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Published: February 5th 2013
After a whirlwind week in Malta Andrea and I were off to Switzerland! Why Switzerland? Well a) Zürich is a normal stopover city between Malta and the U.S. so we were able to extend our "layover" a few days b) neither of us had been there and c) since February is gross for most of Europe we wanted to go somewhere where winter weather would be picturesque.
Our travels began with a bit of trauma and anxiety. Thanks to Maltese road paving we were trapped on a bus for an hour, missed our airport transfer, and were told by the hotel that another taxi would be available in 30 minutes. Um no, we'd miss our flight. Luckily they had a cab available and it was worth paying for the taxi ourselves instead of ruining our not-yet-begun getaway. Once on the plane and in our seats we could finally take a deep breath and relax. After dozing a bit and eating another gross Air Malta meal we were on the ground in Zürich in two-ish hours. The snow had disappeared since our pre-Malta layover a week earlier, but there would definitely be more to come.
It took another hour for us
One of our first sights in Zürich
to get our luggage, take the S-16 train to the main Zürich train station, and finally reach zone 4 where we were staying. Walking from the station to the hotel it was already dark and between the construction and industrial-looking buildings I thusfar was not a fan. Our hotel, a former brothel, was definitely in a more alternative area (read: red light) but it was quite nice considering. There we were met by Andrea's friend Jacqui, who would be joining us from the UK through Sunday evening. Once settled in we decided to head out into the city and get cash before dinner. The ATMs gave only 50s and 100s but at least they're extremely colorful and in Switzerland's four official languages - German, French, Italian, and Romansch, not to mention more or less on par with the American dollar value-wise. We had picked out out a fondue place to really dive into the culture and be gluttonous but alas, it was booked for the evening.
Continuing onward and crossing over the river as it started to snow we finally started to see the pretty side of the city with its ornate boulevards and high-end shopping options. Moving on
along we stumbled upon Zeughauskeller, a large biergarten-type restaurant with traditional Swiss and German dishes. We were seated in the middle of two other parties (literally in the middle, at one table, which is apparently common) and began to tackle the menu. The pork dish I wanted was out, so I settled for Zürich's official dish - Kalbgeschnetzeltes nach Zürcher Art - strips of veal in a creamy mushroom sauce all over rösti, The Swiss's version of hash browns. Andrea and Jacqui had a couple types of sausages with potato salad and rösti, respectively, and we washed it all down with a pitcher of the Hausbier. Delicious. Pricey, as we'd realize most food in Zürich was, but very tasty.
We were pretty spent after traveling all day and thus decided to head back. At this point it was snowing like crazy - huge, fluffy chunks like I don't think I've ever seen before! It was a bit treacherous thanks to the fact that none of my shoes have any tread, but we all made it back alive to our brothel!
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