Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yevu in Zurich!

I have temporarily left the confines of Yevu in Ghana and I am back in Europe for (what I feel is) a well deserved break. It has been an interesting year with many ups and downs, many great times and many frustrating times and many stories both good and bad.  But for the purposes of this blog I will be Yevu in Switzerland.

I have had a great christmas and it has been nice seeing family, eating turkey and trimmings and playing games! I did not totally get away from Ghana as my good friend Romeo joined us for his first taste of an English Christmas. It was a delight to see him enjoy eating and drinking and winning at charades! After copious visits to family and friends to spread my festive cheer and celebrating the New Year with a group of close friends it was my time to head to Switzerland to visit Corina (To be known as Corona from now on (so many jokes about tasting good with lemon etc etc)) visit the mountains and visit cheese!

So off I flew on my cheap flight (by far the cheapest part of a trip to Zurich!) early in the morning excited by a friendly smile and cheese and grated potato! Then came my first, and only disappointment of the trip. I looked expectantly for sheets of white covering the land below and was greeted by what seemed to be a dull grey landscape! But as I said this was the only disappointment and far more beauty followed. After being met slightly late by the not so time conscious Corona, I saw my first Alpine Horn wrapped up in bubble wrap. ( I wasn't bold enough to ask the man i i could blow on his horn!)

I could write reams and reams about this visit but shall try to keep it as brief as possible. The first morning Corona and I hit the streets of Zurich with her nick-nameless friend Michelle. Rushing out we could not get breakfast but had some swiss cheese and bread on the way. After a quick stop for a non swiss tea at Starbucks and a very Turkish (but nice) kebab we strolled round the city centre. It really is a beautiful place but struck me as more like a rich village than a city. It is so quiet and relaxed, I can not remember ever going to an urban centre so quiet!

I also had the time for a little stag riding!

Then after finishing the remainder of the kebab we headed into a beautiful church and climbed the countless steps up towards the spire. I must say it was a beautiful view across the city ( I think I will be using the term beautiful quite a lot in the next few paragraphs) and of the lake and river. I saw cuckoo clocks, banks, the lake, river and generally quaint surroundings!

I will talk about the food in general. I understand completely the pride with which Swiss people talk about their cuisine! I tried as many different foods as i could. I hope the swiss will forgive me for forgetting some of the names. The Raclette, where you cook your own meat and melt your own cheese on the table in front of you was delicious as was the grated potato dish (Rosti) that I had been waiting to eat for 6 months! (I was not disappointed!) I also tried Spatzli (not to be confused with Smutzli, the swiss father christmas' scary friend!) When in the mountains I tried alpine Macaroni and another food I have no idea what is called but it was something wrapped in spinach! ( I do not think I will cut it as a food blogger!) The cheese is indeed as good as people say it is. I will say though that the Swiss are cheese snobs! They would not hear a good word said about Cheddar cheese. It may not be as glamorous of the wealth of cheeses the Swiss boast but a mature and rich cheddar cheese can certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with swiss cheese. I really wish I had taken some with me!

Grated Potato!

On the downside, I have put on so much weight because the food is bloody lovely!

On the second day I decided it would be a good idea to climb the mountain (hill) behind Corona's apartment. Corona didn't share my sentiments, but with a little coercion we were on out way up the hill through the forest to the top. My choice of clothing was not the best but my scarf  (knitted by my mother!) and jumper was just about enough. Once at the top, after being followed by the only other two people walking up this huge hill (Whom we suspected were murderers because they were acting very suspiciously!) we were welcomed by a 5 star hotel. A really nice place to stay, but we settled down for an expensive coke before running for the train back down!

The next trip up a hill came a few days later when Corona took me up the mountains near Zurich (not a euphemism!) This was what I was most looking forward to and I was not disappointed! After a train ride we took a bus for the last part of the journey. The snow became thicker and the surroundings became even quieter. Cars were completely covered in snow and the road was scarily icy, although this didn't deter the bus driver from making good progress. Our first port of call was a swimming pool. I thought it was a strange idea but I couldn't be more wrong. After changing in to my lovely swim wear ( I will have to release a calendar!) we headed into an outside pool. It was remarkable to be sat there in the mountains in a hot pool surrounded by mist and fog with snow pelting down. Very relaxing and quite magical!

My dress in general was not quite as appropriate as my swim wear was. I decided that it would be a good idea to only bring a pair of holey trainers with me to the notoriously snowey Swiss alps. When walking down from the swimming pool and then up to the apartment in the mountains these were not the most helpful and comfortable attire. In fact of course, after being all manly and telling Corona I will protect her from slipping, I fell on my arse quite forcefully!

But that walk up to the apartment was incredible. I felt totally at peace surrounded by white and quite in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. I have to use the word again but this has to be the most beautiful place I have had the pleasure to see! The next day we had the slowest sledge ride ever  (maybe slowed down by my extra cheese weight!) down the mountain.

Well, apart from being taken to a Salsa party (which I have been trying to avoid in Ghana for 18 months) and a little sushi I will bring the blog to an end here. I have no idea if you have enjoyed this one or not but I certainly enjoyed the memories! Corona, thank you for a great week, by far the most relaxing week I have had in years!

I thought you may like to see a picture of a dog relieving himself in front of Louis Vuitton!

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