Monday, October 29, 2007


I fly with Swiss Air to Boston because it allows me to stay in Zurich for 8 hours on the way back. Just wanted to see what one of the 10 most livable cities in the world is like.

Going to the city center from the airport is extremely easy: it takes 11 minutes by train. When I bought a ticket to Zurich city center at the counter, I was told (before asking) which platform and what time the next train to the city center departs. The way back to the airport is also easy. Just need to find an airport mark on the list of train departures, which tells you which platform you should go. The signage at the city center station (Zurich HB) is also clear enough.

Lunch at Adler's Swiss Chuchi, a cheese fondue restaurant every travel guidebook appears to mention, is a mixed blessing. Fondue with cube tomatoes tastes certainly great. But the amount of cube tomatoes is tiny, and I end up just eating melted cheese topped on cubic bread. A bit boring. And very expensive: with a 500ml bottle of mineral water, it costs 30 Swiss franc or 20 euro. And I feel unhealthy as I didn't eat vegetables properly.

A stroll on Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich's counterpart of London's Bond Street, Tokyo's Omotesando, or Milan's Golden Rectangular, is for sure elegant. Unusual for such an expensive shopping street, the atmosphere is rather laid-back with trams going back and forth in the middle of the street. But at the end of the day the list of shops is the same: Gucci, Prada, Dior, Tod's, and so forth. Way too many bag and shoe shops, of course mostly for women. Boring.


Having latte macchiato (there's no "cafe latte") with creme brulee at a cafe by Confiserie Sprungli, Switzerland's most famous chocolatier, is truly refreshing though entering the coffee shop is slightly intimidating.

There are several nice views in the city, but overall central Zurich appears to be a place for the rich. Next time I should explore the area north-west of the Zurich HB station, the former industrial area transforming itself into a bohemian district.

Lake Zurich

A view from Munsterhof square

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