May I just state for the record that long-ass flights are horribly uncomfortable when flying economy? And since that’s what we fly, the start of our recent European holiday was awful. Cramped seats, hardly any legroom, and fighting over the armrest were one thing, actually three things, but then add in “jimmy legs”, and drowning my sorrows in that liquor cart looked mighty tempting. Too bad booze on a flight gives me a massive headache.
Anyway, we landed in Zurich, were met by the lovely people from Viking River Cruises, and were transported to our hotel in the Techno Park. At first glance it seemed we were in a dismal business park – all glass and concrete and steel. But once we got settled in our modern hotel room - the Europeans really do have cool hotels – we ventured out for an exploratory walk and to find lunch. Many of the businesses were only on the ground floor, with apartments on the upper levels. There were shops and restaurants, only they were difficult to identify because the signage was uniform.
A few blocks from our hotel, we happened upon a Bike Expo – pedal bikes. Biking is huge in many European countries and this fair had all sorts of displays of cool bikes, demonstrations of the latest gadgets, and competitions between bikers with mad skills. And food, lots of yummy food.
We both had bratwurst and fries – oh my goodness, so good. We sat at a picnic table surrounded by families of all ages and people of all ages, and watched humanity do its thing.
We continued our exploration and entered the Viaduct Market area.
The arches of a former viaduct had all been closed in and converted into shops and restaurants – fun and funky clothes and furniture and artwork – a real “happening” place. A bit further toward the city centre we came to an area of apartment buildings surrounding a park that was bustling with families picnicking and playing.
After supper at Toscano, an excellent Italian restaurant located in Techno Park, we returned to the hotel, which was observing Earth Hour, and so the lobby bar was quiet and candlelit – lovely.
The following day, our group toured the Old Town, the old part of Zurich. I love old architecture, particularly the frills and adornments.
We stayed in town on our own after the tour and rode one of the ferries on Lake Zurich. Part of the public transport system, it’s also a great tour of about a third of the lake. We shared an excellent ham sandwich on board, and chatted with a local woman who sat at our table. She’d lived in one of the smaller towns on the lake most of her life and pointed out a few sights as we cruised past, including the chocolate factory.
After the boat trip, we continued to wander, and climbed a hill to the site of ancient fortifications, now a park, and watched a game of bowls. And enjoyed a lovely view of the city.
Then once back down the hill, we paused for a pick-me-up at a café alongside the Limmat River, people-watched and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.
We took the recommendation of our morning tour guide and stopped for supper at Zeughauskeller, a classic hofbrauhaus with giant beer mugs. I enjoyed a slightly smaller mug of the house beer, or maybe two, and the most excellent zwillig sausage and rosti – a large potato pancake. Followed by a delicious chocolate soufflé.
A short twenty-minute tram ride on the #4, not the #2 as shown here, took us back to the hotel. A fabulous start to our adventure.