Sat 4 Jan - Zürich, Switzerland

Walking in Zürich... And cruising...

We were down for our complimentary breakfast on level 1 around 8am and gosh, wasn't Di hungry...?

Well, the weather forecast for Zürich during our 48 hours or so stay is for rain, rain and more... Heck, we had to make the best out of it and quite often we have found that the Weather Channel gets it wrong.

So after breakfast, we got our wet weather gear on and hit the streets of Zürich and this was how we wandered...

Trams at Central Plaza, in fact we counted and found that 2 sets of tracks spawned into 6 tracks just to the left of here. Looked messy.

The local signage is always fun to capture. Note how hospital is spelt here, no "Ho" in front. Also, beware of those silent trams.

Looking down the Limmat river towards Zurichsee.

And a selfie a bit further south... And yes, it was raining.

Then we wandered up some stone steps to arrive at an old square called Lindenhof. This fierce character of a soldier is actually a woman. Zürich was for two centuries "ruled" by an Abess (female head of a convent) on behalf of the Pope around the 1300's. Di was pleased.

Great views from Lindenhof including this one of Great Minster Church and the alps in the background.

Another view also from Lindenhof but northeast towards where we are staying and old town.

The cobblestone looked beautfully uneven and shiny in the wet weather, but they were not too slippery.

Not even here and anyway, stairs were provided on the left hand side.

Female leader figures featured on many walls in Zuerich. Hans thought that it was just like home.

Now, Harry Lime in "The Third Man" movie got it wrong when he said "Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock".

The cuckoo clock was invented in the Schwartzwald region in Germany and not in Switzerland, but hey, this guy qualified when he spruiked "the only genuine Swiss cuckoo clock in the world" for a brand called Lötscher.

Now, where are we...? We were actually following a free self guided walking tour map but in the rain it was hard to keep track of directions.

Well, we are next to a church with the biggest clock face relative to the church that we had ever seen, St Peter Church.

False advertising!!! No beer is served in this bookshop. Instead, Beer & Co is the name of the bookshop.

We stumbled onto some highly decorative house facades including this one of a restaurant.

Swiss precision. Somebody first put the sticker of "They call me an artist" which was later supplemented with another sticker "citation needed". Who said that the Swiss did not have a sense of humour?

Di was absolutely absorbed by this chocolate shop, one of many in Zuerich. This one had also added a very impressive Christmas display.

Pulling fingers...

The building here is the Rathaus. We reckoned that in the olden days, the tunnels underneath were used to "capture" all boat traffic and collect Zoll (toll).

As Zürich (and Switzerland) was not bombed to pieces as many other European cities were during WWII, there are some interesting old art and sculpture around. These guys were definitely... different.

We passed Voltaire cabaret theatre honoring the dada movement and on its side side street you could get a glimpse inside. Looked very arty to us. There was a stage immediately to the right of this picture, a stage which also doubled as an elevator, a way to get drinks up from the basement as the stage could be lifted even further.

Wurst, a story with two ends. Two thumbs up for that.

Zürich would probably be buzzing with water activity during the warmer months, there is certainly money around here, but today the boats were mostly moored and covered.

A selfie with Zurichsee in the background.

We had earlier passed this cafe cum coffee roaster cum delicatessen and decided later to come back to Schwarzenbach for a... Hot chocolate as they seemed to be famous for that too. Pretty good drinks and a cozy place where we chatted to an Australian girl who worked in Zürich for... PWC. It just had to be banking or similar.

Große Münster Kirche or Great Minster Church in the background, same as we saw from the Lindenhof lookout.

Around this time all the church bells in the city rang out. Must have been noon, but the competing noise was incredible.

Yes, the rain had momentarily stopped and a glimmer of light appeared on the horizon which provided great light for photography. Again, Zurichsee is behind the bridge with the tram which is called Quaibrücke.

As we reached the northern shoreline of Zurichsee, we noticed people waiting for something and a small vessel approaching. A quick read of various noticeboards advised us that in 10 minutes, this commuter ferry would also do a 1.5 hours round trip and that the cost was 2 local tickets per person at 4.20€ each, i.e. 8.40€ per person.

So we quickly bought tickets and joined the queue to get onboard.

And the ferry departed... Downtown Zürich fades on the horizon...

The vessel turned out to be a combined commuter ferry and cruiser for tourists, we suppose a bit like the Manly ferry in Sydney. It was certainly equipped to deal with tourists both inside and outside and served meals and drinks including beer.

Two levels with the glass roof / windows providing light for the lower deck.

And how it looked from the inside. Note that famous passenger inside on the left at the far end...

Now, this gave us a giggle. We didn't deal with the smartest ticket inspector ever when he approached Hans - Di was downstairs getting a drink. Hans showed the inspector his 2 tickets as we understood was the price from ashore. No, the inspector appeared confused and told Hans that he needed one more of these, I.e. 3 tickets. Di then arrived and she was told the same thing.

Oh well, you could buy tickets onboard as well and we did just so and supplemented our ticket stash with 2 more, i.e now 6 tickets.

Then the good ol' ticket inspector returned and realised that we were only 2 people, not 3 (as the other lady sitting at our table explained she was not with us). Now we had too many tickets so he took back our additional tickets, disappeared and returned with the money we had paid for the 2 extra tickets. Of course, that still didn't make sense for why would Hans need 1 and not 2 extra tickets if he would have paid for the lady...

We don't think he was too sharp. He assumed...and you know what happens were our 4 original tickets.

Romance on the cruise...

A few pics from our vessel. Yes, the surroundings were beautiful and peaceful, even on a gloomy day like today.


According to Wikipedia, Zürich is 30 km north of the Alps and as we cruised along, they came into view, so yes, of course here follows a couple of long distance pics.



Hans was looking for that boathouse that some stupid burnt to the ground, but then he realised that we were not at Lake Geneva but at Lake Zurich and the boathouse is still there (with apologies to Deep Purple and their song "Smoke on the water".)

At around 2pm we were back on shore and wandered Bahnhofstraße towards Hauptbahnhof looking for a quick bite to eat.

Unfortunately it was pouring with rain so we walked quickly. We eventually went into the train station itself where we found a NordSee chain store and decided on a shared prawn platter. At over 15€ for 15 precooked prawns it is possibly twice as expensive as Germany was for the same thing. OK but nothing special. What can you do, you got to eat and drink and Zürich is perhaps the most expensive city we've been to. It even beats Stockholm except for alcohol of course.

After a refreshment break in our hotel room, we were out on the road again around 5.30pm to look for a drink and a bite to eat. Rain was coming down as predicted and as we wandered down the pedestrian walkway through the middle of the Altestadt, we made a snap decision and decided on a tapas dinner as a Spanish restaurant looked good and had good karma.

Here is Hans with a glass of Rioja red wine.

The tapas menu was quite extensive and although not all was available it was enough for us to order a few things.

But before that, Di went up to have a look at what was on offer as many of the dishes were a la Spanish tapas or pinchos restaurants that we had seen in Spain in 2006.

And this were our first servings... The flaming chorizos were seriously good and we think drenched in Brandy. Yep, we ordered a second serving of those.

The Spanish waiter serving us was a real charmer. He came from a small place close to the northern Portugese border and had only been here for a few months. He admitted that while his English was OK (hmm, we were not so sure about that), his Swiss German was not very good and he was taking classes. Good on him.

Anyway, we got fed very nicely, had a good time and left feeling very content. To get the food out of the system, we decided on a little walk around the river before going home, after all, the rain had (momentarily) stopped.

A few night pics along the way...


Right!? Well, it is Switzerland after all...

Down by the Limmat River...

There were several of these covered walkways along the western side of Limmat river.

These were the steps we walked earlier today to get up to Lindenhof. Looked good in the dark and wet.

We stopped at a Coop supermarket to get some treats and a small bottle of Rioja red for Hans (hey, he was in the Spanish spirit) before going back to the hotel Bristol around 8.30pm or so calling it a day.

Lazy last night on our trip, but hey, we have done a fair bit the last year so why not? So this is our blog entry this time from Europe and Switzerland. Tomorrow night will sort of disappear as we will be in the air somewhere between Zürich and Bangkok. For now it is buenos nochos from us.

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