I’m taking a brief posting break from Paris to talk about our quick trip to Zurich!
Hotel Uto Kulm, Top of Zurich, 8143 Uetliberg ZH – www.uetliberg.ch
The fact that ‘Top of Zurich’ is part of the address says it all. We caught a train straight from the main station to the near top of a mountain. After a ten minute hike to the top, we had reached the Hotel, as well as a view of the entire city—from Lake Zurich, to the countryside.
Gorgeous. GO. End of Story.
The lake is of course salt free and very clean (and only a bit chilly!). The view itself is breathtaking and the water is crystal clear. I recommend packing a lunch since there are a bunch of parks and benches that surround the lake.
There is also free bike rental with a 20 frank security deposit. We tried to rent bikes, but all the rentals were closed due to….
It just so happens that while we were in Zurich (mind you we were only there for a total of 40 hours), there was a HUMONGOUS parade that had about a million people from around the world walking a few miles with ferries and party buses slowly dancing through the streets of Zurich in outrageous and beautiful costumes.
I’m not really sure what this thing is…a unitard that covers the face..? Either way I saw at least twenty different people wearing these in different colors/patterns and I honestly have no idea how they did not die of heatstroke, exhaustion, dehydration, etc.
One of the things I liked most about this parade was that even though it seemed like a rave that was just outdoors, FREE, and during the day, I saw a bunch of families and children running around in cute costumes.
I wish these pictures did this parade justice, but unfortunately they don’t because I didn’t feel like carrying my camera around for most of the parade. When in doubt, Google images shouldn’t fail to represent this parade.
Breakdown of the delicious food:
– Mustard: It’s served with all table bread and is usually served with pretty much everything else…and it is amazing. All of the mustards I tried were different, yet all equally delicious.
– Pretzels/Pretzel bread: fresh, soft, and shocker…goes great with mustard! everyone speaks English
– Sausage (for the meat eaters): I personally can’t attest to this, but my sister had the sausage a few times and thought it was very tasty (when in doubt, just put mustard on it).
– Chocolate: Holy God. Yes. Yes. Yes. There is a very popular chocolate store throughout Zurich called Sprüngli
Surprises in Zurich
There was one unpleasant surprise of Zurich and that was how unbelievably expensive everything was. Swiss franks are actually cheaper than the euro and only slightly more expensive than the dollar—hence our surprise when we were unable to find a meal for dinner that was less than 25 franks. Whiskey sours at the bar were 17.50 franks (almost a $20 drink). We also weren’t in any tourist spots that would have jacked up the prices for a newbie’s expense—my sister had a work friend who has lived in Zurich most of his life that was taking us to his favorite local spots. It was such a burn, and we were feeling the pain in our wallets. However, we tried to make the best of it and decided to cook dinner the next night and buy our own alcohol. We were very lucky that we also did not need to pay for a hotel since we stayed with our Swiss friend. In case the dinner/whiskey sour analogy isn’t getting through to you, right before our train left from Zurich to Milan, my sister quickly bought breakfast at a small American café called ‘Blueberry’. For a bagel and a small coffee, the meal was 14 franks (aka $15!!!). Get outta here!
Another surprise being that the language of Zurich is almost entirely Swiss-German since it is in the northern region of Switzerland. I am extremely grateful that we knew someone who understand Swiss-German and also that everyone in Zurich was very helpful and fluent in English because we could not understand a single sign throughout the city. Train stops, tickets, bus routes—if it was written, we were lost beyond reason. So, when in Zurich, make sure you ask questions whenever you’re unsure! Also, keep in mind that all the trains, trams, and buses stop running after 12:30 pm..so if you plan to really party (…until 4 am) make sure you save some cash for a cab or plan your walking route home.
Next few posts will go back to Paris and the on to Cinque Terre..