Zurich: The alps, supermarket food and bikes =D

Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
Trip End Feb 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
City Backpacker Hotel Biber Zürich
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a refreshment Zurich was, alpine air, BIKE RIDES!!, crystal clear waters, Swiss coop food =P, small hostel room, getting sick...ok, so the other things might not be so refreshing but Switzerland was really invigorating for some reason.  Maybe it's the change from Germany or maybe it is just the mountains *shrugs* But damn is it expensive >.<. 

Arrived first day and I got lost a little bit so we walked an extra 20 minutes to get to our hostel...ops XD  But it was all good once we arrived =)  Walked around Zurich afterwards and was SHOCKED at how expensive EVERYTHING was >.<  A Big Mac meal costed 14 AUD!!!  No joke!!  And Souter and Paul wanted to do their shopping here haha XD.  Walked down the Bahnhofstrasse and saw sooo many watches.  We found out very quickly that Swatch is the poor man's Swiss watch...Tissot, Omega, Rolex...forget it, unless you have 10/20 GRAND you wanna pawn off XD.  Still they were determined to find their Swiss watch and pocket knife so onwards we went.  As expected, the night went and disheartened after seeing the ever increasing prices...we went off to find dinner.  Unfortunately the only place we could afford was Coop, the local supermarket for a home cooked pasta meal =P  And that's the way Switzerland would be for the rest of the trip haha.  All expenses aside, Zurich is a really nice town...pretty!  Alps, crystal clear lake, classy buildings, nice historic town...I can see why it's one of the best places to live in the world.

The next day, we took at day trip to another spectacular Swiss city, Lucerne...and man, the place is amazing!  It's just like Zurich but MORE alps, MORE clear lake and a whole lotta ducks =D  I really wish the weather was better (slightly cloudy on the day) but still was an amazing visit.  Walked on a 600 year old bridge (well...more or less, the original mostly burnt down in '93 but they rebuilt) and fed an awesome pair of ducks who kept following us =P.  Then we went and wandered around the old streets of the city which weren't quite as quaint as I imagined them to be (I thought it'd be an old historical town) but were still very cool and there were even the remains of the old town wall.  Hiked up to see Lion of Lucerne, a poignant memorial to the Swiss guards who were killed or guillotined with the royal family during the French Revolution but I think we were too happy to appreciate it properly haha.  Well, we were in Switzerland, surrounded by the ALPS!! =D  Had our roast chicken lunch on the banks of Lake Lucerne while watching the seagulls (terns?) fight over our scraps...especially that mean one who scared off all the other ones, well, I showed him!  Ended up hand feeding the ducks! =D  Walked along the shore of the lake...was freezing cold but the views of the mountains are just superb.  The cliffs just seem to rise from the waters and the mountains reaching into the clouds are just a sight to behold, especially when the occasional sun broke through the clouds.  Ahhh...if there were only blue skies!  That was pretty much Lucerne for us...just strolling and soaking in the alpine country.  Awesome day ^^...unfortunately, this was also the day when my cold started to take hold =(...all because of a sip of that krystal weisbier...or perhaps the many many days of close proximity >.<

Anywho, next day did not feel 100% at all but I soldiered on...it was worth it though cos that was the day of the bicycles!!  SOOOO happy that I could ride again and the cold freeze must've frozen my nose cos for the whole time that we were riding, I did not have a runny nose at all =D.  Ahh, was crazy at first, no idea where to go and no idea where the bike paths were we did several perhaps illegal things haha.  Riding on the tram tracks, cutting off trucks, riding down one way streets the wrong way...it's amazing how tolerant the Swiss (and Europeans in general) are of riders!!  No one honked us at all!  Phew...Went riding around the Zurich lake...ahh, amazing scenery again and we covered SOOO much distance this time!  So fast!!  Ah I love riding.  That was until we 'lost' Paul's bike light so we had to ride back only to later discover that he never had it to start with XD  Ahh wells, wasn't too bad cos that meant we could explore up the 'hill' to the The Dolder Grand where there are splendid views...supposedly.  So up we went, and up and up AND UP AND UUUUPPP ahhh, our legs!!  There were many rests haha and MUCH sweat XD  sooo much sweat!  And we were taking the night train too so NO shower...I'll let you imagine the worst.  Anyway, we FINALLY made it haha and the view was not as inspiring as the superhuman effort that it took to get there, not quite the fair trade off imo but hey, it was fun struggling up those massive mountains haha...well, at least they make for striking memories XD.  The downhill was FANTASTIC though =D, well, all except for the bloody steep hill and my hands freezing off XD. 

After warming up from the most expensive tea to date from Starbucks ($5 AUD), we headed down the lake again for further exploration.  After passing some very suspect areas, a VERY bumpy brick path and getting back in touch with our inner child...we stumbled across the LINDT FACTORY/SHOP!!!!  We were just riding along, then I noticed...mmmm, that's a delicious chocolate smell and there it was!  So excited haha.  We didn't actually buy THAT much...one we were poor and two (the main reason) was that it'd take TOO much room XD.  2.5 kg of chocolate!!  =O  Anyway, we had good fun there and spent maybe a bit too long in the shop.  Ended the day by taking some photos of the Zurich lake at sunset except I had to do a timer shot and it did not end well haha.  Every single photo I was too late...to be fair, it was quite a distance to run =P but we (well, they) had a lot of fun watching me try to make it XD.  Returned our bikes after heading back...ahhh, I miss riding.  Oh and Souter and Michael finally got their watches and knives!!  After all that time =P...I ended up getting a knife too haha since I had some left over francs.

Well, that's it for Switzerland.  It was actually a lot more fun than I expected with some amazing scenery but if you REALLY want to see all that Switzerland has to offer, come with MONEY!  And lots of it.  I wasn't kidding when the big mac meal was $14, a cheeseburger was 2.50 francs!!  A cheese burger!! D=.  Still, if you're into amazing alpine scenery, friendly people, expensive shopping or picturesque cities then you can't go past Switzerland.  But again...money money MONEY! XD  (We NEVER ate out haha)

PS: The night train from Zurich to Vienna was quite fun haha, took over the whole cabin since we 'pushed' out the other 2 people; see it was a cabin for 6, we had 4 but EVERY OTHER CABIN only had 2 people...so it was like, one massively over crowded cabin and 10 empty ones.  So we strongly suggested that it would be wiser for them to occupy a less full cabin, by using all the luggage racks (which we had to anyway) and taking off our stinky shoes...though that one we had to pay for XD.  Folded down all the chairs too to make a giant bed hahaha...my goodness what the other people would've thought.  Was pretty awesome though, until we tried to sleep and realised that we couldn't move without waking up whoever was next to us >.<  And with me being still sick, it meant all my mucus went to my ears =S  Needless to say we didn't sleep very well that night.  But not to worry, cos the next morning was VIENNA!!...lemme just say...amazing
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David Ng on

Ahhh lakes and mountains!!! Looks amazing =D!!!!

Cycling everywhere! We need to cycle when you get back!!! Ahhh, that's hilarious when you say you froze your hands off since in winter here when I cycled to Caulfield Monash from my place and going down the steep hill, I swear I froze my hands off but the conditions here aren't actually FREEZING like it is over there haha XD!!! I need to toughen up XD

chunhin on

hahahaha, don't worry, I know the feeling XD...but when they're freezing even with gloves...&gt;.

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