Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dragons, Trains, Snow, Cheese & Chocolate - you know, Switzerland

We flew into Zurich from London Saturday morning and took a quick train to Luzern, about 60 km. We were sleepy when we arrived, but we checked out a very Picasso-heavy museum and Old Town Luzern. It's a beautiful town, but the highlight of my day was the chocolate of course. We discovered these delicious little confections called Luxemburgerli. They look like tiny hamburgers, and come in several flavors, mocha, vanilla, pistachio and Bailey's were our combined favorites.

Sunday we went searching for the dragon that lives in and around Mount Pilatus. We first took a gondola and then a very steep cable car to reach the peak at 6943 ft. where we had a beer to go along with our nice altitude buzz. Though not entirely properly dressed for the -1 C temps, we climbed the last few feet to reach the highest open trail at 7000 ft. We lucked out with the weather with mostly sunny skies until the moment we reached the peak. Just then a cloud moved in and stayed parked over the peak the rest of the day.

The two Swiss dining experiences we had were great. In Luzern, we dined at the Old Swiss House. Richard had their house specialty wienerschnitzel which is prepared at your table with about a pound of butter - no exaggeration. It was a delicious meal in an atmospheric old restaurant in it's third generation of family owners/chefs.

The Old Swiss House

In Zurich we had fondue, of course. It was also delicious, but the best part was meeting the owner of the restaurant. He spoke very little English, but continued to tell us all about fondue in broken English, French and German all throughout the meal. We were the only diners in the restaurant since we ate extremely early that evening and he was very excited to have Americans there on their first visit to Switzerland.

All & all I really liked Switzerland, though it's an extremely expensive place. I hope to go back and bring the pups because it's also an extremely dog-friendly place. Dogs were everywhere...the train, the department stores, even some restaurant. There was probably a dog in just about every store I stopped into in Zurich. What's not to love about a country that loves dogs, cheese and chocolate?

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