Days 4 & 5: Zurich, Switzerland and Beauty for a Cost

A four-hour train ride separated Munich from Zurich. We arrived there just before lunch, when the morning was still a little cool and it was simply to roll out bags from the central station to our hotels. We stopped at the front desk to check in, and found an amazingly friendly and helpful desk clerk.

Checking our passports, he quickly noticed that my birthday had recently passed.  For no other reason, our room was upgraded to a  Suite and we were given two free drinks at the hotel bar. Good start. And our suite was impressive, including two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room and main entry, with robes and slippers included. Such places are hard for weary travelers to leave, but the new city and daylight beckoned.

Setting afoot, Zurich was quick to impress. We were close to the ‘old town,’ and walked that way immediately to find a pedestrian-only street completely alive with those hungry for lunch. Narrow streets paved with brick, lined with people and people noises, otherwise known as my kinda place. We settled on a pasta joint, which led quickly to an Aaron fit upon seeing the prices. Quickly, we learned this was normal in Zurich.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our pasta and returned to our feet to explore the rest of Old Town, including St. Peter’s Church, which had stained glass windows as I have never seen, and I say that after three days in Paris. They are different in style, at least some of them, with less of a traditional appearance and more of a Picasso-type feel.

From here, we took a cruise around the lake and then explored more on foot until our stomachs beckoned. Having come across an intriguing park, where older men played chess on giant boards and younger folks sipped wine while overlooking the city, we determined that we would pick up a picnic dinner and enjoy it in the very same spot, which we did. The ambiance in places like this is unmatched as you sit amongst residents enjoying the evening, and tourists happy that they had stumbled upon the same place. And then we called it a night since we had quite an adventure scheduled the next day.

We arose early once again to meander to a bus station – on foot, of course, since the best of Zurich can be seen & found that way – and hopped abourd with tourists like ourselves. We were heading to Jungfraujoch, the highest rail station in Europe, as well as Interlaken, a smaller Swiss tourist trap kinda town.

We were to ascend over 11,000 feet, first by bus and then by catching a train, to our intended destination. The ride there introduced us to the beauty of the Swiss Alps and the Swiss lakes, which were of a glacier-inspired color I’ve never before seen. Our drill sergeant instructor – and I mean that in a good and bad way – led us to the highest train station, where, after much rushing around, we were able to take in the beauty.

One amazing overlook, followed by an ice palace carved from with the Alger Glacier, followed by putting our shoes in the snow to see the rest met us at Jungfrau. The beauty cannot be described, and the kid in me absolutely loved sliding around the ice palace. Although the experience was rushed, we felt it was worth the view and the hoards of other tourists seeking their Alp experience.

With that trip complete, our time in Switzerland was nearly at an end. Unwilling to pay the outlandish prices of restaurants, we found the Subway supermarket and picked up mayonnaise-laden cold sandwiches for dinner. Not good, but a form of sustenance nonetheless.

Next stop: Paris.

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