This city is gorgeous. Cold as all get out, but beautiful. It was pouring rain on our arrival, which is not ideal for your first day in a new country. I have come to find that the weather can impact my opinion of a new place more than I ever thought possible. I mean it gets to us at home, when it's rainy and cold and overcast, you want to curl up with your person next to a fireplace and read a book, but when you're traveling, you can't do that. For one thing, my person is thousands of miles away, and for another, I only have 4 days in this beautiful city, and I refuse to miss anything on account of some cold rain. My point here is, day one was rough, because it was quite cold and gloomy, but we worked with what we had.
We took an Uber instead of walking, which I normally wouldn't have done except that I prefer to avoid being soaked to the bone. We headed into the hostel and unloaded our bags - have I mentioned my newfound hatred for stairs - before heading out into the city to grab something to eat. Little did we know, in order to eat food in this country you also need to be a freakin' millionaire with as much as they're charging you. We could not find anything close by - we were too tired to wander - that was under 20 CHF, except for a burger joint near our hostel, so we stopped their and sold our souls for a burger and fries that had absolutely nothing on In N Out. But it's fine. We walked around the city for awhile because it was gorgeous despite the weather, and then headed back to our hostel to sleep, because believe it or not, traveling all day is waaaay more tiring than seeing the sights all day.
After an actually decent amount of sleep, we headed to breakfast at the Äss bar - pronounced "ess" not "ass" @Christine - where they sell food at a lower cost because it was made the day before. They had me at "lower cost". We took our "yesterday" food down to the river and ate overlooking the beautiful bridge nearby and the current rushing beneath it. We proceeded to look for the plaza where a free walking tour was supposed to start at 11. We made it to the plaza. The tour had already started. We caught up with them soon after but quickly realized we would be better off creating our own walking tour because the guide spoke English with such a strong accent that it sounded like she was making an actual effort not to let us understand her. We soon departed from the group and made our way around the Altstadt, going into several Protestant churches and chocolate shops along the way - each equally important to understanding Swiss culture of course. We wandered around for quite awhile, stopping at a beautiful park upriver where we took lots of pictures because that's just the kind of girls we are. Eventually we made our way back to the hostel to stop at the grocery store nearby, because after serious consideration, it was decided that we would rather starve to death than spend the money it would cost to eat out in Zurich ever again. We cooked taco salad for dinner and made some pesto pasta just in case we were still hungry afterwards - we were not because I make some seriously delicious tacos - so we gave the pasta to a nice man who had just flown in from Tokyo and whose name I was unable to say therefore I will most certainly not attempt to pronounce it. Lol @ the idea of me learning Japanese btw. My brain doesn't work like that. Anyway, I skyped John for an hour or so before heading back to our dorm where the whole room was crowded around our beds talking, so we chatted for awhile and hit our socializing quota for the day before getting some much needed sleep.
We woke up ridiculously early the next morning because we knew we had a big day ahead of us, all of it involving a whole lot of walking and subway navigating and guesswork. We started off our morning with a trip to Uetliberg, a mountain about a 30 minute tram ride away with an incredible panoramic view of Zurich. At the top was a tower where you could climb even higher to get a better view, so after our sack lunch that we'd brought from the hostel (salads and salami with cream cheese and fruit - we were feeling healthy) we decided to climb up (yay stairs). We found out you had to pay two euros to get to the top, but it was only a machine and one of those big barred spin around door things - that's probably the technical term, you're welcome - so being the well raised poor college student (and alum - ew) that we are, we tried to cheat the system and go together. The door didn't work. Plus the judgement from fellow patrons was so real. LEAVE US ALONE DAMMIT WE ARE POOR. Anyway, the second time we tried one at a time, and it worked for Chrissy, but I had to pay another two just for myself to get in, so instead of saving ourselves two, we spent an extra two. Moral of the story is, if you're gonna cheat the system boys and girls, you have to be smarter than the machine. Literally. Anyway, the view was incredible and the walk back down was beautiful. The weather was even warm so we didn't need jackets, it was magical. We proceeded to take the super long tram back into the city to head to the ooooother side of town to find the two cable cars that would get us to the top of Zurichberg - berg means mountain, not sure whether or not I mentioned that. The cable cars were super neat because they were such a novelty, one of them even had an actual conductor instead of being automated! After a stop at our favorite market, Migros, for grapes and coffee (and chocolate but shhh) and another stop for wine, we headed back to the hostel to cook dinner. Dinner, by the way, was sautéed veggies and bratwurst over yummy looking twisty noodles - I wish I could talk like a chef to make that sound more impressive, but alas, I just cook the food. We actually made enough food to feed the entire hostel - I am my mother's daughter - so we gave the rest to the incredibly friendly hostel reception dude named Thomas so he could have leftovers for lunch. This was around the time we realized that our first bottle of wine - yes we bought two shut up - tasted an awful lot like sparkling cider, and after a quick look at the ingredients on the back, found out that we had been drinking children's wine. Like, Martinelli's. What a waste of carbs. So naturally we decided to go get another bottle of wine before the store closed because we couldn't just share one bottle, am I right? No? Just us? Okay. We brought our bottles downstairs to the lounge because wine goes incredibly well with socializing, and soon had a pretty good group going with lots of great conversation and even better people. That is, until the Peruvian joined in. Around 11, an old Peruvian man named Fernando joined our little party. He seemed cool until he had a few drinks, which was when we found out that he frequented this hostel and was a low functioning alcoholic. This became clear when he asked Chrissy and I if we wanted to live to be 300 and told us he spoke 78 languages. As badass as it sounds, considering he could barely maintain his native language, I have my doubts. Eventually he dampened the mood enough that it wasn't even fun to slag the jerk from LA who couldn't stop talking about himself long enough to learn anything about anyone else, so most of us headed to bed so that we could get up and get ready in the morning, because most of our dorm was leaving Zurich the next day.
We woke up on our last morning in Zurich in time to grab a sit down breakfast of coffee and a croissant, run to the Äss bar for snacks, and finish packing our bags - literally the worst ordeal of all time God I hate it so much it makes me want to only bring one outfit and wash it every night. It's fine. I'm fine. We walked to the train station because we finally figured out how to get there quickly - an important feat due to our heavy bags - and instead of riding without a ticket like I kind of wanted to to save money, actually bought tickets and hopped on the train. Yes I know what happens when you don't buy a ticket. Trust me. I know. Leave me alone. From there we arrived at the airpgort with plenty of time to spare, which was good because we had to walk all over the airport just to get checked in. Forgot to mention the small bit about how I woke up with is morning with the head cold of a life time and am incredibly excited to experience a sinus headache at high, pressurized altitudes. Anyway, we made it through security and it looks like our flight is delayed, but Spain here we come! <-- that exclamation point is all the enthusiasm I can muster considering how bad my face hurts. Chrissy thinks I may die. Wish me well.
Until next time lovelies (unless I die)!
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)