Monday, March 30, 2009

Zürich Weekend Guide

As a friend of mine, Ursula is moving there soon, I had occasion to dig out my old Zürich guide from the old days, when I would try to pop over and visit Sel and Hendrich, and Jake and Natsuko, as often as possible. Those carefree carbon-heavy days are long-gone for me! Anyway, in the hope it may be useful to people, I present:

Sam's Weekend Guide to Zürich

1. If nice day, you can take the train from the Hbf (Haupt Bahnhof, i.e. main station) up to Uetliberg. It's a special train that goes up there, then you walk up the last bit and have a lovely view over Zurich.

2. If you have a whole (nice) afternoon or morning free - perhaps Sunday morning, you can train to Schaffhausen where it's a 40-minute walk (or quicker cycle - hire a bike there) to Europe's biggest waterfall, the Rhinefall. It is spectacular.

3. Buy a 24hr pass at the airport when you arrive for zones 10,21. It should be SFr 11.60. Then you can use it around the whole city. The ticket machines are a bit confusing, there is an explanation of how they work here.

4. I haven't been to the chocolate factory but it's probably worth going if the weather is less-than-perfect. Update: chocolate factory closed, but I think you can visit Lindt and Sprüngli's substantial outlets in town.

5. When you go out, wander around and try a few different bars. There are lots of nice places, but sometimes when you walk about you begin to think that the whole place is empty!! Keep looking! Or go up to the Jules Verne Panoramabar for great views.

6. The most popular area for going out is Niederdorfstrasse, basically along the left-hand side of the lake from the Hbf. Lots of cafes, bars, etc. There is also LimmatBar around there, where you have to go at the end of the evening! Rote Fabrik is also interesting.

7. In terms of tourism, wander round the old town area to the right of the lake from the station. The main shopping area is from the Hbf along BahnhofStrasse towards ParadePlatz. See the big three church clocks, go to a traditional Swiss-German restaurant and eat sausages and apple strudel! Perhaps try some or one of these restaurants.

8. Boats on the ZurichSee (the big lake), or swimming when the weather is nice. Take your costume! You could take a boat to the other end of the lake to Rapperswill, which I haven't been to, but it's supposed to be nice and there's a pretty castle.

9. Try the imposing castle-like Swiss National Museum (I ate in a cafe outside it!) or try the waterside terraces for a coffee or drink.

10. The main art gallery, the KunstHaus, is very nice - a manageable size with a good spread of art of all ages and styles.

11. There's a nice forest above the University - take the funicular up then carry on walking.

12. On the way home, buy all your chocolate from the airport - after you're checked in, before security, there is a Migros supermarket in the corner somewhere, it's a reasonable size and good place for stocking up on goodies!

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