“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey
My first time in Europe and I get to stay in Zurich, Switzerland. — Zurich is the leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centres, home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants like UBS and Credit Suisse has a lot of presence there. Not just the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe.The official language is German.
For someone who travels, I hate packing, flying, and most especially turbulence but after experiencing the Singapore Airlines’ A380 the latter was not a problem. This Superjumbo, double-deck, wide body, four-engine jetliner is the largest passenger airplane in the world. Many airports had to modify to accommodate it. I was so amazed because for a 12-hour flight the only time the fasten seat belt sign was lit was when we took off and landed. There was no turbulence in between it was so smooth all throughout, this is definitely flying at its best.
The Hauptbahnhof and Landesmuseum
As soon as we landed and checked in at Holiday Inn we immediately went out and check out the town. We are so excited to see the day to day activities of the locals so we head off immediately to Bahnhofstrasse, which runs from the Zürich Train Main station “Hauptbahnhof” right down to the lake. Bahnhofsstrasse is famous for being one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping streets in the world. We were amazed with what we saw, the town’s landscape, those clock towers, and building was amazing and the people are bustling. The absence of skyscrapers make the sky more clear, Europe draws the lower limit of a skyscraper at 150 metres The climate is not at all freezing though its autumn we can still wear tees on midday.
Apart from the shopping districts, we visited the Swiss National Museum or Landesmuseum one of the most important art museums of cultural history in Europe and the world. There are rich section with gothic art, chivalry and a comprehensive collection of liturgical wooden sculptures, panel paintings and carved altars
We got invited to a Raclette dinner by my friend’s colleague, Raclette is Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scraping (“racler”) off the melted part. The term derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape”. Traditionally, it was accompanied by small firm potatoes, mushroom, onions and cubes of meat. I was hungry but I actually enjoyed the cheese and bread and though there’s an absence of rice it was all filling. I also enjoyed the dinner discussions as we are being entertained by French folks and a German colleague who functioned as a medium and translated everything in English for us and vice versa. Before the night was over, I learned how to do a proper faire la bise – a French gesture of exchange kisses on alternating cheeks upon meeting and separating. The number of kisses and the side that the kisses start on vary by region but our host, a very nice mademoiselle from Normandy, France told us the proper way should be 4 kisses are exchanged.
I think this is the memorable tour I had in Zurich, having beer and chicken on the top of the boat while cruising around the lake. I love the scenery, the swans swimming lazily and the houses enclosing the lake made me felt that Asia was so far away. The long, narrow Lake Zürich stretches from the centre of Zürich along a nearly perfect 40-km arc to the southeast. The lake’s water, originating from mountain glaciers, is used (after purification) as Zürich’s drinking water. The house near the lake was so awe-inspiring, I felt a pang of envy just looking at these houses, It has the lake for its backyard and the garage has boats instead of cars.
I really enjoyed my almost 2 weeks in Zurich. While I was there I was thinking of a keepsake for myself that will always remind of this trip. I was thinking of taking a Swiss army knife home but the idea of losing it after sometime clings in my head. So I reckoned since I’m in Switzerland and apart from cheese they are famous for clocks– Swiss-made clocks are still well-known for their quality and reliability, and intricate mechanics. Since I cannot afford a Rolex, yet. I settled for are true Swiss-made watch and that is Swatch – I know I’m 2 decades late for owning one and it’s one of those childhood deprivation itch that I longed to scratch. In fairness to my parents, when this brand was popular I never had one because I already had an expensive brand that is more appealing for older folks so I wore that until end of college, and by that time Swatch is passe.
Zurich is a great place to experience I can work and stay there given a chance. The transportation is convenient and apart from the pasta dishes and the cheese, I’m going to miss the 3 amigos Mexican restaurant in Oerlikon, Mr Wong that Chinese restaurant in Bahnofplatz, and accidentally we are just too hungry we ate at this oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe (since 1898) named HILTL. But most of all I will miss hearing the sound of the bell on the clock tower near our hotel, on the hour, by the hour… it never failed…