I saw some incredibly beautiful sights in Zurich last week, but then I say that about every place I visit! Let’s face it, the world is an enormously wonderful place. On Friday, I toured the National Museum of Switzerland and was moderately impressed. Then, in the afternoon, I hopped on a bus tour arranged through the Tourist Bureau at the Train Station. Friday finished off when I returned to the city center with Sparky after he was done with work. A long day! But, a day full of excitement, fun and again, meeting travelers from around the world. The best part of course, was being able to share a fabulous dinner with Dan and wander the illuminated streets of Zurich at night.
Let’s take care of a few travel points before we start walking across Zurich again. “We?” Yes! I hope you’re walking beside me. It gets a tad lonely doing this all by myself!
First, I want to talk about buying train tickets in whatever European country you’re visiting. All transportation is powered by trains. Need to go to Innsbruck? Geneva? Budapest? Quiet, comfortable and efficient trains will get you there, but first, you have to buy a ticket. And it is easy peasy. Look around the platform until you spy a ticket machine. Stop. Stare at the machine and take a deep breath because somewhere on that machine is an option to choose your language! Ignore the folks behind you. Do not become anxious. Breathe! OK…see it? It can be anywhere on the machine. Great! Now press English and you’re on your way! Next, are options to pay. Euros or whatever currency is local is a fine option. Option #2 is a Credit Card….with a chip and a PIN#. Most machines require a card with a chip, so plan ahead or bring cash. Train tickets are good for 24 hours and include all buses and trams too!
Train station Ticket Machine
OK…now we are on board the train and speeding to our destination. In this case, Zurich! Once we arrive at the train station, please understand that in most cities, you arrive far underground and must go up and up to street level!
OK…so we go up one level and …what on earth is this!? THIS, is underground train station shopping! Anything and everything you may need is available at the shopping level train station. Pharmacy, Food,Grocery, Bakery, Clothing, Jewelry, etc…..I love it! Totally weather free shopping fun!
At this point, you may want to keep an eye out for the Tourist Information Center. Every City Center Main Train Station has one. Look for the “i” in the overhead signs, like this one. Trust me, “i” is your friend. Your best friend!
I had decided to spend Friday morning at the National Museum of Switzerland which is directly across from the train station. Good thing I knew that because they are remodeling and the building isn’t labeled and neither was the entrance. That’s not uncommon in Europe. Important tourist attractions and/or major government buildings are not identified! I had done some research and knew the museum looked like a Castle. And so it did.
Notice any identifying signs? See a sign saying “Entrance?” Nope, me neither.
The museum is being restored, resurrected, remodeled, updated or whatever and was worth the 10 Swiss Franc entry fee, but I was not immensely impressed. Some of the displays were very interesting, but I felt they were not well marked or laid out. Once I hit the end of the trail through the museum there was nothing saying what to do next. But, there was a staircase. I walked down the stairs and met someone at the bottom who informed me that to exit the museum I had to re-trace my steps back to the entrance! And so I did….
I did appreciate the “Swiss Homes” display which chronicled abodes from the middle ages to modern times. I enjoyed the very old homes like this one in which a minor Noble or wealthy merchant might reside.
Or this one that belonged to the ruling Nobility. The carvings and inlays are incredible!
But this would have had me spitting out my coffee if I were drinking any!
Such a Dandy!
Here’s the description of said Nobleman!
And then there was the Shoes over the Centuries exhibit. Ahhhhh….now we#re talking my language!
But…this is Zurich, and money and the very private banks of Switzerland. This exhibit showed safe deposit boxes from the Swiss National Bank.
The Nurse in me was intrigued by the display from the Pharmaceutical industry of Switzerland. So many medications that we Americans are familiar with and use. Tamiflu, Tegretol, Rocephin, Estradem.
I booked a bus tour of Zurich starting at 1 pm Friday and was really glad I did. Rosemary, our tour guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. We toured parts of Zurich I never could of managed on foot. Most large cities have either “Hop on, Hop off” tours or regular bus tours with frequent stops. Well worth the 34 Swiss Francs! Comfortable and informative.
I got on the “oh so comfortable and so good to sit down on” bus.
We saw several of the same sights I had seen on Thursday, but Rosemary provided explanations of all the buildings and areas were toured.
And the sun came out and shone on the Limmat! Everything looks better in the sunshine!
We made a bathroom stop at a Marina. Public restrooms are plentiful…IF, you look for them! Labeled “WC” they are scattered all over the city. I was surprised at the number of sailboats and motorboats moored on Lake Zurich. I asked about the Lion statue overlooking the lake. Rosemary said “Lowen” is their protector and he is featured prominently in Switzerland.
Looking across Lake Zurich to the Government buildings.
A century or 2 ago, the wealthy inhabited these fabulously expensive apartments overlooking the lake. Today, they house businesses and money. Lots of money!
We rode the bus by the Opera House and the Platz. In the mild winter, the streets and the Platz were full of people.
The bus dropped us off at the Cog Railroad which we rode to the top of the Hill for some inspiring and breathtaking views of the Lake and of Zurich.
At the top of the hill is the Dorn Hotel. Pretty impressive, right? Well, a basic room is $850.00 per night. The penthouse suite will run you $2,500.00 per night. Better run and book now before they are sold out!
On the bus tour were people from Japan, India, Portugal, Spain Australia and me! When the tour ended I returned to the Hotel and met up with hubby. He wanted to have dinner downtown and so…..we got back on the train and went to Alex’s Steak House in the old city.
My traditional Swiss dinner of Rosti potatoes and tender beef strips cooked with mushrooms in a cream sauce. Boy oh boy oh boy was it delicious!
Dan opted for a beef steak cooked on Hot Stones at tableside! He was provided a nice little paper bib to wear but I’m the one who made a mess!
After dining, the night was so mild and the sky so clear, we meandered the around under the street lights and enjoyed the light reflecting off the water and the quiet beauty that is Zurich.
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing my adventures in Europe. I truly love having you, my friends along for the ride. I hope you are all enjoying whatever path you are on today. And so I say…