Walking Zurich

By Artur Ciesielski | Places

The night was rough. Across the street someone was having a good time and the entire neighborhood, windows closed or not, had to participate until about 2am. The cement, brick and stone 4-6 story canyons were perfect for keeping and amplifying sound.

About 3am a skirmish below got me to my feet and looking out the window. There were two long haired chicks having at each other. Their purses flailing in the air, the click and clatter of high heels and the deep voices back and forth. Were it not for the brute grunts, their not so elegant walk and lack of femininity one could mistake them not for what they are, but for what they wanted to be, but alas they were men or something like that, but women. It was like a scene out of a movie.

Finally some peace and quiet.

Just before 9am I woke up to a glaring bright sun and blue sky with a slight lack of sleep. I managed to get up, cleaned, dressed and down for a coffee in the cafe below before I set out into depths of Zurich.

It’s Sunday.

Few people venture out at this time – it seems – the city is pretty much empty.

I set a direction and go. Walking is the best way to get to know a city like this. It’s large, but manageable on foot and if one gets tired there are places to rest or take a tram or bus. I just walked the entire two days I was here.

My first destination was the main train station at the tip of the old town.

On the way there I passed so many different neighborhoods: from quiet ones all the way to what looked like a red light district with prostitutes, lots of shady people, neon girl figures in windows and a disco-tech all of which looked really active and busy even on a Sunday morning.

The train station was busy, very busy.

I kept walking into what looked like a business area – it was cold and empty with boxy buildings devoid of character.

It was not until I walked slowly toward Zurich Lake that the scenery and buildings once again regained character. As I walked the old city more and more people began to fill the streets. By this time it was about noon. Meandering through the narrow streets I eventually got hungry and ended up, by chance, at a nifty restaurant.

Basically they have a spread of food – cold and hot – and mostly vegetarian. You take what you want and pay by weight. It was 42 Swiss Francs for a kilo. My plate had 220 grams which was plenty. The food was really good. Others must agree since the place was packed inside and out. I like this concept, especially since everyone can see the food versus having to look at words and guess what they will get.

Full and happy I went to the lake. I walked around and sat down on a bench to watch people, birds and boats and the dark clouds in the distance making their way to the city.

I knew it would rain. That clouds made that obvious with their hazy dark color, but I decided to stick around.

It did start to rain so I made my way back to the hotel. I was able to move just a few meters from the bench when it started to pour hard.  My hotel was about 30 minutes away and there was no way I would stay dry so I let it happen: the rain permeated all my clothes down to my now squishy wet shoes.

It took another few hours for the rain to pass and what is when I ventured out again.

Zurich is very interesting. I can’t begin to describe it here.

At once it’s organized, rational and stern, but also playful, fun and interesting. It beautiful in so many ways and teutonic in others. And, it does live up to it’s name as the city of water with the lakes, streams, rivers, canals and rain too.

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