Our flight to Zurich was with American Airlines on one of their 767’s, and as we boarded the plane, I couldn't get over just how old this plane was. It came complete with the old-style video screens hanging from the center, the older-style latch doors for the overhead bins, and the headphone ports which you have to have the plug at just the right spot in order to hear in both ears at the same time. I almost half expected to find leftover ashes in the ashtray. Another downside to this aircraft was the lack of wifi, so your entertainment options were pretty limited.
So while the plane itself had its drawbacks, there was one great redeeming quality about this particular flight, and that was the presence of many empty seats. That meant that both Phillip and I were able to have our own row, which allowed us to be able to lay down, which made it a little bit easier to rest during the flight than it would have been if it were a full flight, so it was greatly appreciated, especially with our morning arrival to Zurich giving us a whole day to explore.
After a bit over 7 hours, we would arrive to Zurich International Airport, hopping on the subway from the airport into the city center of Zurich by way of the Zurich Main Station. There, we would find luggage lockers to store our bags for our time exploring the city.
Out of the station, we would circle around the Schweizerisches National Museum and Park Platzspitz. The area around the park offered great sights of the Limmat River, which flows from Lake Zurich at the South side of the city to the North. As we continued our walk, we would head to the South following along the river. As you head South to the lake, the river is lined with the classic buildings of Zurich, including those which were built multiple centuries ago. Much like other cities in the European continent, the river is a center of enjoying a beautiful day such as today for the walk, the cafes, and boating excursions.
At the mouth of the river and at the edge of the lake, there’s park space and docks that give visitors to ability to view the lake and the Alps in the distance. In some respects, this reminded me of home in the Pacific Northwest as there are areas in Seattle which offer you the ability to see the Cascade Mountains in the distance.
As we had arrived to the train station earlier in the day, we saw that there was a walking tour offered by the local visitor’s bureau office through Zurich’s Old Town. The tour would take us through the heart of Zurich with some passes of the river near where Phillip and I had walked earlier, but with more exploring of various streets and alleyways with a local guide.
Along with getting to learn about the various buildings of Zurich, and the history of the city, we had a moment at one of the riverfront cafes to try a beverage beverage that uses Zitronenmelisse (lemon balm) syrup, and is mixed with water. This syrup is also occasionally used as a mixer with alcohol.
As we got further into the tour, another highlight is getting to enjoy the views from a hilltop gathering place called Lindenhof, which had a great view of the river, the city center, and the Alps to the South.
Near the end of the tour, you’re taken into the older part of the city which includes a stop in a room that features a miniature model of the city from the past before it took its current form. The tour also took us to a building that had been where Vladimir Lenin had taken residence when he was in exile from Russia before the revolution that lead to the beginnings of the Soviet Union.
Upon completion of the tour, Phillip and I would go for a walk into the retail area of Zurich, and then find a stop for dinner before it was time to make our way to the hostel we had reserved right before our flight out of Philadelphia, which we were both more than ready for as it had been a long day. While it was a short visit, it was a great introduction to Zurich, and I definitely would love to come back and see more of this beautiful city.