One Epic Trip With My Best Friend
With Blind Booking to Zurich
My best friends 26th birthday was supposed to happen in Prague – unfortunately our flight got cancelled due to pilots strike. Well, I wouldn’t say unfortunately as we had one hell of good time in Zurich instead. How the whole thing started: as we could not decide where to go for her birthday we came up with Germanwings Blindbooking. This is pretty much what the title says – you only know where the plane takes you after pressing the ‘book now’ button. Totally excited about where we will spend our weekend we could barely look at the screen. Yaye, Prague. One day before our departure I got the Email that our flight got cancelled. We rebooked the whole thing and…. Zurich it is! I was forced to decline our Couchsurfer in Prague and contacted a few Couchsurfers in Zurich super last minute. One invited us to his basement party with Berlin Djs, others could not help me out this short-notice, and Nicolas was our hero of the weekend.
People & Money
Even our hosts themselves told us about unfriendly staff in Zurich. We could not really relate to that. People in general where so kind and positive. We really loved them and their mentality. The money situation was not too complicated either. Even though I did not exchange money ahead of time I have not had a problem at all. I could pay by card almost everywhere. One time I was about to pay with Euro (which is possible but def not recommendable) but the server told me not to do so as I am really losing money. Thank you, bartender.
Arriving & How to Travel Cheap
After our arrival at Zurich airport we decided to get the 72hr Zurich Card which allows you to take all public transports, free admission to all museums, a boat trip, and countless discounts on restaurants, clubs, etc. Zurich is one crazily expensive city but it is absolutely possible to enjoy a relative affordable weekend there. How? Be open-minded and follow these steps:
1. Use the 72 hr ticket (if you need public transport, want to go to museums etc.)
3. Dine with locals
4. Reduce your coffee consumption (no city for café/bar-hopping)
Couchsurfing in the 2.000 Watt District
So we got the ticket and took the train to Nicolas place. The building, which we first thought was a a bit ghettoish, is actually the new luxury 2.000 watt district, conceived by the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ). It’s based on the idea that we can only live in a certain luxury-standard if we not use more than 2000 watt a year. This and some more city-development projects in Zurich are so interesting to learn about.
Not even one hour after arriving we decided to go to the dark restaurant Blinde Kuh together. Let me tell you one thing: you have to go there. Yes, you do not see anything in there. The waiters working there are mostly blind. You will not only be super touched and humbled at a certain point, you will also get a whole new perspective and feeling of your movements, your surroundings, your acoustics, your taste buds. I always wanted to go there so this was the perfect start of an unforgettable weekend.
The great thing about Couchsurfing is that you really dive into the culture. You get to know things and places about a city you would never know about otherwise. One of those places was the Sternengrill at Bellevueplatz, the so called best Bratwurst in town – what am I saying, in whole Switzerland. After taking a walk from the main station along the Limmat (Zurichs river) and the cute historical district we there enjoyed our late breakfast. Tipp: Get your sausage and eat it across the street at the Zurich See with a perfect view, food-fighting Swaans, and lovely street musicians.
Boattrip on Zürichsee
We then crossed the bridge to Birkli Platz and went for a 1 hr boat trip. Beautiful – do it! Personal advice: If you are going to walk a lot afterwards, do not stay outside for the entire boattrip. Yes, a seabreeze is gorgeous but yes, it also is very tiring.
Time Out at Lindenhof & Window Shopping
Lindenhof was our next stop. This place really caught me. Sitting on the wall and enjoying this nice view over the river and the historical district on the other side is so relaxing and really worth seeing. Not only there but also on more crowded streets you notice the calmness of Zurich.
Ape & People Watching
Willing to sit down for a bit and in need of wifi we ended up at bar Babalu, a great place with nice cocktails and cool people hanging out and working there. Tip: Ask the bar guy about partyspots and he might invite you to a cool underground party at night ;)
Hungry bees have various options of having dinner in the Niederdorfstraße. Kebab plates, which in Germany are around 6-7 € do cost freaking 16 € here. This is why we decided to go for the libanese take away Le Cèdre Bellevue (which our Couchsurfers also recommended to us) and had a really delicious Schawarma for only 7 €. They also have a restaurant right around the corner which is, however, not as affordable as the takeaway.
When I asked about things to do in Zurich a friend of mine already told me to go to Langstraße with its various bars and live-music-places. We went there and finally ended up in the area I was missing in Zurich – the more rough and not so chic and financial part. How so? Cool bars with lots of people on the streets, popupstore-openings, and a really young and hip surrounding.
Day II – The alternative part of the City
Day II started with breakfast at the Couchsurfers place. The main station is a perfect spot to begin a tour to whereever you want to go.
We went to the Landesmuseum right behind the main station and had a look at the super cool tie exhibition. This was in fact pretty cool, as they also show beautiful female ties and give you the opportunity to knot a tie yourself.
Unexected Paradise: Im Viaduct & Frau Gerold Garden
From there on we went towards the Primetower. It was really worth going there as we passed the Viaductbögen, a shopping and café area along the bridge. You find product design, fashion, interior shops, and really cool concept stores. A bit further is Frau Gerold Garden, a place you have to check out. Right next to the train lines and the highway bridges they have a district with few shops, a cool terrasse with yummilicious sausages, fresh food, and drinks. There is a beautiful restaurant, a veggie-plant, and art. The whole project just got so much love for detail. I love the fact that this place was built up in an area (trainline) which people usually avoid. The actual plan was to climb up the prime tower afterwards. Too bad for us, that it was saturday and the tower is only open from Monday to Friday. Anyways, as I said, it was really worth the walk.
Even though I can walk for hours and hours this was the time of a day we had to sit down again. We found this cute Indian place where we had fresh kiwi juice, white wine, Daal and a filled .. So good!
We then went back „home“ where we had typical swizz Cheesefondue with our hosts and some friends. Those moments teach you so much more about the culture because you hear all the stories first hand and not out of some pocketguides.
Day III – Ending a perfect weekend with a perfect SPA
I do not have a lot to say about this day. We decided to end this weekend as relaxed as possible before we start into a new working week. Which place could be better for that than a Thermalbad with an infinity pool? Right, none. As we had the Zurich Card we got the free towel usage in the Hürliareal and spent four hours of total relaxation there. My first time in a Thermalbad was too good to be true. Just like the whole weekend.