Day 2 continues – I discovered what happens at 11:11 am on the 11th day of the 11th Month.
Well, in different parts of the world different things but Zurich, as in German, at this time and date, Carnival season starts. The festival is known as “Karneval” or “Fasching“. But, I have got ahead of myself.
After freshening up, you know the things you do. I walked out of the Hotel Helmhausand head for the ‘Old Town
Centre’. The street immediately in front of the hotel is more like a lane but at the end of the lane was a street with cars, buses, trams and bicycles. I had to cross to get to the river to get those special photo angles, as if I knew where I was going or what I was doing. Another important note, when in Switzerland and crossing the road, LOOK LEFT to see what immediate traffic is coming. No problems and with my cameras at the ready I was too. Cameras? I had the mandatory digital camera but was trying a new Kodak digital which looks like its impersonating a mobile phone. Makes sense these days, where phones have cameras and cameras look like phones. The architecture is nothing like back home in Australia and the trusty Olympus got a real work out, thank goodness for spare batteries and XD cards! Trust me it uses XD not SD cards.
The actual square is away from the river and the road but somehow I discovered it. As I entered the square. The Old Town Square was the starting point for many groups who drank, smoked, played musical instruments, danced or just looked on. It was really colourful with the variety of costumes, though the groups wore the same so they could have been uniforms and amazingly, their faces were coloured to match.
The appointed time struck and so did the bands, each trying to outdo the others. I just stood there spellbound. So much for the conservative Swiss! This was like ‘Party Central’ and it was just starting. I spotted a hotel near the square called Hotel Wellenberg.
The time just passed and I began walk through the streets and meeting up with little groups of musicians still at it. Drinking, smoking and playing music that is. I walked to an upper road and passed the Hotel Basilea. Further up the road I passed under the The Polybahn, also known as the UBS Polybahn, it is a funicular railway. I’ll let you Google that if you are interested.
Thinking I could get a better view of the City I walked up the hill but when I reached the Hotel Rex, I stopped for a coffee. What I really stopped for, was to check out a classic Mini Cooper in the parking area. Further investigation revealed it was owned by one of the hotel employees. The view was not there but looking at the Hotel Rex I would guess some of their rooms would have great views.
Refreshed but wanting to cover more area, I bought a tram ticket. Dead easy using the machine and enjoyed my trip to near another hotel I had heard of , the Hotel Claridge, the rooms I understand are themed to different countries but that is up to you to discover. I walked back to Zurich Stadelhofen. Such a variety of shops, the Opera House and views over the lake. I continued back to the Helmhaus for a quick ‘nanny nap’ before going to Zürich-Flughafen to meet my travelling companion flying in from London. The train timetables were easy to read and they run on time, surprise, surprise, NOT . The ticketing machine as with the tram was easy but, which train to catch? As I had discovered previously, it’s all done with numbers, S16 is the train for Airport to the City and return. A bit of a hiccup on the return when I forgot the train arrives in the outbound direction then reverses to return to the city. This gave us some unexpected time to check out the offerings of Zurich Airport.
With us finally on the right train, we journeyed to the Hotel Helmhaus for our overnight stay.
Next time, Day 3 we discover a situation of missing skis on walking tracks and how to meet the locals.