there’s no place like home


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courtesy of Pam

out of the 55 total nights i spent in Switzerland, an accumulative 31 of them were spent in Zürich.  i couldn’t tell you exactly what i did this whole time but that’s okay… in fact, it’s better than okay because for the first time in over 15 months of continuous travel, i found a home away from home where i could relax in good company and let time pass by without helping it along.

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and home to around 400,000 people.  the old center of town is located on a sort of island with Lake Zürich to the south, the Limmat river flowing out of it to the east and a moat to the west left over from times long ago.  there are many parks especially along the lake where people play sports, BBQ and relax in the early summer sunshine.  it’s small enough to navigate on foot but why not rent a free bicycle instead and cool your lips along the way in the hundreds of free flowing fountains placed all over the city.

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not a bad place to call home for a month eh?

though Zürich is all of the above mentioned and more, it’s really my friends that have kept me lingering so.  there is of course Matteo – superstar of my last Blorg post whom i met a year ago while trekking in Nepal,  and Céline whom i also met while trekking in Nepal, and Pam – my partner in crime for several days of island hopping and exploring in El Nido on Palawan Island in the Philippines.  to my surprise, they all currently reside in Zürich and to my awesome luck, were all willing to welcome me into their homes and lives.  while in their lives i even began to get one of my own.  a non-traveling life… ya know, in a staying put sort of way.  the funny thing about it is that once you remove traveling from the equation, you are allowed the freedom to engage repeatedly in the same enjoyable activities with the same enjoyable people.  the concept i am referring to is called “having a routine”, and this is not a bad thing.  my Zürich routine included things like…

for example, cooking…

since Zürich happens to be the 6th most expensive city on Earth (as in you can seriously pay $10 for one single Whopper at the main train station), if you want to feed yourself without breaking the bank then cooking is your best friend.  luckily, this would often be a group effort that would most certainly always involve cheese.  that’s right, cheese not only exists in Switzerland, it can be found in abundance and in many colors, shapes and sizes.  excuse me for getting a little emotional about this but you have to understand that when you spend an entire year in Asia you are also sending your enjoyment of dairy products straight to its death.  but here in Switzerland, you can revive your dairy pleasures by spending entire hours preparing and consuming way too much of it.  then you can wash it down with real, honest to God wine right before collapsing on the couch and feeling that gentile pain in your stomach while you say to yourself over and over again, “no… i haven’t become lactose intolerant”.

Matteo's kitchen of magic

Matteo’s kitchen of magic

Céline's sunny balcony

Céline’s sunny balcony

fondue!

fondue!

rösti + bratwurst

rösti + bratwurst

or swimming on a hot day…

Zürich does after all got a lake named after it.  why not take a little paddle boat out into the middle of it and then jump off of it?  and while you’re at it, go ahead and throw some cold beers into the water and see if i’ll go fetch them for you.

courtesy of Pam

courtesy of Pam

courtesy of Pam

courtesy of Pam

or poi in the park…

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when i first met Pam in The Philippines, she was just getting started with learning some poi maneuvers.  now, just a few months later she is a pro.  inspired by her speedy advancements, i too decided to pick up the Poi’s for the first time in years.  i felt like an old dog at first but eventually i was able to teach myself a new trick – the coveted backwards 5-beat weave.  that’s five consecutive backward rotations alternating on either side of your body.



or a visit to the observatory so i can stare directly into the sun with this here telescope…

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or watching the World Cup…

Céline was the resident expert of World Cup watching events as well as our instigator for the enjoyment of those events.  crowds would gather all up and down Langstrasse equipped with enough beer and bratwurst to prepare themselves for any outcome.

a picture of a polaroid of Céline and i

a picture of a polaroid of Céline and i

Switzerland vs...

Switzerland vs…

one evening i got to take a break from my hard Zürich life when Pam invited me to my first Goa party – an outdoor electronic music festival that revolves around a derivative of psychedelic trance music that originated from Goa, India.  it was held out in the wilderness next to a shooting range, so naturally there was a healthy mix of hippies and gun lovers.  it was a joyous and festive occasion.  also joining us were Pam’s besties from the French part of Switzerland.  together they dubbed themselves “Crazy Team” – a name all too fitting of course and even though they made it a habit of speaking to each other in lighting-speed French, i still managed to soak in and appreciate their steadfast affection for one another.

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“Crazy Team” == Pam, Jeff, Lucile, Victor

‘at home’ is exactly how i felt here in Zürich, which is what made leaving quite the heart-wrenching ordeal.  us humans have long ago evolved passed our nomadic selves and whenever i become stationary for more than a couple of weeks i seem to re-discover and appreciate this fact on a level deeper than ever.  though my nomadic lifestyle has opened my eyes to aspects of our world i could never have imagined, it is in truth a lifestyle that is a far cry from anything natural.  i can’t keep this up forever, i know that.  and i also know that while traveling is most certainly living, loving and learning.  traveling is also leaving.  that’s just the way of things.

the gravity of my situation didn’t fully set in until i was sitting at my gate at Zürich’s international airport.  there, i was visited by two familiar faces: Fear and Excitement.  they often like to keep me company in my loneliest hours.  Fear reminded me that i will be lost without my Swiss comfort-zone, and that the faces of the important friendships i have forged over these past two months will not be there to greet me when i wake up tomorrow.  he’s a fucker that one.  he was just begging to be wrestled to the ground and stepped on.  Excitement on the other hand reminded me of why i was sitting in Zürich’s international airport in the first place.  my next destination – a new country far far away.  one that i have been anticipating visiting for so long that i have been beside myself with curiosity and wonder.  all i have to do now is simply get on the plane.

Zurich friends! == Matteo, Yon, me, Pam, Céline

Zurich friends! == Matteo, Yon, me, Pam, Céline (photo courtesy of Pam)

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