The evening before gave us lessons in gastronomy prices even in the University district. You would think students, being of limited income, would be surrounded by low-cost dining options. Not so. Two lovely cafe’s we found, while filled with delectable choices, were not for the faint of heart, financially speaking. This morning’s breakfast turned into a 32 Euro decision that also made another decision…look for the grocery store.
Off to the tram and down to the Bahnhofstrasse. Luckily for us the tram was about 50 steps from our hotel front door and provided no challenges. As much as 8.60 Euro might seem (per person), it is good for an entire 24 hours. This means it’s also good for us when we leave tomorrow for the train station.
It takes about 12 minutes to get to the famous monetary graveyard (many Euro’s are left here). Best of all, it also happens to be directly across the street from the train station. Good knowledge for determining just how early will we have to get up to catch our train.
We spent a very leisurely morning walking down the entire 1.2 km of fashion iconography. Shops that are known throughout the world are there. Some, with their locked glass doors, have impeccably dressed gentlemen waiting to allow you to enter. But also seem just aloof enough to discretely suggest if you aren’t dressed well enough to begin with…well…maybe you should just go to H&M instead. Other displays give nary thought to stunning you, not only with their bling, but also their mind-numbing price-tags. Your wallet needs to be appropriately thin to enter these domains. It should be just big enough to carry I.D and your Black American Express.
Now we are at the waterfront. Not exactly what I had been anticipating but neither was I truly aware that Zurich is located right on Lake Zurich. It’s been around for approximately 14 to 18 million years, so I wonder how I missed it. The main part of the lake is almost 29 km long and 3.85 km wide (maximum). In some places it plunges to a depth of 143 m. It was decided that a short round trip was in order. This would take about 1.5 hours and would go up the lake about 1/3 of the way along one side and return down the other. With its numerous stops, it was interesting to note that there are so many small towns and villages along the way, it has the appearance of being just one long continuation of Zurich itself.
Our return was about 1 pm and put us near a grocery store (COOP in case you’re ever there but not related to what we know back home). Although not the best time to go shopping for food (given we haven’t eaten since breakfast), we thought it wise to get lunch, dinner and something for breakfast on the train tomorrow morning. That entire bill came to about 28 Euros. Much more inline. Not knowing what was really available when we entered and certainly not knowing where anything was, the better part of an hour was spent discovering. When we left we found a place to sit, enjoy our lunch, and hone our people-watching skills (a talent much used in Europe).
Digestion seemed in order so we once again employed Shanks Pony and hit the streets. Zurich is old…really old. It can easily date itself back to 15 BC when it was but a small Roman settlement. But there have been artifacts found going back over 6000 years. Its relatively small size (the city proper is about 400,000 and urban surroundings bring it up to about 1.8 million) still makes it the largest city in Switzerland. Meandering our way down the Limmat River we travel through Altstadt (Old Town). Both sides of the river are bustling with fashion, food, bling and technology. Old town it may be, but there is little ‘old’ in the window dressings. Oh yeah…don’t let me forget about the watches. On any block, on any street downtown, there are easily 4 -5 stores selling watches. Names you know and hundreds you have never heard of. 10 Euro specials to specialities that will tighten your sphincter. You need a watch? Not enough choice at home? Nothing expensive enough? Come to Switzerland.
The day is cooling off and getting later. Our travels find us back at the train station where we make sure we know which track to be at in the morning. Our train leaves at 7:16 (and they don’t mean 7:17). The Swiss seem to have a thing about time.
Back to our room, set the alarm for the most unreasonable (for being on a holiday) hour of 5:45, read a little and lights out. Another travel day comes soon.