From the city to the mountains with Andy

Later in October, I had a special visitor from England- Andy. Special because it had been 5 years since we had last seen each other! Previously in 2004, we had both volunteered in Costa Rica on a sea turtle conservation program. E-mails are a pretty incredible way for keeping in touch (nudge nudge, wink wink).So, we both were only a little concerned that meeting at the train station might be tricky, since neither of us was covered in mosquito bites, dressed in rugged beach clothes, or glowing from weeks in the Caribbean sun! No problems though and we had a great weekend checking out Zürich.

The first night down in the old town for dinner, there were some lovely reflections on the Limmat river of the Fraumunster church.  This was followed by an adventure to a friend’s house party complete with dance floor in the living room, video projections on the ceiling of another room where there was a fierce  pac-man competition in progress on the hand-made arcade game and of course a few black lights… rather unique. Not to mention that each room was heated by wood stoves!

 The next morning, a bratwurst and bun from a well-known street grill gave us energy to walk around the University of Zürich’s overgrown botanical garden. It has been a beautiful fall, and the trees throughout the garden were at different stages of dropping their leaves.

A little oasis in the middle of Zürich. We heard and spotted quite a few birds that Andy identified as Robins, Great Tits and Blue Tits.

But then a stop at the famous Sprungli bakery which is home to the Zürich specialty “Luxemburgli” got us thinking about chocolate for our train ride up to the mountains.  

We were able to grab some chocolate from Merkur (the place of the ‘slabs’ of chocolate seen in a previous post) and hop on our train up to Schluein. We felt that grapes were enough to balance the chocolate covered pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, apples and mangoes even!

Views from the train were beautiful as we went from the lower hills into the mountains. Here we are passing Walen Lake.

A few more photo shoots up in the mountains at my Aunt’s house…

 

The morning that we were in Schluein was especially foggy in the valley, but the cows didn’t mind.

 

 

These are rather condensed tales of the visits but there was more hiking, more eating and more photos throughout this weekend. It was another great visit full of laughter at old stories and from the new ones being created.

 

Old friends always have a great grounding effect and remind me of where I came from. Even with the huge amount of work that piled up over these two weekends, I was very happy to have had some old faces around.

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Ben Visits and the No.1 Tourist Destination of Zurich

In late October, I was lucky enough to have some visitors come stay in my miniscule room. First to come through was Ben- a good friend of mine from Civil Engineering at McGill. He had already been travelling through France, Spain, Scotland, and Greece (though maybe not in that order…) and decided to make a final stop in Zurich before heading home to Montreal.

Well, there are so many great things about visitors. Let me outline a few about having ‘international’ visitors:

1. They correct your increasingly bad English- who would have thought? and after only 2 months… I really am an engineer
2. They remind you of how life in North America functions- apparently mid-afternoon breaks from class accompanied by a cappucino are not standard
3. They force you to get out and be a tourist!- see pictures!

So Ben and I toured Zurich, though I mostly brought him to all my usual haunts, but we did find a few new ones too. Most exciting, though, was the trip we took to Rhine Fall: about an hour out of Zurich by train, this is a famous waterfall on the Rhine river.

After some initial dissapointment with the infrastructure (sketchy, wet scaffolding leading down the cliff to the river) we walked around to find some much better views. The upstream of the falls was more interesting then the falls itself, hence the majority of the pictures being from that angle.

Lots of little pools with water cascading down from the various levels.

Who doesn’t love a few picturesque cranes?

As we made our way down, we could spot people on the rock in the middle of the falls, and the boats that led them into the mist.

We made it around to the front in the end…

Ben and Devon in front of the Falls!

Thanks for the great visit Ben!

Been too busy taking pictures…

After an inappropriately long break, here come a handful of posts of pictures from the last little while.

First up: just a random assortment of pics that I liked from around Zürich area, starting right on the Limmat river in the centre of town all the way out to a monastery at the edge of the city (ie. pretty much the countryside)

Fun old apartments that some engineer squished together about 100 years ago.

This was a spectacular fall day where everything just shone a little brighter than normal.

The monastery where the rest of the pictures are from.

More to come soon… I promise!

Hmm, also seems as though you can click on these pictures to see them at full quality… this blog thing still eludes me a little