Late last week I started my jounrey back to europe for another month. I left the US excited and ready to experience new things. However, to be honest I was a bit burnt out on both work and traveling.
So to relax when I arrived, I did not do much traditional sightseeing the first few days–
In frankfurt with johannes we went to the climbing gym for a bit and had dinner out. Then over the weekend I went to Mannnheim and explored my friend Diem Mi’s home town—about 45 min outside the main city. It did not have almost any shops or entertainment, but you could see it had a lot of character and it was great to see how she grew up.
In her city I noticed that almost everyone had very elaborate gardens that must have been very hard work and many houses were often stuck together in a line like a bunch of townhomes. The houses didnt look like much, yet inside they were quite big! In the background, the village was surrounded by miles of beautiful fields below the hills.
Diem Mi was born and raised in Germany, but her parents are Vietnamese. They have lived in Germany for a long time, but still cook authentic Vietnamese food! After tasting their food, I can now say they have incredible cooking skills! They didnt speak any english really, however I really enjoyed being with them. The family was very welcoming and enjoyable to be with.
Over the weekend, we had homemade pho and a spring roll noodle salad. I was basically in food heaven. I wish I could eat there more often! They even grew their own been sprouts!
While cooking with them I learned about the Permission(Kaki), Kohlrabi and Chayote… all fruits/veggies I didn’t recognize, but apparently they are grown in the us too.
On Monday, after seeing Diem Mi’s home and school buildings. we headed back to mannheim. We walked around the city a bit, but it was cold and rainy so we didnt stay out long. Instead we headed to our favorite place for dinner, a laos/vietnamese place.
The next morning we headed to her favorite student coffee house and had a big simple breakfast of meat, cheese and eggs. It was nice, very european to me. Shortly after brunch we headed to the station where I would take a train to zurich to see switerland for the first time.
Mid-afternoon I arrived in Zurich and I was told to meet my friend Priska under “the big clock” in the train station…. at first this seemed very vague, but when I arrived the description became quite obvious and I found her easily!
Since we had limited time we went out to a coffee shop near by and had a chai tea. While there we caught up on all our adventures and life updates, since our first meeting December in Laos. It was really enjoyable and I am happy I got to see her again!
Unfortunately Priska was a bit busy the next few days so I only saw her this once, but Pat (Denver friend) was also in Zurich and I got to spend the next few days with him.
After coffee I met Pat (Denver Friend) and I saw the school he works at called ETH, as well as the Univrsity of Zurich. From the school’s terrace we had a great view of the city as the sun was setting. Then as it became fully dark we walked around the entire old town looking into the expensive shops admiring their displays.
Later we walked along the river admiring the building’s elaborately designed architecture and landscape. We passed by things such as the Grossmunster, the National Swiss Museum and a mini oktoberfest stand.
Then we had dinner in town at a place pat likes to go and considers more traditional swiss food. We had a fried meat/cheese dish and a salad. It was pretty good, but also quite heavy. So following this we were sleeply and took a train to the city of Baden, where pat was living.
However, before we could sleep we had to take the sweet dog oliver for a walk and saw a bit of the city of baden by night along the way.
Next day Pat went to work early and I took a bit of the morning to relax with the dog before heading out into the city.
I considered taking the dog on my walk with me, but he is quite heavy and I thought maybe it was best to leave him. So, late morning I left with no plan just wondering my way around Baden. I stopped at a rooftop to drink a coffee, i admired the changing leaves along the river, enjoyed the large clock tower and strolled through the small shops in the city.
Late afternoon pat came back, we walked the dog and took the motorbike to the nearby vineyards. From there we hiked up to the trees for a rope swing and we had a incredible view of the sunset over the city. Such a cool secret spot, I am glad I got to see it!
After this we had to get dinner and decided to eat out at a pub in city, I had fish&chips and pat had a type of pot pie. The meal was good. Nothing to rave about, but it filled us up well before we did some more walking to the castle on top of the city.
We hiked up the path to the castle and wow was it a beautiful view of the city, especially at night. For some pat had never been to the top of this castle before and that was just crazy to both of us.
Anyway at the top we found a couple having a romantic evening and then… a procession of students in viking hats holding candles came up? Not sure what they were doing…..but still interesting to see, i guess.
Wednesday, pat took off work and first thing in the morning we had a sick dog who needed to be taken care of. After Oliver was calmer, pat made a breakfast of eggs and some homemade vegan spam? I was a bit skeptical about it but it wasn’t bad actually. I was impressed. He told me about the process to make this vegan spam and it just seemed like too much effort for me.
As soon as we got organized we headed to Uteliberg, on the way we stored my things in a locker by the train and walked a bit around the giant train station.
We arrived to the bottom of the trail mid morning and started the short walk up to the top. Along the way we saw some artwork depicting the solar system and the distance between the planets. Then, as I was admiring the views I saw the most peculiar thing.. there were giant giraffee lamp posts.. I had zero expectation of anything like this on a trail to the top of Uteliberg.. but sure? We saw later they were all made by a famous artist, but to me I just am not sure how they fit.
Yet just beyond these guys we reached the top and could see for miles. We had 360 degree views of breathtaking snow capped mountains and a complete overview of Zurich. To get the best views we went to the top of the metal structure to see a higher and despite my guess it was even more beautiful up there. While we were there we ate some snacks and tried this local soda called Rivella. It was ok, not the best– but also not the worst. Once we took our break we were started to make out way back to the city to make sure I do not miss my train.
Before I left, we took a short walk through the city by this small stream that was really nice. More relaxed and secluded than the busy city streets. After, we finally made sure to get me food before the long train! We stopped at this local burrito place pat likes and got good food.
Then at three I took a train back to frankfurt to meet Johannes, repacked my things when I arrived and flew to kalymnos early the next day.
Note: Sorry for the late blog, turns out kalymnos greece does not have the best wifi for what i need to blog and I can not find computer access here, I got it. Enjoy!