Visiting Zurich: Day One

I've had some house guests over the weekend -- friends of mine I've known since my university days -- and having spent a very enjoyable few days around Zurich I thought I'd chronicle some of what we got up to. Partly to prepare other friends who might be considering the same trip, and partly as suggestions to you, dear reader, for things you might want to do when you're in Zurich.

J and P's flight arrived mid-afternoon, and after clearing customs we had perhaps a third of the day left. Zurich Airport is easy to navigate, and I'd already purchased a pair of 72 hour ZurichCARD travel passes for them while I was waiting, which covered all the places we were likely to go, so we didn't need to spend any extra time hanging around the airport.

The trains to the Hauptbahnhof are always a pleasant contrast to the Heathrow experience, where you would spend 40+ minutes on a clanking, bumpy Picadilly line underground train, as compared to the 10 minutes in relative comfort that it takes here. A quick snack stop at Nordsee was in order -- that's the only problem with flying to Zurich over lunch; the flight leaves too early to have a decent lunch at the airport, and the food on the plane is never that great so you arrive feeling decidedly peckish -- then back to my place to freshen up.

Newly invigorated we headed back in to Zurich for a stroll down the Bahnhofstrasse. P was on a mission to track down a copy of the Swiss Constitution (it's best not to ask), and we discovered the next best thing, the Swiss Civil Code, on the top floor at the back of Orell F├╝ssli. Rather surprisingly it was free.

The walk down Bahnhofstrasse also gave us the opportunity to admire the oversized plant pots in evidence as part of Garten City, and to point out my favourite jewellers, CHRIST (so called, I believe, as that's what you mutter under your breath when you see the prices).

Making it down to the end of Bahnhofstrasse we stopped to admire the view over the lake and off to the Alps, before deciding that dinner was a good idea. So from there to the Zeughauskeller for something approaching traditional Swiss food. To wit, sausages, potatoes, and bread. And quite a nice bottle of wine.

I'd been to the ZHK before, but hadn't really paid that much attention to the all the army memorabilia that's dotted around the place (although the signs near the entrance that say "Warning: No smoking, live grenades" are quite eye-catching). As I was to discover the following day the ZHK used to be an army munitions store, which explains the decor.

The evening was still a little young, so we meandered over to the east side of the Limmat and in to Barrique. I'd been in here earlier in the week, selflessly helping celebrate some birthdays, and it's a pleasant enough place to spend a bit of time. And drink a glass or two of wine, which is what we did.

And then home, because tomorrow was going to be a busy day...

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