Guten Morgen, Zürich!

Got to Switzerland without a passport and with 10 euros

What can be a better “Good morning”, than Swiss light wind, the smell of fondue on the streets and conversations in thousands of languages? I always escape to Switzerland or to Norway in order to forget about the tough reality of exams, thesis, job hunting, visa processes…

As I planned to go to Zurich in May but accidentally got an infection and spent May holidays in the hospital drinking orange juice and dreaming of Swiss landscape, now I felt it was time for my plans to come true. 7 am and I was happily walking through the wagons of IC train heading to Stuttgart. Couple hours later and only one change I was already so excited to get to the country I visited 3 years ago with my brother. Got to the border and only here I realized the sad truth – I forgot my passport. So unlike me. Never did I go on a trip without a passport or tickets, but there is always that “first time” when you miss a flight or you are turned out at the border. Funny, but with this border control is always a lottery. You might even not be noticed or you my might be checked to your underwear. Lucky me, the Croatian man dressed like a bad boy drew more attention to himself than a Ukrainian backpacker with a backpack full of pasta, fruit and veggies and 10 euros in the pocket.

Survival Mode On!

Sadly, once the police came, they checked all Croatian’s belongings and simply didn’t like his documents, so they took him to the office ignoring the fact he had train tickets from Zurich to Paris. I was saved.

Walking in the city with the water selling for 12 euros per bottle might be a torture. You simply forget about the existence of supermarkets, public transportation, and coffee shops. After two days spent in Zurich –  in the city where even Swiss complain about the prices – I knew the location of every fountain with drinking water, I knew all public beaches and even 7 km walk looked like a simple warm-up before a hot day.

I joined Free Walking Tours, undoubtedly the name is really attractive for traveling students. The tour took place in the West Side Zurich – a district that is trying to become hipster -eco-bio place. Wherever you go, you can find “100% recycling jeans”, “extremely bio banana juice”, “eco-friendly scooters”. The city has factories with walls full of solar panels, recycling centers that produce energy out of the wastes, the smell of corn, wheat, and sunflower. I really hope we will have more cities like this soon enough. Swiss are highly concern about the environmental changes and global warming so from the youngest, they are taught how to minimize the wastes. 

But back to the heat in Zurich!

It was +40 from 11 am to 7 pm, so what I was looking forward to was to enjoy the beaches and the transparent water. God, how can an industrial city have such a clean and beautiful river and a lake? I mean, I grew up in the city with a beautiful riverside and forests around it, but you have to be brave enough to go swimming there just next to the metro station.

Limmat River is a wonderful escape from the city routine. So right after your working shift you can easily have a drink next to the water and swim right next to the wild swans, who actually do their best to escape the people, but always accidentally bump into their beer bellies. Zurichsee is a calmer area with locals having picnics around and watching the sunset. You can take a swim in the port and water is still crystal. SUP or kayaking, fishing or diving – you will explore the rich underwater world.

Night time is also an intriguing moment with families being dressed all fabulously and having dinners in the most expensive restaurants of Europe. Lots of seafood, old wine, delicious cakes are served here and there. Tempting.

Places to enjoy the company with swans:

  • Flussbad Oberer Letten – restaurant with a beach – free showers 🙂 but no wifi 
  • Kloster Fahr-Weg – the opposite side of the Flussbad – good place to take a swim during the walk
  • Seeuferweg – take a swim next to the boats in Zurichseee
  • Lake Side Terrace – restaurant with a good view. Next to it a nice beach and picnic spots are located.

 

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