Saturday, March 10, 2012



the Limmat river at night, from Altstadt

On Friday evening two weeks ago, I arrived in Zurich, Switzerland after about a 4 hour train ride from Paris. Though not the capital of Switzerland, Zurich is the largest city in the country and boasts some beautiful landmarks. It is a remarkably clean city (the whole country is in fact) with very modern amenities that make me think more of America than Europe. I met a friend from U of I at the train station and, after dropping our bags off at the hostel, headed out for a late dinner in the neighborhood. We settled on a little German restaurant that turned out to be quite the experience!

Dinner started with a surprise concert, courtesy of a group of old men who walked in, played a few loud songs, then sat down to eat dinner. It was entertaining, to say the least! And an appropriate way to begin what would be a very musical weekend in Zurich--thanks to Carnaval going on! Our meal was delicious--a traditional dish called rosti, which is essentially hash browns. I ate mine with a fried egg on top and I loved it.


Saturday was full of visiting the city, exploring, and finding some really cool things :) We found a Catholic church (one of very few--Zurich was the birthplace of the Swiss Reformation and therefore most of the Catholic churches were converted to Protestant), and went to Mass in German! The afternoon was for walking around, enjoying the lake in spite of the fog.

the only catholic church we could find!

the lake, with accompanying fog

in front of a chocolate shop :)

For dinner, we treated ourselves to a very nice, traditional Swiss meal of FONDUE! We went to a fancy restaurant, that is known for being one of the best in the city for fondue, and enjoyed a fantastic meal.

fondue! with beer! so good!

limmatquai at night :)

On Sunday, our last day in Zurich, we made sure to visit everything we had missed the day before. We went  to the Opera house, had lunch serenaded by polka bands during Carnaval, then ventured into the two largest churches. The Grossmunster and the Fraumunster were both Catholic churches that had been converted. There is an incredible amount of history behind them, even if it is not always the most positive. It was impressive to go into each of them, and particularly interesting to see the remnants of Catholicism that remain. The Fraumunster has beautiful stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. The Grossmunster has a very tall belltower that we climbed, as well as more ruins inside. Including a giant statue of Charlemagne that almost fell from the outside walls.

illegally photographed...

marc chagall windows

HUGE charlemagne. another illegal photo.

the view from grossmunster's belltower

on top of zurich!

Our last stop in Zurich was the Swiss National Museum. The layout was a bit confusing, but in general, all of the exhibits were interesting and very well laid out. It was interesting to go through all of Swiss history, with fun little additions all around. There were lots of traditional clothes--military uniforms, ancient ballgowns, and more--along with religious articles, old furniture, and ancient ruins.

It was a lovely weekend in a very beautiful city. Though the weather could have been a bit nicer, I was still quite happy with our adventures. And I left Zurich ready for a couple more!

pax christi.

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