Last month, Zack and I went to Europe. Which is about the worst financial decision an adopting couple can make. So let me just start with the quick version of how this trip came into fruition. Basically, when we met with our agency last fall, we were told it’d be a couple years before they started accepting families into their India program. So we were sitting on top of all of these airline miles, and decided that if we were still a couple years out from adopting, let’s just have one “final hurrah,” cash in our miles, and haul off to Europe. I even won a contest from Rail Europe that paid for my entire rail travel, and my parents and Zack parents gifted us with enough cash to cover hotels and spending money. (We are REALLY cheap when we travel, so we can make those dollars stretch really far!). How did we decide on Switzerland? I called off all the places that our airline miles would cover a roundtrip to and from and told Zack to “just pick.” He picked Switzerland. I didn’t protest. Oh, how in a perfect world we would have tossed this vacation aside when, just 5 weeks before we were set to leave, God handed up the opportunity to be our agency’s pilot family for India. That Christmas cash would have been so much better spent on agency fees! But we were too far in. Non-refundable airline miles had been redeemed, hotels had been paid for, and my Facebook friends and myself spent too much time voting on the Rail Europe contest for us to back out. (Haha.) We considered it though, believe me we did. I cried and cried over this trip. It wasn’t until meeting our program director 10 days before departure that she finally told me to just enjoy this opportunity and time away with Zack. The next few years were going to be pretty crazy.
What a beautiful, clean, bright city! The prices here are truly outrageous, but you get what you pay for: the high taxes keep this city in absolutely spectacular shape. The 1000-year old churches don’t look a day over 500!
We were exhausted after spending the previous 22 hours traveling. So after quick showers and naps at our hotel, we hit the town, but with no real agenda except to stay awake until at least 8:00 that night! Our first stop was the Swiss National Museum, which was incredibly enjoyable and definitely a place you shouldn’t miss. We were there during their temporary exhibit featuring old and new pieces of the art of paper-cutting and silhouettes. There was a great interactive room too where you could put on your own shadow puppet show, create silhouettes…
…and if you walked in front of this screen, moving silhouettes popped up that moved with the movements you were making! I was a peacock 🙂
From there we just strolled up and down each side of the river, checking out shops that looked interesting, and of course we never miss the opportunity to step into a big pretty European church. The church on the left hand side of the photo below is the Fraumünster, an Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Zürich built in the 9th century that has 5 beautiful stained glass windows made by Marc Chagall. You can see them in the photo. Too bad we wouldn’t snap photos inside; I don’t love modern art, but those windows are absolutely beautiful.
One of my bucket list foods is the tiny 1″ Luxumburgerli French macarons at the world-famous Sprüngli Confiserie. Wow, they did NOT disappoint. We ordered a box of 16 in ALL the flavors, I got a latte, and we sat here for over 2 hours and just talked. Truly, my dreams of Europe are mostly comprised of cafes, people-watching, pastries, and my husband. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.More strolling and taking in the beautiful sites…
For dinner, we were lucky enough to be there on a Wednesday, which is when the Hauptbahnhof (the train station) transforms into a big farmers market with everything from handmade pastas and brined olives to authentic bahn mi, and of course lots of the typical German-influenced Swiss cuisine.
This is where we both would normally go crazy and eat till we were sick, but unfortunately we already were kind of sick. Maybe we picked up “something” on the plane, or maybe we had just been awake for 2 solid days, but we weren’t up for much a food adventure. (How often do you hear us say that?) I’ll be sad for the rest of my life that I missed out on this!
We turned in early, knowing that a good night’s sleep is just what we needed, and the next day we trained-hopped our way to the top of of Switzerland.
I remember seeing the Austrian Alps for the first time in 2002, and it made such an impact on me that I can honestly say I can remember that moment like it happened to me yesterday. Zack had never seen the Alps before at all, and seeing him see something like this for the first time was just as awesome.
Next post: the Jungfrau region of the Berner Oberland!