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Published: November 1st 2019
It's really hard to get friends and family to come visit me in Dubai as it is a 13-16 hour flight and Americans typically only get 10, maybe 15, days of vacation each year. So, my sister and I decided to meet halfway in Switzerland. We brought another 'sister' who basically grew up with my younger sisters. So the three of us planned to spend a quiet week enjoying this mountainous country.
I arrived in Zurich first, almost two days ahead of time. Of course, I got an upgrade on Emirates..... but honestly, I was a bit disappointed in the service. I won't get into the details that would most likely make me come across as a total snob. I will say the thing that I found the most annoying was hearing two of the attendants talking about another woman, whether it was a passenger or fellow attendant, I'm not sure, but I heard one say, "she is driving me crazy" and the other agreeing - I found that very unprofessional. Oh, also, another passenger in front of me got an entire tray of preflight drinks (juice and champagne) dumped on her head and they gave her a hard time
about wanting to take a shower....
Anyway, my snobbiness aside, the airport is well run (of course) - took the train from the terminal, to customs, to the train platform to central Zurich. I was able to find my hotel, CitizenM, easily and it was just a 10 minute walk. I like this group - very basic, easy, and nice. I got my room and took a nice long nap. I was not too hungry, but I went downstairs to the bar to get a drink and a small bite. This was when I got my first indication of just how expensive things would be here. It was 20 euros for a small plate of (delicious) dumplings and 16 euros for a spritzer. That was my 'small' dinner. I decided to walk to a nearby grocery where I got a few drinks and a few other things to eat the next day: prosciutto and a fantastic pretzel bread.
I slept in, easy to do since it was rainy, and ate my bread and meat for breakfast. Then I decided to try out a small tour of the city despite the rain. I started at Kirche Fraumünster, an old
church with beautiful windows and paintings. I did not go inside - I think there was actually a wedding and, since it was Switzerland, it was probably expensive anyway.
I waited around the beautiful square in front until the nearby restaurant I researched opened. Zeughauskellar serves Swiss dishes in a 15th century former armory and it had good reviews. I walked in promptly at 11:30 and was a little surprised that all the tables had times on them, indicating they were reserved. Fortunately, the friendly host asked if I was able to be complete by 12:30 and since I could, he sat me at a large, round table all by my lonesome. I saw other tourists (mostly Chinese) also being seated a smaller tables nearby with slightly later timings. Fortunately, I had read the menu online and knew what I wanted. I ordered a pint of house beer, and then their vegetarian autumn harvest plate: vol-au-vent with mushroom ragout, spätzle, Brussel sprouts, red cabbage, glazed chestnuts and white wine poached pear with cranberries. Omg it was sooooo good! Expensive of course, but at least it was hearty.
I then continued my tour by visiting Grossemünster across the river
and the interesting statues in front. I wandered the back streets a bit then crossed another bridge which seemed to have some kind of market that was closing up. I tried to find some kind of archaeological remains of the old roman castle near the park in Lindenhof, but could not find any indication of it. I found the old heating lines the romans used for the bath houses - the history of it is pretty cool, but not much to see, you just walk down a passage and you're walking on top of it. Basically, they would stoke a fire below ground and had vents beneath the houses and baths for heating. Pretty cool. I saw St Peter's Church, which was quite lovely, before making my way back to my hotel for some more much needed sleep.
And that was pretty much Zurich for me in a nutshell. I got up early the next morning to meet my sisters at the airport. I checked out and walked back towards the train station. It was almost 7am and still pitch black, and it seemed like the party was just winding down as I saw so many guys hanging out
in front of bar entrances, homes, lots of taxis waiting. Very ... interesting!
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