Visiting Zurich for a few days

Zürich (DE), Zurich (EN) or Zurique (PT). It was nice to be away, again, and hearing german in the streets, it was a really nice sensation of nostalgia and great moments.

That was my first time in Switzerland, not counting those two hours of transfer when I went to Athens, and it was great! Of course the reason that made me go to Switzerland was responsible for 80% of the experience, visiting a friend (João Moreno)!

View to the Lake Zurich
View to the Lake Zurich

To describe the trip in detail, I should start from Lisbon, it is still part of the trip itself. While at the airport, just before passing through the security and the X-Ray detector, I heard a familiar foreign language…, not German as you would expect, but GREEK! They are everywhere, it’s amazing! It was great to understand some words, I really should put more effort into studying more Greek before I forget the very few I still remember…

Then the flight itself, nothing new…, the same old stuff and the same gourmet menus (not because they are good, but because of its tiny quantity). After arriving…, COLD! I was breathing Central Europe and I really like it! I went to Zurich’s main station (Zürich Hauptbahnhof) and then I started my usually touristic route…, getting lost!

One of the main avenues, the Bahnhofstraße, is like the paradise for girls and hell for their boyfriends…, according to wikipedia, it is one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues! And yes, I recon that! Amazing for a walk when you don’t have money neither to buy a chocolate…, NOT! You can smell the luxuriously of that avenue, I got inside of one of those shops and immediately the shop employee looked at me with that arrogant look like if he was “X-Raying” me and detecting that I was there just to watch…, god, I felt like being accused of murder! It’s forbidden!!! That’s not my place, get out! Well.., he didn’t say anything and I didn’t get out. Just enjoyed the pleasure of being inside a store where I couldn’t afford anything…

Well, almost 6pm, time to meet João! I went to the nearest Startbucks, ordered a coffee and relaxed a little bit until his arrival! It is great to visit a friend wherever he is.

Next day…, I was on holidays, therefore I just let myself sleep until a bit late. The city center is not that big, and I had plenty of time to visit the most touristic places and also time to get lost again! That morning I tried to find out the way to João’s office, I went inside a music megastore and I spent a lot of time inside (duh), then I went for lunch with João and his co-workers! Amazing experience that I won’t describe here.

After lunch I went to the Lake Zurich, great walk though the riverside to the Chinese Garden (which was closed…), then it started to rain and I went back to the city center. It’s funny that I wrote on my notebook “Nothing of rain, so far” and a few minutes later started to rain… The whole riverside was painted in Autumn colors, all brown on the green grass, not my favorite season but certainly the golden one.

Returning to the city center, and close to 4pm, I went (again) to Startbucks…, one our later I decided to walk around a little bit more until it was time to meet with João. Our dinner was Bratwurst mit senf! According to João, the best in Switzerland, and it was really good! Not because of the sausage, but because of the mustard! It was so good and so spicy, it was hard to eat it without crying! I cried, but I ate that and I could repeat it again and again! Was really the best Bratwurst I have ever had! After that, we went home, I played on his flat mate’s piano. A chill out evening for a change, since I was on vacations nothing better than relaxing after a huge day walking around.

Visiting Zurich for a few days
Visiting Zurich for a few days

Third day in Zurich, once again…, I slept almost until lunch time…, don’t blame me… Since the two previous days I just walked around, this time I went straight to the Swiss National Museum, some cultural activity for a change. While inside the museum, I received an SMS from an American guy, a couchsurfer in town, well…, why not enjoying Zurich with another traveler

Before meeting with him I went searching for a cheap restaurant and, once again, I ended up eating sausage! While was eating, outside the café/bar, I saw a lot of music groups all dressed up with carnival costumes…, that was odd and interesting at the same time. Despite the lack of sound quality (some of them were totally out of tune…), it was great to see street performances even better when I thought I would get bored. After 2 days walking around, I didn’t know what else I could see in Zurich.

When I met Doug, the american couchsurfer, we went to those streets where the marching band guys were playing and of course we had to ask what was happening over there…, apparently it is something related with the Carnival, they have that day in November and then they come back in February…, I didn’t understand properly but I am glad they did it because that improved a lot my day!

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If my day wasn’t strange enough, we went to the highway entrance, Doug is a hitch hiker and he is heading to Thailand…, what an adventure! He had to find out the best place to get a ride, then we returned to the city center to walk around a little bit more and waiting to see the Christmas lights that didn’t turn on that week. What a shame…

Fourth day, and even more relaxed day! Quite rainy though, but we had some fun. João took the day off (thanks Johnny!!) and we walked a little bit through the city, we went to ETH to see it from inside (guided tour with João) and rain, rain, rain…

After that, we decided to go home, cod-fish for dinner to prepare (I brought it from Portugal) and while we waited we saw a movie at home. As I said, quite relaxed holidays. I was needing something like that. At night, cod-fish dinner with spinach and potato (João, I beg you for that recipe!!!) Finally I met with Rita, the other Portuguese girl in Zurich. We ended that night playing games at João’s place, some of them quite silly.

At least but not last, the fifth day in Zurich! We started with a brunch, a full brunch! And after that, we played Mahjong with those bamboo tiles! Not the computer game version, but the real Mahjong game with simplified rules! It is almost like poker, but with a lot of tiles and quite complex (I think I’ll buy a Mahjong set!).

Mahjong Bambu Tiles
Mahjong Bambu Tiles

After that, we went out again to ETH, but with good weather! From there we could see the whole city with a great view! There we met with a friend of João, Benny, and we went to ICE SKATING!!! I felt like if I was a kid again! It was LEGEN – wait for it, wait for it – DARY! We also drunk Glühwein! Which is great, because after that we skated a little bit more! Well, maybe the best night ever! And more still to come!

That night was also the Fondue night, my first fondue meal ever! I just love cheese, so I was expecting something delicious, and it was! At first the taste was quite strange for me, maybe because of the alcohol, but after a few pieces of bread with cheese I just ate like an animal! Looking forward to do it again, maybe next time I’ll be the host! Once again, after the meal was time for more games! Always learning new games, which is great! I hope I still remember how to play it…

And finally, now for last, my last hours in Zurich and my returning to Portugal… And yes, I am depressing now…, nothing much to write about it, the only thing worth to tell is that, after several days in Switzerland, I was forced to speak in German! At the train station, the guy only speaks French and German! Asking for an one-way train ticket to the airport in German is easy, but well…, I am lazy. It was fun, though.

Now, back to Portugal…, looking forward for my next trip and hopefully new city and country!


By Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

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