciting and adventurous, yet leave us a bit tired once we arrive back home. I think that's why our time spent with Martin and Anita, taking in Switzerland, felt so special to us. Because our week there left us feeling refreshed, inspired, and incredibly loved by an amazing God who allowed us to cross one another’s path so many years ago. It was the coolest thing. Memories that I'll hold dear to my heart.