An Interrail Adventure – Blog 9: Zurich

When taking trains across Europe, much like at home, you can’t choose your fellow passengers. I say this because, at the time of writing, I am sat opposite a very chatty small child and his family. However, this journey to Stuttgart is a shorter one (only 3 hours) so perhaps my patience can hold out! In the meantime, I can find some solace in regaling you with my time in Zurich.

As I stepped off the train to Zurich and proceeded to make my way to the hostel, I had one question lingering in my mind – can I swim here? I say this because the last part of my train journey into Zurich rolled alongside the lake that Zurich sits at one end of, the Zurichsee. An hour later, I accompanied a chap from the hostel down to a pebbled beach and my question was answered. Even though the water was quite cold, the view from inside the freshwater lake was amazing. On one side you could see the Alps in the distance and on the other you had the Zurich cityscape. Swimming also meant I’d ticked off all three of the triathlon activities, the other two were running for the train and cycling around Liechtenstein!

The lake’s designated swimming area

The next morning marked the return of the walking tour, as I hadn’t done one since Zagreb. It focused on the older parts of Zurich, particularly the churches and old town. On the tour I got chatting with two Irish Interrailers, so afterwards we went for a bit of a stroll and eventually just a chilled out session by the lake. That afternoon we split off and I went to check out Zurich West – purportedly a redeveloped, trendy area. While it was interesting to see, what I’ll remember most was discovering a film set. I was walking down a street, when I saw some people standing on a building with large lights, clipboards and elsewhere was a camera. The most surreal bit was seeing a man leading a mooing cow with a rope through the streets of Zurich. I managed to get a far-off picture of it, if you don’t believe me!

A film about cows who live in apartment blocks?

Later on that day I took a trip, somewhat of a pilgrimage, to Zurich’s Lindt chocolate shop. Located next to the Lindt chocolate factory, it was a bit of a chocolate lovers paradise. Just standing outside the factory you could smell chocolate in the air! Entering the shop you were greeted with free chocolate and they had tasters all over the place, along with Lindt chocolates I’d never seen before, some sold only in the store. I made sure to not leave empty handed and I bought a couple of bars of “summer edition” chocolate – whether it makes it back to the England or not is a different story.

That evening I reunited with the Irish travellers for a dip in the lake, which close to sunset became a bit of a chilly experience. The whole atmosphere by the lake was so relaxed, with several groups of people using barbeques, having some drinks and enjoying each other’s company. However, eventually the sun did go down and after wandering around the city centre for an hour or two, the three of us parted ways for the final time.

Sunset by the Zurichsee

This morning was spent strolling around Zurich city, the lake and eventually the train station. As you’re probably wondering, the loud family is still here. No need to worry though, only an hour to go…

James Jackman will be sharing stories from his Interrail trip every few days throughout June and July – follow us on Facebook and Twitter to catch his updates as soon as they’re posted!