Saturday 18 August 2012

A weekend in Zurich - October 2011

Zurich is a short flight away from the big Smoke and I recently paid a visit for the weekend. I have to admit it wasn’t on my current list of places to go, but a friend’s recent relocation changed our minds. Normally, when you think of Switzerland, the first things that spring to mind are the snow-capped Alps, beautiful landscapes and delicious chocolate.  However, our guide book described it rather ominously as ‘hip and efficient’. Can you really describe a place like that?
 We spent the first day roaming the city, heading first down to the stunning Lake Zurich and meandering through the shops and Old Town. As suspected, the Swiss shopping experience is far more expensive than that of England, so asides from a necessary hat and scarf to keep warm from the cold; my purse stayed shut. We were however tempted by the Swiss cuisine and many a chocolate shop beckoned us in. Spingli was a firm favourite with an abundance of delicious treats on offer; truffles, macaroons, cakes, gateaux, I could go on. I was also really impressed with the quality of the Swiss food. Over the course of the weekend I sampled sausages, steak, fish and chips and even some cheese fondue and each tasted fantastic. Whilst the presentation was fairly pedestrian, the flavour and quality more than exceeded my expectations.
 After going to a few bars the night before, we decided to sample some Alpine air, in hopes that it would reduce our beer-induced hangovers. We ventured up Mt Uetliburg on the train and were met by panoramic views of the city and glimpses of mountains. It was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning and I rather envied the locals who could just pop up on the weekend.
I have to say I am still puzzled by the guidebook’s description. I suppose, after experiencing the Swiss rail system, you can certainly call Zurich efficient. I am however at a loss to why it is ‘hip. Perhaps I didn’t delve further enough into the nightlife….
I would absolutely recommend Zurich for a short getaway and would suggest you pack your walking boots and leave enough space to bring some chocolate home!

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