Crossing the Swiss border and heading for Zürich where my sightseeing included the imposing Grossmünster, elegant Fraumünster, and winding alleys of the old town alongside the river Limmat.
After visiting so many Christmas markets in Germany and Austria, Zurich’s ‘Christkindlmarkt’ touted as the biggest indoor Christmas extravaganza in Europe, at the main railway station, was off the mark.
It did offer 160 wooden chalets and a three story Christmas tree, dripping with Swarovski crystals, but I could find nothing that interested me enough to purchase, and the smell of roasted chestnuts was quite overpowering. (That can be good or bad, depending on your preference).
The atmosphere was friendly and festive and that, alone, made the trip into the city from our hotel, Movenpick, worthwhile.
Besides giving us a free upgrade on our room, a great thing about the Movenpick Hotel, is its proximity to the airport. There’s also a free shuttle, running at regular intervals, to the Airport’s undercover shopping centre. A range of clothing, food, camera, and tourist souvenir shops are a good option if the weather is inclement. I found several bargains on walking boots on a day when it was too wet to venture further.
Do I have a hankering to return to Zurich?
I adored the old buildings arcades and churches, the surprise decoration on a cantilever balcony, but the city itself seems too cold and business like. I don’t think I spoke to any Swiss native, in any store, and the language barrier didn’t appear to be the issue.
Asking to have a hot chocolate or coffee at a restaurant, as opposed to a whole lunch, was met with stares of disbelief and a courteous, and somewhat clipped, “No, we are booked out.” Perhaps the Christmas season is too busy for drinks only.
Zurich did not offer me much, except I can say I window shopped til I dropped on the Bahnhofstrasse, considered by some to be the richest street in the world, but bought nothing more than a few gourmet chocolates and a scarf.
A large department store did have a good quality cafeteria, that was packed to the hilt at lunchtime. An experience I won’t ponder about for too much longer.
Next Stop: Lucerne /Chur