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Published: February 9th 2010
So after months of neglecting to write in this blog about Switzerland I have finally decided to start it back up again. Much has happened since I last wrote back in August and I will try my best to give a brief accounting of what has occurred.
Went with Ashley to Liechtenstein to do a little hiking through the hill that the country is located on. I say hill because the country is only about 21 square miles in size. A small monarchy still resides there and even has a castle to show for it.
Nikki came to visit on a break from her tour in Afghanistan, a much needed respite from the warfare. During her vacation I took her to the highest railway station in Europe called the Jungfrauloch. Which as its name states is on top of the mountain called the Jungfrau or Young Girl. The view was beautiful and worth every cent of the 100 franc ticket price. The second weekend of Nikki's visit took us to Milan, Italy where I introduced her to the Italian lifestyle and espresso, something I am sure she will remember.
A new au pair
found me through a meet up group I belong to, and surprise surprise her name is Ashley R. of course!
Found a picture in my Switzerland guidebook showing a wine festival in a small town outside of Zurich and looked it up online and discovered that the festival (Döttengen) was happening that same weekend. So invited both Ashley's and made a day trip out of it. There the three of us watched a massive parade of wineries each float passing out samples of their wine for the public to taste. In addition to this there were also wine tasting stands set up on both sides of a long main street. Needless to say we all drank more wine than any one person should ever drink and ended with Ashley S. thinking she lost her wallet (which thankfully she found in the train station with all money and cards intact).
Day trip to Lucerne, Switzerland which is only a short hour trip away from Zurich. Beautiful city, however my camera batteries died as I was taking the first photos so I have very few from this trip.
Ashley S. leaves the Switzerland much to my dismay.
Nikki and Ashley in the Ice Palace
to the top of Zurich called the Uetliberg with Jamie and Lexi. We ended up taking one of the hardest routes to get up the mountain taking what looked like the stairs to Mordor. It was horrific and I hope to never experience that type of hell again.
Made the trip to the Bern the capital of Switzerland. The city is smaller than Zurich and there is not a whole lot to do there except to walk around and see the bears that are kept on the side of the river that flows through the city, and are also the symbol for the city itself.
Met up with a friend from college Kyla who was student teaching in Germany. We went to the Bavarian part of Germany and saw the castles the King Ludwig built in the 1800's. One of which was the inspiration for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Neuschwanstein. I was able to couchsurf while in the area with a great couple who lived in a nearby town and took both Kyla and myself to another castle that Ludwig built and also through Austria briefly to see a lake that they swim in
during the summer months.
Zurich had a wine tasting expo on the lake. There were ten boats set up along the lake that had all types of wine, champagne and spirits to try from all over the world.
Couchsurfing had a costume party since they were unable to have it during Halloween. Ashley R and I dressed up in togas and froze outside as the temps were well below freezing. However it was a great party with a very international crowd.
Thanksgiving dinner occurred several times this year, one happening at my place in the guesthouse I live in and the other at a friend’s apartment. It was my first time cooking a turkey and I was surprised at how well it turned out. Dominik my boss/ host dad provided several bottles of wine to the party, which was a welcome gift in a roomful of au pairs, who have jobs that lead them to drink more than they should on the weekends.
Another new au pair comes to Zurich, Kate. She compliments the group that Ashley and I had formed well and ends up being our partner in crime many nights!
traveling happened this month because of winter break and everyone was trying to save their money for vacations. I ended up having three weeks off, which I spent in Florida for Christmas with my family, Seattle for New Years which Jezl my best friend came and spent with me in Seattle and Dublin which I traveled to mostly because the flight was the cheapest I could find so I spent 4 days in the fair city freezing because they were suffering from the coldest few days on record.
Dublin, Ireland spent a few days by myself in a hostel sightseeing. The experience would have been better had I not been suffering from jet lag and freezing temps. My leather boots were not adequate for the salty snow covered roadways.
Went on my first weekend trip with Kate and Ashley to Gstaad, Switzerland, a skiing resort located about three hours from Zurich by train. We went sledding on one of the mountains there were we had to take the gondola up to the top and then spent the next hour sledding down about 5 or 6 kilometers. It was the most fun I have ever had sledding
Nikki, Ashley and I at the top of Europe
or sledging as they call it here.
My host family took Ashley and I skiing to two different areas within an hour's drive of the house I live in currently. For me it was my first time up of the season, for Ashley is was here second and third time on a snowboard, so our experience levels were not quite the same. While I was off speeding down the mountain, poor Ashley was trying her best to not face plant or break anything. Luckily I was able to stay with her for a bit and she had someone give her tips on her snowboarding technique.
Okay, now that everything is caught up to date I can continue this blog hopefully and update it on a more regular manner.
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