To end my week in Switzerland we decide to visit Zurich, Switzerland’s premier city and centre of finance and wealth. As predicted, the weather is grim on Saturday – the main reason for leaving the mountains. We book into our modern boutique hotel, the Marktgasse, right in the centre of the old town, and sally forth umbrellas to the fore.
I always like a mission rather than aimless wandering, and this morning it is the Kunsthaus, home to collections of Giacometti, Chagall and other favourites. Smaller than the Basel KunstMuseum it has many charming and well-known paintings, including a fine early Dutch collection.
Then to lunch in one of Zurich’s best-known traditional restaurants, Zum Kropf – Ross has his customary beer and wurst, sitting underneath the finely painted ceilings. En route here is a swing band playing Sinatra songs in the rain, with a large crowds gathered under an awning and eating wurst and sauerkraut, very Swiss. One man is enjoying himself so much he crashes from his stool onto the wet pavement.
After lunch we make a pilgrimage to Sprüngli, home to the finest Swiss chocolates – window shopping only! There are signs of wealth everywhere with watch shops galore and high-end designer shops in the new town.
This is in contrast to the old town where small artisanal shops jostle for space along the cobbled streets, all proudly selling Swiss-made goods. We could learn a thing or two; the clothes are stylish, and the number of bookshops, antique shops and galleries reflect the eclectic tastes of the very rich.
The rain has set in and, defeated, we go to a typical Swiss cinema – complete with terrible ads – to see The Children Act. It is packed. Emma Thompson is a tour de force. Can’t put a photo of that so here are some more paintings from the collection:
Ross has booked a fine-dining restaurant, Opera – yes Swiss food is more than fondue and rösti – where we are delighted by several courses of foraged and wild foods. Finished off with exquisite chocolates…
Sunday is sunny, so we go on a long walk (both days do about 8 kms) and re-take some of the rain-splashed photos from yesterday before jumping on the efficient train back to Basel. Zurich is a pleasant surprise despite the weather.