Besides the train back to Freiburg (always Neddy’s favorite part of any trip), the highlight of Zurich for most was the FIFA World Football Museum on Friday. The adult admission fee was a little high (24 CHF) so I volunteered to skip it. When we reunited, everyone was bursting to tell their stories from the museum: holding the World Cup trophy, commentating games, the gift shop! Definitely money well spent for my soccer-crazy loves.
Earlier on Friday, we went to the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich. This was a perfect place for our family to spend a few hours on a rainy winter day. It wasn’t crowded, free, and fun. The kids got to look at many specimens with a microscope, listen to creature sounds, and (my favorite) put together giant wooden puzzles.
Originally, we were planning on taking a day trip to an Alpine town. Sadly, it rained most of Friday, and we couldn’t go yesterday because Errol didn’t want to miss the annoyingly-timed one o’clock Barcelona/Real Madrid game. Instead, before the soccer game, we hiked the nearby peak, Käferberg. On our walk back to the apartment, we cut through a cemetery and stumbled upon the grave of Einstein’s first wife.
After the soccer game, we went back out and visited two Christmas Markets. One had a live singing Christmas tree! We were lucky enough to be there during a performance. I had Lee on my shoulders, and I loved hearing his little voice sing along to some of the German carols he has learned in kindergarten.
The second market was down near Lake Zurich, in front of the Opera House. We bought the kids hot churros and watched ice skaters and fairies on stilts before heading back up to Oerlikon for the night.
Our train to Freiburg left at noon today. The kids explored two nearby playgrounds before we left, and we followed crowds through the BahnhofMarkt. This indoor Christmas Market is famous for its tree covered in Swarovski crystals. It literally sparkles.
In our last hours, Errol commented, “Well, I don’t feel like we were totally fleeced.” Indeed. Switzerland is expensive, but it’s doable for a large family on a budget. Our secret is staying somewhere with a kitchen. This saves us money on not going out to eat; and, as a bonus, we get to experience new grocery stores.
We shared a train compartment with an elderly Swiss woman on the way back to Freiburg. She didn’t speak English, but she appeared to enjoy the kids’ carol singing--especially the German ones. She even started to sing along sometimes. It was very sweet.