Travel Anecdotes – Zurich in 4 Days

No Swiss Neutrality

I confess – upon arrival to Zurich this autumn, I had no real passion, impression or interest in Zurich. As far as I was concerned, I was there to see a good friend and the city was an irrelevant backdrop. I was sadly still a little underwhelmed with my year in Geneva and my short visit to Zurich back then spoke to me of a provincial perfection I could never really understand. Essentially, I concluded 10 years ago that I would not have a true bond with Switzerland, much as I wanted to.

Four days later, I left Zurich reformed into an avid lover of the Swiss. For anyone who has not been to Switzerland and are contemplating between either the humanitarian capital of Geneva or the financial mecca of Zurich, I would now, uncharacteristically suggest the financial mecca. I came away thinking she was a wonderful contradiction of order and warmth, of European rustics with an impressive cosmopolitan edge. She is probably the poster-child of Western Europe (let’s not include the Scandinavian models in the mix) – comely, tidy, tranquil but surprisingly hospitable to foreigners and global in her outlook.

FLUNTERN

I did not take on a hotel or an airbnb but stayed at my friend’s place, which was a treat. She lives in the upmarket district of Fluntern, which I experienced to be a really beautiful, perfectly eclectic collection of both classic Swiss and modern minimalistic villas arranged in a flawless order of crisp streets where only luxury German made automobiles drove past and parked on. The first day we walked from her place to Falkenstrasse which took about half an hour. Going downhill is a breeze but hiking back would be best if you are already very fit or are looking to upgrade your cardio. We took the tram. Here are some snapshots of the journey.

41808223_280740092543786_9048919609276628992_n
Villa in Fluntern
41804885_1585559604883371_5881811786063151104_n
More Fluntern architecture

 

SIGHTSEEING

I did not go for classic sight-seeing but rather walked for hours and hours, at least in two of the four days I was there. Here are some of our visual footnotes..

 

Lake Zurich

41772127_239340510090008_792057209935626240_n.jpg
Lake Zurich
41992077_922174414838529_8663919385108283392_n
Lake Zurich sailboats galore
41786632_1871618682885502_7701484404543062016_n
Lake Zurich’s swan families
41788447_340056150065143_6227072086590881792_n.jpg
Lake Zurich’s pristine water

 

Limmat River

41803765_377919189418054_514780976073670656_n

41922160_710437309309616_7671145833600909312_n
View of the River from a rooftop square..

41990941_326595838109117_1588940584427454464_n

41816458_600094267059585_5966884084490698752_n
Limit River’s stunning colour

Grossmunsterplatz Church

41781977_1990581897686136_7354845170405212160_n

Delectable side streets, classical villas and boulevards

41768497_569551166880925_2517605083252785152_n
Lovely motifs on window structures and blue and red wooden shutters
41804354_2157584431167064_1107495791590637568_n
Swiss shutters and intricate ventilation on the base of the wall
41803394_462114424276389_258283501931986944_n
Swiss wooden shutters in pastels..
41806112_1365872543546077_4369861939275235328_n
Classic entrance of a home nestled in a side street
41869803_464012204087354_9179029115158659072_n
Impressive villa not far from the China gardens near Lake Zurich
41961977_1029332243921653_2034493306234208256_n
Super clean alleyways
41824777_2147796491899350_922109889105362944_n
Boulevard by Zurich Lake

 

Pretty Food displays

41861669_317328579073653_4336125396366917632_n
Little quiches at the train station

41788146_340066056559226_1521445383824211968_n41794925_1982607928705769_2488503162244169728_n

 

 

More Swiss quintessentials 

 

41758854_262802197685427_3483216887918100480_n
By the Grossmunsterplatz church. No idea whether this is a natural situation or someone somewhere parked a yellow bicycle to contrast beautifully with the blue shutters at the background. 
41809286_527053877740055_5481742909654958080_n
 Flying bird, sailing boat on Lake Zurich on a warm autumn’s afternoon

41765475_1041275346046341_5527078149185077248_n

 Again not sure whether this is natural or Swisscom wanted to present an Instagram friendly aesthetic

EATING

The first spark of intrigue I had with the idea of moving to Switzerland was when I sampled her vegetarian restaurants. I have never experienced anything quite like the vegetarian options in Zurich. My friend introduced me to 2 of her favourites which obviously became 2 of mine as well. The concept is basically to offer (or dazzle) you with a wealth of deeply scrumptious vegetarian options that is prepared with all the love and affection of a non-vegetarian menu (instead of always experiencing the vegetarian menu as a limited and side option to a mainstream menu). Cous cou, tandoori quorn, Thai noodle with eggs, spinach mousse you name it it’s there. Hot options, cold options and delightful deserts. When I first went there I pretty much heaped my plate before I could even walk down one side of the aisle. My friend tried to calm me down, explaining that I would pay according to the weight of my plate. That obviously helped me in curbing my greed but only marginally. The food is extraordinarily good – if you are a vegetarian then its unmissable and even if you are not, I would say it’s worth trying out.

 

Tibits

Tibits was my first foray and these were the options I took. I thought the aubergine and the curry tofu was especially delicious. It is located on Falkenstrasse which is not far from the lake.

41808250_249882639003819_2039892363593121792_n.jpg
Tibits at Falkenstrasse

41848462_2185001761824182_7002592147723517952_n41815207_1871169599639424_9177278486488809472_n

41938997_1836244546496991_858176015254421504_n
My Tibits joy

 

Hiltl

Hiltl is supposed to be the bigger deal when it comes to vegetarian cuisine here. It was bigger than Tibits with more options and by the looks of its Saturday crowd, clearly ver popular. It’s difficult for me to pin point to any particular dish as I really loved all of it. I had quorn tandoori and Thai style egg noodle. It’s also interesting to note that Hiltl is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Switzerland (or the world?) opening its doors in 1898!

42045003_678519649200736_8900685599103516672_n.jpg

41810920_331171684296799_1098687560990851072_n

41763497_2141388649406503_3888463849912795136_n.jpg

 

 

Conditorei Peclard

We had coffee and cake here which was an achingly cute place at Napfgasse. Though service was not top notch (difficult to get anyone to come and serve us) the place was super dreamy and the sweet offerings were endless. Also pretty much in the cutest part of the old town so you get to walk and shop for ages around the area.

 

41991841_251985432171731_5340202120681357312_n
Conditorei Peclard Menu
41911054_1966220560105984_6684963261596565504_n
Conditorei Peclard Exterior
41913590_1900362350071511_3538973534879481856_n
Conditorei Peclard Cashier
41914590_1865539640196013_3512999093091696640_n
Conditorei Peclard Cookies

c

41810909_1021710988007139_7962648287637405696_n.jpg
Conditorei Peclard Chi Chi seating area

Grain

We also once had dinner here, a pub-gastro type of outfit. The grilled squid as a starter and vegetable burger as a main sent us home to a food coma. If the weather is good, choose to sit in its outdoor courtyard and soak in the atmosphere. This place is located at Zurichbergstrasse, you will need to get Tram 5, 6 from the city centre and alight directly in front of the restaurant.

41739941_1017929241720094_6263582057385951232_n

 

SHOPPING HOMEWARES

Einzelstück Homewares

Zurich even knew how to touch me in a way I wasn’t sure I could be touched anymore – with her house deco. It’s not that I was jaded but I thought I had seen what the world had to offer (totally misplaced arrogance of course given that I haven’t even explored large chunks of the world). But you know, I’d scoured through some popular markets in Europe, Turkey, South Asia, and South East Asia and I thought khalas! I’ve seen and done it, what else is there to know about vintage, retro and eclectic. Well, there’s room to continue being delighted clearly. The Einzelstuck store on Falkenstrasse specialized in quirky.

41801227_338295283414544_965486142512168960_n
Einzelstück  Vintage Home Design
41808168_1821061704608855_6270816478824497152_n.jpg
Einzelstück Kitsch and huge matchboxes made in England, apparently of very good quality too!
41820778_403601653509616_5686655249591304192_n
Einzelstück pencils with hidden messages… mine said ‘I’m surrounded by incompetence’

 

41853875_248150719203328_7419702414980153344_n
Einzelstück notebooks, cutely packaged
41832507_352665988713059_2768574612361969664_n
Einzelstück soaps, cutely packaged

 

Frohsinn

This is all about texture for me. Delectable fabrics as upholstery, leather bound trays and some luxurious bath products too. They also decked out the ambiance beautifully, making you want to linger and check every item out carefully even if you may need to save abut for shopping. For me it was like the designer version of Bangkoks’s Chatuchak Plaza where they keep all their homewares.

41758814_2162926283923343_2939880387985276928_n
Frohsinn gorgeous fabrics as sofa upholstery, rug and pouf
41799202_236151780409855_6815208411135737856_n
Frohsinn cushion covers
41780591_247351715969581_4736239777953611776_n
Frohsinn mirror
41889050_2139089953020651_1244704921362628608_n
Frohsinn leather bound trays and baskets
41804303_332319450837198_7100636226637529088_n
Frohsinn skincare

 

Final Words

Zurich is still Switzerland. It’s not the place to find spiritual elevation, or encounter people who will offer you access to their inner lives easily. But it has possibly the best that Western Europe can offer (classical architecture, stylish perfection in shopping, incredible curation of vegetarian food, heavenly chocolates and cakes, orderliness in everything) without the collateral damage that usually comes with it (overpopulation, ruthless city dwellers, dirty alleyways). I am already planning my return…

 

 

7 thoughts on “Travel Anecdotes – Zurich in 4 Days

  1. Nice blog and beautiful photos. It has been ages since I visited Zurich. We did transit there a couple years back, but it was not counted as we were not out from the airport. I shall look into flight now….. since plenty of budget airlines in europe:) thanks for sharing.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s