A World Away from Home: Zurich

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Lakeside Zurich

On our second day in Zurich we had big plans to go hiking, but instead we ended up lazing around the apartment all day and relaxing. It was nice to have a day where we did not need to do much at all.

In the evening we decided to go out for a delicious pizza dinner. According to my sister, you have to reserve ahead of time, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to get a table.

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Pizza!

It’s also a lot more expensive to eat out in Zurich than it is in Vancouver. If you’re planning on visiting Switzerland, make sure you have a decent amount to spend on lodging, transportation, and food!

It was delicious pizza – some of the best I’ve had. Well worth the money.

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It was also warm and sunny, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the weather.

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Afterwards we decided to walk to the lake with some ice cream. Zurich, apparently, has the worst ice cream in Switzerland. Still tasted pretty good to me, though.

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The Opera House

It was really nice to see public chairs available for people to relax with friends or on their own in the big plaza. There was a beautiful view of the sunset and lots of space for everyone.

The sky in Zurich was filled with jet streams from planes. It created some beautiful artwork in the sky.

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We listened to a very talented violinist who was busking nearby, and then slowly meandered home. A wonderful and relaxing day to recuperate from the busy days we’d been having.

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A World Away from Home: Rheinfall

Photos, and even words, cannot do justice to the beauty and power of nature. But I’ll try anyway.

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Rheinfall

We arrived in Zurich Thursday morning and dropped our luggage off at my sister’s apartment. We also took a bit of time to rest and recharge. Taco salad was on the menu, and home-cooked food while traveling is always extremely welcome. I am blessed with sensitive digestion, so the simpler the food the better.

It was a hot day in the sun. Both Germany and Switzerland seemed to be warmer than Vancouver. I wasn’t going to complain, though. Much prefer it to a rainy vacation.

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After eating and resting for a while, we decided to go to the Rheinfall. These are incredible waterfalls right next to a castle on the hill. It was about an hour train ride from the city, so we got to see gorgeous countryside go by along the way. (Also wasn’t complaining about the air conditioned coolness in the train.)

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The castle and train tunnel. Picturesque.

We decided not to go to the castle, since there was a tour group of schoolkids, and it looked incredibly busy. We were all a little bit tired, and did not feel like dealing with large groups of people.

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On the other side.

Luckily, since it was a weekday, the waterfalls were not half as busy as they would have been on the weekend. We took a boat across the river to get a view from all sides.

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From the boat. My phone could not capture the majesty of the falls from so far away.

It had been raining a lot, so the waterfall was rushing and strong, roaring at full strength. The sound could drown out all else, and the sight could hold me, mesmerized, all day.

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I told them to look out at the falls. They thought they were so funny.

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I wanted to dip my feet in the water.

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A place of calm and gorgeous colours.

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I’ll take one bottle, please!

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A cute little restaurant overlooking the falls.

Once we had taken in our fill, we considered walking to a nearby town for delicious ice cream (apparently the ice cream in Zurich is mostly sub-par, according to my sister), but it was so hot, and already getting on in the day, that we decided to forego the 50 minute walk and to go home and go for dinner at Tibits, a healthy salad buffet. It ended up being delicious, and I highly recommend it. We also got Ovaltine ice cream bars, which brought back my nostalgia in full swing, since Ovaltine was a very common dessert drink when I was young.

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Go team!

And after such a long day it was nice to get back to my sister’s apartment and just relax. Though it was not as private as a hotel room would have been, it felt much more like home.

A World Away from Home: Bergedorf

My grandmother lives in a small town call Bergedorf. It’s just outside of Hamburg, so it’s easy to travel to and from the city centre.

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Full of cute buildings

I have been there many times, so I have my familiar places, restaurants, and shops that I regularly like to visit.

My grandmother, of course, always likes to take us for steak. She was horrified when I contemplated getting a burger. (We are at a steakhouse! You must get a steak!) And one does not simply refuse her. She is very stubborn. In the end I did not regret getting steak.

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No cars allowed

Sitting outside in the pedestrian-only area of Bergedorf is always a treat. The buildings are gorgeous, and it is full of the murmurings of people.

There is a level of detail in the architecture that we do not get here in Vancouver. The intricate railings, the carved decor, the tower-like roof points.

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Would love to live in one of these apartments.

It’s very suburban in Bergedorf, but it’s comfortable. There are many open plazas where people sit and drink coffee and eat ice cream (eis). On Tuesday we sat with my cousin well into the evening, eating eis and drinking Hugo – a wine cocktail that she insisted we try (she could not fathom how we had never heard of it before).

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Hugo

You don’t see too many people rushing around with coffee in their hands. Here they sit and take their time sipping. There was a Starbucks in Bergedorf at one point, but after the initial hype fell away, so too did its popularity. Compared to the incredible bakeries and cafes, it fell short.

There are so many bakeries and cafes, in fact, that I sometimes wonder how they all stay in business. On every block there are multiple bakeries. Every train station has at least one. And they’re always bustling.

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Apparently this is a thing you can do in Bergedorf. My grandmother was politely horrified.

And during the summer everyone eats a lot of ice cream. Like, a lot. Which is fair, considering it’s delicious.

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The Castle

Bergedorf also has its own little castle. Everyone is, of course, very proud of it. First used in the 1500s, it remains today, now a museum and cafe.

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The entrance

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Gorgeous details on the door

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Because castles need moats

Small as it is, this city will always have a special place in my heart. Spending weeks here during the summer was a huge part of my childhood. And I think this town will always remain important to me.

A World Away from Home

One of the nice things about having family that lives far away is that it provides excellent reasons to travel.

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Bergedorf, Hamburg

 

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Beer on the Elbe at sunset

It’s always such a treat to be able to visit my family in Germany. It’s tough not being able to see them very often, but it’s always so special when I do.

And while I don’t tend to visit very many tourist attractions, I get to live and soak in the culture. I get to establish memories and remember where I used to love buying chocolates, or go walking with my grandmother, or where I went for a boat ride when I was younger. A world away from home, but in a way, still home. A part of my history that has made me who I am today.

 

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Train stations inspire wanderlust

While I have been to Germany a fair number of times, and while often my travels take me to the same places to see family, this trip I am also visiting Switzerland for the first time!

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Georgeous Switzerland

It’s about time I visited my sister, who has been studying here. It’s a short trip, but a fantastic one, and one that will, for sure, inspire more posts!

Hallway Decor a la Prague

One thing I loved about Prague was the architecture and design. Everywhere I looked, there was something beautiful to see.

There was one tea house that I went to many times. It was quiet amidst a bustling city. With delicious tea and books spread throughout.

Christine Fichtner prague hallway

A colourful assortment

And the back hallway leading to the bathroom was decorated in the most wonderful way. Light streaming, and an eclectic assortment of decorations and plants. Everything placed seemingly haphazardly, and yet it all fit so well together.

This is also one of the reasons I love white walls. They make colours pop, and they practically glow in the sunlight. This hallway has been a huge inspiration for my decorating.