Zurich Journals

Zürich - More interesting than might be imagined

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An April 2004 trip to Zurich by Invicta73

Lake Zurich Photo, Zurich, Switzerland More Photos
Quote: Although Zürich was never exactly prominent on my travel wish list, circumstances have resulted in me spending much time there. Fortunately, whilst its reputation for being the overly orderly home of Swiss bankers is somewhat justified, I have found that the city can also be a pleasant place.

Zürich - More interesting than might be imagined

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Overview

Lake Zurich Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
Probably my single favourite thing to do whilst in Zürich is exploring its compact centre, especially the portion on the Left Bank of the River Limmat. The area offers a variety of pleasures, ranging from the lavish shopping opportunities provided all along the grand boulevard known as Bahnhofstrasse to the less materialistic charms of the narrow streets that comprise the most picturesque part of the Old Town. In addition, even when the weather is poor I have rarely been bored in the city, because it is home to various decent cultural sights. A personal favourite is the ...Read More

Hotel Ascot

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Hotel

Quote:
Given that Zürich is an important financial centre, finding that many of its hotels are members of international chains that cater for business travellers on expense accounts is hardly shocking. One such place is the Hotel Ascot, which elegantly avoids the clichéd and bland corporate style that is nowadays typical, and therefore easily exceeded the expectations that I had prior to staying there during my first trip to the city. It is located in a pleasant area that is within reasonable walking distance of the Old Town, but which is close to both a railway station and tram stops as well. To be completely honest, the unattractive exterior gives a rather bad initial impression, and therefo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Hotel Ascot
TESSINER PLATZ 9
Zurich, Switzerland
41-1-2081414

Restaurant Hiltl

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Restaurant

Quote:
As a vegetarian, not having a particularly wide range of dining options in a destination is hardly an unusual experience when travelling. Therefore, eating in Restaurant Hiltl, which offers a huge selection of excellent meat free fare, has been a real pleasure that I have endeavoured to make the most of whilst in Zürich. Surprisingly, the award winning establishment is now over 100 years old, and has evolved from being the eccentric idea of one Ambrosius Hiltl into the present day local institution that is run by his great-grandson, and which is incredibly and justifiably popular, even with usually omnivorous customers. It is located quite close to Bahnhofstrasse in a quite large buildi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Restaurant Hiltl
Sihlstrasse
Zurich, Switzerland
+41 1 227 7000

Café Odéon

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Restaurant

Café Odéon Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
For me, an important part of fully appreciating any destination is finding a good spot in which to people watch, take stock of experiences and simply relax. Undoubtedly one of the best venues for such activities that I have ever found anywhere is Zürich’s wonderful Café Odéon, and quite why anyone would choose to frequent the very nearby Starbucks is really beyond my comprehension. In terms of aesthetics, entering the establishment is like stepping back in time. The lavish combined effect of the curvaceous bar, large windows and mirrors, striking furnishings, vintage posters and glass chandeliers is quite breathtaking. However, despite all of the wonderfully preserved and almost overbe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Café Odéon
Limmatquai
Zurich, Switzerland
+41 1 251 1650

Museum of Fine Arts

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Attraction

Quote:
Zürich’s Central European climate has at times left me looking for something to do that was away from the cold and wet weather outside. On such occasions, several of the cultural attractions in the city have proved to be good havens in which to escape from the elements, especially the excellent Museum of Fine Arts. The gallery has actually been in operation for a reasonably long time, but that really does not feel like the case due to an extensive and forward-looking renovation during the 1970s, the results of which is a wonderful exhibition space that still feels fresh now and suits the contemporary emphasis of the collection extremely well. In fact, the imaginative layout and excellen...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Museum of Fine Arts
Heimplatz
Zurich, Switzerland

James Joyce Pub

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Attraction

Quote:
Despite, or maybe because of, close personal connections with Ireland, my normal instinct when travelling elsewhere is to avoid the increasingly widespread Celtic tinged theme bars. However, one definite exception is the rather special James Joyce Pub, because it is just so different from the vast majority of such places, which tend to be quite tacky and inauthentic. The story of the pub’s founding during the 1970s is somewhat unusual. When the original Jury’s Hotel in the Irish capital was set to be demolished, a Swiss bank purchased the fixtures and fittings of the venerable institution’s so-called Antique Bar, shipped everything back home, and reassembled it all in the centre of Züri...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

James Joyce Pub
Pelikanstrasse
Zurich, Switzerland

Stein-am-Rhein Sights & Attractions

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Attraction | "Around Zürich - Stein-am-Rhein"

Stein-am-Rhein Sights & Attractions Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
The combination of Stein-am-Rhein’s reputed beauty, fairly small size and relative proximity to Zürich convinced me that it would be the perfect destination for a very leisurely day trip. Having made the hour-long journey, I was not at all disappointed, for whilst many places have a picturesque and well-preserved old town, almost the whole of the little settlement fits such a description perfectly. The heart of the village is the Rathausplatz, which is frequently and quite justifiably called the loveliest square in the whole of Switzerland. It is surrounded by a series of wonderful half-timbered buildings that all have fine oriel windows and exceptionally eye-catching frescoes portrayin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Stein-am-Rhein Sights & Attractions
Throughout Stein-am-Rhein
Zurich, Switzerland

Kaufleuten

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Attraction

Quote:
Prior to going there, the thought that Zürich might be especially entertaining during the evenings never exactly occurred to me, so discovering that it is actually home to a variety of decent nightspots was slightly surprising. Of the various places in the city where I have particularly enjoyed spending time after the sun has gone down, my personal favourite has to be the much loved Kaufleuten. As might be expected from somewhere that has attracted the likes Madonna and Prince in the past, it is very distinctive and really quite special. The plush décor is suggestive of a baroque theatre and features old-fashioned furnishings, antique paintings, chandeliers and even bathroom fittings t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Kaufleuten
Pelikanstrasse
Zurich, Switzerland

Fraumünster (Minister of Our Lady)

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Attraction | "Minster of Our Lady"

Fraumünster (Minister of Our Lady) Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
Of the distinctive church spires that pleasantly punctuate the skyline of central Zürich, one of the most elegant and most notable is that of the Minster of Our Lady, which is known locally as Fraumünster. Although it is neither as grand nor important as the city’s cathedral, I have actually grown to prefer the more unassuming edifice. Its riverside position has been home to a religious institution since Louis the German founded an abbey there during the 9th century. Both have changed much in the intervening years, and in fact only the crypt of the original structure has survived, whilst the fine cobbled square outside seems too nice to have ever been the location of a pig market. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Fraumünster (Minister of Our Lady)
Adliswil, Altstadt
Zurich, Switzerland

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum

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Attraction | "Swiss National Museum"

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
I always find that making the effort to learn a little about a destination helps me to better understand, and consequently also to make the most of, what is experienced whilst there. Therefore, when faced with the prospect of spending quite a bit of time in Zürich, visiting the Swiss National Museum seemed like an obvious course of action. The important attraction is located in a suitably grand purpose-built edifice close to the main railway station, which convincingly recalls the local form of Gothic architecture, despite being little over 100 years old. In fact, the building’s eye-catching exterior mosaics, colourful roof tiles and lovely main courtyard are in some ways just as appeal...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum
Museumstrasse 2 CH-8023
Zurich, Switzerland

Around Zürich - Winterthur

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The majority of people in Switzerland seem to associate Winterthur with manufacturing and engineering, whilst many others from elsewhere are either unfamiliar with the name, or think of the du Pont mansion in Delaware when they hear it. I personally feel that both the predominantly industrial image and lack of recognition do the place absolutely no justice at all. In fact, it is a very appealing town that has a pleasantly relaxed feel, which contrasts favourably with that of nearby Zürich, and makes the short trip from the latter worthwhile.Additionally, there are more reasons to visit other than just a nice atmosphere. Years of prosperity have resulted in a fine compact c...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Right Bank Sights & Attractions

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Attraction | "Right Bank"

Right Bank Sights & Attractions Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
The flow of the Limmat splits the centre of Zürich into two distinct halves that differ somewhat from each other. Although the so-called Right Bank on the eastern side of the river is the less attractive of the two and does not have many obvious sights, it is still pleasant and I have found that spending time there can be fun, especially at night. The area's most prominent landmark is the Great Minster, which utterly dominates the skyline. It is most noteworthy for a pair of twin steeples that culminate with lovely octagonal domes, one of which features a statue of Charlemagne, who according to legend founded the first church on the site. Unfortunately, entering through the elaborately...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Right Bank Sights & Attractions
Throughout the Right Bank
Zurich, Switzerland

Left Bank

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Story/Tip

Left Bank Skyline Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
To be quite honest, Zürich does not compete with the more major European destinations in terms of sheer quantity of worthwhile things to see. However, the central area to the west of the River Limmat, which is commonly known as the Left Bank, is not only the site of several interesting attractions, but is also generally nice, and I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time there, both initially as a sightseer and later as someone who had become familiar with the city.The area is the location of the main station, where many visitors first arrive on the train. To one side of the grand transport hub, beyond the statue of Alfred Escher, a prominent local 19th century magnate, is the s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2004

Enjoying nature around the city

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Story/Tip

Rhine Falls Photo, Zurich, Switzerland
Quote:
Although by no means a major tourist destination, Zürich is reputed to offer one of the highest standards of living in the world, and indeed I have appreciated nearly all of the urban pleasures that a resident or visitor could hope for. In addition, thanks to its fine setting, there are various easy opportunities to enjoy more natural surroundings, which have greatly enhanced my time in the region. The easiest and perhaps also most obvious way to get away from things is to visit the neighbouring lake of the same name, around which the streets and buildings soon give way to lawns and trees. Whilst there are some diversions in the vicinity, such as a Chinese garden and several places to eat and ...Read More