It's been a while since I've posted. Partly because of a big project at work leaving me sick of the computer. Partly because I just returned from a week's vacation in Switzerland and Paris with my husband. I meant to post from abroad, but we were pretty exhausted after walking each day, and wifi connections were few and slow. But we managed to see lots of things, eat lots of foods and take lots of pictures. It was a slightly random itinerary, since we had little time to plan. We settled on 3 nights in Zurich, 2 nights in Luzern. From those, we took day trips to Bern and Engelberg to ascend Mount Titlus. The remaining 3 we spent with our friends in Paris through the Easter holiday.
What I like most about travel is that it reminds you of your place in the world. We are so focused on our freedom in America that we become closed minded in our ways. Our capitalist society is so centered on work and money that we forget to simply live our lives the best way possible. In Europe, shops close for lunch, close early, close on several days of the week and holidays. I can't imagine how they make time for profit - but I also can't imagine such a relaxed life! Elsewhere, people take time for formal pleasantries in conversation, time for choosing the right outfit, and time to choose the right produce to eat. I'm not saying American culture is inferior - but when you travel you see things more clearly about where you come from. But here I am being close-minded myself, seeing as I have hardly traveled in my own country.
Meanwhile, the trip and all it's lessons are fading fast in memory. Here are some highlights:
Europeans love scarves. These were hanging at a market in Zurich.
We could not understand why all the food is so salty in Zurich. There's melted cheese everywhere - they really do love their stinky swiss cheeses. This is a "Hawaii Toast": 2 pieces of white bread, 2 pineapple rings, 2 cherry tomatoes covered in 2 pounds of cheese. Top with Paprika and Rosemary. Then take a 2 hour hike to another mountain in order to get back to the hotel. Smart.
While relaxing with some Barolo at Barrique, we noticed the local gay style was very geek-chic with a twist - ankle exposure is a rule not an option. Bright socks earn bonus points.
I could live on these. Before breakfast, afternoon snack, dessert - we went through a few boxes. Soft cake cookie with fruit gel topped with chocolate. There are several versions such as Pim's and other private label brands - which means it must be a staple food in Swiss culture - right? Exploring the Swiss store Migros was quite fun. They are everywhere, and that's where most people get take-away lunch as well as anything else you need from groceries to panties to paper.
An awesome local wine: Lunaris Chorb Rheinau 2006 - from Zurich made with a variety of grape only grown in Western Switzerland. Goes well with the "welcome" fruit bowl at the Grand Hotel National in Luzern.
This is not me on drugs. This is me inside a glacier at 10,000 feet.