Travelogue: To Zurich and Beyond

As I made my way to Geneva Airport from Alpe d’Huez, it was a really long 3 hour journey by car. The Geneva Airport is a small airport with not many shops around. I spent most of my time at the Star Alliance lounge which was pretty tiny as well although they serve really good meatballs! It somewhat reminded me of Ikea meatballs (without the sauce)

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And here’s photo of the lounge that’s captured in 2 shots

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What I was most pleased from the journey was I managed to see the alps from above! Cos the journey from SIN-ZRH and ZRH-GVA was so cloudy there was just no visibility at all

We landed pretty soon at Zurich Airport since it was a short journey, and although the walk from the aircraft to the baggage collection took awhile but it was so empty I wondered if I was walking at the right direction since most people were walking to the transfer section

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I was so fast that I was just sitting around waiting for the conveyor to start moving. And when it finally did, only 2 luggages came out..? lol

As I exited the terminal and I couldn’t find my driver (again?), I decided to wait abit before I call them and thankfully, the said driver appeared 5 minutes later. He was surprised I was already out of the door

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My accommodation in Zurich was at Hotel Adler, located at the old town area, which was just a 15 minutes drive from the airport. Check-in was a breeze and I realised nobody ever asked for my vaccination cert throughout the entire journey no matter where I go. So chillax (or trust)

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And my small compact room, which was enough for just myself. lol. I felt like you would need a bigger room if you are travelling with more parties and the wall was not really soundproofed. I could hear distinct Singaporeans chatting next door at times. Yup the accent was pretty distinguishable

I felt the stay at Hotel Adler was just okay, nothing spectacular, and I did not really understand the high reviews online #justsaying

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So after freshening up, I took a slow walk to my dinner place which was located just across the river

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Taking in the sights of this little city, which was simply gorgeous

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And here’s dinner for the night!

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Helmed by Chef Stefan Jäckel, it was a highly rated restaurant that focused on classic Zurich and international cuisine. And since being so highly accoladed, I was rather excited to see how dinner would be like

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The interior boosts a high ceiling, exudes some classy vibes with a little charm

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And of course, a view outside

The restaurant was pretty crowded to say on a weekday night with families, friends and young kids visiting. I know, such privilege for the young diners

They serve an ala carte menu as well as course selection which range from 4, 5, 6 to a full course menu. I went for the 5-course menu (CHF 170) with a wine pairing (CHF95) for the night

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Some bread to start which was not great. I found it a little tough for my liking

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Amuse Bouche

I prefer the second one with the caviar which tasted like foie gras meringue. It was simple yet tasted extraordinary. The first one with flavours of a cumin ball tasted too overwhelming as it did not create a nice balance to the flavours

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Can’t remember what this was but the puff pastry was pretty delicious, and it went well with the sauce

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Foie Gras and Yellowfin Mackerel with Soy Broth, Verbena, Hazelnut

I enjoyed the mackerel with the hazelnut, but not much of the foie gras. I felt like the flavours of the foie gras was a tad too strong and they could have done something to make it lighter and more palatable. Though I did enjoy the soy broth very much and it gave the whole dish a nice rounded finish

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Wine Pairing: Montlouis, Clos Hebert (Francois Chidaine, Loire)

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Norwegian Scallop w Gillardeau Oyster, Black Radish, Algae, 10g Kristal Caviar (+30)

Wine Pairing: II Castagneto (Terreni alla Maggia, Ticino)

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Starting with the warm oyster on the side, it was good yet not very memorable

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Definitely preferred the raw oyster dish where you can taste the sweetness of the oyster and scallops and I have to add the caviar was totally unnecessary. Cos the dish was good on its own, and the caviar did not provide any value add

And when they asked how was the food? I told them I preferred the cold dish to the warm oysters and they looked surprised/awkward..? I mean, I couldn’t say anything negative?

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Egg from Schlattgut, Perigord Truffle, Baden Asparagus, Ormalinger Pork

Wine Pairing: EO Blanc (Staatskellerei Zurich, Zurich)

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The egg was well cooked, and I liked the mixture of the pork. I found the flavours of the vegetables too strong and it was just overwhelming at some point. It would be nice if they could fine-tune this a little, even if they wanna showcase the local produces from their farm. I think there are definitely ways around it

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But I was impressed with the asparagus. And the smell was just so inviting cos of the truffle. A very well executed dish, one that was worth remembering

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Australian Wagyu Entrecôte, Morel, Pea, Kimizu

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Moving on to the mains, this was such a confusing and disappointing dish. Firstly, the texture of the beef wasn’t great. Granted it was wagyu, yet it didn’t quite taste like one. Secondly, dumplings with beef? It’s innovative but it didn’t work. And pea fillings in the dumpling?? It was even stranger. Dumpling is an Asian dish, and I’m an Asian. I could tell you this did not work. Thirdly the sauce. it was memorable in the wrong way. I felt like it was just 3 distinct components that were just working in their own way and by no means, working to come together as one

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Wine Pairing: II Carbaonaione (Podere Poggio Scalette, Tuscany)

I was staring at this dish for a long while cos even as they cleared this dish away,  I was still fairly confused at what I had just eaten

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Rhubarb w Baby Lettuce, Lime, Sesame

I think the only thing that was memorable about this dish was how pretty it looked. Else it was just pretty average

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Wine Pairing: Riesling Abtsberg Spatlese (Maximin Grunhaus, Moselle)

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Petite 4

It definitely felt like a roller coaster ride as I ate this meal while it took me up, and all the way down. lol

I had eaten my fair share of restaurants, and I can tell you with conviction, there are better one-stars out there (in Singapore and globally). The restaurant did have a nice ambience but I did not have a great experience and it did not make me feel enjoyable. It was, such a pity

And so after dinner, I made my way back to the hotel to retire for the night since I was gonna make a day trip out of Zurich the next day!

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It was a really early trip out of the city as I made my way to Schaffhausen to transfer to Stein am Rhein

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I bought the Saver Day Pass online given I’m only on a day trip and won’t need the entire Swiss Pass for it. Took the regional express train which departed at 7.05am promptly and it was pretty empty given it was such an early train journey

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Snacks/Breakfast that turned out I had no need for it

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And then I got lost at Schaffhausen station cos I had no idea which platform to go to in order to transfer to Stein am Rhein #solost

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By the time I figured out, using Google Maps (cos they specifically tell you which platform to go to), the next train would depart in 30 minutes. So I hid underground from the cold while silently telling myself to just use Google Maps next time

By the time the train reached Stein am Rhein station, it started drizzling. OH MAN. So I went to the convenience store and saw this!

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Umbrella rental service 🙂

It cost CHF10 to rent and they would pay you back the CHF10 when you return the umbrella as well. Such a brilliant idea

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Stepping out of the train station and onwards to Stein am Rhein

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It was such a cloudy and cold day. Weather forecast said it was 7 degrees, but with all the wind, it honestly felt like negative to me

So. Brr. Cold

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Crossing the bridge to the little town

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which honestly felt like living in a fairytale

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It would be perfect if it was in such good weather and you could have prettier shots

But beggars cannot be choosers

So I stayed here for awhile before making my way back to the train station and was deciding if I should make it to Rhein Falls in this weather

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It was cold, and the platform was so open that there was no way to hide from the cold. So it was just you, the wind and the cold. lol

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But I decided to go in the end. So I made the transfer at Schaffhausen station and onwards to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall station which was so deserted that I wondered if I was at the right place

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And that’s the majestic Rhein Falls for you

Since I was behind schedule, I took a few shots here and made it back to Schaffhausen station soon enough

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The little town of Schaffhausen which can be easily covered by foot

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Lunch was settled at Barkada Burger Bar which had really good reviews online

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Spicy Chicken Adobo CHF18 and Fries CHF11.50

Crispy Fried Poulet Oberschenkel Patty, Rotkabis, Fruhlingszwiebein, Homemade Essiggurken, Homemade Sweet Soy Glaze, Homemade Spicy Mayo, Sriracha, Brioche Bun

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This was a really delicious piece of burger. Well-fried patty with a nice crisp texture and a spicy sauce that gave enough kick, with a brioche that was nicely grilled. Loved the fries too, though the portion was a little too much

You can give this a try if you happen to be in the town of Schaffhausen

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And since while I’m there, I visited IWC for a museum tour

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My appointment was supposed to be at 2pm but it was so cold outside I decided to just wait inside at 1pm. lol and well, they started the tour early for me 😀 During our tour, my guide agreed it was really cold that day too, like it’s supposed to be spring but yet still felt like winter. I found it comforting I wasn’t the only one feeling that way

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The tour started with a short video, from how IWC was established and ended with a movie that their own marketing team conceptualised the concept for. I was like wow. that’s a really high budget marketing you had there. And she laughed

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We went on to see the various pieces that were created from past to present, from pocket watches to their main design lines

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And also a few special pieces that were created for special occasions

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This was a display board showing the basic 240-part of a watch, with the minimum at 180 and can go up to 600-700 for complicated designs, and of course, the price too

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I was also brought up to the watchmakers’ bench which unfortunately no photos were allowed but it was interesting to see how watches were made, and what tests and processes they had to go through in order to pass the quality check

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I spent quite some time at IWC, and lets just say we ended at with a champagne there. lol

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They gave me a free gift when the tour ended

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which included a huge photobook of their watches, a chocolate box collaboration with Confiserie Sprüngli and a cute notebook

And then I did some shopping for the friends before heading back to Zurich

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which dinner brought me to Zhong Hua, a Chinese-Thai restaurant located near my hotel

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Hot piping Asian food is comfort food in cold weather. If you understand, you would understand

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Hot and Sour Soup CHF7

Oh, this hot & sour soup was quite legit. It tasted so good, especially in that weather. It was simply enough to warm the stomach

Processed with Focos

And when my mains came, I got a shock. I mean, did they think I have been starving for 3D3N? This was a mountain..

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Chicken w Basil, Chilli, Rice CHF25.50 w Fried Egg CHF4.50

I added a fried egg to go along, cos what’s basil chicken without a fried egg right? The experience is just not complete

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Hmm, it was somewhat different from the authentic one, but it was still delicious enough. Like it was really spicy (no joke), and the chicken pieces were tender and they gave alot, which you can tell from the photo. Though I also felt very thirsty after the meal. lol

I say this place was not too bad, worth considering if you are craving for Asian cuisine in Zurich

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Took a walk around the neighbourhood to digest dinner a little

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Even though the walk ended pretty quickly since old town was quite a small area

And so, that ended the night with a Coca Cola at the hotel room and trying to book my tele-ART online, which I woke up at 6am for

The certificate (in pdf) came pretty fast though, and notarised by MOH so you can rest assured it’s all good

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Decided to do some cafe hopping the next day and hunt for some good beans to bring back home. First stop, Cafe Henrici

2 words: Don’t bother

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It was.. quite disappointing

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Though it made quite a good prop for my photo 😉

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Walked to Lindenhof Park to catch a view of Zurich

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and I must say I was blown away

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It was simply breathtaking

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And as I made my way to Zürich Bürkliplatz, I chanced upon this small little espresso bar

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by the name of ViCafe Espresso Bar

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so there goes for my second cup of coffee!

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They sell pastries too, if you like some light breakfast

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And oof, this coffee made the mark. It was nutty, velvety and smooth

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No wonder the queue didn’t stop

I had to add that I couldn’t sleep that night cos of this second cup. I’m not sure if my tolerance for coffee had gone down or the caffeine was simply so strong

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So I enjoyed the coffee on the go as I made my way to the pier

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I had the Zurich Pass which entitled me to this free ferry ride which lasted 1.5 hours. On hindsight, I really shouldn’t have gotten the pass since I was practically walking everywhere and had no need for public transport. Oh wells

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And that’s the ferry which I would be taking alongside 6 old folks. Would that be me in the future??

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And then drama came onboard cos one guy did not have the ferry ticket

Him: What do you mean I don’t have the ticket? I paid for it

Attendant: That’s not the ticket. That’s the receipt

And the same phrases went on for a good 10 minutes, like a broken record

The friend asked what’s gonna happen? I’m like the ferry had already departed. It’s not like they would throw him offboard. So the drama ended off with the old man buying another ticket onboard :/

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Back to the ferry ride

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Drama aside, the ferry ride was quite worth it

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In good weather of course. It was really scenic and just nice to chill the 1.5 hours away if you had time for it

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And that completed my itinerary for the first half of the day since second half the day was basically just shopping

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But first lunch at Cafe Sprüngli. I heard the breakfast wasn’t great so I decided to give lunch a try. It was really crowded outdoors and indoors

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The desserts really looked so inviting (Nope I didn’t try them cos not enough stomach space)

They also had a restaurant located on the second floor

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Cold Chocolate CHF7.70

Heard the hot chocolate was underwhelming, so I gave the cold one a try. I really like their cold chocolate. It wasn’t thick but yet it was so delicious to drink. It was not too sweet yet velvety at the same time

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Puff Pastries w Sausage Meat, Mushrooms & Carrots CHF27

This was really good. I would order this again in a heartbeat

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Love the flaky pastry with a delicious cream sauce and juicy sausage balls. Also, good to share to!

Went next door to their confectionary shop to see what’s there to offer. Well, nothing specific caught my eye and so I left to complete next part of the itinerary

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Lets just say I walked up and down Bahnhofstrasse many times

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Also nobody leaves Swiss without chocolates. And a stop at my favourite Läderach which I got a shock when I paid for the bill. lol. Did I buy that much chocolates?

Went back to the hotel to chill after that cos I was exhausted from all the errand running/shopping

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And dinner was settled conveniently downstairs the hotel at Swiss Chuchi

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I was actually contemplating between the cheese fondue or the rosti but given how much I could eat, I went for the latter

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Rosti w Fried Eggs & Ham CHF36

Even though I couldn’t finish them as well

The rosti was definitely different from what we used to have. It was layered in cheese, sliced coarsely and not crispy. Hmm, honestly I preferred our local’s version. lol

And that night was just busy packing and squeezing everything into my luggage

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Woke up really early the next morning cos I wanted to squeeze a last breakfast before my flight

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So early I could watch the sunrise

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And I was at the cafe even before it opened. lol

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Breakfast at Babu’s Bakery

They were many others buying takeaway for their pastries and coffee at such early timing as well

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Flat White CHF5.70

I enjoyed the coffee here too, so much that I finished the entire cup before I knew it. And the moment hit me when I realised I wouldn’t be able to sleep on the plane later

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The carrot cake was worth a mention too. It was soft, moist and the curd had the right balance without too much acidity

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Scrambled Egg. Swiss Bacon, Sesame Bagel, Cream Cheese CHF18.50

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Though I didn’t have that much love for the bagel. It was.. hmm below average

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As I made my way back to the hotel, I took in the sights one last time and I felt a tinge of sadness I was going home

Switzerland is really such a beautiful place

The friend asked me, don’t you miss home?? And I was like..

Absolutely, no

ha 😀

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As I waited at the lobby for my driver to come, I saw a man walked in (and my gut feeling told me he’s the driver). He looked at me and went on to the reception to ask for a person. The receptionist, upon checking, pointed to me and I went, yup, that’s me! Going to the airport! lol

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15 minutes later..

Scene at the airport and the amount of people checking in was like.. ohmygosh. I was telling the friend I think SQ flights are just full everywhere now, no matter where you fly to, and she agreed

Since I had some tax refund to handle, I asked the check-in person if there was one inside after security. She told me I had to go to Terminal 1 to get the stamps instead

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And so I listened and went to terminal 1 instead, which the officer checked all my purchases. After I got all the stamps, I felt so tired I thought I did some workout in the morning

Then I went back to Terminal 2, passed through security and immigration, took a train to E gates (where SQ will be departing from)

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and finally settled at Swiss Lounge E

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You can also enjoy the cold from the terrace and watch the planes fly by

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Individual work station at your service

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And resting pods as well

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I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t check out their food menu

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And then it’s time to make my way to the gates shortly and hello 777-300ER

It was a full load again, though I felt service was friendlier this time and the crew even joked with me. Maybe cos not many Singaporeans in that section

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I was really happy to catch the Alps again (cos last time already you know) and seeing this from above was just magnificent

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And shortly after take-off, I finally got a chance to try the legendary Satay. The friend said this is a special dish and you don’t get this for all meals onboard

The satay was good. Chunky pieces of meat, grilled tender to perfection with a thick peanut sauce. I could understand the hype behind this

I also have to add, after trying the vintage Champagne for my birthday flight, I could never see champagne the same again. lol

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Appetisers came in the form of garlic bread and scallops with lots of vegetables

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This time round, I had the crispy garlic bread. The taste of garlic wasn’t that strong and it was simply very crispy. To be honest, I felt that garlic bread on Singapore Airlines is overrated, and that after trying both versions. I’m so gonna ask for other pastries next time round

And the scallops well.. nothing worth mentioning about

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Massaman Kai: Thai Curry Chicken with Vegetables & Steamed Rice

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Went for the Thai option cos the other 2 (lamb/cod fish) didn’t really call out to me. I have to say this was really delicious. If they could add an egg, it would be even better. lol. #lifeiscomplete

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Desserts came in the form of espresso ice-cream which I immediately regretted after ordering. Cos that meant I would have an even harder time falling asleep

And that proved I was right. I barely managed any sleep onboard so I caught my shows on my laptop. I gave up on the inflight entertainment after I saw what’s available

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Breakfast came pretty quickly

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Buttermilk Pancakes w Blueberry Compote, Roasted Almond Flakes & Yoghurt

Don’t order the pancakes. They were dry and bland and the yoghurt and blueberry compote didn’t work for me. So instead, I asked a tiny jar of honey which really improved the taste overall. Why didn’t they serve this with maple syrup??

Anyway, the flight had some short turbulence and at some point I was so worried my drinks gonna spill over

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But before you know it, it’s hello Singapore and welcome home

And that concluded my one-week trip in the Alps/Swiss. It was fun while it lasted and I definitely would love to go back again, perhaps, adding on a Paris trip the next time round 🙂

Click here for part 1 of my journey!

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