Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Travel: Zurich, Switzerland & Florence, Italy

I did a 12-day trip to Europe to meet up with E and C, and where I also got to meet new people (G and T, among a few others).
  • Part 1: LAX >> JFK >> ZRH. Originally, my flight was to go through IAD but it was cancelled entirely. United Airlines worked to get me on another flight as soon as possible and I was only delayed a couple hours. As soon as I arrived in Zurich, I stored my luggage and got on the train to Bahnhofstrasse. From there, I rode the trams to a stop to meet up with C. He took me to have lunch with him at the Google offices in Zurich. I had a very nice tour and even rode down the slide! After lunch, I wandered around aimlessly (taking photos) and eventually picked up my luggage. Later that evening, after meeting up at C's apartment, we went out for dinner and drinks. The next day, I flew out to Florence, Italy.
  • Part 2: ZRH >> FLR. E, a couple of her friends (L and G), and I all stayed at an apartment in Florence for 8 days to attend a conference. We learned a lot, had a good time, and met some very nice people. We had authentic Florentine steaks for dinner not once, but twice! It was insanely expensive, but oh so delicious! In the evenings, we attended local parties and had tons of fun (courtesy of open bars). I wasn't too keen on doing that many touristy things this time around because I had already been to Florence before. I also met T who seriously sparked my interest in learning about photography using a dSLR.
  • Part 3: FLR >> ZRH. I flew back to Zurich with C's apartment key in hand, so I didn't have to stow my luggage again. The next day, we decided to do free things around town (seeing as how I'd already been to Zurich last year). So, we went to see the Botanical Gardens of the University of Zurich, Voliere Zurich, and Langenberg Wildlife Park. We had ridiculously expensive Starbucks while waiting for our train and then later, upon our return, a very late snack at the Coop near Bahnhofstrasse. That evening, we attended a sophisticated (ok, maybe not so much, but definitely grown-up) birthday party (everyone was about a decade older than I was). At first, I thought my not knowing enough German would pose a problem, but everyone spoke English :). One guy especially cracked me up by promising to visit me in LA when he would go to SF (I had to keep explaining the distance factor, but he didn't seem to understand or was too drunk by then. Haha.).
  • Part 4: ZRH >> IAD >> LAX. :(

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