Adventures Abroad

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I’ve been exploring Zurich and Amsterdam this week, beautiful cities even at this cold, grey time of year.

There is no denying that Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in the world.  A cup of coffee will run you about $8 and good luck finding a lunch or dinner that is under $60.  Even after a few days, I was still having sticker shock.  That said,  the public transportation is reasonable, churches are free to visit, and we never had a bad meal.

We enjoyed strolling up and down the Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s main downtown street and one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues. In 2011, the Bahnhofstrasse was crowned the most expensive street for retail property in Europe, and the third most expensive worldwide. I didn’t buy anything outside of Starbucks but the people (and dog) watching was awesome.

Zurich is fully in the Easter spirit – bunnies and eggs decorate almost every shopfront and it is festive and fun.  The chocolate shops were a trip.

I love visiting European cathedrals so we made sure to visit the Fraumunster Abbey – the blue church tower below.

IMG_4822IMG_4825 This church was founded in 853 (no, I didn’t leave off the 1) by Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard. It  boasts 5 large stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall and installed in 1970. Each has a dominant color and depicts a Christian story.

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We also visited  Grossmünster, a cathedral in the Old Town.  This church also has some beautiful stained glass (can you tell I’m a fan of stained glass?)  Sigmar Polke, a German artist, crafted seven windows in 2009 in the nave from agate. He cut the semi-precious stone into thin slices that would let light pass through them to give the appearance of brightly glowing walls. It is amazing.416x195_web_kirchenfenster_polke

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We spent a lot of time walking along the Limmat River, which flows from Lake Zurich and splits Old Town into two parts.  It is pretty shallow in parts and full of swans and ducks.

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On the dock of Lake Zurich: note the massive Lindt Chocolate bunny on the boat.  We opted not to take the boat tour as it is freezing outside but I bet this would be great in the summer!
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Lake Zurich

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Breakfast in bed and breakfast Swiss-style

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A Swiss doctor invented Muesli (uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts)  in 1900 for his hospital patients and the Swiss are still big fans today.  I prefer my granola baked…but Swiss strawberries are really delicious.

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Sometimes the comfort of a Coca Light is just the ticket (even if it costs $6 in Zurich!)

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or a similarly expensive coffee – I swear I said Sally.

We sampled the local cuisine including the French Brasserie, Louis: 
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where I went for a salad……and others picked a burger and fries.  No judgment.  
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We sampled dishes I’d never tried before – this is a “gratin” with sausage, potatoes, cabbage and apples, baked at high heat without cheese or butter – delicious!

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Thank goodness I found a man who loves coffee as much as I do

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He keeps it colorful

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while I keep it sparkley.

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Furry outdoor seating is easy to find in Zurich

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as are tall blondes!

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