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Trip Start Feb 21, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Switzerland  ,
Friday, April 20, 2007

Well after jealously seeing Yumi off on her trip east-bound to Cappadocia, I basically tried to sleep (it didn't work) and then took a red-eye flight to Basel.  The flight was from the smaller airport through easyjet, which means not near anything. It also meant getting a prepaid ride with 3 other hostelers around the area to get to the airport.  Now this should be a boring thing, not even worth mentioning, except....  since there were only 4 of us, no minibus, and instead the driver had his car.  Someone should've told him he didn't have a fiat or mazerati or whatever those speedy little cars are in the Italian Job and Bourne Identity and the like, but I was afraid to!  And I got to sit shot gun.  The best part: We got to cross the Galata Bridge, over the Bosphorus, and officially into the Asia part of Turkey.  Sweet!  The worst: there were no oh shit handles... oh shit!  The undecided: the trip was supposed to take an hour, albeit it was well after midnight when we left, so basically zero traffic, however it took us precisely 30 min. I checked.  This man drove like a man on speed who'd just bounced prison and knew he had a gradually becoming bored harem back at home waiting for him...  which is all well and good, but my dad's words still ring: rule number 1: survive the experience!  And I have to say this is the first time on my trip that I really started to wonder....  like to me, just b/c there's no traffic to contend with doesn't mean drive as close as you possibly can to cars you fly by and cut off equally lead-foot driven giant buses!!!!  I nearly kissed the ground at the airport.  No more cars for Aislinn for a while I think.... or dodgy ferries! yes!!!!

After arriving to Basel to see a fantastic sunrise, I decided instead of going directly to Munich (can't anyways), that I might as well kill a few hours in Zurich since I had to pass that way anyhow....

I realize I can't possibly do Zurich the justice it clearly deserves, but I also don't think I could've financially afforded to be there longer than 4 hours anyways!!!  What a beautiful city!  It was immaculately clean, had trams flying by left and right, and every street seemed to be like Michigan Ave., full of shops and rich people.  Hell everyone has to be rich to live here I think.  I tried to find a homeless person, or beggar, or Roma, or hawker, heck anything and I just simply couldn't!  Amazing!  And while I really felt the tug of the East when I left Istanbul, I have to say it is super cool to be back in places where you can flush the toilet paper down the toilet and no longer have to contend with tiled holes in the floor (oh yes).  Although at least in the train station I found that comes at the hefty price of 2 SF (about 2 bucks...ouch) ---- but you get a shower option, little dressing room kind of tables (there's a word for that too...hmm) with mirrors and seats and everyone dolling themselves up left and right.  Can't blame them when you spend that kind of cash just to take a leak.  Might as Well sit around and clean your face and do make up and maybe take a shower or two and take your time just to justify the cost.... If I wasn't pressed for time I probably would've spent more time there!

So there´s 3 main churches there, only one of which I remember the name of, so Ill just leave blanks or something for now, and then have to get back to you on that one!  sorry, but thats what happens when I try to see a city in 4 hrs with equal amount of sleep... augh.  Anyhow, I first went down the main road, which is full of shops and rich people and allegedly all the Swiss banks money is below those sidewalks.  Not too surprising given the shops... and the prices!  ouch.  Checked out St. Peters church, which has the largest clockfaces on its steeple in Europe.  Cool!  Inside it seems, its no longer used for churchlike things, but instead is used quite frequently for concerts.  I had the exceptional luck (I thought so anyways) to enter when the pipe organist was practicing, and it was both a phenomenal sound and acoustics.  awesome!!!  After that, I tried getting into Fraumünster and Münsterhof, which is home to 5 stained glass windows by Chagall.  Unfortunately, however, the church didnt open till 15 min. before my train, so one more reason to come back!!  The outside was nice at any rate...

I followed the river down towards Lake Zurich (which actually surprised me... I only know of it as a suburb where some family lives... duh!) and came across a fantastic outdoor market in the Bürkliplatz, selling mostly flower, fruits and veggies, bread and cheese, and only a couple fish and meat places.  The best thing about this place was that I could get a relatively affordable lunch and snacks, and so I took advantage of a guy selling freshly grilled-while-u-wait Bürkliwurst - kind of like a long thin spicy hot dog mit speziall sauce - basically spicy coleslaw.  YUM.  Then checked out the third church, Grossmünster, which is double steepled, and you can climb to the top of one of the steeples for a fantastic view of Zurich and its surrounds.  The climb up must be the same for every church steeple - not unlike the climb up the bell tower of a church in Rovinj I think it was? except minus the bird crap....well mostly anyways!  But the view was worth it!  Had a nice stroll along the river and another great view from the nearby park of Lindenhof, and then caught a train to München.  Speedy McGee here.... if I could afford it I would totally live here....  they seem to actually appreciate the arts and pay good money for it (heck they pay good money for a crappy sandwich too I suppose, but still...).  There were musicians carrying around instruments everywhere - and not just guitars! Mostly violins I think.  There's an awesome Steinway store WOW, and posters for dance schools and performances.  Everyone seems to be happy and riding around on bikes and just in general enjoying life and other peoples money.... and can you blame them?
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