Thursday, July 14th ~ Zürich, Switzerland
In case you missed part one of our first full day in Zürich, you can click here to see how we started our day and the walking tour.
After two hours of exploring the Swiss National Museum, we walked across the street, past the main train terminal to start the route that Rich Steves had mapped out in his book on Switzerland (8th edition).
Then we proceeded to Bahnhofstrasse. This mile long shopping promenade stretches from the train depot to the lake and houses some of the top name shops. If you want to check out Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, or Tiffany’s, you have a wide range to choose from.
Passing the small Pestalozzi Park, we paid attention to how rare open green space is in the city where real estate is some of the most expensive in the world. There was some Swiss Art Nouveau that we were supposed to check out at the police department, but we hit during the wrong hours and were asked to return later. We did get a tiny peak though from the doorway, and it might have been worth a quick 5 minute stop.
We did a lot of wandering along both sides of the swift flowing Limmat River.
By this time it was early afternoon and we were once again getting hungry. Rick had recommended Schipfe for a meal which is located along the waterfront. It is the yellow building pictured below. The red umbrellas offer outdoor shade on their patio, but it was cool and drizzling on and off so we chose to sit inside. Got a nice table right next to the window through which allowed us a view of the river.
Food is expensive here in Switzerland. Tim and I will often split a meal at lunch or dinner as the servings are so large and we just don’t eat those huge portions any more. Our waiter kindly translated the offerings for us from their daily menu.
We ended up choosing Menu III which was two kinds of fish (a mild white and salmon). It came with a choice of appetizer and two sides. We went with the cheese and small salad for a starter and roasted potatoes and candied carrots as our vegetable. The meal itself was 25 Swiss Francs. We added one large bottle of sparkling mineral water to share. Our bill including taxes and small tip came to 40 CHF ($40 USD).
The food was fresh, flavorful and (almost) additive free. Service helpful to negotiate the menu. I would definitely recommend it if you visit Zürich. Hopefully the weather will be warm and sunny for you though so that you can enjoy the outside patio along the river as it looked very inviting.
Walking a couple blocks up the hill above the restaurant brought us to Lindenhof. At one time it was the setting for a fort with views overlooking the entire city. In the early 13th century the fort was destroyed by the townspeople after they became a free city. Today it is a people’s square, planted with linden trees, and friends gather to relax, enjoy the views or perhaps have a game of chess.
St. Peter’s Church (St. Peterskirche) is Zürich’s oldest church. The clock face is one of the largest in Europe at 28 feet in diameter.
The have unearthed an ancient Roman Bath right around the corner from the church. Not much to see, but you can catch a glimpse by looking through iron grates as you walk over it on your way back toward the river.
Coming out along the river bank once again at Weinplatz, where a wine market once stood.
Crossing back across the bridge we came to one of my favorite areas – the Niederdorf. It is a district of colorful shops, lively restaurants, interesting buildings, and artistic flair.
The Big Cathedral or Grossmunster was rebuilt following a fire in 1781. No photography was allowed inside, but the large wooden entrance doors had intricate carvings that told a story.
We also briefly stopped at Fraumunster which houses five brilliant stained glass windows by artist Marc Chagall.
Literature claims that it is free admission, but they ask for 2 CHF as a suggested donation. No photos allowed once again, but there is a gift shop counter near the exit that offers up postcards and photos of the famous windows for purchase. I found these snaps on the Internet to give you an idea of the beauty.
Paradeplatz is a small square where we found Sprungli, one of the top cafe’s in Zürich. They sell “Luxemburgerli” aka small macaroons that are about the size of a quarter. Remember me saying that food is expensive here in Switzerland – well this was just another example. We choose two tiny bits a piece, (total of four macaroons) each just a small bite.
I got one caramel and one mocha flavor. Tim got one chocolate and one raspberry. The minuscule box came to a total of 4.80 CHF (they are almost 1:1 now on the exchange rate with the USD). So for around $5.00 we each got almost enough to taste.
Ahhh, the Swiss. Such clever marketers of their sweets. Very tasty. Very nice.
Was it worth the money? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m glad that I got to try them.
We were both running out of gas, and my back was griping at me, but we still had not made it to see Lake Zürich yet, so we soldiered on a few more minutes until we came to the pier where boats depart every 30 minutes for a scenic tour. If the weather had been nicer we would have gone, but the sky was once again turning black so after spending a few minutes gazing at the water and boats, watching the many swans, checking out another statue, we decided to head back to our hotel for the evening.
With our train passes, we were able to hop onto the local tram system for no charge which took us to within a very short distance of our hotel. I am so impressed with the frequent, clean, fast, easy transit system the Swiss have. How I would LOVE to see more of this at home!
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the abundance of well written travel books on the market. I have purchased several Rick Steves books over the years and have found them to be invaluable. I also appreciate Fodor’s and Lonely Planet. Many of the books are available at your library. I have not tried downloading one to my Kindle yet, but I may look into that before our next trip. I have also been able to get them through our local AAA.
I thoroughly enjoyed this….Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Tammi.
sounds wonderful if tiring. Sorry the weather was gloomy, though. I had to chuckle at the cost of food parts of your tale – many years ago – close to 25 – I traveled with mom and sister from Paris to Salzburg by car. We had lunch in Switzerland along the way. Of course, the road doesn’t follow the borders, so we were in Switzerland on and off through the day, but not staying there. Naturally, at lunch we had no Swiss francs, so we went to the bank. We got what we thought would be enough for lunch and a few groceries for afternoon snacks, and went and found a nice lunch place. No English menus. Between us we sorted out tuna fish, so we each ordered one tuna fish sandwich and one Coke. It came to about $25 per person! Back we went to the bank for more money, lol.
Ouch! We did a little better today. About $32 for both of us at lunch. Then we blew the budget once again getting pastries to go for later, some local cheese, crackers and sparkling mineral water for a snack. Hard to regret it though when everything was excellent!
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Been there. Thanks for the memories. It reminds me of bygone days, when I was in the US military.
I’m guessing that Zurich has not changed greatly, just improved here and there with their transportation options. Glad to have been able to bring back what I hope we’re some pleasant memories.
Rick Steves guides are my favorite. They are so easy to use. I’ve tried the ebooks and except for the fact that they don’t add weight to your carry on, I don’t like them! Switzerland sure is expensive. I’ll have to look for a housesitting assignment in order to be able to afford a visit to Switzerland.
Housesitting might be a great way to go here. We have yet to try that avenue, but if I were planning on staying in one country/city for a month or so, I think I would enjoy it.
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Welcome to Switzerland. It might be expensive (it is, if you’re not earning your salary in CHF) but it is lovely here. I hope the sun shines on you and I’ll be reading about your adventures.
We got a beautiful sunny day today and could not be more pleased. We are in love with Switzerland!
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Great post, which brings back happy memories of our wander round Zurich (we were staying in Luzern and got the train up for the day). We also went to Sprungli and bought a large box of the Luxemburgerli, which lasted a couple of days (we took them with us on our train trips!). Delicious! Also went to Teuscher (also on Bahnhofstrasse) – their champagne truffles are superb (a friend who’s married to a Swiss and lived in Zurich for 10 years recommended them)! Look forward to reading more about your travels, best wishes Rosemary (Le Chic En Rose) 🙂
Rosemary, it is so fun when we run across other travelers who have shared similar experiences. Sorry we missed the champagne truffles though!
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You’ll have to go back for some next time! 🙂
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Really liked the photo of light rail running through the heart of town. When I was coordinating political efforts to bring light rail to Sacramento in the late 70s, we often used such pictures from Europe to sell the project. –Curt
I can see why that would catch your attention. I believe that the Swiss have the most efficient and well coordinated transportation system of any we have been on. Our country still has a way to go to catch up in most of our cities. Los Angeles has made some improvements over the past few years but is still painfully lacking.
Don’t know if you are aware of this, Joanne, but LA once had a marvelous light rail system. In the late 40s, GM bought it up and yanked the tracks out, thereby forcing people to turn to rubber tired vehicles for their transportation. –Curt
I do recall that. What a sad step in the wrong direction (in my humble opinion) that was.
I don’t think you need to be humble on that one, Joanne. It was a sad step. And people were wrong to let GM get a way with it. –Curt