4 surprising things about Zurich

We all have some preconceptions about famous cities or tourist destinations. Certain expectations may arise from reading many tourist brochures or perusing pictures on the Internet to the point that it feels like you have seen the real place. I surely had a few set ideas about Zurich. But, I am happy to say that in just a few hours of walking around the city, I noticed 4 things that you can never read in any tourist booklets.

1. Zurich feels like a very short city. Churches still remain the tallest buildings proudly displaying their bell towers. Buildings are located on the slopes of the bay, so the ones on top have bird-like views, but they are still around 5 or 7-floors-tall. I found it to be very charming.



2. Even though Zurich is not a stranger to huge corporate brand name stores, it was great to see that preserving the original architecture is of high importance to the city. Try playing “I-spy-the-store-name” with these pictures.




3. Love for recycling and renewable energy is visible anywhere in Europe. And this city turns it into an easy, fun and simple activity in which to engage. This is a wall near the entrance at a supermarket.


4. Guess what kind of a building this is? A hint – it is public. A hint – it provides essential services for citizens…. Answer: a police station. Yes, I know you saw that coming…



Narita (Tokyo) airport vs. Zurich airport

Near Norita Airport (Tokyo)

Near Narita Airport (Tokyo)

As I said yesterday… when traveling on a budget, it makes sense to use free shuttle services provided by the hotel you are staying. But there are shuttle services and then there are Shuttle Services. In Tokyo you will find the latter. In Zurich we experienced the former. Among a few other things, we noticed that a few smaller hotels near Zurich airport cut back shuttle services for the weekend (!?!). Besides, overall, the frequency of runs is not that often compered to Tokyo where shuttle services have a feel of departing subway cars: often and on time.

Near Zurich Airport

Near Zurich Airport

Final note of comparison: airport in Zurich leaves very much to be desired. Granted, there is a bit of construction (maybe on a different day it would have been better), but compared to Narita or Incheon (Tokyo or Seoul), it is really not well planned out, not equipped to handle crowds, no designated smoking areas (so entrances are involuntarily turned into free smoking zones!), not enough information booths… Had I not known anything about my current location and judging by the airport only – I would have never guessed that this is Switzerland…