Seven hours away from Salzburg is one of Switzerland’s favorite city – ZURICH!!
A little background about Zürich. Zürich is an important city in Switzerland not just because it has the largest population and land area in Swiss but because it is also the financial center in Switzerland. Hence, a large number of international and national companies settle down in Zürich for a good reason. Furthermore, Zürich is the central location for all Swiss-wide train network and also runs the biggest and busiest international airport in the country. So if you are flying in or taking a train into Switzerland, like me, you would have to pass through Zürich! Due to its efficiency and cleanness it has also often been ranked as one of the best cities to live world-wide. (Locals can probably confirm if you are reading this?) However, such love to Zürich accelerated only recently in the past ten years as the city liberated more cultural, party, and gastronomy sectors to develop. Hence, now it has grown into quite a cosmopolitan city, though not as heterogeneous as Geneva, which has almost 60% foreigners due to the UN and international organizations.
When I visited Zürich for the first time few years ago, even though it was for few hours I could totally feel the richness that I described above. Just by walking in the city, the richness could be felt and seen from the people, the building, and the atmosphere. (Not to say that Geneva is poor. But the richness in power and politics is quite different from the money richness, and Zürich was the latter. In a sense, if I am permitted, I would describe Zürich as Switzerland’s New York. Even Switzerland’s capital city Berne is less active compared to Zürich, from what I heard. I hope to confirm when I make my second visit again in few weeks.)
Anyway, personally, I was just happy to have this chance to return to Switzerland period.
When I woke up, even though it was early I could see the scenic already changing. The greenness and the hills were telling me that we were already inside Switzerland. You can also see how the housing and buildings are different already. A lot smaller with longer rooftop. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was back!
And wow…how can you not love nature when you see views like this? I mean. I just stand, look, admire and…
(A quick note about Lake Constance, this is a unique lake near the Alps. Because it is so huge, it is surrounded by Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Check out the map and its basic info if you are curious! )
As I continue to glue myself practically to these train windows. I finally arrive at Zürich at 7:20 am. I couldn’t wait. It was a little chiller than I thought when I walked the streets and my clothes were not warm enough. Still, the moment I started walking down the train station, each step was brining me back memory. I smiled and even closed my eyes, knowing that I might bump into someone, but, who cares, I was back to oh-good-Switzerland!
The sun was already rising. It was Saturday morning so the streets were still quiet. There were still some people starting their mornings early. Shops were opening up and some were doing their morning runs.
And as I head over towards Limmat river in the middle of the city, I couldn’t help myself from smiling.. (I thought I was smiling earlier but I was now smiling even more!) The weather was too perfect. The blue sky, the white cloud, and the clear breeze made this city view just 2% more beautiful. Thanks to nature, these were some photos I was able to take during my two hours at Zürich.
It was nice because the streets were quite low-key but not completely deserted. The sun was not hot so it was nice to just take a stroll around the city. After gazing at this view for few minutes and letting myself lose track of time, I started to scoop out some of the inner parts of the city. I forgot how clean Switzerland was, but Zürich was super clean. The streets and buildings were unique too, but very different from what I have been seeing in Austria, Germany or Italy! As you see yourself, this is the very Swiss style.
Even these narrow streets have a different vibe from the narrow streets one will see in Italy!
Even though they seem similar, when one has a closer look at each one one will notice how each building is unique.
Time flies when you are enjoying your time. I never left the city center and it was already time to catch my next train to Basel. I didn’t want to leave. But perhaps this will be different when the city is more crowded. Already by 9:30 am the streets were gradually filling up with more people. It felt more amazing few hours earlier when I was standing here all alone, or at least it felt all alone! It’s ok. I’m planning to come back here with my family again. So this will be just a short goodbye.
P.S. If you want specific advises on what to check out at Zürich, I’m probably not the best person to give you advises – just not yet! I still need to discover more parts of the city to list such recommendations. But for the short time frame I was there, I would definitely suggest others to do at least (a) a walk around the city and enjoy a drink near the river, and (b) check out some museum, cafe, and stores because the exhibitions and shopping culture is famous and fun in Zürich. I could already tell by walking around that there are many fancy and high-end stories here. Another suggestion to do, which I haven’t tried yet but looked fun, is (c) to take a boat along the Lake of Zürich. Check the map of Zürich and you will see. But either case, I hope you also enjoy Zürich!
Continue reading part 3 where I finally meet my friend in Basel!