We started our 2 week trip to Europe - primarily to attend the Sixth International Symposium on Neurobiology and Neuroendocrinology of Aging from July 21-26, 2002 in Kloster Mehrerau, Bregenz, Austria - with approximately 2.5 days in Zurich.
As all air travel does, this trip started with a wait at the airport. We arrived in the specified 2 hours prior to departure and then waited at the gate for 1 1/2 hours for boarding. Tom (Paul) made use of the time by reading one of the papers related to the conference we would attend several days later. Then came 6+ hours of flying to London Heathrow, 3 hours of waiting, and another 1 3/4 hour flight to Zurich. (Read a bit more)
The Zurich Youth Hostel is big and somewhat prison-like in appearance but it served our purposes. Our room was the 2nd from the end on the top floor and provided the interesting view with the striped cow. Unfortunately, the street traffic was noisier than in our Toronto apartment, probably due to the narrower streets - a tunnel effect.
After taking a nap upon our arrival and unpacking, we took a short outing that first evening in Zurich. Our main purpose was to find a reasonably priced but still interesting place to eat. This section was mainly Italian, going by the restaurants, so that's what we ate. The electric bus in the distance is just part of the varied mass transportaion system in Zurich.
The next day Kitty snapped this picture of the same street in the opposite direction, and the Restaurant Albisgarten is the second store front on the right; we ate in the garden at the rear of the building.
We set out from the hostel on Saturday morning after eating our first hostel breakfast - a buffet of yogurt, dry cereals, bread, assortment of jams, 1 choice of soft cheese, orange juice, coffee, tea, and milk. Not the most nutritious meal in our estimation. Since the hostel was to the southwest of the main portion of the city, our walk was planned generally to go back to the Hauptbahnhoff (main rail station) and then towards Zurichsee (Zurich Lake). (See map of Zurich for reference. Our route with picture locations are marked in purple. The hostel is just south of the main business district and off the map slightly)
One of the lesser streets a few blocks from the hostel - a one way with overhead bus wires - provides a picturesque scene. Note the contrast with the graffiti on the near right wall. We saw quite a bit of this, much like "street art" but still lots of just plain scrawling. It puzzled us as to why there was so much when the city was otherwise so neat and clean.
(A) Zurich has a plentiful amount of mass transportation. The streetcar (tram) approaches a stop on an overpass under which 2 trains travel. The one to the left is an express bypassing this last stop on this route (one of several) before the main station (hauptbahnhof)
(B) The vehicular traffic that we saw and experienced in Zurich was not comparable to Toronto or Phoenix density; probably the convenient mass transit reduces the numbers. Drivers and passengers passing through this tunnel a few blocks away from the train underpass can ponder these pieces of sculpture.
(C) Zurich has several canals which eventually empty into the outlet of the Zurichsee, at the northern end. They are used for pleasure craft parking in some areas, fishing in others, and just plain visual enjoyment with all of them. Tom gazes over a major waterway just north of the Hauptbahnhof (main rail station) which actually runs under the rail beds. (Between these two locations (D) we spent several minutes admiring the engineering of a train station under the Sihl which flows into the outlet of the Zurichsee. Unfortunately, Kitty did not discover until we were home that she had left the lens cap on. Rats! And it was such a good shot too. :()
(E) This view of the Hauptbahnhof was taken just a few feet from where Tom (Paul) is standing in the photo above.
(E) The north side of the Hauptbahnhof provides a fascinating view of lines and arcs into the distance. Note the colored trains in the right photo - yellow in the rear and red approaching from the right. Our train from the Flughaufen (airport) arrived on the outermost (nearest) track.
(F) Just north of the Hauptbahnhof is a section of older buildings. It was the colorful geometric tile roof of the church - the bells of which chimed loudly on the 1/4 hour - that caught our attention.
(G) While we've never been to Venice, some of the photos we've seen look very similar to the views seen here of the outlet of the Zurichsee, which becomes the Limmal River, which flows into the Aare, which in turns joins the Rhein.
(H) We walked the cobblestone lane that runs along the Zurichsee outlet, noting the many shops of all types.
(I) The Zurichsee provides beautiful scenery along with its assortment of recreational opportunities.
(J) Swimmers appeared to really enjoy the fountain, though there were far more sunbathers on the banks then swimmers in the water.
The fact that we saw no water skiers that afternoon on Zurichsee, despite numerous fast enough motor boats, was a bit of a puzzle. Was it just not popular or was there an ordinance against or limiting it?
(K) After we left the Zurichsee banks and headed inland towards the hostel, we came across a fairly large run taking place - a fair portion of Mythenquai, south of the section on the map, was closed to vehicular traffic. An English-speaking coordinator said that it was the running portion of a run/bike/swim meet to which Kitty queried, "An Ironman?" She responded that that day's events was a shorter version with the traditional length meet to take place the next day. A passerby jokingly commented, "Today the Tinman. Tomorrow the Ironman!"
We were in need of some rest and a meal - peanut butter on a delicious rye nut bread bought at a supermarket, along with fresh strawberries and blackberries purchased from a nearby street vendor. Delicious. After a bit of a nap, we were off again as the sun began to sink.
We started our evening walk in a park area on the western banks of the Zurichsee south from the heavy business area, and where there were numerous activities earlier. After the sun set, we moved further south where numerous indoor/outdoor pubs were located in hopes of finding a "tanz (dance) club". (See our search for dancing.)
We came upon the starting and finish location for the run we saw that afternoon; it would get good usage again the next day. The name of the sculpture is unknown to us but "Triumph" would do nicely.
The building in the rear of the playground is where we sat a few hours later hoping that some dancing would start up.
This persistant weed caught Tom's (Paul's) eye as we strolled along the Zurichsee west bank parks.
Just one example of the "street art" in the area that showed the most promise for dancing in the west bank Zurichsee section of Zurich. We'd like to think that Zurich young people just don't get started till closer to midnight rather than just drink, talk, and smoke as we saw up till about 10:30pm when we headed back to the hostel for an early morning departure. (See our search for dancing.)
We purposely chose our route from Zurich Switzerland to Bregenz Austria (on the Bordensee east of where the Rhine enters this large lake), to provide us with opportunities to enjoy the scenery and local sights. We selected lesser highways, avoiding the expressways; almost the entire way. (See 1st map of northeast Switzerland, Zurich to Wattwill and 2nd map, Wattwill to Bregenz for reference. Our route with picture locations are marked in purple.) Once we got ourselves headed in the right direction after leaving Zurich Flughaufen (Airport) we proceeded north and then east away from the suburbs of Zurich. It was all green after that, with copious amounts of cultivated and wild flowers.
(A) Just beautiful views along Highway 7 near Wange.
(B) We had a delicious lunch here at Gasthaus Rossli in Dietfurt and enjoyed conversing with the owner/chef who had spent many months travelling and working in North America some 20 years previously. (A bit more included in Kitty's reflections on eating in Europe.)
(C) Green was the predominant color everywhere we looked. Almost all homes, apartments, and businesses we passed had balconeys with large flower boxes filled with lush plants of various colors.
(D) When we first looked out at this valley in the distance we "discussed" whether or not we were looking at the Rhine Valley from the little train stop at Stoss. Kitty crossed the tracks to take the picture and hurried back across when a train engineer "honked" at her as he climbed the hill. She took these shots on a second - more relaxed - attempt, after the train had proceeded. And yes, it is the Rhine valley as we learned a while later during our descent from the mountains.
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