As the flight descended to this small town in Swiss land I could only see greenery around me – what a pleasant change from the barren Desertland that I live in.
The runaway of the small airport is surrounded by lush green fields. As the plane descended, I could see the lake, the waters running by, the cows grazing lazily, the bicycles pacing down on the slopes, and then the plane landed on what was supposed to be an airport!
Zurich airport seems smaller than the Mumbai Domestic airport. Less plush but more clean. If the small cities in India were kept as clean we too would be calling them heaven on earth.
The landscapes are beautiful no doubt, but I don’t see much difference between these and our land. The comparison is natural – the only question that comes to mind is if only our people valued the nature we are blessed with and took care of it. That is the basic difference – people here value their land, their riches are their nature and they treasure it.
Zurich is a busy city by European standards at least – you see loads of people rushing around in trams, buses, trains etc. The main station Zurich HauptBahnhof is buzzing throughout the day.
The best part of this place was though seeing people have beer during the day – for heaven’s sake coffee and beer costs the same! I almost felt guilty sipping coffee when I could take a taste of beer and wine. What a heaven for my friends who love beer! I couldn’t help but remember V – who loves beer( as you would guess from his blog title). If I could, I’d gift him a lifetime Swiss visa!
The people are warm and friendly. Everyone can make out a confused tourist and go out of their way to help them. The SBB – the main railway operator, has its offices at all stations and the staff there help you plan your journey, explain the cheaper options and ensure you are not cheated of your money. Yes, some are confused but that is rare. People smile at you randomly, talk to you about your experience. One lady was so touched when MDH offered his seat to her that till she got down she kept showering her blessings! We would have almost got onto the wrong train without a valid ticket had a lady at the platform not gone out of her way to help us! Yes I did encounter a rude lady but then I’d give her the benefit of the doubt of having to deal with million tourists a day at the Rhine falls.
I’m a huge fan of public transport – have often confessed this on the blog. I still get a bigger kick by travelling in a public transport than driving my own car! I lived 25 years in Mumbai without ever missing owning a vehicle – I missed that in Dubai. Any place that does not have a good public transport makes you lazy. You tend to walk less, your brains work less, you lose sense of time, you lose your “me” time,you become dependent, you tend to read less and you tend to crib more!
We did not feel the need to hunt for a cab despite the luggage we carried. There is a station at every airport which connects to the main city stations. You just hop on and hop off with the day passes you buy. The platforms, trains, escalators and elevators are well built to suffice for all – people with luggage, handicapped people, children and even pets! This place does not treat animals any differently from humans. Most restaurants and hotels permit animals and separate food trays are laid out for them. No public transport restricts people from boarding their animals onto it! Talk about equality – a lesson we all must learn.
There is not much to see in Zurich – the St. Peter’s Church, the lake Zurich, Uteliberg top of Zurich, the old town and the famous Bahnofstrasse. Our hotel was about 10 minutes from the central station with a tram line 2 minutes walk away which made it easier for us to move around the city. Bahnhofstrasse is buzzing until 7.30 and then it goes all quiet! All shops and restaurants shut down at 8.00!!! We were lucky to find a McDonald’s open!
The ride along Lake Zurich was mesmerising and made me envious of all the people who have their houses along the lake. The ride lasts one hour and takes you all over the town. I’m sharing some snaps with you all.
Look at the last picture – sigh don’t you wish someday you could live in house like that surrounded by nature!