Life’s a Beach

Hello everyone 🙂 here is a piece I wrote recently about part of my trip to Zürich. Hope you like it!

Under the romantic backdrop of the 26-degree C sunshine sparkling down on the azure blue water and the, quite literally snow white mountains rising above you in the distance, the entire picture appeared surreal, as though an enlarged green screen had been erected for tourists; the banks of Lake Zürich or Zürisee as the locals call it were abuzz with life and energy. It appeared as though the entire population of Zurich was in the same place.

It was a beach, or at least the next best thing to a beach in a landlocked country. Some may say it is even better than the beach because there isn’t any sand to get in between your toes. Single people, couples, families, friends, dogs, you name it they were there. Walking, cycling, driving their fancy, show off expensive fast cars down the main roads, paddle boarding, boating, picnicking or sunbathing. Everyone was there.

A man alone wandered past, his boom box happily blaring out loud hip hop tunes in a peculiarly somehow non-intimidating way. Nobody bat an eyelid.

Groups of young people, predominantly kitted out in Aviator sunglasses and shorts, drinking beers by the can lay sprawled out on the grass in circles, laughter disappearing into the din.

Families were having full out barbecues all dressed in beach wear. A child on his scooter going so fast with reckless abandon, he almost took an elderly man out as he missed scooting into the backs of his legs by a whisker.  The brake was screech worthy.

A convoy of those retro high handle-barred bicycles, (choppers I believe they are called) cycling towards us.

A group of paddle boarders sat half way out in the lake, donned in wetsuits, legs dangling either side of the board in the cool water, chatting amicably as boaters motored past waving.

Children in swimsuits running into the water, before screaming with glee because of the icy temperatures and running back out again.

Set back from the shoreline were gender segregated sauna houses with balconies where suntanned older men and women stood proudly outside virtually naked taking in the view.

Don’t stray too far from the path unless you wish to find yourself embroiled in a group of ten-year olds’ football game.

We passed a queue for the ice cream van 15 people deep all decked out in varying states of undress.

Similarly, outside the Chinese garden, a gift to the city from Zurich’s twin town in China, Kunming, a Chinese takeaway was also doing good trade, although it appeared as somewhat of an anomaly within its European beach like surroundings.

Set back from the lake, outside the Opera house, groups of people, all dressed for the opera took photos in together outside dressed up to the nines, a far cry from the people not 20 metres away on the banks of the lake.

This was the ultimate place to people watch.

Noli, Italy – Don’t Take Your Car.

Windows down, sunglasses on and the Provence scenery whipping by. Check, check and check. I was determined to get to Italy this trip having never been before. We decided to visit a miniscule medieval fishing village with a mountainous backdrop by the name of Noli in the province of Savona. The roads wound through tunnels in the mountains and along high bridges that ran over deep valleys giving spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and the towns that were scattered along the coast line.

Approaching Noli after several hours of driving and enjoying the gorgeous views we faced a parking problem. Or in other words, a lack of parking problem. We entered several car parks conversing in a combination of broken Italian, English and a somewhat ridiculous game of charades with parking attendants as we tried to explain that we would pay if we successfully found a space. Giving up on the car parks on the edge of the village we drove into the village where we followed another car through several small roads and somewhat awkwardly through the pedestrianised village square thinking that they must be going to park somewhere, and they were, at a designated parking space for their house. Admitting defeat and embarrassingly being helped by the people we had followed to turn our car around and direct us out of the tiny street, back through the plaza where an elderly Italian lady familiarly reminiscent of a lolly pop lady stood, her arms wide directing us out and back to square one. Eventually we found a space in a free car park when a smart car pulled out, somehow we managed to fit our large estate car into the same space and prayed that neither of the vehicles beside us were planning on leaving before us.

Finally stepping out into the Italian sun we ambled through the narrow-cobbled streets lined with coloured Mediterranean houses with vines crawling up the walls. On the sea front I could hear the rush of the sea in my ears adorned with children’s screams of delight next to the old wooden fishing boats beached on the shore. All the people we met were friendly and when they noticed we spoke English they stared and gave us wide smiles, many even waved.

Down a side street we found a restaurant for lunch where the extravagant owner saw us to a table outside happily chatting away to us in Italian not caring that we understood not a word. My younger brother turned down the offer of wine, but the owner brushed this away stating that he was drinking by his age and promptly poured him a glass anyway. The food was of course divine and the conversation wonderful.

It was lovely to get away from the overtly touristy areas in this region and be able to enjoy a much more authentic Italian experience rather than choosing to visit one of the bigger towns that we had passed along the way.

It was worth the dent in the wing mirror.

Hello!

Yay first post! I don’t really know what to write in here because I’m awkward so I will probably start getting into the content as soon as possible 🙂

P.s Well done for scrolling all the way to the end (this is obviously for the future when there is more than a singular post on my blog) 🙂