chocolate paradise

Jun 22, 2010

I felt as if I'd one the lottery this week when I called to check my roster. Expecting to hear the automated voice tell me that I had airport or home standby, I was shocked to find that I'd been scheduled for a flight. No standby! I was even happier when I checked the airport code to find that I'd be jetting off to Zurich, Switzerland!
Now let me tell you a little about my love for chocolate. It's indescribable. If it was a legitimate food group, I'd consume far more than I already do. I immediately began planning for the mass amounts of chocolate that I'd be hauling back to Dubai. Switzerland is said to have the best chocolate in the world. It is home to delicious brands such as Lindt and Toblerone. This layover was practically a dream come true and the best gift that crew scheduling could give me for my birthday, which is a few days away. I charged my cameras and packed my suitcase, leaving plenty of space for my purchases.
After a 6 hour flight we landed in Zurich where the weather was a chilly 12 degrees Celsius. To be honest, I love the heat but the recent sauna-like temperatures in Dubai have made me crave a bit of cool fresh air. I stepped out of the airport and took a deep breath. It was perfect. It was a night time arrival but I wasn't quite ready to go to sleep. I met with some of the crew for drinks and snacks in the lobby bar, where we sat for a few hours of mindless chatter before retreating to our rooms.
I tried to wake up extremely early the next morning but my body didn't agree with my sightseeing ambitions. I decided to rest for awhile longer. Ryan called my hotel as he does quite often on my layovers. Many of the countries that I fly to are far cheaper to call than Dubai, so we have many chats from my hotel rooms. Finally I convinced him to go to sleep as I got ready for the day. I met up with Jenny, a new crew member from Ireland. We caught the shuttle to the airport, where we caught a train into the city. It was a cool and cloudy day, but I was just relieved that it wasn't raining. As we walked around the city I went snap happy, being the tourist that I am. We walked down beautiful cobblestone streets lined with cozy cafes and shops. Starving, we stopped into a busy cafe and grabbed lunch. I opted for the most amazingly greasy dripping with cheese slice of pizza. It was delicious. As we continued walking we reached the water. Swans and ducks swam up to us in hopes that we'd give them food. On a clear day the view of the Swiss Alps would have been incredible. The clouds blocked the view, and we could only vaguely see the snowy peaks. It was another one of those layovers where I just walk around happily taking photos. After awhile I could sense that Jenny was ready to call it a day and head back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before the flight. We caught the train back to the airport. As she headed for the hotel shuttle, I stayed to browse the shops above the train station. I had some serious chocolate buying to do. I wandered through 4 shops, unable to decide what to buy. I found the Sprungli Confectionery... the same company that produces Lindt chocolates. I'd heard great things about their truffles, but as I browsed the store I quickly realized that I'd be sacrificing quantity if I splurged on the fancy gourmet chocolates. Of course, I had to sample the famous brand, so I bought 2 truffles and continued on to the next store. In the small supermarket there was an aisle of every imaginable flavor of chocolate. Since boarding the flight the day before I'd found myself constantly asking locals for the best chocolate in Zurich. I grabbed a few bars of the brands that they'd recommended and then continued on to the next store. I couldn't leave Switzerland without a little bit of Lindt chocolate. I chose one that I'd never tried, along with a bar of chili chocolate. It sounds odd, but it's really delicious. Content that I had enough to last me until at least my birthday, I began to make my way towards the hotel shuttle bus. As I wandered the airport a sense of happiness overcame me. I stood at the greeting area where people stood watching the arrivals screen, holding bouquets of flowers as they waited to reunite with their friends and family. I saw two girls frantically run to hug eachother, overwhelmed with excitement. It had clearly been a long time since they'd last seen one another. Emotional me nearly shed a tear despite the fact that they were complete strangers. In 2 weeks I'll have my own airport reunion, and I can't wait to go home. I realized that I'd been standing there for quite some time, daydreaming of my arrival in Calgary. I tend to get lost in my thoughts from time to time. I caught the bus to the hotel, where I dropped off my bags and proceeded to consume an entire chocolate bar. Knowing full well that I'd be unable to nap, I headed outside to a trail located behind the hotel. I took in the beautiful fresh air as I walked through the countryside, surrounded by fields and apple trees. Mountains stood tall in the distance, birds sang and butterflies flew by. I fell in love with Switzerland. It reminded me so much of the beautiful place that I'm lucky enough to call home.... and I don't mean Dubai. Dubai is the place that I live, but Canada will always be home. I wandered through a forest with tall pine trees and wildflowers. Locals walking their dogs greeted me warmly in German as they passed by. I love my job and the excitement of jet setting around the world, but some destinations make me long for home, for the simple life that I left behind. I want to walk my dog through the forest and take photos of flowers and trees. Jenny labeled me as an "outdoorsy girl" as I told her of my excitement to go camping in the Rockies next month. I've never really thought about it, but I suppose it's true. I'm a nature loving, tree loving, sad attempt at being a big city girl. When I pack up and leave the sandpit for good, I'll be happy with my beautiful home where the buildings are no more than 10 stories tall, and islands are really islands, not dug up chunks of ocean. I was running out of time so I turned back to the hotel. I lovingly packed my chocolate into my suitcase, praying that it wouldn't melt on the way from the airport to my apartment upon reaching Dubai. I sadly said goodbye to Switzerland, but I've made it my mission to return some day, perhaps when I have a stretch of days off. A few final breaths of fresh non-polluted air, and it was time to go to the airport. I fought fatigue throughout the long overnight flight, and finally reached my apartment and fell into my bed at 8 in the morning. Ahh, back to the desert. Back to the smoggy, dusty heat. If there is one thing that I can thank Dubai for, it's the mass amount of appreciation I have for home since living here. Home sweet home... only 15 more days!


Tleppihs Nayr said...


Krysta said...

Why thank you, boy that I love! :)

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