Archive for July, 2013

Wine Tasting Out of Turin

July 30, 2013

This past weekend, Mr. Goat and I traveled to Turin, Italy, which is about a 5 1/2 hour train ride from Zürich — or, that is, should have been. So when we were booking the trip, I noticed there was a direct train to Milan and then a connection to Turin. Sounded like a good plan to me. Mr. Goat, however, decides that he wants to shave 25 minutes off the trip by adding in 2 more connections. Therefore, we ended up with the plan of Zurich –> Bern –> Brig –> Milan –> Turin.

Well, needless to say, we got as far as Bern before that whole plan went out the window. You will find this hard to believe, but we were actually on a Swiss train that was late. Yep, we got into Bern a grand total of seven minutes late. Which, apparently, was enough to make us miss our connection. Cue eye roll and “I told you so.”

Now what would have been arrival in Turin around 11pm Friday turned into arrival closer to 1:30am. Luckily, we made those later connections and sure enough arrived at our AirBnB apartment shortly after 1:30. Exhausted and hoping to get sleep before our next busy day, we went straight to bed.

Saturday, to our great relief, was just one of those idyllic days that you look back upon and long to recreate.

Let me begin by saying that this was a very last minute trip for us. As in, we just decided on Thursday that we were going away for the weekend. We chose Turin because it was close enough to Zurich to use the trains, which made it cheaper than most other destinations we were looking at. And because it was near a famous wine region in Italy: Piedmont. Which meant we damn well better be able to make it out wine tasting if we went to Turin. Thus, on Thursday, I spent the morning searching for wine tours. I emailed about three tour guides and one of them not only had one of those speedy replies that makes you renew your faith in the ability of humankind to integrate with technology, but said they were available! I spent some time doing what I could to evaluate them — which was actually quite easy, seeing as they were the most visible and had the most reviews out of all our options. So I booked it!

And, as I alluded to earlier, they did not disappoint. We had one of those perfect days. Where you don’t have to worry about a thing and you can completely relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and delicious food and wine. Which is exactly what you want when exploring wine country, right? If you are curious to hear more details about the tour, see my Trip Advisor review.

But really, I cannot recommend Travel Langhe enough. If you decide you need to explore a wine region in Italy, you would do well to pick them and the Piedmont region. In fact, we’re already talking about when we’ll be back! 🙂 One weekend and one day of that in wine country was not nearly enough time.

And now for the picture section of the post:

Romantic tasting in the middle of the Pasquale Pelissero vineyards in front of ciabot Bricco San Giuliano

Favorite photo of the trip

The BEST specialty store we have been in. Lots of samples to try (which meant we bought just about all the food they were sampling), and being surrounded by laughing, happy people. This Enoteca in Neive was like a dream.

Wine country view

Turin

View of Turin from the top of the Mole Antonelliana

Me walking the magnificent streets of Turin

My second favorite photo of the trip. Taken in Parco del Valentino

It Came, I Saw, They Conquered

July 14, 2013

They being the crowds, that is. And the fireworks committee. Lighting fireworks off of a helicopter and  streaming out of the back of an airplane?? Hello. How awesome is Zürich!?

What is all of this I am referring to? Why Züri Fäscht of course; the three-day-long party that happens only once every three years. And oh what a party it was.

Watching an air show by the lake in the sunset — can life get much better?

So much music and food and drinking. And the program wasn’t half bad: airplane shows, parachuters, high-divers, tightrope walking, classic-styled cars driving in the water (designed as car-boats), and oh, so much more. It was just amazing walking around the lake and checking out all the booths.

Really cool metal-crafting booth

I realize now why some friends did not choose to explore the festival all three days like crazy Mr. Goat and me. The massive amounts of people crammed together can get a little overwhelming. One of the most ridiculous moments of crowd chaos came when we were trying to cross the Münsterbrücke right as the tightrope walker was finishing his walk between the Grossmünster and the Fraumünster.

Tightrope walker starting at the Grossmünster

It took 30 minutes just to cross this bridge!! Largest crowd I’ve seen since Disneyland.

What I learned from Züri Fäscht:

There was a program they were selling at all major tram stops a week leading up to the festival as well as a detailed guide online (both in German only), but I think it’s unnecessary to really study these through and through. It’s fine to locate a few things you don’t want to miss out on (especially if you’re interested in attending a concert), but the majority of the program was repeated each day, sometimes multiple times (like the tightrope walker), and if you found yourself around Bellevueplatz or the Münsterbrücke, you would see it all easily. I learned to avoid exploring the festival at all costs on Saturday afternoon, as this was by far the peak time when everyone and their mom was out and you literally cannot move in the crowd. However, I learned that by the time Sunday rolls around, most people are done (or recovering) and you feel like you have the streets all to yourself! But then you have to put up with Zürich as you’ve never seen it before. Dirty!

Seriously, I didn’t think I was in Zürich anymore.

What a party! Can’t wait until the next one three years from now.