Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Having recovered from our Tuesday trip over, we set out to discover Zurich today and had an absolutely great time. Our hotel’s within walking distance of the old town; but altogether, we probably hiked 4-5 miles today. It’s not a large city, slightly smaller than Orlando population wise, but a little older, like about 1000 years older. The first written reference to Zurich was in 929.
Maybe because of this age difference, Orlando might could learn a thing or 2 from Zurich. These are some random observations made today, in no particular order:
• Zurich, like many European cities, has a first class local rail system, in the form of trolley cars. Two advantages of trolley cars are that they are very quiet and produce no exhaust fumes.
• A corollary to the above, people here seem to be much less dependent on the automobile. Walking, bicycles, and Vespa type scooters abound. This morning we saw a 70+ year old woman walking away from the train station, luggage in tow. ‘Think you’d see that in the US?
• Vehicle drivers always yield at pedestrian crosswalks.
• The Swiss speak quieter in public places, sometimes leaving foreigners to stand out by our loudspeak.
The Limmat River flows thru the city from Lake Zurich on the south side. As in many of the historic European cities, it seems the old churches and cathedrals seem to dominate the landscape, so we saw our share, some dating back to construction in the 1100’s. One of these, the Grossmunster (translated the Great Cathedral) is the resting place for Zurich’s two founding Saints, Felix and Regula. They came to be saints because they were martyred by beheading. Legend has it that they came to be interred here because they both picked up their decapitated heads and walked to the site of this church. The Emperor Charlemagne later started construction of the church, which was finished about a hundred years later.
We had a very nice lunch at an outdoor café beside the Limmat just as it flows out of Lake Zurich. We split portions of Bratwurst and Wienersnitchel, beneath a towering Elm tree, leaves Kelly Green with new spring growth. Across Lake Zurich, snow-capped peaks of the Alps crowned the view.
So, tomorrow it’s back to the train station for the 24 hour ride thru 5 countries and into Split. ‘More to follow.