The train from Vienna to Zurich, for the next part of my trip I knew was going to be long. However, it ended up being even longer than I expected due to delays. Finally, after nine hours on the train, I had arrived in my next destination, Zurich.
Once at the train station, I needed to figure out how to get to my hotel. The hotel I booked this time was not near the train station. Zurich is the most expensive city I have visited on this trip, by far, and I was looking to at least save a little by not staying in the center of town, and taking more transit.
Paying fares on the Zurich transit system is less intuitive than it is in the other places i have visited also. Here, there aren’t any rapid transit trains or light rail trains, rather commuter rails and street cars for the most part. Apple maps told me which street car line to take from the train station to the hotel. Once getting of the train, I still needed to walk a few more blocks to get to my destination, which sent me down some questionable alleys, part of this also may have been because it was dark. Europe ended Daylight Savings Time the night before, so it is now getting dark earlier. Fortunately, Zurich is a safe city and I made it to the hotel, the Placid Hotel Zurich, which is, needless to say, quite placid.
Having not eaten all day, besides a Starbucks bagel that morning in Vienna, I was looking to see what dining options were around the hotel. THe Hotel, however, appears to be in the middle of an office complex for UBS Bank, so not a lot was open on a Sunday night, besides the hotel bar and restaurant, which is where I went.
At the bar, after I had finished my food and was working on a gin and tonic before heading up to the room, another guy comes in and starts buying everyone tequila shots. Sure, why not. Well, one shot quickly became two, which eventually became six. Finally, after six, I needed to cut myself off. I wanted to actually remember my time in Zurich, and not just be passed out drunk the whole time.
I then headed up to my room and watched CNN specials for the next couple of hours while drinking a ton of water. Generally to avoid hangovers in these situations, I try to drink one glass of water for every drink of alcohol I am trying to recover from. So, in this case, I had six glasses of water.
I still woke up at around three am with a headache, so I drank an additional two glasses of water and took some Advil. Waking up the following morning, the headache was gone, but I think I might have been feeling crankier that morning. I Will try not to let that influence my opinions of Zurich.
First thing I did, after realizing there weren’t really good breakfast options near my hotel was to take a street car to the center of town, and head to Starbucks for a coffee and some sort of pizza bagel type pastry, then plan out what I should do that day.
One of the activities I considered was the art museum, Kunsthaus Zurich. However, this being a Monday morning, they were closed. Perhaps I would reconsider this for a Tuesday activity. So, instead, I got on another street car and headed towards the the parks on the eastern shore of Lake Zurich for people watching.
After doing this for a couple of hours, I began a walk back to the center of town, stoping along the way at Iroquois for a chicken enchilada for lunch, and of course a beer.
After that, I continued my walk towards the center of town, now stopping at an Irish pub for a couple of Guinness. After that, I catch the tram back to the hotel. by the time I got there, it was getting late, and saw the only dining options within those few blocks that were open were the hotel restaurant, where I went the night before, and didn’t really feel like going to again, yet alone having another six tequila shots. The other option was a Mcdonalds. Something I generally wouldn’t touch back home, but when traveling, can be very convenient, and you know exactly what you’re going to get. Additonally, although McDonald’s prices are higher in Zurich than they are, in, say Seattle, they are lower than just about every other restaurant in town. Considering I am now drinking ten dollar beer, I should try to save money where I can.
I also booked the last of my plans for the rest of the hermit portion of the sabbatical. After Zurich, I would go to Lyon for one night. This is mostly so I can avoid having another long train day, and break up my travel a bit. Seems like I might be short changing Leon at this point, but, choices need to be made. I would then travel to Montpelier for three nights, getting down to the medeterian cost, where hopefully the weather will be a bit warmer, and then heading over to Barcelona for four nights. After which I would catch my flight to Lisbon that I had previously booked while at the Hard Rock in Prague.
After that, it was time to watch some Sky News and go to bed.
The following day was a Tuesday so the Kunsthaus Zurich was actually open, and I made this the main activity of the day, and checked out some Monet’s and Van Gough’s.
I followed this up with some people watching around the old town Zurich, ultimately ending up at Cafe Henrici getting a broccoli quiche and an Irish coffee, while watching some pigeon action on the square. I decided the Irish coffee put me in the mood for another Guinness, so I went back to the Irish pub that I went to the day before.
By the time that was over, it was past four, so I decided to get back on the tram and head back to the hotel. This time, I decided for dinner that I would go back to the hotel restaurant, and sit in the restaurant area instead of the bar area. Hence, I was able to get away with only one drink for dinner, before heading back up to my room and turning in for the evening.
The following morning it was time for me to leave Zurich. I started by going to McDonalds for breakfast, then checked out of the hotel, and caught the tram back to the train station. From there, I first caught a train to Geneva, where I had about 45 minutes to transfer to a regional train to Leon.
While in Geneva, I got a quick lunch from Pret-A-Manger and got on the train to Leon, which was surprisingly almost empty, I was a bit concerned I had gotten on the wrong train and didn’t realize this. But then, the train left when it was supposed to, and started making all the stops that I knew it was supposed to make. Clearly I was on the right train. A couple of hours later, and I had arrived in Leon for the next phase of this trip.