Where I’m from, flying to another state nearby might take an hour or two, on this side of the world, you can travel to another country in an hour or two. So, when I heard we were having a three-day weekend I booked a flight to visit one of my friends from college who is playing professional basketball in Winterthur, Switzerland, a city about 20 minutes outside of Zurich. I had never been to Switzerland or any other (Swiss) German speaking country so upon arrival I was definitely completely floored when it came to understanding what people were saying. I got in on Friday afternoon and Sarah met me at the airport with a warm hug, banana (I love bananas) and a soft pretzel. Last spring I visited Sarah for a few days in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was studying and playing basketball at the time, so this was my second time visiting her in a foreign country. She’s a great host. Sarah had practice in the evening so we spent the day walking around Zurich. We went to this bridge on top of the Zimmat river from where, on a clear day, you can see Lake Zurich and the Alps behind it. Although it was cloudy, the river running in the city was quite a lovely site to see. Having been in the UK for the past two months, it was funny how I was surprised when I saw the drivers on the other side of the car. I think when it comes to driving I will forever be looking both ways a million times, because I still can’t seem to figure out which way the cars are coming from. Anyways, after the bridge we walked down Bahnhofstrasse, the main downtown street in Zurich and one of the most expensive and exclusive shopping streets in the world. Before arriving in Switzerland my cousin told me that it was a very expensive place. How expensive? Well, let’s just say a McChicken at McDonalds costs nearly 12 Swiss Franks (about equivalent to 12 dollars). So yes, even McDonalds isn’t cheap. Needless to say, our trip down Bahnhofstrasse was purely the window shopping type. We also visited a market, the Viadukt, that is built into an old, beautiful Viaduct. All of the shops were numbered 1-50 that spanned the entire Viaduct, carrying trains above it. Again, here we mostly kept our pockets closed and enjoyed the window shopping experience; however, what I found particularly cool about the shops was how they all had such cool archways, often brick, inside of the stores because they were built into the Viaduct and so their shape was such of the archways of the structure. Very artsy!
Later on we returned to Sarah’s apartment in Winterthur, (pronounced Vintythur, or at least that’s how it sounded to me). Winterthur is a city of about 100,000, whose “Old Town” (basically their downtown area) is the largest pedestrian area in Switzerland. We spent Saturday morning touring around “Old Town”, going in and out of cute boutique shops and Sarah took me to her favorite chocolate shop which I happily splurged on – and Swiss chocolate is delicious. Sarah had a game on Saturday against an opponent who her club hadn’t beaten in 5 years. The game was largely back and forth but the second half proved to be a clinic where Sarah rattled off threes and broke down her defense, finishing smoothly at the basket and the Winty came out on top! The rest, as they say, is history.