We got up early to take an hour and a half water-bus ride from our apartment in Venice to the airport. It was a quick flight but the views from the airplane were absolutely stunning – I couldn’t stop peaking out the window for views of the Alps.
We landed in Zurich and instantly you could tell we weren’t in Italy anymore. The streets are incredibly clean, all the trains run on time, and there was a crispness to the air even in summer. Our hotel was easy to locate since it was right next to the main train station and our first order of business was to get lunch. There we experienced another way Switzerland is different from Italy – food is incredibly expensive! My BLT with avocado was almost $30! Wow!
After lunch we strolled along Banhhofstrasse which is a street that runs from the main train station to Lake Zurich that is full of shops and is one of the most expensive streets in all of Europe! At the lake we saw tons of swans grooming themselves, little ducklings swimming around and even a couple baby swans! We decided to do a lake cruise which is the number one recommended thing to do in Zurich and it was surprisingly not outrageously priced!
The water in the lake is so crystal clear! It is like the ocean water from a tropical destination – you can see fish swimming and ducks diving under the water. The houses along the water are cute and literally look out of a Disney movie.
The next day we got up early and went for a run down the river to the lake and back. Although it gets hot during the day the mornings and evenings are very cool so it was a great start to the day! We decided to re-start the free walking tours so we met up with a group in Paradeplatz which used to be the main market of Zurich in medieval times but is now the main financial hub with banks on every corner. Our first major stop was Fraumunster where we heard the tale of it’s founding. Apparently two girls got lost and the followed a deer to the location of Fraumunster where they were able to find their way home so their wealthy father built a convent on the location. The most ironic thing is that the women’s only convent used to be where all important decision about Zurich were made until the 14th century (by the women) but then that changed and women in Switzerland actually didn’t get the right to vote until 1971!
Our tour guide walked us through the streets of old Zurich (Alstadt) which are quaint and feel like Disneyland. She also showed us the main clock which can be seen from everywhere in the old town and although the tower isn’t extremely tall the actual clock face is the largest in Europe!
We scaled a small hill up to Lindenhof which used to be a meeting square and before that the main city wall where the women of Zurich once dressed up as men and stood on the walls to pretend that their army hadn’t left them unprotected but is now just a great view point.
Our last main stop was at Grossmunster whose location is also important because it is believed that two Christians were beheaded by the Romans for being Christian but a miracle happened and they picked up their heads and walked to the location where Grossmunster is now located.
After the tour we decided to get some fondue and it ended up being more than we asked for! We got the tradition Swiss fondue with mushrooms and ham – we were stuffed afterwards! BUT since it was our last day in Switzerland we HAD to try Swiss chocolate so we went to a place our tour guide recommended and split a Swiss coffee and a cold chocolate drink – they were fantastic! (we also got some chocolates for later).
In the evening we grabbed some salads and two local beers from the grocery store and a blanket from our hotel and went to the beautiful park between two rivers next to our hotel for a picnic! There were tons of people out enjoying the park and the weather – we wish San Diego still allowed beer and wine in the parks and beaches! If we could afford to we definitely would have spent more time in Switzerland!