Picture of river Zurich, known mostly as a business center, is actually a suprisingly pleasant place to spend a couple of days as a tourist. The center of town is divided by the Limmat River (shown here) which runs into Lake Zurich (the Zurichzee). The church featured in this photo is the Fraumunster. In medieval times the upper classes of Zurich attended church here while the rest of the populace was stuck going to the grossmunster.
Picture of grossmunster Maybe that wasn't so bad though. These are the twin towers of the grossmunster. For a small fee you can climb to the top for a nice view of the city. It's quite a climb though featuring a tight stone spiral staircase followed by a wider wooden one to the top. Just above the building in the foreground of this photo you'll see a statue with a gold crown and scepter. That is a reproduction of the original statue of Charlemagne. The original can be seen in the crypt of the cathedral. Charlemagne founded this church but the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli popularized it in the 16th century. That's more history than you might need but we just love the name Ulrich Zwingli and had to work it into this webpage.
Picture of aerial_view This is the view from the tower of the grossmunster looking out across Zurich. The large stately looking buildings on the hill to the right make up part of the University of Zurich. It is actually very easy to get around Zurich thanks to a tremendously detailed system of trams, assuming you can figure out the map.
Picture of us Almost all the trams seem to converge on the Bahnhof (train station). Zurich's train station is quite impressive to see. Besides the almost 20 tram lines and who knows how many train lines that run through it, there is a vast underground mall as well. In Zurich, as well as the rest of Switzerland, nearly every shop closes at 6:30 PM. After that time activity is mostly limited to restaurants and nightclubs which seem fairly dispersed in Zurich. The exception would be the bahnhof which was bustling with activity every time we were near it. There is also a Sprungli store there (and on nearly every corner in Zurich). Sprungli is a chain of chocolate stores associated with Lindt (based in Zurich) and even if you're not a big chocolate fan, it's worth a stroll through one of their stores.
Picture of lindenhof This is the west bank of the river. In the top center of this photo you can see a raised platform with a bunch of trees on it. This is the Lindenhof which is where the Romans chose to place the city that eventually evolved into Zurich. Today it is a park of sorts, with gravel instead of grass and some very large chess sets.
Picture of platz There's a certain stereotype about Switzerland and clocks, and there's a definite factual basis behind the stereotype. This is the clock tower of St. Peter's. It features the largest clock face in Europe. No really, it says this nearly everywhere so we think it really is true. Either way, it's big but it doesn't really stand out because there is approximately one large clock face per every three residents in Switzerland. Despite the precision and workmanship that Swiss watches are known for, this has got to be the best country in the world to forget your watch in. You will never have difficulty in determining the time. While learning some German before this trip we actually studied the lesson on telling time which is absolutely useless in Switzerland. No one will ever ask you what time it is, and you will never need to ask anyone else.
Picture of history_museum This castle-like building houses the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, also known as the Swiss National Museum. The castle is quite large, and the museum is just as large. It covers every aspect of Swiss life from medieval furnishings and currency to arms, maps, tapestries, animals, paintings, stained glass, regional costumes, toys, shoes, wine-making, religion,and of course, cowbells. But wait! There's more! There is a painstakingly detailed scale model of a medieval battle between Bern and Burgundy. It is so large that they had to put magnifying scopes around the edges of it so you can see into the middle. If you're trying to come to grips with the entire history of Switzerland in one afternoon, this is definately the place to go.
Picture of tx_grossmunster

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