Daily Archives: August 26, 2018

There’s no place like Home!!!

I awoke early on our last day in Madrid, left my son sleeping peacefully in his bed, and decided to go for a long walk before the streets filled with the hustle and bustle of a Monday morning in Madrid.  It was also our last day of vacation before leaving the next day for our journey home after this wonderful three week European adventure filled with visits with friends, amazing sites, hikes, relaxation and culinary expeditions.

A part of me is sad to leave as I have loved every minute of this experience, but there’s another part that is absolutely starving to be home. As I stopped for a quiet cafe-con-leche in the middle of my walk, I wondered why? Don’t we often wish we could be on a permanent vacation?  Would we, could we really be happy in such a state? I’m not so sure.  Because what I realized is that there is something to be said for this place called “home” which got me thinking about what that word really means and why my son and I were feeling homesick despite having a marvelous trip.  As we continued our journey home, I realized that home is much more than just a physical place, it is a state of being or a feeling. And it takes spending time away from it to truly appreciate.  The phrase “home is where the heart is” had finally made sense to me.

A cancelled flight had us stranded in Zurich, Switzerland which is one of my favorite cities in Europe and despite wanting to enjoy this added time, our hearts were simply not cooperating.  We made the best of it and had fun, but I cannot describe the joy of finally boarding the airplane, the view of the New York skyline during landing, seeing my mother’s car pull up at the airport, walking into my house and sleeping in my own bed .  A few days earlier, I had asked my mother if she would please cook some of our favorite foods when we arrived and she happily obliged.  As we sat and ate this food for dinner that evening, I truly had the sense of “Home”!!!!

IMG_4061 (Edited)

Chicken Kheema, Chapati, Cauliflower, Moong Dal & Cucumber Raita

Last Stop : Zurich – A Special Place

In closing out our European adventure, we were scheduled for a 17 hour overnight layover in Zurich Switzerland.  This was not by design, rather just the way our flight worked.  But I was excited to be back even for a short while.  Zurich is one of my favorite cities.  It is the German influenced area of Switzerland and is just a beautiful walking city with a large lake and a lively old town area called the Niederdorf.  For ease of travel, I had booked the Radisson Blu hotel in the airport for the night which is a short train ride from downtown.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), our original flight was delayed by a full day due to mechanical problems and we scored one extra day in this beautiful city.  While it meant moving to another hotel for the second night, there are many many worse problems in life and thus we opted to take full advantage of our “luck”.

So, why is Zurich so special to me?  It was my son’s first international destination when he was only five months old.  It was his first flight, first stamp on the passport, first European adventure during which he visited Germany, France, Austria and so much more.  More importantly he was clearly a true blue traveler at that young age and enjoyed the experience thoroughly.  We had returned again when he was 18 months old for another summer of travels in the region.  So, the coolest part of the two days for me were the memories of those days (seems like yesterday), of mixing formula and baby food or feeding him his first bites of cheese and sausage contrasted by sharing a beer with him on this trip while he inhaled yet another plate of wurst in all varieties.

On this trip we spent our time walking around the Niederdorf, ate gelato, drank beer near Lake Limmat, and revisited some favorite dining spots from the past trips – Zeughauskeller and Sternen Grill.  The Zeughauskeller is an old restaurant that has been in Zurich for ages and is a classic beer & wurst kind of place.  The waiters are no nonsense but friendly and have been there forever.  The sausages (wurst) here accompanied by spicy mustard (senf), potatoes and vegetables are delicious.  Washed down with a not so cold (Europeans prefer beer that is not ice cold, as do I) and life is just about perfect.  It truly was an unplanned yet perfect ending to an amazing three weeks of wonderful memories that we will hold onto forever.

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