Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bavarian Road Trip

When a couple of friends came to Munich for a few days, I was lucky enough to be able to tag along on one of their adventures. On their last full day here, we rented a little Fiat for a day trip across Bavaria. First stop: Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. It was a gorgeous 70 or so degrees at the base of the mountain, where we loaded onto the cable car and were swiftly hoisted up to the top of the mountain in less than 10 minutes; when we got off it was about 35 degrees. The short trip on the cable car was pretty awe-inspiring; at some points we were basically going completely vertical. It was one of those moments where you just have to stop and think about how beautiful this world is that we live in.
Also at the base of the mountain is the Eibsee, a lake whose piercing aqua blue waters prompted another moment of sincere appreciation.
We had a typical Bavarian lunch of sausage and beer, and I suppose it's pretty cool to say that we've eaten at the highest restaurant in Germany.
Here was the actual highest point, for those daring enough to climb up a ladder and then guide themselves up a snowy slope while being led only by a rope.
After we made our descent back down the mountain we wanted to at least quickly check out the lake, where we found the paddle boat rental place--and of course they had an offer we couldn't resist, of only eight euros for an hour! We took turns paddling (although somehow I ended up paddling much slower and shorter distances than the others...) and enjoyed the amazing view.
I know for a fact that I didn't go swimming at all last summer (shock and horror!), and I can't remember the last time I was out on open water like this. It felt so peaceful and calm and reminded me why I love being on the water.

We ended the day with a super quick trip to Hohenschwangau to catch a glimpse of the Neuschwahnstein castle. Unfortunately we got there late enough in the day that we weren't able to go inside the castle or even make time for the hike up to it, but we had a lovely dinner right on the Alpsee, another picturesque glass-like lake. It was the perfect tribute to Bavaria just as I'm getting ready to say goodbye to my year in Germany.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Zurich Part II

In between shipping containers as we made our way to the topmost level...
If there's any one thing we were sure we would be doing whilst in Zurich...it was paying a visit to the Freitag flagship store. I came across the Freitag store online as I was doing a little research about fun things to do in the city of Zurich and after visiting their website, I immediately knew I was going to have to spend some time in their store, and I was 99.9% sure I would be walking out with at least one of their products. Visit their website for yourself and see what I mean-- www.Freitag.ch

The store itself is made out of stacked shipping containers: 9 high and 4 wide at the bottom, then narrowing towards the top--19 containers in all. "Zurich’s first bonsai-skyscraper: Low enough not to violate the city’s restriction on high-rise buildings. High enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine." How cool is that?! It honestly does look a little unstable when you're viewing it from a little ways away, but once you're in the store you can barely tell. Until you climb to the observation deck, that is, located on the very top of the 19th container, which offers a very cool, industrial view of the city.
They have multiple styles of backpacks, messenger bags, bike bags, overnight bags, purses, wallets--you name it--all coming in unique colors and patterns. Their bags are made from recycled truck tarps, complete with seat belts for straps.
We may have walked out of there with a few items of our own...
Down below you can get a good view of Frau Gerold's Garden, which was our next stop for the day.
Frau Gerold's Garten was something I would describe as hipster foodie and shopaholic heaven. It reminded me so much of the R.A.W. district in Berlin*, another one of my top favorite places I've been in Europe. Again, two words: Hipster Heaven.
[*a trip to Berlin on which I forgot my camera, something I will be kicking myself about for years to come]
We lunched on some delicious salads and w├╝rst--my carrot salad was actually a salad made up of shredded carrot with goat cheese and pepita seeds, and it was delicious.

Even the bathrooms were inside of shipping containers! If I lived in Zurich, or even just spent more time there, I would be coming to Frau Gerold's Garten with a borderline embarrassing frequency.
For our last supper in Zurich we came to La Salle, a really lovely restaurant and bar located near Freitag in the more industrial section of town. We had the most delicious food I've eaten in a long time, including a melt-in-your-mouth vegetable ravioli, and beef filet with some sort of herb butter that I think God must have churned himself.
As a final hurrah to our trip we visited CLOUDS, a bar on the top floor of the tallest building in Zurich. As to be expected it was ridiculously overpriced, but I think we all agreed that the experience and the view were worth it.
Cheers to a wonderful weekend with my parents, who I adore more than anything in this world. It was the best way I could have spent my birthday!
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