Two weeks ago, I left after my corporate finance class and took a train right to the Prague Airport. A few hours later, I arrived in the Zurich Airport and was greeted by my friend Alyssa, who goes to Iowa State and is studying in Greece this semester! I hadn’t seen anyone from home in awhile, so it was comforting to spend three whole days with Alyssa in the land of alps and watches and chocolate. We got in late Thursday night, so after we figured out the train system, we finally made it to our hostel! We woke up early on Friday, grabbed breakfast, and went downtown Zurich to explore.
Zurich isn’t really known for tourism; it is a central business location for
a lot of European companies. Seeing everyone in suits on Friday afternoon
reminded me of Iowa State’s Career Fair Week.
Later in the day, we bought some delicious Swiss chocolate from a little
chocolatier. I got blackberry dark chocolate, and it was the best chocolate I
have ever had. If I go back to Zurich someday, I’m definitely
going to buy more of that. 🙂
That evening we took a train to a small village named Unteriberg, which is in the mountains. The population of this town is only 700 people, so it reminded me a lot of Britt, Iowa. We checked into our sweet Airbnb right next to the mountains (the pic below shows the view), and the family that owns the Airbnb invited Alyssa and I to roast food over the campfire with them. It was so kind of them to make a meal and chat with us about it European experiences thus far.
They even told us that they started the Airbnb to practice English more often because not many people in the town speak it. I told them that I was learning German, and it became useful several times when experiencing the Swiss-German language barrier.
On Saturday, Alyssa and I headed up to Hoch-Ybrig, a popular skiing location
for locals. It is also the place where Wendy Holdener, an Olympic Gold medalist
in alpine skiing, trained when she grew up.
It was a long process to get ready to ski because neither of us had much
equipment (except our Airbnb people let us borrow some skis and poles – how
nice). Once we got everything we needed, we figured out how to get to the bunny
hills and then stayed there most of the time. You see, this was my first time
skiing. Ever. In Switzerland.
Luckily, I didn’t get injured – just a little rope burn on my hand. I also
learned that I need to practice skiing (or maybe try snowboarding) because I am
currently absolute trash at it.
After a few times down the hill (and me just falling the whole time lol),
Alyssa wanted to go up to the top of the mountain to try to ski down. I went
without skis and planned to walk down the mountain with poles.
The views from the top were incredible!!
Alyssa started skiing and then realized it was a little too advanced, so we
both walked down the mountain together. In the moment, the situation was
absolutely hilarious. We had a lot of fun despite the circumstances. Luckily
there was a professional skiing competition going on on the other part of the
mountain, so most people were distracted watching that.
We had to leave early the next morning to get to the airport, but my time in Switzerland was very memorable. One thing that really stands out to me about Swiss people is how genuinely happy they are. The language barrier was not humiliating or awkward; both of us had fun trying to figure out what the other person was saying. People also said hello to us a lot on the street, which never happens in Prague.
Overall, I am a big fan of the country known for chocolate and mountains