|An 830 pm night train was swet to take us South from Amsterdam to Zurich. This would be a 12 hr direct ride in a 6 person sleeper car. Brian and I had picked up sandwiches before boarding. We ate those upon boarding and would be the only 30 minutes we were awake the entire ride.
Our arrival was early, 8 am, and it was a bit chilly in Zurich. We stored our bags at the station and set off to explore. We were to meet Everett Smit at 6 pm to see about surfing his couch. We stumbled upon a cafe for coffee and pastries. We chatted up our attractive waitress for ideas and she was very helpful. She directed us towards free bike rentals.
We rode around the city for a couple of hours exploring the city, university and eventually ending up at a great park on Lake Zurich.
Zurich is essentially divided into an east and west section by the Limmat River which empties into Lake Zurich. My initial impression of Zurich and Switzerland seemed to fit my stereotype of beautiful, clean and wealthy.
At 3 pm we met back at the Central Station for a walking tour of the city. There was a German and English version along the tour and seemed to be a waste of 20 Francs. Switz is the first country so far that doesnt use the Euro.
We then had just an hour to grab some wine and meet Everett back at the station. We arrived to find Everett with two young Romanian surfers that would be staying one night with Everett. We collected our bags and took a 15 minute tram ride to a 2 bedroom apartment. Brian and I had two bean bag type sofas to sleep on while the Romanians had single beds.
After dropping the bags the five of us set off for an authentic Swiss meal at Veirfalken. Everett explained there were German, but mostly Italian influences in Swiss food. I opted for the Rosti, a heaping bowl of potatoes, cheese and ham. It was delicious and very filling...the only time I have left anything on my plate this trip. After that we headed to meet a group of 20 or so from couch surfing at Ellokal, a great college type bar. We had a blast and made some good connections for future stays throughout Europe.
Saturday morning found us at a local cafe for coffee before tackling a 3.5 kilometer hike up to the top of Utilberg. The weather was perfect and took us up about 500 meters above the city of Zurich. The panoramic views were amazing with downtown Zurich spilling into the lake on one side and the rolling country side on the other.
That night took us to a birthday/house party full of couch surfers and their friends. From there we went to Club Bling for dancing with the crew. Here we made some friends and secured a place to stay for the night before bidding goodnight to our couch host. I was a bit hesitant standing up our host where all of our stuff was, but figured this trip was about going where the road takes us. After another bar and some street food we followed our new friends to the train station and on to their place.
A long, 30 minute train tide at 4 am took us to an unfamiliar Zurich suburb. The next morning found us a bit sluggish as we struggled to find our way back to the city. After an hour of trains and trams we reconnected with Everett for coffee and croussants (no idea on the spelling).
Everett has been an awesome host. He has been great to talk with about anything...he is very blunt and direct. He also gave us some great tips for making the most out of couch surfing. This has been a great experience and look forward to getting exposed to a more local feel of cities through couch surfing. As I make this blog we are about to set off to the train station and hopefully book an overnight train to Vienna.
I have uploaded some photos, but hope to take some more before heading out. My battery has been a pain while in Zurich.