Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Bubble: Burning The Pockets In Zurich!

If you don't already know Zurich recently overtook Tokyo as the most expensive city in the world.  Even The Big Apple stand far far down the list from this city ... if I'm not wrong the last I read was at #47 this year.  How I wish I'm a Singaporean ... the damage wouldn't be that bad!  Currently Singapore stands at the 10th spot as the most expensive cities in the world.

Evidenced by our surprise over the exorbitant prices in Zurich, it is obvious that lo kong never did his homework when he decided to sign-up for the 10th Zurich Marathon.  The original plan for our 2-week trip to Europe was to stay half-half between Paris and London.  11 months after booking our air-tix on Air Asia, our itinerary seemed to have evolved into a tight squeeze with Manchester and Zurich included into the 2-week span. Anyhow, despite it all ... Manchester and Zurich still turned out to be the most laid-back and pleasant part of our holiday.  Notwithstanding the currency exchanges,


We flew in to Zurich from London and started our absorption of the city's awesome sight with a minor road accident.  The cab that we took had a fender-bender with another car.  The BMW had swerved into our path and the ensuing maneuverings, both cars knocked into each other.  Our Turkish cab driver and the driver in the BMW discussed, made calls and completed their procedural forms while we waited ... close to an hour!  Although the cab driver had suggested that we take another cab, we politely declined as we would have to forked out another minimum charge of CHF6.50 (RM22) for the next cab. When we arrive at our hostel, instead of offering us a discount for our time waiting the incongruous cab driver cheekily took our change as his tips!!

We stayed at the quiet Youth Hostel Zurich which was a walking distance to Lake Zurich during our entire visit because it was reasonably-priced and the Zurich Marathon starting line was close-by.  We shared the 4-bed room with ensuite bathroom with Uncle Chew and wife, Auntie Elaine.  It was roomy, comfortable and clean but one must not expect a hotel service.  We were given one towel each to last our entire stay plus we were required to clear and deliver our respective bedsheets and pillow cases to the reception upon check-out.  Thankfully, the room comes with a buffet Swiss breakfast ... it saves alot!  The entire stay costs CHF388.00 which came down to about RM330.00 per night.

Moving around the city was pretty easy with their ever-punctual buses, trams and trains.  On our first day, we took our bus rides for FREE because the bus driver did not accept our money.  Neither was there any machine to pay onboard.  All four of us were dumbfounded!!!!  We soon realised that we had to purchase our tickets at the bus stand before boarding and it is entirely based on personal integrity.  No one to check if you've purchased a tix or if you've purchased the right value.  However be forewarned ... DON'T GET CAUGHT!!!!  It was almost the same as Manchester but they had signages reminding the repercussions when caught.  We don't care if we'll ever encounter a ticket inspection, we bought their 24-hour ticket rides anyway as honesty is more valuable.

During our 4 days in Zurich;

1.  Lo kong ran the marathon with Uncle Chew.

2.  We played with snow on Mount Titlis with Uncle Chew, his family and a friend who is based in Geneva.

3.  We walked the cobblestone streets of Altstadt (Old Town).

4.  We window-shopped around Bahnhofstrasse ... a 1.5km shoppers' paradise as exclusive as Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris.  Keep in mind 'expensive' and you won't buy a thing though we did make away with some handmade Swiss chocolates!

5.  We ate their best bratwurst in town at Sternen Grill that came with Burli bread (take how many you want).  The St. Galler Bratwurst costs CHF7.00 and Special Servelat was cheaper at CHF6.00.

6.  Since we're in Switzerland ... the Swiss fondue was top of my list but I wouldn't fancy trying it again anytime.  It costs CHF31.50 for a single portion which was sufficient to be shared with more than one person.

7.  We ate Swiss Movenpick ice-creams too!  Yum yum and my strongest recommendation ... forget about any other flavours!  Just go for the Swiss Chocolate ... you'll never regret but want more!

8.  Not forgetting, we had Japanese food.  In Switzerland???  Yup, you read right!  Uncle Chew's friend had taken us to his friend's Gigi Sushi Bar Restaurant in Horgen for a sumptious Japanese dinner with an additional dish of 'Pak Chum Kai' that had travelled all the way from Geneva!

Like I said earlier and I feel like repeating again ... I LOVE ZURICH!  Just don't think about the costs and the conversion in currency, it will be a beautiful, peaceful and friendly place to visit with plenty of fresh crisp air to boot!  Unfortunately, bickerings followed us from London to Zurich.

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