Spontaneous trip to Zurich

Zurich Travel Blog

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Largest clock face in Europe - over 8 m across

I wasn't really planning on going anywhere during my visit, but the Travbuddy bug had bitten.  I didn't want to return home from a trip to Europe without having a new country to add to my map!  I was playing on the Deutsche Bahn website and found a cheap trip to Zurich for the next day, so I impulsively bought it.  Yay!  I get to add a new country!

As seems to be the norm, it was a rainy day on my visit to a new city.  I didn't really know what to see in Zurich since I didn't have much time to research it, but I was able to fill my day by walking from the train station to the lake (Zurichsee), stop at the churches and then hit the Swiss National Museum before heading out.

Dress in window...
  On my way to the lake, I saw the clock face of Peterskirche looming above the buildings but I couldn't figure out how to get there.  St. Peter's Church has the largest clock face in Europe - it measures over 8 meters across!  I did a little window shopping on the way, as were many other people.  Zurich is a pretty wealthy city, so prices are a little expensive.  I saw a dress in the window for over 2050!  I assumed it was in Euros, but then remembered the Swiss have their own currency (their Swiss Franc has a high value and they don't want to join the European Union because their banking and national wealth will likely suffer).  Even at 2050 Swiss Francs, that's over 1200 Euros or about $1900 US! 

Near Zurichsee, a small market was packing up for the day.

Yikes! I can't afford that! (~1275 Euro)
  And finally, I reached the lake!  I was expecting a beautiful blue lake with the Alps in the background, but it was not to be.  Instead the clouds were hanging low and there was a light drizzle.  A wet, gloomy day.  I didn't quite make it in time for the boat tour - I didn't think there was much to see in the rain anyway, nor did I want to spend the time.  I took my lake pictures and followed the river, Limmat Qual, up to the churches, passing many swans on the river. 

First stop was the Fraumünster Church.  I couldn't find the entrance to the church, so I ended up walking all the way around it.  And I'm glad I did!  I passed under a cloister with beautiful painted walls that I would have missed otherwise.

window shopping
  Inside the church I was able to take refuge from the rain and rest a little bit.  The stained glass windows were beautiful.

I was about to go to the Grossmünster Church, but decided to walk along the river up to Peterskirche.  I got some great views of the big church across the river.   Turns out St. Peter's Church was under renovation so there wasn't much to see.  I crossed the river and headed back down towards the big church.  I stopped at a little cafe for an expensive lunch (but the cheapest place I could find!).  I had a bit of trouble with the language because they speak Swiss German, which is different from the little bit of German I know.  But they were similar enough that I could decipher the menu and order.

Fraumünster
  I felt bad for the two American ladies who came in after me because they didn't know any German.  Turns out they got an English menu.   But then the waitress didn't really know much English, so they resorted to pointing.

After lunch I made my way down to the Grossmünster Church and toured the inside.   I was planning on going to the Swiss National Museum before catching my train home, but when I reviewed their hours, I saw it closed early and I had to hurry back to even see it!  So I walked down to the nearest tram stop and then noticed a table of rocks.  Hmmm.  I had to investigate.  Turns out it was something like Geology in the City day.  You could pick up a map and stop at a bunch of stations around the city (all along the same tram route) and learn about rocks, groundwater, engineering and other topics.

ornate decorations on buildings
  Cool!  Too bad it finished in about 30 minutes.  I looked at the rocks and listened to people asking and answering questions.  I pretty much knew what all of the rocks were and how they formed, but I was interested in where these were found locally.  I just didn't have the language skills to ask.  And I always feel so guilty when Europeans can have conversations in English and on top of that they can discuss geology in English!  I can barely carry a basic conversation on German. 

So instead I caught the tram back to the train station and went to the Swiss National Museum.  This was outstanding!  They had so many displays - religious artifacts and paintings, old pottery and coins, archaeological artifacts, textiles, toys and more!  I loved it!  I wish I had paid more attention to the hours so I could have had more time there.

people in the rain
  Of course I wanted to see the archaeological stuff - I heard they had a full size woolly mammoth there.  I wandered all over, not paying much attention to my map, and I found the exhibits as I was about to leave.  There were in a little portion of the museum across the driveway from the main museum.  So I rushed through that but at least I got to see some of it.  You aren't supposed to take any photos there, so I have nothing to show for it.  But it was a wonderful museum and I highly recommend it.  A lot of displays were also in English.  And now I can't even remember if I saw a woolly mammoth or not.  Oh well!

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Largest clock face in Europe - ove…
Largest clock face in Europe - ov…
Dress in window...
Dress in window...
Yikes!  I cant afford that!  (~12…
Yikes! I can't afford that! (~1…
window shopping
window shopping
Fraumünster
Fraumünster
ornate decorations on buildings
ornate decorations on buildings
people in the rain
people in the rain
market
market
Boat tour on Zurichsee
Boat tour on Zurichsee
View of Fraumünster and Grossmün…
View of Fraumünster and Grossmü…
sailboats in rain
sailboats in rain
Should be able to see Alps, but no…
Should be able to see Alps, but n…
boats in their slips
boats in their slips
swans by boats
swans by boats
swans in Limmat-Qual
swans in Limmat-Qual
Paintings on outside wall of Fraum…
Paintings on outside wall of Frau…
Paintings in passage way of Fraum…
Paintings in passage way of Fraum…
Colorful buildings
Colorful buildings
Pipe organ and stained glass windo…
Pipe organ and stained glass wind…
Back of Fraumünster Church
Back of Fraumünster Church
Chagall windows in Fraumünster Ch…
Chagall windows in Fraumünster C…
Blue window close up
Blue window close up
green window close up
green window close up
Limmat Qual
Limmat Qual
Grossmünster Church and Münsterb…
Grossmünster Church and Münster…
Reflection of Grossmünster Church…
Reflection of Grossmünster Churc…
Tea shop
Tea shop
strings connecting teas from aroun…
strings connecting teas from arou…
Grossmünster Church
Grossmünster Church
stained glass windows in Grossmün…
stained glass windows in Grossmü…
filling watering can at fountain
filling watering can at fountain
Fraumünster (left) and Peterskirc…
Fraumünster (left) and Peterskir…
More colorful buildings and homes
More colorful buildings and homes
Clock face of Peterskirche
Clock face of Peterskirche
Rock booth with questions answered
Rock booth with questions answered
gardens of Swiss National Museum
gardens of Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum
Swiss National Museum and gardens
Swiss National Museum and gardens
Zurich Sights & Attractions review
The Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum contains the largest collection of objects relating to Swiss cultural history. The objects range from pre-history to modern … read entire review
Zurich
photo by: Sweetski