Swiss Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks

In order to get to Greece we needed to stop at Zurich in Switzerland for a few hours, we decided to go visit the city instead of waiting at the airport. From the moment we arrived at Switzerland we were reminded why this is called the first world. Everything here feels more civilized, clean, people are all well dressed and attractive and very friendly. We were definitely the worst dressed up people that have ever step foot in there.

We took the train which was a little complicated to figure out as there is no English signs in there (there was only German and French). We still managed to maybe buy the correct tickets and in 15 minutes we were at Zürich Hauptbahnhof or Zurich central station.

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This place is beautiful, the lake, the old buildings, the calmness. It was raining so we took many stops along the way to wait for the rain to pass. It was around 6:00 am so the streets were empty. We walked along Bahnhofstrasse, one of the busiest and best known shopping streets in the world. Highly refined. Certainly a must-see for every tourist in Zurich!

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Contrary to a generally wrongly made assumption, Zurich is not the capital of Switzerland. The Swiss are very much a confederation of Cantons and avoid naming any one city as capital in order to prevent that Canton from seeming more important than the others. Still, the federal government is headquartered in Berne and not Zurich.

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It took us around 4 hours to go around the city without going into any museums, we just wanted to walk around the clean, nice alleys full of the Swiss flags. (Switzerland is one of the only two countries to have a square flag, the Vatican has the only other square flag in the world.) We went in a church  and it was weird there were not a million Buddhas! We were excited for a change in scenery.

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We sat down at an Italian restaurant to enjoy a glass of wine, it is ridiculous how cheap it is to drink here in Europe, you can get an excellent glass of wine for around $2-3 in a nice restaurant.  We hadn’t really had wine in about 4 months so it was a bit of a culture shock to be in Europe where drinking wine is such a norm their culture.

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After that quick stop we continued our walk to Lake Zurich. On a clear day you could see the Alps from here.

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The Limmat river also starts here and crosses the beautiful city. We walked along it stopping at several souvenir shops.

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From the river you can see St. Peter Church on the right and the Fraumunster Church with the green roof.

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We stopped to see the swans!

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We stopped at the store so Eitan can go crazy with his Swiss chocolate. He was looking for one specifically after Vanessa brought some to California.   They don’t sell them anywhere else but here. It goes without saying that after many  Euros spent and a huge grocery bag of deliciousness Eitan was smiling (which helped him cope with the loss of his mp3 player that day)

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On the way back to the airport we noticed they have an observation deck on top of the terminal where you can go see the airplanes taking off and landing. The Swiss have discovered the absolute best way to spend your time at the airport. Here is where we realized we were at a county where common sense is used again. If you want to go to this observation deck you can pay 5 euro or show your boarding pass and you can go in for free. I showed mine but Sarah hadn’t found hers yet so we were taking some time to get the other boarding pass and the lady at the counter handed us the 2 tickets saying that we are obviously traveling together, no need to show both boarding passes. Saaaay whaaaat? Common sense? We have forgotten what it looks when people use such practical logic! Woow… I love Europe.

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We spent around 30 min but a huge storm was approaching so we moved inside to one of the lounges to wait for our flight to Santorini with a stopover in Athens. I hope other airports build observation decks like this one!

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The flights were good and without incident. We were given Baklavas instead of peanuts! This is great after being served curry and fish sauce on previous flights. We landed on time and took a shared shuttle that would take us to our hotel in Perissa. We were absolutely exhausted after basically skipping a night so we passed out until around midday the next day.

Bonus Pic Of The Day: Cuckoo clocks’ popularity grew during the 18th century, with Germany’s Black Forest at the heart of production. Today they are highly prized and can cost thousands of pounds. The most expensive cuckoo clock is valued at 5.8 million dollars, but if you don’t have that pocket change, you can buy one for a couple hundred in any souvenir shop here.

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