Nom de Plumage

March 19, 2012

On To Zurich and My Friend

Filed under: Diary,European Flavour,Solo Travelling,Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 8:24 pm
Tags: , ,

Woke to a miserable wet day. Paris’ fond farewell to me. It did not matter, for today I was leaving Paris, bound for Zurich and to stay with my friend. My luggage just seems to get heavier each time I try gracefully to throw it up and over my back. I fail each time and I am sure the groans are getting louder? From Gare l’ Est station I was to take my first train, that would be the beginning of my train journey throughout Europe. I am very excited because although the travel time will be greater, there will be no two hour arrival time at airports, no baggage dilemma’s, no customs and NO AIR-SICKNESS! Brilliant! Plus, I get to sit comfortably back, listening to my ipod and just watch the amazing and diverse scenery go by. I admittedly was flustered once I boarded the TGV, not knowing where I was to put my huge red back-pack. But thankfully my seating companion helped me and once that was organised, I sat back and introduced myself to my companion. She is an older French woman from the city of Amiens. She spoke perfect English and our conversation varied through many topics of great interest that we both shared – yoga, history, culture and English. Once she found out that I was Australian, she invited me graciously to come and stay with her and she will show me around the battlefields of WW1 and 2. I was stunned but accepted with great enthusiasm and we exchanged emails before she got off the train at Strasbourg. Onwards to Zurich.
Arrived on time at the massive Zurich train station and found my friend waiting for me at the end of the platform. It is so good to see her after months of planning and years of absence. We have known each other since 1998 when I worked in Munich with her at Bayerischer Hof Hotel. We got along so well and had many laughs along the way, that even after we parted and went our different ways, we still kept in touch via mail/email. So it only seemed fitting that after all these years and my travelling through Europe, that I should stop and visit her.
She was ever the same, only slightly older and with a big hug we could start our little journey together. After depositing my luggage in her car, we then walked through the main streets of Zurich and went to an old institution called Odeon Cafe for lunch. Usually packed, we were blessed to be able to get a table and so we ordered a guinness beer and to my horror, Nadine ordered steak tartare. Not one for complaining because my brother eats rare steaks, but this takes the cake. Not rare, but raw! My friend tried in vain to get me to try some of this delicacy, but I RELUCTANTLY declined and ordered a more traditional (and safer) Swiss version of chicken schnitzel with chips. The food was ordinary, but the location and company was lovely. Situated on a great lake, Zurich is an old medieval city well preserved and still maintaining many wonderful old buildings and traditions. No modern buildings or high rises adorn this ancient city and although not what I expected, I came to enjoy and admire this unusual city. Before we went home, we stopped off at Starbuck’s for coffee. I personally am not a fan of multi chain coffee franchise store. The coffee’s are very ordinary and have no body to them, but as Starbuck’s is Nadine’s favourite coffee, I followed the crowd.
The drive through peak hour traffic was slow and yet very beautiful. Mountains are everywhere and they are lush and filled to the brim with tall trees and green grass. We arrived at her apartment on the outskirts of Zurich, to a smaller yet beautiful little town. The apartment is tastefully decorated in mainly white and red theme, something that I really love. I had a room to myself and after hosteling for a week and sharing a room, this was divine. Our dinner was light and although simple, delicious. How can one go past wine, cheese and grapes over some gossips. Late to bed.

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