It seems that the tendency of coming back from a trip and having to leave again right away is a well-established habit! Not even a week after I came back from Crete I was already on a plane! I was headed to the homeland of the best Chocolate in the world: Switzerland! More precisely Zurich.
I just stayed for the weekend and it was enough to enjoy the small center of Zurich, and fall in love with its chocolate! Moreover a weekend in one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world was also enough for my wallet!! This short trip was similar to the trip to Paris of few months ago. I left with no expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised. You can’t compare Paris to Zurich for sightseeing, but both cities gave me that feeling of being in such an aesthetically beautiful place that just makes you feel well, relaxed and makes you enjoy the “being there” almost more than packing your day with activities.
My top 5 things to do in Zurich
In no particular order.
The Chinese Gardens by Lake Zurich
So peaceful, there are benches all over to sit and take in the view.
A walk along the east bank of the Limmat river
The Old Town (Altstadt) is located on the east side of the river. Walk along the east bank and make sure you walk around Kloster Fahr-Weg where the surroundings are beach like, with people sunbathing (and bathing in the river), beach volleyball fields and bars.
Münster=cathedral. Grossmünster is also located in the Old Town. You can visit it for free, there is a charge only to go up the bell tower. When you enter you can get a board with information of the various things to see. It is a really big board, this way people don’t steel it I suppose, the stand for the ones in Italian was empty though… I loved the stained glass windows of the cathedral, I have never seen something so beautiful. And the organ was also very nice. Here is a link, just in case you want to virtually visit Grossmünster.
One more cathedral but this time on the west bank of the Limmat river. Just go in, sit in front of the stained glass windows from Augusto Giacometti and Chagall and admire them, or pick your favorite (mine is the yellow one), or spend the time finding the smallest detailes in them. Here is a link to Fraumünster.
The terrace of the ETH Zürich
The terrace of the university is up on a hill but very close to the city center so from up there the view is breathtaking! Go as the last thing you do in Zurich so from this vantage point you will be able to recognize all the major sites you visited.
Just like in Paris I had the best pastries ever, in Zurich I had the best chocolate ever! And just like in Paris those pastries were the most expensive ever, in Zurich that chocolate was the most expensive ever. One pralin costed close to what a pastry costed in Paris!! Really! But if you ask me: it was all worth it! Sweets are my Achilles’ heel, I simply can’t resist, and when they taste like they tasted in Zurich, I am happy to splurge. And it’s only this one time… if I were to go there more often then it would be a real problem!
We walked along Bahnhofstrasse, a purchase in one of the shops located on this street and a month salary is gone! Here you can find all the most fashionable boutiques, jewelers and watch shops. We didn’t care at all about all that but the two chocolate stores we (I) wanted to hit were also located there.
I had to go visit the shop of Lindt Chocolate, which is actually Lindt & Sprüngli. Sprüngli (originally from Zurich) acquired Lindt (originally from Bern) in 1899 and they have been together since, even though the most call it just Lindt. Lindt is my favorite commercial chocolate. I spent a countless number of Sundays in my grandparent’s patisserie in Italy when I was young. There I had a chance to taste a lot of different chocolate. Lindt was always my favorite (Gianduiotti from Turin were the only exception). I took a thousand pictures in the Lindt & Sprüngli store and I was ecstatic to be there! All that chocolate! That is what my heaven looks like!
While just being at Lindt & Sprüngli was enough to make me cry of happiness, we didn’t buy anything there because a friend recommended us another chocolate store where they make their chocolate by hand (Sprüngli mass produces with machinery). We had to walk farther and then we found it, the Morkur shop that sells Läderach Chocolate. Seemingly unpretentious, with just a small sign outside, tucked between other shops. We weren’t quite sure to be in the right place, but when we stepped inside the smell of chocolate was so amazingly intense that we knew at once it had to be it! My heaven smells like a Läderach Chocolate store ;)
We looked around, took pictures, pondered and considered whether it was worth it to spend so much for chocolate. Moreover they had sooo many types that we had to trust the lady behind the counter to get us something good, it was just not possible to read all the labels and decide one by one what chocolate we wanted! And then we did it. We got two small boxes of chocolate and a couple of pralines to enjoy right away. We sat by the river and ate our chocolate, I was in heaven (my heaven). Oh my, that is what one should feel eating chocolate! That little ball was pure happiness!
I said the chocolate was expensive and I know you are wondering what I mean, so I am going to disclose the price of my white chocolate praline: it was about 5 dollars. But it was a big praline! Biggish that is, larger than a Lindor, but not that much… it was gone in three bites, small bites ;) But it was oh so worth it!
After the shopping of Läderach chocolate we decided we were not going to splurge on any more chocolate in Zurich. But, when we got to the airport, right in front of us stood a Lindt & Sprüngli store! We would have avoided it but we got to the airport so much in advance that we really needed something to kill our time… The chocolate was even more expensive than the Läderach. Sure stores at the airport are expensive, but I doubt the store downtown has much lower prices. Also I don’t dare say it wasn’t good but it was far from the one from Läderach. So, my advice is: go for the handmade Läderach chocolate at Morkur rather than the mass produced and still expensive chocolate at Lindt & Sprüngli.
While in Zurich we also spent some time with a couple of old friends that we hadn’t seen in 7 years. I must mention them because they made our trip so much nicer :) … and they suggested us to skip Lindt and get the Läderach chocolate! Thank you Piero and Sara! I hope you’ll soon have a chance to come visit us in Berlin!
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