From Paris I took the TGV high speed train to Zurich. I didn’t really have anything in particular I wanted to see in Zurich per se, it just happened to be a good place to stop on my way towards Rome because both the French and Italian train lines connected in Zurich.
The Paris Gare De l’Est train station was huge, and incredibly crowded. I was tired of being on my feet, but couldn’t find a place to sit. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long to board. I was lucky enough to be riding first class on this trip (it was only 5 extra euros), so my seat was extra comfy and my trip came with a decent meal. After a couple of cups of wine I was quite relaxed.
I arrived in Zurich late at night, and checked into my hotel room at the Zurich Marriott. Zurich is shockingly expensive. The hotel room would’ve cost me $400, but luckily I had enough Marriott points to book the room using points. Since the hotel was pretty close to the train station, I left my bags with the hotel while I explored Zurich for half a day. The first thing I discovered is that food is also shockingly expensive. Even a meal at McDonalds is like the equivalent of $15.
Another thing that I noticed pretty quickly is that the Swiss are quite proud of their timekeeping heritage. There was a clock tower visible almost everywhere I went. In fact at one point I could see three clock towers at once.
I walked from the train station to the shore of Lake Zurich. I was hoping to get a picture of the Swiss Alps over the lake, but it was a bit cloudy and hazy so you could barely make out the famous mountain range in the distance.
Even here on the shore of the lake there’s a clock.
There were a ton of watch stores, so I went window shopping. On the left are various watches that I can’t afford: Omega, Rolex, Girard Perregaux, Piaget, there was even a Patek Philippe store. Tissot I could sorta afford, so I actually went into their store and looked around. Tissot makes a series of watches called T-Touch, which have a touch sensor on them. I was curious to see how they worked, so I asked a salesperson to demo it for me. Now I kinda want a T-Touch Expert watch, which has an altimeter, thermometer, and compass all controlled by touch. I’d get one, except they’re like a thousand bucks. A Casio Pathfinder has all those features except the touch control for closer to two hundred.
The Beyer Chronometrie store had a clock museum in its basement. They had a number of interesting clocks, especially this amazing gravity powered clock.
Other than the watch stuff there wasn’t all that much stuff that was interesting to me in Zurich. From most foreign cities I visit I buy a souvenir shot glass that has pictures of the towns’ famous tourist attractions. Zurich’s shot glass had this church on it, which to be honest wasn’t all that spectacular.
A little more than half a day in Zurich was plenty of time for me to see all that I wanted to see in town. If I had more time I’d probably venture out of the city into the mountains somewhere, but unfortunately I needed to fly home soon, so I took an evening train from Zurich to Milan.