Monday, 10 August 2015

Switzerland travel diary: Zurich

On the 9th of June 2015, I embarked on a family vacation to the land of the mountains, Switzerland. We flew to Zurich from London Gatwick and the flight took approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. 

Fun fact: German is spoken by 69% of the Swiss population, 20% speak French, 10% Italian and 1% Rhaeto-Romanic. 

Swiss German is spoken in Zurich.

Mandatory plane shot: flying above the English Channel

Upon arrival at Zurich airport (known as Zurich Flughafen in German), we took a train down to Zurich HB which is the main train station in the city. The train ride took about 10 to 15 minutes with a few stops in between.

Railway tracks in Zurich HB

The train station was really busy and filled with both tourists and local people. 

This was taken outside Zurich HB where people would park their bicycles here and probably take a train to work.

Took this shot one street before Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich's main downtown street. According to Wikipedia, it is one of the world's most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues.

A bicycle parked in a narrow sloping alleyway in the Old Town (Altstadt) of Zurich.

We followed a free walking tour of Zurich and the tour guide explained that this clocktower can be seen from anywhere within the city which meant that being late due to not knowing the time was not a legitimate excuse!

The view from one of the bridges overlooking Limmat River. The two towers make up the Grossmünster church. It was a monastery church and originally, the towers were made of wood which were then destroyed in a fire. It was then replaced with a neo-Gothic influenced design (present one). The locals didn't like the design at first and according to the tour guide, they nicknamed the towers as 'salt and pepper dispensers'. 

The clocktower with the pointed roof is no other than the Fraumünster church. It is situated directly opposite the Grossmünster church. This church was a gift from Louis II to his daughter and at that time, this church was only open to women.

Inside the church, there are 5 stained glass designed by Marc Chagall. Each piece has a different dominant colour and depicts a Christian story. According to the tour guide, instead of signing his name on the stained glass to mark his work, Marc painted his face onto it.
Sadly, photo taking is not allowed inside.

The view from the Lindenhof hill. 

On the Lindenhof hill itself. 
It was a rather steep climb and I have to admit, by the time I got to the top I was out of breath.
Note to self: it's time to exercise more.

After the tour ended, we walked back to the Grossmünster church to explore the crypt and also, the tour guide mentioned that it was well worth to go up the tower of the church to get the whole view of Zurich. It was CHF 4 per entry but I had a student discount so it was CHF 2! 

The climb up was of 187 steps and were really steep, narrow, winding and dark. 

On the last few flights of stairs to the viewing area of the tower, I chanced upon this shot of a woman looking out the tower window.

The tower had 4 viewing 'stations' overlooking the city.

Ah Zurich, you make my heart sing.

I noticed that buildings in Switzerland in general had paintings on them. The tour guide pointed out that the paintings could show who lived in that building during the early years. 

Take this picture above as an example: the painting is of a shoemaker which meant that a shoemaker lived in this building before.

All fountains around the city had drinkable water!

Boat rides on Lake Zurich.

Zurich's public transportation system used trams instead of buses. We didn't have a chance to use them because everything was of walking distance.

Ending this post with a photo of my reflection on the hotel room's window.

Thanks for reading!
More photos of Zurich here
Stay tuned for the next post on Lucerne.

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