Overnight layover in Zurich

Upon arrival in Zurich, I headed to baggage claim to pick-up my hiking backpack – since I couldn’t check it all the way through to AUS. At baggage claim, I was pleasantly surprised to see a train schedule for transport to the city.

Baggage claim and train schedule

I stopped by a Brezelkonig (pretzel king) shop to grab a snack and break the big bills that the ATM spat out, which was needed for the locker and train ticket machine.

Swiss Francs

I grabbed a change of clothes from my backpack and then dropped it in a locker – located just above the train station, near Check-In area 3.

Left-luggage lockers in Zurich airport

The round-trip train from the airport to downtown is CHF13.20. There is a train that goes directly from the check-in terminal to the main train station non-stop.

My InterRegio train from the airport to the Zurich HB 

I wandered around the main train station for a bit, taking in the beauty of Western civilization after a while in China 🙂

Me outside the Zurich main train station

I hurried across the river toward the Polybahn funicular – which I had to rely on asking pedestrians for directions to – trying to get there before it closed. My online research showed the last train was at 7:45pm, but when I got there, the sign said that the last train was 7:15pm. Oh well!

Next time, Polybahn, next time…

I didn’t have any other plans for Zurich, so I wandered around for a few hours, headed anywhere I felt like going. It was quite nice to be able to explore a city aimlessly like this. Unfortunately, my GPS watch had broken, so I have no record of how far I walked. But, it had to be more than 5 miles!

Love locks on one of Zurich’s many bridges
Random outdoor concert I stumbled across
One of the exceptionally-short boats, designed to fit under Zurich’s short bridges

At the 12th-century “GrossmĂĽnster” church, I could hear an organ being played inside, but the visitor door was closed and I couldn’t find another way into the church. After listening for a few minutes, it became clear that the organist was just practicing.

Outside the GrossmĂĽnster church later than night
I ended up all the way down at the Sechseläutenplatz before turning back toward the train station, as it was 9pm and starting to get darker.

Along the way, I ran into a couple of girls who were struggling to take a selfie. As I am one to do, I offered to take their photo. They reciprocated and then we got to talking. They had met while taking classes in Oxford, but had been apart for a while. One of the girls was now living in Zurich, and the other was visiting.

I asked for directions to my hotel, and they were heading the same direction. They asked if I minded walking for a bit, which I didn’t, and then we took off toward the hotel. It was a lot further than I was expecting! And, they were quite fast. So, I didn’t have any time to stop to take photos along the way. But, I enjoyed their company.

Once at the Pension fĂĽrDich hotel/bar, I checked in with the bartender/front desk. Then, I dropped off my stuff in my room (#7) and headed back down to the bar for a drink.

Very basic room, but it was the cheapest place in town!

The cheapest pint was a CHF4.80 “amboss blond”, which I stepped outside with the bartender to drink while he smoked.

The hotel was exceptionally basic: sheets and towels were provided, but that was about it. Rooms 7-9 were together behind a shared locked door. The three rooms shared a bathroom, but thankfully no one was staying in rooms 8 or 9.

Door to rooms 7-9

I couldn’t find a light switch (or light bulb) anywhere in the bathroom, so I used the bathroom with the door open to the hall – which would be very awkward if there was anyone in rooms 8 or 9 that I would have to share the bathroom with!

The next morning, I got up around 6:15am and found that it was already light outside. Also, I found an interesting window ad across the way involving three girls pole-dancing.

Check-out was easy: leave the keys in the room door

Supposedly, the round-trip train/tram ticket I bought to get from the airport to the main train station allows for connections – as long as you stay within “Zonen 110 121”. While I didn’t utilize this upon arrival in Zurich, I used this connection to catch a tram from my hotel to the main train station.

A tram similar to the one I took from the hotel to the main train station

I arrived at the main train station a bit after 6:40am but had to wait until 7:07am to catch a train to the airport.

The Zurich trams & trains run pretty much on the honor system, so I did not get a confirmation that my ticket actually covered the tram. The only time that tickets were checked was during my train from the main train station back to the airport. My ticket was checked for a mere second before the conductor moved on. He did catch a dark rider a few rows away though.

Quite a crowd of people were taking the train from the train station to the airport – and beyond toward Romanshorn, Switzerland

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