Round the world cities: Zürich


I'm soon to head off to live in Zürich for a few years, but just beforehand I got the chance to meet up with my team in person, which also meant spending a week in Switzerland! Unfortunately getting there is half the battle; I flew Sydney - Singapore - London - Zurich, about 28hr of flying, and arriving at ridiculous-o'clock which did have the nice side-effect of seeing a sunrise over London (above) and flying directly over Paris on the last leg.

The weather was amazing for the week - only one day of rain, the rest being clear, 25-30C days, so the two days of weekend I had were filled with exploring parts of the city. First up, my hotel was located just past the eastern side of the north tip of Lake Zurich, so I headed over the Qualbruke bridge and got my first sight of the 'old-town', apparently part of the really old settlements where the buildings look appropriately old european. The massive spires of Grossmünster and Fraumünster loomed large, plus the giant Lindt signage and clocktowers everywhere made me definitely feel in Switzerland.

Overall, definitely a nice place to visit, but it remains to be seen whether all the small things make it good to also live in. Walking down Bahnhofstrasse - the main retail walkway and closest equivalent to Pitt St / Rundle Mall that I mentioned here - I was impressed at how many names I saw that I recognised from Australia, were actually in their home country. Watches (IWC, Swatch, Rado, Rolex, ...), Banks (UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Bär, Zurich Kantonal, ...) and Desserts (Lindt, Nestlé, Mövenpick, ...) suggest that for a city with a population under 400k, it's good at promoting itself to an international audience. That said, it was hard to find food places for which it didn't feel like I should be parking my yacht before entering and ordering some gold-wrapped chocolate. But once you got away from the main center, things turned more into the narrow-street, pretty-architecture 'suburbia' that I like (see below). And of course, the geology of the place - mountains all around, eventually snowfields, rivers and lakes everywhere, ... was quite a novelty to me, to have it so close to a city center.

So Zürich as a city to visit was great - if you're ever nearby and can take a train to the Hauptbahnhof then amble down the Bahnhofstrasse to the lake, that's worth it alone. As for living, I guess I'll just have to find out over time... but definitely I'll take the chance to visit cities nearby (e.g. Paris) and add them to this series :)

Two other things to note - this was my first round-the-world-cities post using photos from my new proper camera (Nikon 5100), rather than my phone, so hopefully the look nicer in the full view! Additionally, for more details of the final permanent move, check out the related Federbaer in Switzerland blog.

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