Before I went to Switzerland, I hadn’t actually thought of what I would do there. Aside from knowing that the Alps is what Switzerland is famous for, as well as Ricola and the yodelling and yes of course Swiss chocolates, what else do we know? Ok, maybe Swiss army knives? And oh yes, Freitag. Initially I had wanted to check out the shop and maybe bag something but it was a little out of the way, and in the kind of heat that was in Zurich over the only weekend I was there, the last thing I wanted to do was to look for a shop under the scorching sun that doesn’t really set until past 9pm.
I heard from friends that it is a very expensive place, and indeed it is. I think I talked about that enough already, but really, each proper meal costs about 20 CHF (which is approximately SGD 27) and that is just having a main, no drinks, no tips, no appetisers, desserts, whatsoever.
On the last night, since the colleagues had already left, I had some hours to spare. Way before setting foot in Zurich, I already contacted a friend who is living now in Switzerland and tried to make plans to meet up. I requested to meet in Zurich city because I wanted to do some last-minute shopping (more about that later maybe), although half of me really wanted to make the trip to Zug to meet her; that’s where she stays and I had wanted to explore more instead of just Zurich and the areas I stayed and worked at.
Her friends had recommended her this eatery that was along Niederdorfstrasse, a street that I had walked a few times on the days I had been in town. This is somewhat of a back alley, mainly for pedestrians, and lined on either side by cafes, bars and restaurants. The street is really long, and as you progress towards the old town (which I didn’t get to) or the Grossmunster (the huge church), the mix of shops become more retail than F&B.
So Johanniter was where we went for dinner. As Euro 2012 was ongoing, most places were screening the live matches. I wonder if it was free-to-air or was that cable, because I had it on so many channels in the hotel room and even in the hotel lobby, but obviously I wasn’t interested and did not catch even a single match despite the timing being perfect – 8:45pm kick-off, which is usually the time I get back to the hotel from work.
Enough talking. Swiss food! It was too warm for cheese fondue, so I chose roesti and sausage instead. It was similar to the roesti that I have tried before in Marche in Singapore but this wasn’t as dry and there was no sour cream. I can’t recall when the last time I had roesti was, but this was really good!
My friend chose the Cordon Bleu chicken with fries and she didn’t really touch the fries! What travesty! Ok that’s just me, being a potato fan, speaking. A lot of people I’ve dined with don’t finish their french fries. Sometimes I try to choose mains that do not come with fries so that I will not have that temptation to clean off the plate.
It had been years since I’ve last seen and spoken to her so we just talked and time passed so fast! Oh while we were there, a match was going on and one side scored and the entire street started cheering. It reminded of how in Singapore when there is some big match on-going, and you hear some loud ruckus within the HDB estate it usually meant someone scored a goal. This was similar, just louder and nearer because the tables around us were all cheering.
As much as I complained a lot about the trip and wasn’t feeling too great, the final night was wonderfully spent catching up. The weather that evening was also superb and then I got to see Zurich by night, and to top it off my nice friend gave me a treat! I hope I get a chance to give my friends a treat when they are in Singapore because when I travel and meet up with people overseas they are always buying me meals and I feel bad about it.