We Went Medieval on the Fondue

Saturday was rainy and overcast which meant it was good day to hop on a train.  I continue to be impressed with the transit system there.  Lots of trains and trams, and of course, they run on time.  Anyway, it was rainy so we decided to go to Stein am Rhein, a picturesque little river village about an hour from Zurich famous for its preserved medieval city center.  Supposedly a million people go there every year to do some sightseeing.  Luckily for us, there were not that many people milling about the streets on New Year’s Eve Day.  It’s a pretty cool village and I’ve never seen anything like it.

St. George slaying the dragon on the manhole covers. So cool!

Oh and we found a place there that had fondue too.  Rother Ochsen is (according to its website) one of the oldest wine bars in Switzerland so we figured they must know what they’re doing.

Cheryl's headed for some fondue
Yup, that's a lot of molten cheese.

It was great!  We hadn’t eaten much since the night before so we were pretty hungry.  Ordered the fondue for two and a bottle of local riesling.  The wine was crisp and not overly sweet.  I hope I didn’t violate some fondue etiquette but I thought it went pretty well with the fondue, sweet with salty.  We may have even started a trend that afternoon since a couple other tables ordered fondue after we did.

Speaking of other tables, I was able to once again use my Italian language skills while on a trip in a country where Italian is not the primary language!  The last time this happened we were in a beerhall in Munich, I was looking at the menu page written in Italian (practicing!), our server comes up sees the menu page and starts speaking Italian to me, so not knowing any German I ordered in Italian.  Cheryl just shook her head (she does that a lot sometimes).  So, during our lunch on Saturday there was an Italian family at the table next to us which included a little girl who had to be about 2.  At one point she starts wandering around with her mother, looks at us, and I ask her in Italian what her name is.  She seemed surprised someone other than her parents spoke Italian in this village, especially the bald headed guy speaking English at the next table.  She said her name was Bianca, I told her mine, and after that we were friends.  I’ve always maintained that my Italian is good enough to order food, get directions, and have a conversation with children.  Ho fame! Ti prego!, these things I understand.  Cheryl remains cautiously amazed.

Finally, before we hopped on the train back to Zurich I forced myself to sample a local hot dog.  Why not?  And I kept to the Chicago code, mustard only on that dog!

A little something for the road.
Full, happy, and ready for the train ride back to Zurich

Long day of travel back to Chicago today, we’re glad to be home but Zurich was a really neat city to get lost wandering around in.  The New Year’s celebration was fun to be a part of and a different experience than we were used to.  Loads of fireworks.  I just can’t imagine cities here allowing everyone to walk around with bottles of booze.  Wait, make that normal cities, pretty sure that happens every day in New Orleans.  We’ll be back Zurich!

PS – I can’t wait to get to the gym this week.  Really need it after the past few days.

PPS – Happy New Year!


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