Exploring Zurich: Old Town Walking Tour, Uetliberg And More

This is a continuation of the previous post here


Travelling under a media invite has its perks, obviously. As soon as we touchdown at Zurich, we were welcomed by the reps from Swiss Tourism, who gave us some important documents including an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass which allows to have access to: unlimited travel in Switzerland (train, bus, boat and public transport), free entrances to hundreds of museums, and discounts for mount excursions. 

Not long after the train ride from the Zurich Airport, we made our way (walking from the Zurich HB Main Station) to check-in our luggage at Hotel St. Gotthard, which is situated in the heart of Zurich, on the famous Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich's main downtown street/shopping street. It's really strategic in that sense. 

Some photos from the short two-minute walk:





Bahnhofplatz is the starting point of Bahnhofstrasse.



As soon as we were done with checking in, it was time to explore Zurich's old town with our local guide from Zurich tourism. It's nice to have a guide around who can tell stories and share with you the city's rich history. That's what made the excursions in Switzerland great - the guides were excellent. I find this crucial cause my geography is bad and I don't admire architecture as much as I do nature.  











Here's a really cool thing about Zurich - you can rent bikes for free. It's kind of an oxymoron cause when you say rent, you supposed to be paying something, right? Well, in a way, you are. Just pay up a deposit at the bike station and you're ready to go. In this day an age, there's an app for everything and that includes an app to check on the bicycle availability. 


Another train that we took is the UBS Polybahn which brought us to the we had to get a different ticket for this as it's not covered under the Swiss Travel Pass (different operator perhaps). It was just a super short ride - about three minutes I think - until we went to the top, in front of the main building of the Federal Institute of Technology.

What's the significance of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), you ask? Well, it's where the famed genius, Albert Einstein studied. 







I took this photo cause I was looking at "Limmatquai" cause it sounded like a Canto phrase. And it was only after I posted this photo on IG and someone messaged me that I realised that... the store in the photo was also quite interesting LOL. Killed two birds with one stone I guess. 



Also, I was thinking to myself then: 400,000 out of 8 million Switzerlands take the train at the biggest station in Zurich. Where were they? There weren't that many people and the quaint alleyways were quiet while we were roaming around. I forgot it was a weekday and they were probably working lol. 



There are more than 1,200 water fountains in Zurich. And you can drink from them. There, I even linked it to show you that I'm not lying.  This is almost unfathomable for me. Can't brain. If there's a water fountain in Zurich, you can be sure that you can drink from it if you want to —  for free too! The only time you can't drink from it when there's a notice displayed. This also reminds me, as a person who grew up drinking boiled water, I... couldn't bring myself to drinking straight from the tap when I was in Switzerland. 

Next, we went to have tea at Cafe Schober (also known as Cafe 1842).

Except, we never really had tea but hot chocolate. 







Honestly, I don't know if it was sipping thick hot chocolate in winter, or was it the amazing ambiance at this little, cozy place but it was the best hot chocolate I ever had in my entire life up till now. I had mine without cream first and tried another with cream later. Please, please have it with cream. Your life will be changed. 




More photos as we continued our walking tour in Zurich:



If you like random fun facts I'm here to tell you that the St. Peter church in Zurich has the largest tower clock face in Europe. Yes, bigger than Big Ben even.




More interesting things I learned about Zurich: the concept of "badi" (what they refer to as public swimming baths in Swiss German) where basically anyone can swim in any river and lake. Speaks a lot about the cleanliness of the water isn't it? Cause none of us would consider swimming in Klang river, would we?! Anyway, in the summer, some of these badis will be turned into bars where people would chill out.






For lunch, we went to this place called Hiltl Restaurant. It's apparently the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world. As a fellow-meat lover, I must say the food was nice lol. I don't really fancy vegetarian this that much (and I haven't had that many to be fair). 



I learned a bit more about wine here during this trip from the other well-travelled members of the group.




Well, one of the privileges of being on a media representative is having the access to see what goes on behind the scenes. That's exactly what we got here too at Hitlt. 






Our next agenda of the day was to take another train to head to Uetliberg, which is dubbed as Zurich's very own "mountain". Also, note the time on the display board. Never mess with the Swiss time cause when they say 14:05, they're almost never late. Almost. I have a story to tell at the end of this series about this. But that's for later kays (stay tuned lol). 









Walked a bit from the train station to get a better view of Zurich. I checked out some photos from other tourists of this place. It can be packed but when we were there, there wasn't much of a crowd...so kinda nice in the sense that we had a lot of space to ourselves and it was super serene and quiet.

















Honestly, my photos do no justice to the view. It was breathtaking - literally cause of the altitude maybe but my, it was magnificent to be able to have a paranomic, vantage point view of the 
city and Lake of Zurich and even the Alps! Great start to the trip in Switzerland and I must say this is where I started falling in love with the place. 

We were given free time to explore Zurich on our own after the trip to Uetliberg but there wasn't much to do anymore except shopping - which was great actually cause did I mention. It was Black Friday that day. Lol.  And as the unadventurous person that I was (and am), I followed with the other fellow tour member in that couple of 1-2 hours. And to think back I was basically like a leech. What if he wanted to do something else on his own? Also, silly me I didn't get any pocket wifi and I was kinda afraid I might not get to contact the rest. In hindsight, I really should have. Kinda regretted but I guess I was more focused the whole trip anyway without wifi lol. Survived without it anyway.












Christmas was about 1 month away then but there was this Singing Christmas Tree where a group of young teens/kids performed quite a number of songs while others got to watch on and join in the fun. There was also a market nearby and the place was packed when we were there. 





We went to Baltho Kuche & Bar for dinner. This place was kinda atas. And I think I remember us being quite hungry that day, cause I think the dinner time was quite late compared to the other nights. I don't know. Fuzzy memory cause I'm only writing this 2.5 years later. Serves me right. 




It was my first time having veal (baby cow). It was alright. Also, random, but I jotted down in my notes that Zurich's food has more German influence (think sausages and that sort) that lol just putting it out there. 


That was it for that day. Good night, Zurich.

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