Ticking countries one by one

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May 1st 2017
Published: May 13th 2017
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Someone said to me once that living in Europe is easy to tick off the countries as distances and prices are small... and that's true! With low-cost airlines, the price of flying London to Rome is cheaper than actually getting to the airport by train from anywhere in the UK, kind of ridiculous and bad for the environment, but that's how it is.

We do travel a lot by car in Europe as well, but we don't always have the time and I have decided to visit at least one new country every year, so driving from UK is not always an option... long weekend in Zürich it is! Switzerland is country number 5 for Ella... she has already been in more countries than her age! 😊

Zürich is not expensive, is extremely expensive! but one of Dax's best friends lives there so we don't have to pay accommodation and we also have a private guide!

We arrived on Friday morning, after flying very early with BA (my first time, but it won't be the last! so much comfortable than low fare airlines... and not even pricier!). Sven picked us up in a rented car, one of the
View from the flat with the Üetliberg on the backgroundView from the flat with the Üetliberg on the backgroundView from the flat with the Üetliberg on the background

La vista desde el piso con el Üetliberg al fondo
awesome things about Zurich (and several other European cities): you can rent a car by the hour, with a membership card; all the rental cars are red with stickers... to warn other drivers that the person driving this car doesn't drive too often - so clever!

Our friends live in an amazing flat on the 10th floor with amazing views to the city and when we arrived, Ella had some chocolate under the pillow of her little bed, needless to say that she was very happy!

After a quick lunch (no cheese involved yet) we went for a walk and to play with Ella on a playground; Dax and I thought it would be very funny to play in a human-sized hamster wheel, so he was holding onto it and I was running so he would do a complete turn... but, of course, he didn't... and he fell on top of me, hitting me really hard on the back; from that moment on, moving was agony! I thought I may have cracked a bone, I was in so much pain. So we went back home to chill and have a very nice cheese fondue, which Ella surprisingly didn't
The glamour of plane travelThe glamour of plane travelThe glamour of plane travel

El glamour de los viajes en avión
like... she is a cheese monster and could eat it all day long, but not when is melted, apparently!

I was in so much pain with every little movement that I went to bed early with Ella...

The following morning, we had an amazing breakfast of cheese (when I told Ella we were going to have cheese for breakfast she made me assure her that it wasn't melted!), tomatoes, fruit, bread and tea - I must say that Germans really know how to do breakfasts! (note that our friends are Germans living in Zurich)

Then we took the tram and the boat to visit Lake Zurich, which, lacking of a better word, is amazing! With the snowed peaks on the horizon, lots of swans everywhere and not many people; Ella loved the boat and I loved looking at her being so happy. Then we walked by the lake at a very slow pace due to my back, but the weather was gorgeous and the walk was enjoyable. We stopped for lunch at a café by the shore where we found a Spanish waiter, so no need for me to struggle with my German. I have already mentioned that Zurich is expensive, just let me say that we paid €9 for a portion of fries!

Ella was so good: she didn't complained about walking for so long and she was very excited with the new things and places we were seeing and also with the many swans. We had an ice cream at a park under the sun just before we went home, as we had promised her for having been so good. Both Dax and I were so surprised because, when we go for a walk at home, she complains a lot and wants to be carried very early into the walk, but here it wasn't like that and we barely had to carry her - although she fell asleep on Dax's arms after lunch.

The following day, the weather was till gorgeous so we decided to go up the Üetliberg mountain, which is nearby our friend's flat. It takes about 1.5 hours to walk up; Dax decide to take a shortcut with Ella (I couldn't climb with my damaged back) and after a few moments we heard her screaming, so I was rather worried until we finally saw them further up the path... phew! It turned out that she slipped and, being a drama queen as she is, screamed to let everybody know. Halfway up the top, there is a break area with benches, BBQs, drinking water fountains and a playground for kids (all in wood) with the most amazing views! It was a perfect spot to have a snack while Ella played - she wasn't interested in the chocolate cake we had brought!

When we finally got to the top, it was very busy, as you can get there by tram, actually. There is a restaurant and a viewing tower, very, very high. The views are just out of this world: the lake on one side and the snowy Alps on the other side and with a clear day like we had, it was fantastic, really worth the effort. We had BBQ sausages and over salted fries for lunch under the sun, which was so strong that I actually burnt the back of my neck!

Sadly, the next day we had to go back home, and it seemed that Zurich was also sad to see us going, as it started raining. I wasn't expecting to enjoy Zurich so much, as I
She fell asleep on papa's arms after lunchShe fell asleep on papa's arms after lunchShe fell asleep on papa's arms after lunch

Se quedó dormida en los brazos de papa después de comer
thought, being a financial city, that it will be big and soulless, a bit like 'The City' part of London. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find a small scale city, with very good public transport and not may tall buildings with amazing scenery and nice people; I guess the fact that it was sunny and warm also helped!

Thanks for reading!

Tachando los países, de uno en uno

Alguien dijo una vez que viviendo en Europa es muy fácil tachar países de la lista ya que las distancias son cortas y los precios son bajos... y es verdad! con compañías de bajo coste es más barato volar de Londres a Roma que llegar al aeropuerto en tren desde cualquier lugar del Reino Unido, bastante ridículo y malo para el medio ambiente, pero así es como son las cosas.

Viajamos bastante en coche por Europa pero no siempre tenemos tiempo y, como he decidido visitar un país nuevo cada año, conducir desde el R.U. no siempre es una opción... así que nos vamos de fin de semana largo a Zúrich! Suiza es el país número 5 para Ella... ya ha estado en más países
Ice cream on the parkIce cream on the parkIce cream on the park

Helado en el parque
que años tiene! 😊

Zúrich no es cara, es carísima! pero tenemos suerte de que uno de los mejores amigos de Dax vive allí y nos ahorramos el alojamiento... y tenemos guía privado!

Llegamos el viernes por la mañana en un vuelo muy temprano de la BA (la primera vez que vuelo con ellos y no será la última, mucho más cómodo que las aerolíneas de bajo coste y sin embargo no más caro). Sven nos recogió en el aeropuerto con un coche de alquiler, una de las cosas buenas de Zúrich (y otras ciudades europeas): puedes hacerte socio de un servicio de alquiler por horas; todos los coches de alquiler son rojos con pegatinas, para avisar a los demás conductores que la persona al volante no conduce muy a menudo - muy listos!

Nuestros amigos viven en un piso en la décima planta con vistas a toda la ciudad y Ella tenía chocolate debajo de la almohada de su cama cuando llegamos, lo cual, por supuesto la hizo muy feliz!

Después de comer (sin queso) fuimos a dar un paseo y llevamos a Ella a un parque; Dax y yo pensamos que sería muy divertido
View from the flatView from the flatView from the flat

La vista desde le piso
jugar en una rueda como las de los hámsters, pero tamaño de persona, así que él se agarró a los border y yo me puse a correr por dentro pensando que él iba a dar la vuelta entera... pero por supuesto se cayó a medio camino... encima de mi y me golpeó con las botas de trekking; desde ese momento, cada movimiento era agonía y pensé que me había roto algún hueso. Después del accidente nos fuimos a casa a descansar y a cenar fondue de queso, que a Ella, sorprendentemente no le gustó... es el monstruo del queso y normalmente le encanta... pero no cuando está derretido, parece ser!

Esa noche me dolía tanto la espalda que me fui a la cama temprano con Ella...

A la mañana siguiente nos tomamos un desayuno fantástico de queso (cuando le dije a Ella que íbamos a desayunar queso me preguntó si estaba derretido!), tomates, fruta, pan y té - debo reconocer que los alemanes sí saben cómo desayunar (nuestros amigos son alemanes, aunque viven en Zúrich)

Luego cogimos un tranvía y un barco para visitar el Lago Zúrich el cual, a falta de una palabra mejor, es increíble!
First time on a tramFirst time on a tramFirst time on a tram

La primera vez en un tranvía
Con las montañas nevadas en el horizonte, muchos cisnes y poca gente; a Ella le encantó el barco y a mi me encantó verla tan feliz. Caminamos el paseo del lago muy despacio, por mi espalda, pero el tiempo era perfecto y el paseo agradable. Paramos en un restaurante donde había un camarero español así que no tuve que pasarlo mal intentando hablar alemán. Ya he mencionado que Zúrich es muy cara, pero dejad que diga que pagamos €9 por una porción de patatas fritas!

Ella se portó genial: no protestó por tener que caminar y estaba muy contenta de ver las cosas y los sitios nuevos, además de los muchos cisnes. Nos tomamos un helado en un parque, porque se lo habíamos prometido a Ella por portarse tan bien. Dax y yo nos sorprendimos mucho ya que, cuando salimos de paseo por nuestra área, Ella protesta mucho y quiere que la llevemos en brazos (en el 'colo' como decimos los gallegos), pero aquí no fue así y casi no la tuvimos que llevar en brazos, aunque se quedó dormida en los brazos de Dax después de comer.

Al día siguiente, el tiempo seguía siendo estupendo y decidimos
On their way to the shortcutOn their way to the shortcutOn their way to the shortcut

Subiendo por el atajo
subir a la montaña Üetliberg, que está cerca del piso de nuestros amigos. Lleva una hora y media subir hasta la cumbre; Dax decidió acortar subiendo por fuera del camino con Ella (yo no pude ir por mi espalda) y al rato oímos chillar a Ella, así que yo estaba un poco preocupada hasta que los vimos un poco más adelante en el camino... menos mal! Lo que pasó es que Ella se cayó y como es muy dramática, chilló un poco exageradamente. A medio camino de la cumbre hay una zona de descanso con bancos, barbacoas, fuentes de agua y un área de juegos para los niños (toda en madera) con las mejores vistas de Zúrich! El sitio perfecto para comer el pastel de chocolate que habíamos traído, que Ella había hecho por la mañana con nuestra amiga Nadine.

Cuando finalmente llegamos a la cumbre estaba llena de gente porque también se puede subir en tranvía. Hay un restaurante y una plataforma muy alta con un mirador. Las vistas no son de este mundo: el lago Zúrich a un lado y los Alpes nevados al otro y con el día tan claro que tuvimos realmente merece la pena
View from the top of ÜetlibergView from the top of ÜetlibergView from the top of Üetliberg

La vista desde la cima de Üetliberg
la subida! Tomamos unas salchichas y las patatas fritas más saladas de este mundo y hacía tanto sol que me quemé la espalda...

Pero al día siguiente ya era hora de volver a casa y parece que Zúrich estaba triste porque nos íbamos ya que empezó a llover. No pensé que Zúrich me fuera a gustar tanto ya que, siendo una ciudad financiera, me imaginaba una ciudad grande y sin alma, un poco tipo la "City" de Londres. Pero me sorprendí al encontrar una ciudad a pequeña escala con muy buen transporte público, no muchos edificios altos, paisajes increíbles y gente amable... e imagino que el hecho de que hacía buen tiempo también ayudó!

Gracias por leer!

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


My little explorerMy little explorer
My little explorer

Mi pequeña exploradora

13th May 2017

Ella the Explorer!
Isn't that a nice catchy name for Ella's blog?? :) Sorry to hear about your back, hope it's better now (but I really wanted to see photos of that human-sized hamster wheel!). Looking forward to more of your European adventures...
14th May 2017

Ella the Explorer
Thats is a catchy name indeed! I may use it in the future :) We didn't take any photos of the hamster wheel, unfortunately... but my back is much better now - I never got the results of the X-rays which I guess it means that nothing was broken!
14th May 2017

Good plan
I like your idea of visiting at least one new country every year. I am doing lots of new ones this year after last year being all repeats. Going up a mountain by tram and walking down appeals to me ! Nice for you to have a little one who is a good walker. My latest granddaughter is Ella too.
14th May 2017

Good plan
I think being in Europe is relatively easy to visit a new country each year, so I have really set my mind into it, flying from London is very cheap, so we are very lucky to be here! I hope your granddaughter Ella is a good traveller like our Ella.
19th May 2017

We went to Switzerland and found it to be lovely. We agree that Switzerland is extremely expensive. We were warned.... but.... oh well. Glad you are introducing Ella to the traveling life.
20th May 2017

We were also warned of how expensive it is, but I was still shocked! We are very lucky to have friends there! Ella loves traveling and the older she gets, the easier it is as she can walk for longer, is more interested in what's happening around her and we don't have to carry so much stuff fot her (nappies, bottles...)

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