A friend recently asked me if I consider myself to be an optimist, pessimist or realist. For me the answer has always been a realist, the glass is neither half empty nor half full, it's just a glass. Recently, though, I began to realize that the last few years of travel have changed me. More and more I'm becoming the type of person that looks for the silver lining in things, trusting that everything will work itself out in the end. Travel does that to a person, it changes you, causing you to see the world in a different light, but why? There's a myriad of reasons that could answer this question, but I think the driving force for me has been the people I've met along the way. Over the years and across the countries it's the people I've met that have brought to life the, "Everything happens for a reason" motif. Due to scheduling conflicts and time constraints I was afraid I was going to miss a re-connection with one of these people, but thanks to a shift in plans and a 13+ hour bus journey we made it happen.
Most people probably wouldn't even consider taking a bus cross countr(ies) but I'm certainly not most people. The price was unbeatable (30 something Euro) and I technically had the time, so blocking out the minor details of the journey, I bought my ticket and told my friend I'd be seeing her soon! Caroline met me at the bus terminal and within minutes I knew I had made the right decision in coming to visit. During our short tram ride across town to her apartment, we caught up on the significant details of where the last 10 months of life have taken us. Caroline now settled in Switzerland, working to save money for her future plans of owning her own guest house in the Philippines, and me, still letting the breeze blow me around.
Friday morning was routine, but so completely amazing. After weeks of waking up in strange places, navigating cities and eating from restaurants, it was awesome to have a slow morning at home. Caroline catching up on work while I did some yoga and considered my travel plans for moving forward. Eventually, I got my day started and decided to explore downtown Zurich while Caroline went into the office for the afternoon. I had no agenda or destination in mind but simply wanted to explore the streets of the city and get a feel for this place. In between dodging pockets of rain I walked along the lake promenade and streets of shopping. Caroline was done by about 5 o'clock so we met up and ventured up to the University which provides a unique lookout point over the city. We ended our night with a traditional Swiss meal, something I failed at doing while in Germany and then wine and chocolate back at her place - simple yet perfect.
Saturday was our day for exploration, and oh was it a good one. Caroline has a country rail pass through her employer and (lucky for me) hadn't yet used the guest pass that came with it. She wanted to take me down to see the Matterhorn but we ultimately decided that the 6 hours round trip would make for a long day and instead opted for a visit to Lucerne. This city had popped up on my radar a few times (Instagram, travel blogs, etc) and I was more than eager to visit. A ferry ride was included with our rail pass so after arriving we jumped on board the next departing boat and enjoyed a tour around the lake. Luck was on our side as the weather was perfect, sunny blue skies with a cool breeze; here more than anywhere on the trip so far I felt that I was living in a post card. No matter which direction you looked the views were incredible, mountains on every horizon and idyllic little villages dotting the shores edge.
After the boat ride we decided to test our luck and join a 'free walking tour' hosted by university students in Lucerne. We both had our doubts as we neared the meeting point, neither of us crazy about tours, but hopeful that it might be interesting and 'worth it'. Minutes into the greeting from our tour guide our hope died, there was no way we'd be following this overly enthusiastic bubble of a person through to the end. We persevered for a few stops, but eventually gave up, hiding at H&M while we waited for the tour to continue on it's way, hoping they wouldn't notice our absence. I would've felt bad about ditching, but to be fair our guide began hoisting her umbrella into the sky so we wouldn't lose her, basically my worst nightmare, it was clearly time to go. The rest of the afternoon in Lucerne, free from tour groups and umbrellas was spent shopping, snacking, people watching and lots of walking before finally making the journey back to Zurich. Caroline still had to pack before taking off to the Philippines the next day, so we opted for a night in complete with a home cooked meal and wine.