Friends, Mountains, and the Good Life in Zurich
I’ve traded Thirsty in, just temporarily, for plains, trains, and cable cars for three days in Switzerland. Liesl is staying with my sister and family in Ohio. After Switzerland, I will go to Ghana.
In 1981, I became good friends with our exchange student from Switzerland, Fran, another senior at our high school. I last saw her almost ten years ago when I stopped to visit her in Zurich on my way home from Peace Corps Service in Ghana. On this trip, I’ve reversed the order and am visiting her first.
You couldn’t ask for more of a contrast than Ghana and Switzerland. It is an odd itinerary to be sure.
Meeting Fran at the airport was wonderful. My spirits lifted as soon as I saw her. I was pulled right into Swiss life as we went into Winterthur, where she lives, and where her daughter attends aeronautical engineering school. We had a delightful lunch at a theater cafe, and enjoyed strolling through the streets. Bicycle culture is strong here. Winterthur and Zurich make city living look really good.
In the evening, we visited the Rhenau area along the Rhine River, at a restaurant in a building that Ewald, Fran’s partner, said was probably 400 years old. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and I enjoyed geschnetzeltes mit rösti, after asking Fran to recommend something traditional from the area. Rösti is a refined version of what we call hash browns, with cooked shredded potatoes seasoned then perfectly fried with a crispy crust. After coffee, we went inside to admire the building — I especially liked the wood stairs, polished down by years of foot traffic.
On the way home, we zipped through a covered bridge and over the Rhine to get add a tiny bit of Germany to my trip. We also saw some type…