Zürich – not just banks

When you think about Zürich what do you think about? Banks? Well yes, this certainly is the capital of banking in Switzerland with the financial district, shops I can’t afford to look into, and luxury Mercs and BMWs as taxis.!!

But Zürich is more than that. As we only have a short time in Zürich we booked a six hour overview tour to dig a bit more into Zürich. In that six hours we walked, we hiked one of the thousands of hiking trails in Switzerland (okay it was only a 5 minute one), we caught the tram, the train, the funicular, a cable car, and also a boat.

We covered a lot of ground in that six hours.

We started in the old part of town getting a sense of its origins and how the Romans used Zürich and collected taxes of those transporting goods on the river. Some of the original fort is still there. Below is a picture showing a part of the original wall and then looking back over the old city from the fort wall.

What’s the time you ask…? You hardly need a watch as they have a bit of an obsession with clock towers there isn’t many places you can’t see at least one. So there’s no excuse for being late!

The picture below is of one of the clocks that is huge with the clock face 9 meters in diameter and minute hand nearly 5 meters long. This is the biggest clock face in Europe – Big Ben in London is 7 meters in diameter.

Have a close look at the numbers on the clock. The number 4 is shown as IIII and not as IV as we were taught in school.

The Roman’s represented the number 4 as IIII and not IV because it would be disrespectful to the Roman god Jupiter, whose Latin name begins with IV.

Therefore the use of IV to represent the numeral 4 was introduced after the Romans.

Like most places we’ve visited in Europe, Zürich has water fountains everywhere with nice fresh drinking water – so don’t buy water. Just refill your bottle from a fountain. Around Zürich there are over 1,200 fountains of all shapes and sizes.

If you ask for tap water at a restaurant you’ll likely get fountain water and get charged for it.

There were a number of other things our guide mentioned that jumped out….

  • Farmers are encouraged to have small farms to specialise in high quality product rather high quantity – we have certainly sampled some of this during our visit.
  • Mr Lindt was the first person to create nice tasting chocolate in the form of milk chocolate. Rather than the bitter chocolate that people ate to indicate their status.
  • They were happy to look after anyone’s money (good or bad) as it assured their security as no one wanted to put their own assets at risk.
  • They have an extensive bunker set up capable of housing their entire population of 8.5m. Wow – they really are boy scouts (be prepared)

Zürich has an impressive transport network for its size, but it is also a very wealthly area and they pay higher taxes overall as well. But they get a lot for what pay.

It is obvious that there is a lot of money here just looking at the cars, shops, and houses.

But at the end of the day Zürich is still a city and the real beauty of Switzerland is outside the cities and in their amazing landscape.

I think if I only came to Zürich I’d be disappointed.

Take me back to the mountains.

Today is our last day in Zürich, and the last day of our overseas adventure, and the streets are empty and the shops are shut.

Today is Switzerland’s national holiday, their 728th birthday.

So today we just hung out, wandered the lake, sitting eating bread pretzels and gelato, soaking in the rays in preparation of going home to the cold and shorter days of winter.

Now to look forward to 21 hours of flying, and hours sitting around airports waiting.

It’s been an amazing trip with many highlights … but I guess it’s now time to return to reality, pay some bills, back to work ….



and start planning the next adventure.!!

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