Welcome to Zurich in Switzerland and two posts full of rain, wind and the freezing cold! About two weeks ago I went for a few days to explore the city and get a feel. As Zurich is close to the German border everyone speaks it and there are certain nods to that culture. It is a very ‘spiral city’ with the Old Town in the centre and houses/residencies circulating out from there like ripples. I absolutely loved walking through the older part of town along the cobbled streets. All the buildings were so unusual and with great facades, perfect for taking photos and admiring. There’s a mix of shops, restaurants and hotels so a great area to get first introduced (and lost) in the city.
The church above is Grossmunster and the two towers are the ‘landmark’ of the city similar to the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty. It’s a Romanesque building and very grand as you can spot it from all different viewpoints of the city. Other noticeable buildings include two other churches, Fraumunster and St. Peter, as well as general shops tucked away in these extravagant dwellings. These kind of European cities always amaze me with just how beautiful they are. Compared to England or America it feels like I’m walking through a real life fairytale. The weather didn’t put a dampen on it at all, if anything it made the city feel even more like a movie set.
Bahnhofstrasse is the main street and goes from the main station through the old town to the lake. It is very pedestrian friendly as for the majority of the road only trams are on it – no cars. There are tons of high end shops for the fancy shoppers in us and it’s a lovely street to wander down.
The Swiss National Museum is located north of the main train station. I was sceptical walking in as I’m not a big history buff but the design of the exhibits was incredible. The Swiss have a knack for design and the movement, graphics and typography were so on point – basically a hipster’s dream. My favourite section was the History of Switzerland which featured a giant spinning wheel full of Switzerland heritage and culture, e.g. cheese, chocolate, the Alps, William Tell. The whole room is built immaculately with walk-ways, slides, exhibits in the floor and on the sides – architecturally, the planning must have taken ages to figure out. The museum isn’t that expensive and for a rainy day I’d recommend checking it out and learning about the place you’re visiting.
Sticking with the museum theme, I went to Kunsthaus aka the famous art museum. Although it has a varied selection of pieces over different time periods, I enjoyed the modern art the most. Walking around it felt like a mix between MoMa and the Met which is nice to get that balance of modern and classic. I really admire Piet Mondrian and getting to see some of his work was really awesome.
Last museum I promise (heck it was raining most of the time I was there). This one is more a room in the basement of a shop but still a good place to check out. They have a wide, private collection of clocks from sundials to pendulums. I didn’t spent a lifetime here but some did catch my eye as they were very unique and querky. By no means will you spend hours down here but considering clocks are an integral part of Swiss culture, I’d recommend dropping by. A cool thing to note is that they supply you with an iPad which offers English translation, videos and descriptions for each item (how fancy).
Visiting Zurich wouldn’t be complete without some food and chocolate. Sprungli is a luxury candy and chocolate company with several shops around the city. This one below is considered their ‘main store’ and has a cafe round the back. The smell as you walk in is overwhelming, just like the choice of options. Although their chocolate is considered the bomb.com (I went there), they are most known for their signature macaroons yum. And then the last photo is of a bratwurst and I had to include it because a) it was scrumptious and b) they were available round every corner. I went to Sternen Grill for my sausage snack and it was top notch!
The festive season is upon as and as Switzerland is so close to Germany (and speaks German), of course some German Christmas markets were popping up! Down by the Opera House it was a magical playpen. Lots of wooden stalls selling food, treats, knick knacks, presents, mulled wine galore. I love a good holiday market as everyone is always so full of cheer!
To end this post I thought I’d feature Lake Zurich. From growing up in Brighton I love being near big bodies of water. There’s something very calming to me about watching them flow and I ended up sitting there for almost an hour staring. You can take boat trips to visit smaller towns but I unfortunately didn’t have the time. In the bottom photo I zoomed in on a mountain/tower called Uetliberg. If you get the chance take the train up there as apparently the view is unbelievable. I didn’t do it due to bad weather but if anyone ever does let me know what I stupidly missed out on!
The only negative I have about Zurich and Switzerland in general is the price. Everything is very expensive (at least for us cheap tourists), and it puts a little dampen as you want to splurge but brain ends up winning over heart. Sure there were cheap alternatives and tricks I did but on holiday I really dislike cutting corners. Therefore I ended up just biting my tongue and going for it but some of you reading might not want to (consider this your warning). In a few days I’ll put up a post about things in the outer boroughs of Zurich and also a town called Lucerne which is just out of the city. Keep turned for that and a video a few days after!