Day 7: The Charm of Zurich

Our last day in Switzerland we tried to pack in as much as possible. After a quick, and delicious breakfast at our hotel, packing up our bags, and storing them in the hotel baggage hold, we set out to find the beginning of our Free Walking Tour (we absolutely loved our guide; so sweet and informative).  We started at Paradeplaz, one of the most expensive squares in Switzerland, but then headed to Fraumunster Church. This land was once an abbey for aristocratic women, founded around 853 AD, but the current architecture was built in 1250 AD. Inside it has stunning stained glass windows, though I was unable to  take pictures inside.

We wound through the city and up steep roads to come to Lindenhof Hill, a public square and overlook of the city. It’s too bad that it was overcast that day, because our view of the surrounding area was limited. But even with the subdued view and grayscale look, it was beautiful to look over the city and see how everything was pieced together so tightly. We loved seeing the copy of a 2nd century tombstone that was discovered (the original is in the Swiss National Museum). And, of course, the view of Grossmunster Cathedral, built in the 12th century.

As a side note, the story that goes along with Grossmunster is rather interesting. In summary, in the 3rd century, three Christians were martyred for their beliefs through a series of horrible tortures which ended in beheading. Remarkably, the saints still had enough energy to pick up their heads and walk to the location of the cathedral, where they dug their own graves, and laid themselves to rest. Centuries later, Charlemagne founded the location of the cathedral after riding his horse to that location and hearing the story . A painted depiction of this story can be found in the pictures above from Fraumunster.

I have definitely come to love that old European city charm. I love the worn down cobblestones that have been there for centuries. I adore that there are surprises around every corner, because you can’t guess what is coming next. The old architecture and frescos, statues, and stories. Shutters on windows and fur-draped dining chairs on the street. All of these ideas are just waiting in my mind for when I have a house that I can visually reminisce about the things that I saw and experienced.

During our tour, the guide had pointed out a building that supposedly had the “best hot chocolate ever”! With that description, how could we not go sample some? I have to agree, Conditorei Schober has the best cup of hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It was basically drinking melted chocolate with a little milk stirred in. We also ordered Quiche with a salad that turned out to be fantastic, as well. The building itself was exquisitely decorated and decked out for Christmas, which I know added to the experience for me, and makes it onto my must-stop list for Zurich.

We also needed to check out the famous Zurich Christmas Market while we were nearby. Typical of many European markets, there were samples being handed out, and well stocked booths of any variety of goods. Zurich happens to be one of the most expensive cities in Europe, so everything we wanted to purchase was way out of our budget. However, we did find an adorable Christmas ornament to mark our time in Switzerland.

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At that point, we decided to start making our way back to our hotel to get our backpacks, and then head to the airport. We did stop for some dinner along the way, and looked through some shops in the shopping district, but ultimately, we knew our time in Switzerland was coming to a close.

An hour and a half flight later, we found ourselves in Barcelona, Spain. Excited to use his Spanish again, Kyle and I navigated through the airport, and boarded a bus to take us to the heart of Barcelona. It was there we met up with our friend Brandon, who then proceeded to take us to his home in San Cogat, Spain. Brandon, his wife Rachel, and their two kids are our close friends that we met within days of moving to Minnesota. A year later, they moved to Spain so Brandon could get his MBA. We have been longing to see them and took them up on the offer to come visit. We are so lucky to have been with them during this part of our trip. as traveling does make you weary, and some friendly faces were just what we needed to get us excited for more adventures.

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