Week 480 – Zurich

I had a work trip to visit some partners in Europe and had some time in Baden Switzerland and Erlangen Germany and I flew into Zurich on a Sunday morning.  I booked a “land/sea/air” tour – I didn’t realize that the land was about 10 miles of walking.  I had been in London the prior week, so took an early flight and landed in Zurich about 8am and took the train into town and locked my luggage away at the train station.  Met up with a group – cold and rainy but the tour was on.

I had never really been to Zurich – we connected through there on our first trip to Europe in 1992 and I had a meeting at the Zurich airport on a layover in 2001, but never been in town.  We had a good guide who shared a lot of history of Switzerland and a group which was about ½ American and ½ other English speaking countries.  Our guide estimated that we would finish early because we would be moving quicker and not standing in the rain for long periods, but we had a very pro-active questioner in the group (an “American”) by the time we finished, he said it was his longest tour ever. 

We started at the train station and walked across the Limmat River to go to an overlook – the tour intentionally worked all forms of public transport in – it is very good and they are very proud.  We took a funicular to the top of a hill near the headquarters of the major university – ETH Zurich for what should have been a nice view – but as you see from the pictures it was not much of a view because of the clouds.

We then walked down the hill and back across the river to the old town and as we moved through the town, the guide shared the background of the fountains – built by the Romans and still used by people for drinking water.  Good story on how all of the clocks were synchronized – The main clock used a sundial and the clock rang every 15 minutes and then the other clocks would closely follow.  Another interesting fact – there is enough bomb shelter space for everyone is Switzerland and he showed us many bomb doors. 

Our guide spent time explaining the government of Switzerland, the neutrality, and the secrecy in the banking system and how they are linked together and are the key to the wealth of the country. The prime minster has little power and secrecy has drawn people to deposit in Switzerland and the neutrality keeps “honest” as all countries have an interest in Switzerland having the secrecy in financing.

It was the first day of a two-day holiday – only for Zurich.  So there was a parade where floats, bands, and horses were coming from every direction.  Sadly, no one there to watch them.

Finished off the day with “sea” and “air” – great idea but not today.  The boat ride was nice to be able to sit down and eat – the boat took us across the lake – we then took two buses to a cable car to a great view point.  At least on a sunny day.


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