On a late September day, we arrived in Zürich and Grüezi was the first Swiss-German word we learned (from our hotel receptionist). Grüezi means hello and is the most common form of greeting in Switzerland. Despite having the same origin, it is totally different to the German word hallo and it took master awhile to learn how to spell it correctly. After knowing how to greet properly, I think it would be appropriate to say Grüezi, Zürich before we could start exploring this lovely city.
For decades, Zürich – Switzerland’s largest city – is globally known as the epicentre for finance and banking, and is regularly recognized as one of the most livable cities in the world. Its fame and prosperity even surpasses the capital city Bern and makes many visitors (including ourselves) believe that this city is the capital of Switzerland.The city is attractively set at the northwest end of Lake Zürich, from where the Limmat River runs further north, splitting the medieval centre in two. Much of this old town, with its winding lanes, guild houses, and tall church steeples, has been kept lovingly intact.
With over 50 museums and 100 galleries, Zürich is also a destination for those who love art, history, science, and clocks (yes, they have a museum for clocks, quite small but really interesting). Individual tickets are expensive so a Zürich Pass is highly recommended, as it grants you not only free access to many museums (or discount at the Kunsthaus) but it also allows you to use the public transport freely for 24 hours or 36 hours, including the boat.
Zürich is also a coin with two faces. In the morning, you see a Zürich for serious bankers and businessmen in unwrinkled suits rushing to their offices. But when night falls, the coin flips and Zürich turn into a hedonists’playground, with bars, parties, discos and peep shows, especially at Züri-West (resembles Hamburg’s Reeperbahn). With such a vibrant city nightlife, Zürich recently belongs to one of the hippest destination in central Europe.
We stayed in Zürich for a few days and made it our base to explore the northern part of the country, including Basel and St. Gallen, as well as Lucerne – a city in central Switzerland. Aside from the very high living cost, we kind of like Zürich and its pleasant lifestyle, and we would love to visit this city again someday (might be in summer, when we can jump into Lake Zürich or have a drink at the waterfront).
P.S: You haven’t really been to Zürich until you have tried Geschnetzeltes Kalbfleisch – thinly sliced veal, smothered in cream sauce.