Drink your Züri water! This little notice is from my hotel bathroom to say the tap water is absolutely fine to drink.
The Landsmuseum (National Museum) is right across the main train station. It is not very big, but the exhibits it has, are nicely presented. The main exhibit right now is of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the connection between Zürich and Russia. (From Wikipedia : There was significant emigration of Swiss people to the Russian Empire from the late 17th to the late 19th century. Also, Zürich played host to both Lenin and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn).
Zürich has been around for a long, long time : when the Romans founded it in 15 BC, they called it Turicum. I can tell the German they speak here is different from Germany’s (not that I understand a whole lot of it!). The city has a reputation for its quality of life, but man! you’d better have a good job or have money to spend. My $4 Seattle Starbucks latte (admittedly expensive already) goes for $6.50 here, and I paid $25 for a pretty modest (but very nice) lunch today at seafood franchise Noordsee. The same lunch cost $16 in Germany.
Here’s the quick orientation of Zurich I gave myself, when I started out today. The Marriott hotel (at the top) is at the confluence of the Limmat and Sihl rivers. The blue at the bottom is Lake Zurich. The old town sits all around the Limmat river (the one on the right).
The main entrance to the Zürich Hauptbahnhof (main station). It’s early evening and lots of commuters are leaving the station to go home. The blue-and-white flags beside the Swiss flag on the right, are the flags of the City of Zürich.
Zürich Altstadt (Old Town) has lots of crooked and cobbled streets, and two and three storey buildings, many of which date back to the 1500s or 1600s. (Renovated many times, I’m sure, though).
‘Hier wohnte Johannes Caspar Lavater 1778-1784’ says the words in the panel. I saw several other buildings with names and dates on them.
‘Haus Zur Glocke (House of the Bell) dates back to 1357, then owned by bell maker Konad Glogger. The neo-Renaissance facade was added in 1881 architect Adolf Brunner. Finally, in 1925 the art deco ceramic cladding on the ground floor for the cafe-restaurant was added.
There are many, many luxury shops and expensive watch stores on Bahnhofstrasse, and they get ever more upmarket the closer one gets to Lake Zurich. Many of the street names here go by ‘gasse’ (alley) and not ‘strasse’ (street). I guess that is correct, given how narrow they are!
The Grossmünster (‘great minister’) as seen from the Münsterbrücke (Münster bridge) over the Limmat river. It is a Romanesque-style Protestant church. Construction of the present structure commenced around 1100 and it was inaugurated around 1220.
Here’s a panoramic view of Münsterhof square with some of the guild houses (or halls). These are buildings historically used by guilds for meetings and other purposes. Today many of them have been turned into restaurants on the ground floor and office space upstairs.
Here’s Lake Zürich by Bellevue platz as the sun set tonight. The swans are squabbling over a little tidbit in the water.