Mike was the only person in the campground in Calhan and Hannah's grandpa was driving by, so he stopped and told Mike about a bar across the street. Mike stopped in for a drink and Hannah's dad (Brent) bought him a beer (because he was a stranger-- Calhan is really small).
Brent is pretty friendly, so he brought Mike back to his house to party. Now they Skype call each other all the time and Mike's parents are currently staying with Hannah's family in Calhan. And we are sleeping in their room! Pretty great, really.
Anyway, Mike's girlfriend picked us up from the train station in Wetzikon and took us back to Mike's house. Wetzikon is about 20 minutes from Zurich on the S-bahn, and it is in one of the most beautiful locations I've ever seen.
In the highlands of the Alps, they have plenty of open space around their property and stunning views in every direction. Mike came home from work a little bit later and we spent the evening getting to know one another over a few glasses of local white wine.
One of Mike's friends came over (Phillip) because he wanted to meet the American friends of Brent-- apparently Brent is pretty notorious in Switzerland...
It was definitely a good time! Plus, the house was totally gorgeous and we had two rooms with plenty of space to spread out the entire contents of our three backpacks.
We slept in sort of late to recover from France, then had some toast with delicious crunchy Ovaltine spread that was basically Nutella without the hazelnut but with crunchy malt flakes in it. Inspired-- we should bring it back to the US with us!
Then Mike took us on a hike up some of the foothills so we could get a nice view of the Alps and town. We encountered a number of animals along the way-- goats and cows with silly bells on them and a super friendly herd of horses. The horses were so cute!
There were a few babies and a few giant grown horses, but they were all equally friendly and curious. They came right up to us and put their muzzles in our hands and let us pet them. Naturally, we took a hundred pictures of them...
After walking back down to the house, Mike made us some fondue with delicious Swiss cheese. It was pretty phenomenal and we ate a ton of it, but apparently not as much as we were supposed to because Mike wouldn't believe that we were full. After lunch, we took the train from Wetzikon into Zurich to explore the city.
Zurich is super clean and well organized with a surprisingly few number of tourists. It is massively expensive though... plastic flip flops were 34 franks in the grocery store, which equals around 40 dollars!
Needless to say, we didn't buy too much-- just some groceries to make dinner, chocolate, and food for the train the next day. It took us a long time to buy groceries because everything was written in German, but we eventually succeeded.
We walked along the canal for a while to check out the people swimming around and the views of the lake. The lake was really stunning with a beautiful mountain backdrop and lots of little boats and birds.
The swimmers were pretty hilarious too-- many of the European men wear a much different style of bathing suit than the boys in the US. Spandex briefs or short shorts mainly. I took a few sneaky pictures... they are kind of blurry but I was trying to be inconspicuous. We also saw a number of REALLY scantily clad women in Zurich. I took sneaky photos of them too...
We went back to Wetzikon to make tacos for Mike as a thank-you for letting us stay. We couldn't find tortillas, beans, ground beef, or acceptable cheese in the grocery store, so we decided to make tortillas and use chicken instead. After a short preparation, we had a giant Mexican feast!
Mike seemed to really love it-- Mexican food is not exactly widespread in Switzerland.
After dinner, we spent the rest of the night repacking our souvenirs/warm clothes because Jenna is taking some of my stuff when she flies home tomorrow. Sad to see her go, but it was a fantastic 3.5 weeks! Hopefully we will have the chance to travel together again!
We woke up early to go to Zurich Haupbahnhof to catch our respective trains-- Jenna to the airport and Adrienne and I back to Milan.
We wished Jenna a bon voyage at her platform then caught our train to Milan with no problems. Upon arrival in Milan, we hopped on the high speed train to Florence then a local train to Pistoia to meet up with my friend Chris for some rest and relaxation in Tuscany. But more on that later-- Auf Wiedersehen!
Jenna had a friend in Zurich, so we had a nice place to stay for two nights! The story of how Mike and Jenna met is pretty funny-- Jenna's best friend from childhood is named Hannah, and the two of them grew up in Calhan, Colorado. Mike spent 5 months biking across the US, during which time he stopped in Calhan.