Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunny Zürich


A hundred years agothere were eight different subspecies of tigers with nearly 100,000 tigers living in the wild on the planet. Today there are only five subspecies left and there are fewer than 5,000 tigers in the world.

Zoologists worldwide agree that the toughest, meanest Tiger subspecies still alive today roam the rugged country in the southern part of the Swiss canton of Bern.

Though only about 80 of these Tigers are known to exist, they continue to hunt fearlessly while actually growing in numbers near the city of Thun.

Blue Angel

Because the U-19 practices are now held in the snowy outdoors on Mondays, I am now really enjoying "Travel Tuesdays!" I debated which of Switzerland's last two big cities to visit, Geneva to the southwest or Zürich to the northeast.

I decided to let fate be the hunter. I would walk to the Thun Bahnhof and jump on the first train leaving to either city.

Eight minutes later I was on my way to Zürich.

The Blue Angel hangs over the entry to the Zürich Bahnhof's Tourist Information Center, always my first stop in any new city.

Now, most would say that I should have called Dave Richey, the coach of the Zürich Renegades who play in the Swiss Division I League (NLA). I have spoken with Dave via the phone thanks to EuroPlayers.com's Roger Kelly. Roger knows us both and wants us to meet while we are both living in Switzerland.

I opted not to call Dave because I know my own habits too well. The first time that I visit a city or historical/natural sight of interest, I become the consumate tourist taking in everything that I can and even taking a picture or two. On a second visit, I am much more easy going, thus I decided that I would try to get together with Dave on my next visit to "Switzerland's Most Livable City."

At least that is how a constant ad on CNN keeps characterizing Zürich.

Alfred Escher
"The Father of Swiss Transportation"

Escher was the man in the late 19th Century who created the infrastructure that would connect the Swiss to each other in this rugged country as well as to the rest of Europe.

My first stop would be at Zürich's top ranked museum which was located on the other side of this entrance to the Zürich Bahnhof.

The Swiss National Museum

Entryway to Everything Swiss

This museum covered everything that has happened in Switzerland from the pre-historic era to the present.

Zürich was first a Roman outpost called Turicum before becomming a key trading center as Germanic tribes started their rule in the area in about 400 A.D.

Speaking of A.D., as opposed to C.E., did you know that . . .

Jesus Christ may have been Swiss?

This shocking development ranks right up their with "The Da Vinci Code" if you ask me. Christians worldwide may be rocked by this information.


Memories like this one from my many museum visits are why I turned my Nikon D3000 camera in to security without any protest at the FC Thun game last Sunday!

The Swiss: Neutral but TOUGH ON CRIME!!!

Five Foot High Cowbells

No one was asking for more cowbell in this museum.

For Fatherland and Honor

Mega Alphorn

No frills bobsled

Red and Green

This is what happens when you dress in the dark.

Or maybe it was Christmas.

Looking Good!

The feather is a nice accessory.

Old School Cross Bow

High-Tech Cross Bow

Either way, I would like to fire off a few arrows before I go home to California.

Wood Burning Room Heater

I love these huge ornate ceramic heaters that were common in castles and manorhouses back in the day. The servants would stoke them via passageways in the walls so that their masters were not bothered by their presence.

Thus the saying, "Careful, the walls have ears."

Isn't that the Thun Battlestar on the shield?

I like a colorful ceiling too

Fish Motif Sled

The museum took up about two hours of my time but offered several good insights into Swiss history and culture as advertised.

Now it was time to start my Rick Steves' walking tour of Zürich by strolling down the mile long Bahnhofstrasse which showcases many high end shops and stores as it meanders down to the shores of Lake Zürich.

Läderach Chocolatier Suisse

I had walked about a half block when I was assaulted by the sights and incredible aromas of this fine establishment.

It tasted even better than it looked or smelled, if that is possible.

And, so good for me too!

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

He championed the concept of education for all Swiss children, not just for the offspring of the well heeled.

One Seater Car

PERFECT, I have slowly gotten around to the idea that the Smart Car is way to big and bulky!

Smoke Break

Enjoying the weather by the Limmat River

I know that Zürich is a 90 minute train ride from Thun, but it was snowing last night at practice!

"Goethe Slept Here"

I am starting to believe that the famous German writer Goethe may have slept in Helvetica.

Cabaret Voltaire

In 1916, during World War I, the anti-war, anti-established art Dada Art Movement started right here in this very cabaret.

Selling "Merchandise from the Colonies"

Another visual and aromatic feast awaited me inside.

Dried fruits from exotic Kalifornia

I went with dried bananas from the Phillippines and apples from a highly secret and unspoken land. I did not buy anything from Kalifornia, too rich for my blood.

And, so good for me too!

Conditorei Schober

What would it be for my mid-afternoon snack?

How about hot chocolate and an apple strudel?

The apple strudel, with the required vanilla sauce, was the best I have ever had anywhere, PERIOD.

For the price, it darn well should have been!

And, so good for me too!

Time to visit some churches

Ulrich Zwingli was a super hardcore leader of Swiss Reformation against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. He founded what is now known as the Evangelical reformed Church of Switzerland.

Zwingli preached in Zürich from 1519 to 1531.

The Grossmünster

Located on the Zwingliplatz, this is the church where Zwingli sparked his Swiss Reformation Movement.

It is starting to get late

Hermés and the Lady in Red


Wait, what is that behind me? Why, it is the a café called Sprüngli famous for their . . .

Luxemburgerli Macarons

Shaped like tiny hamgurgers, they are little cream filled, one inch macaron-meringue hamburgers.

I bought a dozen assorted Luxemburgerlis including ones with a Bailey's flavor.

And, so good for me too!

Lake Shore Ferris Wheel

It was after 5:00 p.m. (17:00) and I had a decision to make, dinner in Zürich or back in Thun?

I said to myself, "Eat here, you can still eat again in Thun later."

Hey, now this looks like a possibility

A quesadilla sounded GREAT!

Oh, quesadillas cost between 28.50 and 35.50 Swiss Francs, that equals $31.19 to $38.85 USD.

I passed and had a delicious veal brautwurst and an apple juice for only 9.50 Swiss Francs at the Traiteur O. Zgraggen Metzgerei in Zürich's fascinating old town, the Niederdorf.

And, so good for me too!

O.K., lets take a little look at the interesting sights that Zürich has to offer.

Cool bay windows like these two . . .


A bit plainer

Lots of steeples

Colorful Buildings

Spring Flowers

Delicious Croissants

And, so good for me too!

Fancy Entryways



Sculpture work is all over the city.

Four Pack?

How did he do that?


No, I mean are you REALLY hungry?

I know this look . . .

And I know this feeling

What I need is a . . .

Never mind, I found it

Pastel Buildings in the Niederdorf


Zürich is also known for their fountains.

Parisian style drinking fountain

This Mongolian couple had a hard time figuring out the purpose of this wonderous green edifice.

Why be simple when you can be interesting?

Birds need water too

The University of Zürich

It is the big building in the background and is Switzerland's biggest with 25,000 students.

From here, I walked up some stairs to a hilltop park called the Lindenhof where the Romans first recognized its strategic importance and built a fortress with a commanding view of the city. This area remained a fortress area until the days of Charlemagne.

In 1292 A.D., with the men of Zürich engaged in another battle, the Hapsburgs circled the city, ready to attack. The women put on armor and made as much of a commotion as possible to make the siege minded army think that the city was ready to attack them.

It worked and the Hapsburg army retreated, thus on the Lindenhof you will see this statue . . .

To Honor the Brave Women of Zürich

When Zürich became a free city in the 13th Century, a law passed forbidding any more building of military camps on the Lindenhof and it is a very nice park to this day with good views of the city across the Limmat River.

Fellow Tourists at Lindenhof Park

The view from Lindenhof Park

The Limmat River flowing into Lake Zürich

I just liked the color

Skiffs on the Limmat River

Lake Zürich Lakefront

Big Time Chess in Lindenhof Park

Two games were in progress.


Clear your mind and think at least two moves ahead.

This guy looks wily to me

Lindenhof Park's #1 Chess Kibitzer

The Gnome Knows

The Niederdorf's narrow streets at dusk

I loved this old part of Zürich

Travel Store in the Niederdorf

Shouldn't that map's title be spelled with a "K"?

It had been a very full day in a very beautiful city but now it was time to head back to Thun.

Statues atop the Zürich Bahnhof

The woman in the middle is Helveta, the personification of Switzerland. On her right is a goddess sitting on a train, on her left is another goddess recling on a boat. Zürich is a major transportation hub you know.

I've got to get pet dragons
for Kevin and Jacob

Zürich is a great city that is a must see stop if you are traveling this way in my opinion. I plan to return a few more times for sure.

Reading is FUNdamental

An incredibly viscious gang, beheadings, Washington D.C. and Africa . . . lots of action in this thriller that was well worth the read. James Patterson has yet to disappoint me with his well written work.


Laurie said...

Beautiful! Thanks!

steveswindle said...

Good to know that you are eating in such a healthy manner. Isn't it great how all the wonderful Swiss food is so good for you?

David said...

I guess the salads of Zurich lived to see another day.

George said...

Define the word "salad," I am somewhat unfamiliar with the term.