Zurich Old Town

You may be wondering why we had come to such an expensive city. We came for the club scene.

Morgan had wanted to go to Berlin, but since Jeanette and I wanted to go to Munich and Konstanz, we talked him into visiting Zurich instead, a city which is famous for its vibrant night life.

They seemed to enjoy the club they visited that night. In the morning, we found a note that Jeanette had slipped under our door saying that they wanted to sleep in so Walt and I, armed with our guidebook, "Rick Steves' Switzerland", set off to explore the city. We more or less followed Rick's self-guided walk through the old town.

These pictures are taken near the train station. The river is surprisingly shallow, and it has a lot of strong currents. Tour boats and swans are abundant.

In case you ever wonder what happened to Kris Kristofferson, he is apparently alive and well and touring Europe.

This is the view of the city from a park called Lindenhof. Back in 1292, a fort and strategic buildings stood on this site. The Habsburgs were about to attack the city, but, unfortunately, the men were off fighting another battle so the women donned armor and pretended to be an army. They were convincing enough to differ the attack and the city was saved.

Later in the 13th century, the townspeople destroyed the fort and passed laws prohibiting future development at the top of the hill because they realized that whoever lived there would rule the city.

Chess players can enjoy these large boards and chess pieces at the back of the park.

One interesting thing about Zurich is that you can drink the water from the many fountains. The city checks it regularly to insure that it is of good quality.

There are many picturesque, narrow streets and cute little shops and restaurants in this area.

The picture on the right is of Reblaube Gaststube, a restaurant frequented by Goethe in 1779.

Just around the corner from Goethe's hangout is Zurich's oldest Church, St. Peter's, which has one of the largest clock faces in Europe.

The church that really dominates the skyline, however, is Grossmunster, where the Reformation in Switzerland was sparked by Huldrych Zwingl. This church also had the most curious stained glass windows.

We wandered down to the lake where many people were feeding swans and ducks and enjoying the beautiful autumn afternoon.

Then we visited Fraumunster, the church that has 5 incredibly beautiful stained glass panels designed by Marc Chagall when he was in his 80's. He made the initial sketches and worked closely with the glassmaking factory in Reims, France which produced the colored panes. When they were ready, he painted the figures on with black outlines and they were baked into the glass. Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to take pictures of any sort in the church, so I had to get the images of the panels from the internet.

It's easy for a tourist to get seriously hungry in Zurich. On the previous evening, after checking into the hotel, we walked around looking for a moderately priced restaurant, but the prices for even simple meals were so astonishing we bought sandwiches at the supermarket and ate them back in our room.

In the late afternoon, after taking Jeanette and Morgan on a whirlwind tour of all we had discovered that day, we looked around the old town for a place to dine. We chose a large place by the lake that offered pizza and sandwiches and salads for prices that were only slightly astronomical. We settled into an outdoor table and waited patiently to be served...and waited...and waited...and waited. Over the course of the next 25 minutes, it became obvious that they had no intention of serving us. Finally, we sadly got up and left.

We returned to the hotel and decided to try the restaurant next door. The staff was a bit stressed because they were trying to serve a large and somewhat rowdy party in a room in the back, but they seated us and soon brought beer and menus. It felt so good to sit and eat a meal, but the bill for 2 small pizzas, 2 simple dishes, and 8 beers came to about $160! Still, it was a pleasant and relaxing meal and we were happy to have it so we tipped generously.