Monday, August 08, 2005

Arriving in Zurich

Well we managed to touch down in Zurich this morning, jet lagged and all. It's hard to believe just 14 hours earlier we were on the ground in Vancouver and now we have arrived a day later lacking a full nights sleep, but we have made it to Switzerland.

Tip #1 - try to pick an air flight that leaves as late as possible in the day. We weren't tired at all so sleeping at 2pm in the afternoon just didn't work for us. However, once we finally arrived in Zurich, it was our bedtime and already 11am. 1 hour was just not enough sleep!

Tip #3 - If you already have Euros, you are able to use them anywhere in Switzerland. Just pay in Euros and your change will be given in Swiss Francs. It's easier than paying the penalty for the exchange rate and saves much hassles. Just be careful at small boutiques which might not want to figure out the exchange rates.

The signs in the Zurich airport were very clear on how to get to the train station. With that and me already knowing my way around, we quickly collected our luggage and bought 2 tickets into Zurich City.

Tip #2 - If you are going to Zurich for the day, you can buy a supplemental ticket which is good for at least 10 zones around the city. It will cost you slightly more, 2.80 CHF to go to Klotten. However, paying 7 CHF plus the 2.80CHF is well worth it since getting around via tram and bus is essential. You will have to go to the regional blue machines to get these tickets and not to the train ticket counter or machine.

Tip #4 - You can use that same day ticket you just bought to get a good city tour for free. Just stop by the Limmat river which is located left of the train station and dumps into the Lake of Zurich. The ride takes about 50 minutes and stops at various places along the way, just like a tram or bus stop. Pick any starting point, then just board, and sit back and relax.

Areas which the Boat Tour takes you to are along the Limmat River towards Old Town (Altstadt), then to the Lake of Zurich and across the lake and back. We stopped on the way back into Old Town and embarked there so that we could walk around and see the Grosse Munster Church, along with all of the teddy bears that can't be missed (or maybe should be).

For just 2 francs you can climb to the top and see the entire view of the city. We checked out Frau Munster as well which had very intricate stained glass and quite the site to see.

After our stroll in old town we went up to a park, the Limmat Park I think. It's overlooking the Limmat River and is a known hang out for the younger college crowd. This is another great vantage point of the city and quit close to Bannhofstrasse.

From the park, we walked along Bannhofstrasse which is known for its shopping. We endulged in some of the Sprungli burgers famous of Zurich and went to Coop where we found an incredible wine from the Valais region for about 12 CHF.

Trams 7 and 11 go through the Bannhofstrasse, next to the train station, heading up towards Staddlehoffenplatz where we were staying. Remember, all of this can be done using the all day ticket which will allow you much freedom for traveling to and from your hotel.

Below are a few of the photos from the day.

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