An Irish Weekend in German-Switzerland

Trip Start Jan 18, 2011
Trip End May 03, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Sunday, March 27, 2011

I am on the train back to Nyon after a "parfait" (perfect in French, my favorite French word) weekend! On Friday I took a 2.5 hour train to Zurich and explored around the city on my own for a few hours.  Very lovely city, and very walkable.  I walked up the Bahnhofstrasse, which according to my guidebook, is called the best shopping street in Europe.  There were MOBS of people lined up and down the street for the new iPad 2 which was funny.  Very lively and fun city, I wish I could have spent more time there! I managed to hop onto a tram and visit the gravesite of James Joyce. He spent the last few years of his life in Zurich and him, his wife, and two sons are all buried in the city.  I was about to get back on the tram to go back to the trainstation when I saw these signs that said “FIFA.”   I flipped through my guidebook to see if by FIFA they meant the soccer organization but I couldn't find anything that mentioned it.  So I just decided to find this FIFA building (Luke, I didn't think I could tell you I saw signs that said FIFA and then tell you I didn't try to find it or look around)  The FIFA property is really cool but private (no gift shop, Luke.  Sorry Bud.) I took some pictures at least!

The second leg of my trip was a train to Luzern!  I spent Friday and Saturday night with Aine! Aine was my counselor on The Irish Way back in 2007.  She is working in Luzern and has a marvelous apartment in the city.  It was really really great to see her and catch-up/reminisce about Ireland.  Friday night we went out (which included an Irish bar named Gracies and some Guiness!) and I got to meet some of her friends.  Saturday I got a tour of her office building (which is an AMAZING office)  We hung out on the balcony of the office which overlooks Lake Luzern and the surrounding mountains. 

Saturday afternoon we decided to venture to the top of Mount Pilatus.  The mountain is 7,000 ft. tall and you can take a gondola ride all the way to the we did it!  Please note: the ensuing story is VERY un-Swiss.  So, we bought our tickets and the man at the ticket wondow warned us that we would be on the last gondola up to the top so we would only be able to spend 5 minutes at the very top.  We decided that was fine and took the gondola for about 20 minutes up the mountain.  At that time we had to switch gondolas in order to continue to the top.  A man at the station told us if we took a gondola further up we would have to spend the night at the top of the mountain, as we would miss the last gondola down.  We explained that we were told we had enough time when we bought our ticket. NOTE: Keep in the mind that the Swiss love rules and time and always staying on schedule.  I figured our protests were pointless with these people...BUT they actually let us up and ran an extra gondola ride down the mountain just for us! In other countries this story would be less surprising but you have to understand....This RARELY happens in Switzerland. 

The view from the top of Mt. Pilatus is absolutely breathtaking.  Really, really beautiful. No altitude sickness to report of either!  I am including pictures in this post but they barely even do it any justice.  So glad we were able to go all the way to the top.  Afterward, we went back to Aine's apartment and she made really yummy risoto and we just spent the night relaxing.  Sunday morning, I made omletes and we had a big breakfast followed by a walk around Luzern.  Luzern is a great city.  Small, but with lots of charm and character.  I really enjoyed my time there!

So now its back to reality- lots of research to read through and I need to prepare for my two interviews this week! Wednesday morning I leave for Rome!!

Best wishes and lots of love to all, thank you for reading XO
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