The land of the wealthy with cheese

Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
Trip End Apr 21, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Friday, April 10, 2009

Greetings from Zürich!

I will keep this brief per request from the shorter of the Gruber twins...

Bianca and I have spent the last few days in Zürich en route to her Aunt Rita and Uncle Franz's place in Schruns, Austria (just over the Swiss border). We stayed at a cool budget place ("budget" in Zürich is not cheap) called Hotel Otter which had each room decorated in a different theme. Ours happened to be Japan, next to us was a Carmen opera themed room which was quite ironic since Bianca's twin Carmen just spent the past three years in Japan...

We spent our twoish days just enjoying the sights of Zürich and relaxing. The Swiss don't do things cheap so we really tried to watch ourselves. We did a short walking tour seeing a few of the beautiful churches including Fraumunster Church which has five beautiful Marc Chagall stained glass windows. We also were able to spend a few hours at the Swiss National Museum, which although it was under renovation had a few interesting exhibits, namely one on a hoard of Roman gold found in cities in and around the region.

We spent our second day mostly out on the water, renting a paddle boat on beautiful Lake Zürich followed up with an hour and a half ferry ride (it was including with our 24 hour transport ticket) all around the lake. We managed to avoid using the ATM altogether and never took out an Swiss Francs. It was a fun game to play...trying to pay in Euro's for more expensive things to get just enough change back in Swiss Franc's to pay for our ice cream :).

We tried not to go too crazy with the food since we were pretty full from our two weeks of wining and dining on the (relative) cheap in Turkey but we did end up getting a semi-light (and unfortunately not as cheap as we anticipated) lunch at one of those super-cool conveyor belt sushi places. This one was a bit different in that everything was ordered by touch screen at your seat at the sushi bar. You could even message a random person sitting at a random seat. It was sort of odd...but interesting none-the-less. We also had some great Mexican and tapas for our other meals. If you can't tell we were in no mood for swiss food and definitely not for kebabs (which were all over the place of course!).

Other interesting things we noticed:
1. Starbucks on every corner. Ok not quite but I think there were at least five on the street we were staying on if you walked far enough. Can't escape!
2. Every woman seemed to either be wearing skinny jeans (and really shouldn't have been) or was pregnant. We got two extra points if you saw a pregnant woman wearing skinny jeans...
3. Carhartt (yes the same brand that makes work clothes from the D) seems to be all the rage and super stylish in Europe. Apparently the company split off a Euro branch a few years back and is quite huge, expensive and popular. I was completely unaware of this fact...
4. The Swiss are slightly language impaired (IMO). Part of the country speaks this messed up Swiss-German (Bianca cannot even understand it and she is fluent in Deutsch), part speaks French, part speaks Italian and nobody can talk to each other in those everyone speaks English. Good for us, just a little abnormal if you ask me.
5. Bianca now wants a home here. I told her she needs to give up her plan of Peds ENT and stick to plastics because this place is more expensive than just about anywhere. BMW, Audi, Benz or Porsche seem to be required to live here to be honest...

We will check in with you soon from Austria!

Until next time,
Bianca and Michael
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