Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Zurich and Frankfurt

With everything going on regarding my dissertation the past couple of months, I haven't had a chance until now to blog about my recent trip to Zurich, Switzerland and Frankfurt am Main, Germany. These may seem like surprising cities to have gone and visited, and I admit they weren't necessarily on the top of my list, but sometimes Fate has fun things in store for you. Airline miles? Free place to stay? Let's go! In fact, I set up this trip as a goal and reward for finishing the defense draft of the dissertation. I had it delivered to all my readers by Sun 2/24, I taught the next day, then hopped on a flight out of Newark Airport to Zurich. My friend AR lives there now courtesy of a job relocation, and my friend AA was already in Europe on business and planned to see AR in Zurich as well, so our convergence in Switzerland was beautifully timed, and we had a great trip together.

If I were to say anything in particular about Zurich or Switzerland itself, it would be how damned expensive it is. Seriously. A slice of chocolate cake and 2 espressos for $22? A 12" pizza and side salad with 2 cokes for $53? AR had warned us it was pricey, even in Swiss Francs, but we were stunned. Zurich itself was a lovely city, even if it was cold and wintry. I enjoyed walking along the river and lake, and stopping in little cafes for nibbles and treats. I did my obligatory art tour and visited the Kunsthaus, where I was impressed by some of the works on display by Fuseli, Holder, and Giacometti. We took a road trip to the Rhine Falls (Rheinfall); admittedly, not Niagara, but still impressive. We then traveled to St. Gallen and visited the Benedictine Abbey and Library. There was snow on the ground and it made the village very picturesque, indeed. I couldn't help but start singing "The hills are alive, with the Sound of Music!", and twirling in the snow...humiliating AA/AR in the process, of course. Naturally, we also stopped at an Ikea on the way home. AR lives in Seefeld, a delightful suburb in walking distance of downtown Zurich.

On the last day, AA and I took the train north to Frankfurt, where we did more site-seeing. We went to the St├Ądel Museum to see the exhibition "Beauty and Revolution: Neoclassicism 1770-1820," which was right up my alley and related to my dissertation. We walked a lot through Frankfurt as well, including seeing the historic district. Frankfurt isn't much of a tourist city, definitely more a financial capital, but it was worth visiting as well (first visit to Germany!). We hopped on our flights back home the next morning. It was a fast trip, but it was a great few days out of town, and a wonderful time was spent just relaxing with close friends. Here are a couple of pictures from the trip, but you can see more from my Picasa album by clicking here.

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