Finally, I have come to the conclusion of my 2016 European holiday narrative with a short and sweet post about Zurich.
After spending the last four hectic weeks of travelling through Greece and Portugal, we decided to come to Zurich for a bit of respite, to have a couple of quiet days to decompress before flying back to Sydney.
We flew to Zurich after spending a couple of days in a beautiful sunny Madeira and I was not very happy to return to the cold weather, more so since the weather in Zurich was even colder than everywhere we were before.
We stayed in Steigenberger Hotel located on the Lake Zurich. They upgraded us to an enormous 2 level suite with private access to our own roof terrace, sauna and jacuzzi with a panoramic view over the lake and the city beyond.
We only had one and a half days to spare and didn’t have any particular plan of what we wanted to see or do except two things: to find the Fraumünster Church where Marc Chagall painted five windows and see the Macbeth opera at Zurich Opera house, tickets for which we had purchased on-line well before we left on our holiday.
So the next morning, we bundled ourselves into the scarves and gloves and set off to explore the Old Town (Altstadt). This historic heart of Zurich is the most atmospheric part of the city with its medieval looking buildings, old churches and cathedrals with the narrow copper covered spiels punctuating the sky above, narrow cobblestone streets, lovely squares with ornate fountains in the middle and wrought iron benches beside them. This area is full of all sorts of eateries, bars, cafes, art galleries and artisan shops.
It is here in Alststadt that you find Bahnofstrasse, the most expensive and exclusive shopping mile in Europe and even if you are not in the mood for shopping, just taking a stroll along it should not be a missed. The one thing that came to me as a shock is the cost of food, which became even more apparent in comparison to what we paid for similar food in Greece and Portugal.
The Old Town is very charming, even if sometimes it could be difficult to navigate due to its twisty narrow streets and passages, however the people of Zurich were most helpful and glad to point us in the right direction to the Fraumunster Church were we admired the colourful work of Mark Chagall.
Then we hopped on a tram and made our way to the Western, more industrial part of Zurich, to check out how the space under the "old Viadukt" was transformed into a Markthalle (Market Place) housing an array of delicatessens, cult labels stores, studio galleries and fashion boutique all open to the public.
We stopped at one of the stalls for a piece of deliciously looking apple pie and a stall holder suggested that we should have lunch at Bistro Clouds, only few tram stops from the viaduct. Sitting on top of the one of the tallest city towers, this place is known not only for its food and bar but for the breathtaking 360 degrees view over Zurich.
And although the restaurant requires reservations made far in advance, the bistro works on a walk-in basis and we were seated immediately. The food was very good and the prices, to our utter surprise, were quite reasonable so we left the Clouds with a feeling of satisfaction and contentment.
We returned to our hotel in time to rest and get changed for the much anticipated evening at the Opera.
Luckily, our hotel was only few minutes away from the Opera House. As we found our seats we looked around to admire the rich décor and architecture of the building that is so customary of the theaters all around Europe. We were fascinated by the innovative production of the play, the singing was superb and to our utmost delight we were able to follow the plot, courtesy of the English surtitles. That list night in Zurich was one of the highlights of our trip and I couldn’t wish for a better way to bring our 2016 European holiday to a close.