01 September 2014

A rainy day in Zurich

Despite rain in the weather forecast we woke up happy and ready to see Zurich. We headed down to the hotel dining room at 8am and we had a European style self-served breakfast.  The food selection included yogurt, croissants, 3 varieties of cereals (corn flakes, chocolate puffs, or granola).  There was also sliced bread you could toast, a variety of cheeses, cold cuts, and jams, hot drinks, and apple or orange juice.  The boys chose cereal but didn't like it served with the room temperature milk.  Since I didn't want them to start off the day hungry I made then grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate, that seemed to please them.  I on the other hand ate a croissant & strawberry yogurt.  The other guests in the cafeteria were from all over, judging by language and appearances there were from UK, Spain, India, west Africa, and china.   After breakfast we returned to the room for to rest for another hour. 
Today instead of take the $15 bus for 3 blocks, we decided to walk.  The walk was easy and cool and the street were Sunday-morning calm.  

We walked to the winterthur train station and I somehow figured out how to purchase the train pass to zurich's main train station. We were on the platform and within minutes were on the train to Zurich.  The ride lasted about 15 minutes.  We passed neighborhoods, farms, and warehouses.  
The main train station in Zurich was big and busy.  

At first we were turned around unsure of where to go.  Finally I remembered the Zurich city map Ladina (the hotel receptionist) gave me the previous day.  We sat down at a cafe for a while to use the WCs (bathrooms) and to look at the map.  Thankfully everything was in walking distance from where we were.  The only thing I was sure I wanted to do was a boat tour of lake Zurich.  

As soon as we left the cafe we headed to a park near the national museum and saw people waiting at a boat stop.  We decided to get in line too.  While waiting we saw this cool car and took pix with the museum ads.  The boat ride was free because it was included in the train pass.  From what I could tell, you purchase tickets for permission to pass through zones.  The passage includes all
Means for public transportation, including boat, but is only valid for 2-3 hours unless you buy a day pass.  

The boat ride lasted 50 minutes and was quick enjoyable.  The boat was very flat perhaps only 2 feet above the waters surface.  We passed under very low bridges that impossible to fit under dude was convinced that we were really in a submarine.

Once we got off the low-boat we walked to the old town in the drizzling rain.  It was getting cold and the rain was coming down harder by the minute.  I was definitely looking for a way for us to continue or exploration through the city without get wet.  We quickly hurried back to the main train station and as soon as we walked in I saw the tourist info station.  If anyone could point me in the right direction they could.  Before speaking to an agent I picked up post cards, SWISS chocolate, and a cute Swiss Army knife for me!  The tourist agent recommended that we take the #3 bus to the doldenhaus station, then get onto the doldenbahn train to dolden grand where we could look over Zurich and take pretty pictures.  So that is exactly what we did.  The tour continues but instead of walking we were in the city electric bus.
Zurich is truly swiss.  I didn't know what that mean until I had the chance to see it for myself.  In my travels around the world I often meet people from Switzerland, I often ask them "eres swiss aleman or swiss francais?" (Are you German swiss or French swiss, referring to the region and language that they are from in Switzerland).  From what I see that question, although relevant is not defining enough because Switzerland seems like the love child of a French mom and German dad.  I see the same order and calmness of Germany here, but the passion and affection of the French.  I sweet combo for a sweet land and culture.  I look forward to going to the French side someday to even further observe and reflect on their culture and customs. 

Once we got to the look -out point the rain was coming down hard.  The lookout was not as clear as I hoped it would be, perhaps because of the dreary weather and fog.  After exploring the area we followed signs that led us to a very upscale hotel. Yikes!  Unsure if we were guest or not the concierge offered us umbrellas and pointed in the direction of another over look.  This one was a little nicer but not mind blowing enough to stay in the rain! We returned the umbrella, returned to the main Zurich train station and headed back to winterthur. In
Winterthur the rain was coming down even harder.  I bought an umbrella for our walk home $16 CHF!!!  Please remind me to pack ponchos for our next trip. 
We walked home and hung out in the hotel watching Cartoon Network in German. 
Our last stop for the night was dinner at a nearby dinner, a stop at the gas station to buy snacks and lego cars, then back to bed early so we could wake up at 7am to catch our flight back home. 

Here are video clips of our rainy day in Zurich. 

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