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December 18th 2014
Published: December 24th 2014
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This is the first trip to Zurich for all of us, even Herve. It was Lauren's request to come. Zurich is a very charming town, Sophisticated, worldly, chic and sweet. I feel quite daggy in Zurich as since everyone else seemed so chic and well put together. The stores, the streets, the boutiques, the tram, the chocolates and every Swiss clichéyou can think of is elegant, sophisticated and well-designed. On the first day we walked around the Old Town, where all the building are old yet seem new because of how well kept they are. The streets are spotless and there seems to always be some machine or person cleaning up. There are no homeless people (big change from America) and everyone looks affluent and stylish.

One new thing I've not noticed on any of my former travels is how utterly adorable all the window dressing is. It seems that the people of Zurich (maybe it's a European thing) do not buy unthinkingly. Everything is presented as special and precious, even things I might not consider so special such as a single Christmas decoration for the tree or coffee beans that are presented as something exotic and unique because they come all the way from the orient. Such a shock after the throw-away society of the US. I have added a collection of photos of the most beautiful shop-window displays you may ever see in one city. All of these were taken in the "Old Town' which is charming and cute with its cobblestone streets. We visited Fraumünster, a church definitely worth the visit to admire the stained glass windows by Giacometti and Marc Chagall. Just gorgeous.

Christmas: The whole city is in a festive mood and the streets decorated for Christmas time. The photos show how pretty Europeans can make a cold winter's night seem and this is one of the reasons I truly love coming here at this time of year. In Zurich, there is a lot of activity on the streets after work each night. The restaurants and cafes are open with heaters outside and fluffy blankets (2 for each seat) and fairy lights hanging everywhere. If you do not want to sit down and eat, you can still buy a warm punch or cider at one of the many, many little stalls and stand around tall, little round tables. There are usually about 5 to 8 people around each one. Especially around one particular area which seemed to be the hub because at 5.30 each afternoon, some children (teens) come out to sing carols on a "human Christmas tree'. It makes this cultured, sophisticated city seem quaint and cute.

Right now it is 8.30 and I am lying in bed recovering from an amazing breakfast of croissants, boiled eggs, Swiss cheeses and hams with gherkins (so good to eat well after living in the drought of the US. America was wonderful but their food is really rubbish and we didn't even notice just how bad it was until coming here and having just one excellent breakfast. I can hear loud bells ringing from St Peters church down the road. The people of Europe are different from Americans. They are most subtle somehow, more stylish and dignified in a calm and confident way. They hold themselves tall and proudly and look at you straight in the eye. They are polite but not overly friendly. They just seem to have impeccable manners from the way they eat to the way they walk and talk. It's really obvious after spending the last two weeks with the expressive, wild and totally unself-conscious Americans ...they are confident in a different way, more showy and openly friendly and they like sharing their ideas and opinions, wanting interaction and connection with others, sometimes wanting to impress or just help out. Americans are fun.
Speaking of talking, these Swiss are amazing to listen to, they can switch from German to Italian to French to romange (the Swiss language) to English in the blink of an eye depending on who that are speaking to. Different expressions in various languages pepper their conversations. It's truly impressive.

Paris, here we come

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25th December 2014

Merry Christmas to you all. Have a wonderful White Christmas xxoo

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