It’s been a long while since I wrote on this blog. To my loyal followers, thank you for always being interested in my eventful and adventurous journeys. If you followed my most recent project, you will know that I was recently volunteering and travelling around India. At present, I am in Switzerland. Zurich, to be more specific. I was originally going to entitle this post, “From Spending Indian Rupees to Swiss Francs,” so you know how my wallet feels after arriving in Europe.
Nevertheless, my time in Europe has been extremely fulfilling and I have several blog posts to catch up on. Tomorrow, I will be leaving for London (again) and will have more personal time there to “live like a local.” This has been a major theme of my travels during the #tywAmazingRace, and in the following post you will have a glimpse of what a typical day has been like for me. Eventful, and completely “living life to the fullest.”
Three years ago, I worked in Hong Kong and met a pretty sweet Swiss boy. We kept in touch over the years, and I would regularly receive his “volumes” of email newsletters to friends and family with regards to his whereabouts. He studies Hotel Management in Lucerne (lessons are in German; tuition: 20,000 CHF for locals who receive an automatic 10,000 CHF “grant”, 30,000 CHF for others) and also does internships on top of manadatory military service in the Swiss Army, so he can be anywhere in the world! What’s most exciting is that he will be managing one of the restaurants at the House of Switzerland during the London Olympics 2012! That said… he has been extremely busy preparing and has not had much time to chill with me – but his parents have!
After my adventures roaming around central Zurich yesterday – via tram, train, and the polybahn (I was so impressed with my navigation skills around the city.), I was treated with an additonal boat ride the next day (today). We left our village, Herliberg, and went to visit Reto’s sister in Erlenbach. We headed into the city (Zurich) and I was dropped off in Lindorf (the first public open space in Europe), where I soon whisked away to a couple of stores. It was raining for some time, so I had to take refuge inside an Apple store to “steal” their internet. (I personally like the term “borrow” better… oh please, they love inducing trial with their products!) Shortly after chatting with my friend who is doing a yoga course in India (via Facebook) and meeting a random lady at the store, I made my way to the University of Zurich and took the tram to the harbour front, BurkliPlatz. Unfortuantely, I missed the last boat at 5:30pm, and took another tram to the central station where I took a train home to quickly shower and meet Reto. This evening, we would be having dinner with his “high school” friend – she’s coming to Canada.
TODAY – most awesome day with “the parents” ever!!
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how this day would pan out or how well Reto’s parents and I would bond. Reflecting back on my journeys so far, I have been chilling out with a lot of “parents.” In India, with Vaidehi’s mum; in Holland, with Thierry’s mum; and now in Switzerland with Reto’s mum and dad!
Here’s how the day panned out:
8am: Breakfast – OJ and toast
9am: Jog around the neighbourhood (saw schools, houses with different architecture, a farm with hens and a large garden, a wineyard with rows of grapes, “compost” garbage men, and the grocery store.)
10am: Shower, organize, jet out the door to catch the train (pack the umbrella Maya left me on the floor – yesterday she left me a note there, so I learned this was the way the family communicated msgs to each other! How cute.)
1130am: Lunch with “dad” at Clouds, 35th floor of the Prime Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Switzerland. It is at Hardbruke station and next to the Ernst and Young buildling. There are also a few floors in the P.T. that belong to E&Y. Dad’s a veteran there – he’s worked with them for 33 years. Congrats on retirement! We had an amazing conversation on CRM systems, corporate cultures of working in a global company, Location Based Services apps, and enjoyed a club sandwich together. By tomorrow, we’re also going to be BBM buddies.
1pm: Zurich Museum of Design – saw 2 intriguing exhibits. 1) The Plastic Garbage Project (with plenty of enviro/sustainability education) 2) Freitag: Out of the Bag showcase (I learned a lot about their unique business model and products. Cool fact: “mum” worked with Dr. Freitag, who is coincidentally the wife of the one of the CEO’s!)
215pm: Uetilberg Mountain with “mum” and grocery shop (@Jelmoli) for cheese fondue dinner prep
530pm: Meet up with “dad” at the dock to take the 50 min boat ride home!
730pm: Tinker on the piano, cheese fondue dinner with the entire family (Karin joins us; apparently the Swiss only eat this during the winter), dad sends me the recipe for cheese fondue, try “birnbrot” (a dessert made from dried figs, pears, grapes, and nuts) with coffee…
930pm: Check emails, blog and pack! (You know, prep London dates – so excited to reunite with my high school friend who’s been studying in Russia for the past year!)
Ciao! And a HUGE thanks to Reto & fam for helping me schedule most of my day 🙂 “It was a GREAT day!)
Ps. In a few days, I will have new blog posts outlining my 8-day trek in Jammu Kashmir on my TYW Goes Bollywood site!