Tuesday, December 29, 2009

. . . zurich! . . .

assalamualaikum

simply put, i’m really happy that i took the choice to come to zurich. although i hate the fact that i would have to travel more than 2hrs on a train (i don’t last long when it comes to land transport) and that i had to travel early in the morning... :(



its just what i really need at this moment of time... some of you would let loose somewhere else which is fun. i must confess that zurich would not be that of a perfect place to really relax. everyone knows that its a place where you want to party-go-wild. but actually you would be surprised on what else other than that is offered.



compared to the lake in Geneva, Zurich also has a small lake of its own and i pretty much love it coz its not really that close to the bustling streets. at this time (early part of my journal), i am sitting in a park just 30 minutes (walk) from the hostel that i am staying in (ZicZac Rock, i recommend it... will explain more later) its good to go out early in the morning... cold as it may seem and feel, i love it. i was hoping to enter the China Garden but i took the wrong time to travel. i forgot that it is Christmas... so pretty much most of the places of interest are closed.


but nonetheless, i don’t really mind. i don’t see myself as a person who wants to visit museums or any particular places of interest. i just want to stroll around. as you know, i love walking. gets my mind off things. and walking around zurich is more than enough for me... i bought a full day bus ticket which cost me 8 swiss francs. but after that i realised i didnt need it so much because as usual, i use my feet more than i use the public transportation. however, it is easy to use them. its just the same concept as to the public transport in Geneva.


its best to lookout for cheap offers going to Zurich or in this case to any part of europe. but make sure you really look into the details. i found out on last minute that my trip departs at 0536hrs. i ended up doing my laundry d whole night and prepping as well. i didnt even have my ticket printed yet. but as far as i know, as long as the internet is around, i could do almost anything.


theres clocks everywhere!


so basically, its deja vu all over again. last trip i took by train was to paris gare de lyon. that was at night. but its just the same thing. i never see the light during the night. hm, doesn’t sound interesting. let me rephrase that...


of all the 2 train trips that i have had the whole time now (paris and zurich) i always travel with the view of the darkness. et voila! better. continuing...


zurich hauptbanhof (HB) is simply huger... bigger i mean. compared to gare cornavin. shit, i couldn't get my bearings right no matter how hard i try. i took the chance of going to the HB every single opportunity that i have... but stil i couldn’t find my way properly. i even had to use the navigation on the iPhone just so that i know at which exit/entry i am at.


zurich hauptbanhof


most of the signs, information boards tend to be a bit tricky when theres no single translation in english. so its best to carry around a small dictionary or an electronic translator (saw it once, very useful, gonna get it too soon). but other than that, people around are way better and nicer compared to the people in Geneva. not that i have chatted randomly with any random person at a random place durin a random time. ok thats too much randoms. randomly i don’t do randoms.


anyway, way better people. love them. even if they can’t speak a word of english, they will find someone for you (in my case he just pulled a random woman coming out of nowhere just to translate...and she wasn’t shocked or furious at all!).


if you do have a chance to drop by in zurich (again, dont come during the big holidays) get the ZurichCard. i was planning to get one but since theres nothing much open, i just bought myself a one day ticket. its kind of useful. simply google it and you’ll know :) ok so basically it gives you access to all the transports as well as museums, discounts in certain restaurants and shops. last i checked, for 24hrs, it will cost you 19.90 francs. theres another for 72hrs. approach the tourism or information counter to purchase it. its really worth it if you are the normal giddy tourist.


it will also sae you from the confusion of using the ticket machine in every tram or bus stop. theres not a single english translation there. better use the machines inside the HB or get the zurichcard to save you the hassle.


ziczac rock (hotel? i think its more of a hostel) is situated on the street of Marktstrasse 17 or market street. quite similar to the place i had in amsterdam but this has a better twist in it. basically every room is named with the names of rockstars, most of them from the 70s to 90s... as usual, the toilet and bathroom are shared. you can get a bed in a dorm room with other people (sort of like a backpackers kind of style) or you could get a private room for yourself. the space is just ample and comfortable to sleep in. it cost me 170 francs for 2 nights, plus around 13 euros for the online booking. breakfast is served at 6-11am, but you have to pay for it separately. simple menu: coffee or tea and 2 croissants for 5 francs, packet of orange juice for 2 francs and cereal with milk for 2.50. enough to jumpstart you in the morning.



this wall freaks me out... (its a cast of a dude, wish it was a dudette)

small yet comfy


marktstrasse is actually located in the old part of zurich which makes it even more better. i just love the cobblestone roads and low buildings cramped up together. don’t get me wrong though. old town is not that old as you think. locals tell me that its really a hip place for youngsters and i vouch for that since there are a lot of young updated fashion boutiques and shops. prices are similar to those in Geneva but there are a lot more items and choices offered. but alas... all are closed. i must take revenge the next time to come and shop at that adidas store nearby the hotel. gosh darn it...


others usually head to bahnhofstrasse which is like the high street or zurich. but knowing the cheapskate as i am, i just walk pass by there and don’t see things that interests me. however, if you are the shopaholic type, bahnhofstrasse is for you. it seems endless and you could simply spend all your time (and money) till the end of the day. if you stray more to the east, that would lead you to the ghetto more or less. it seems dark even at the light of day. i’m thankful enough that i went there early in the morning so all i saw was a couple of people drunk or talking to themselves. so in this case, stay in the centre or the old town (though it has lots of clubs and pubs, i find it quite safe walking around at night... at that moment of time).


bahnhofstrasee


i bet most hotels around the old town have the same thing to go thru during the night. loud music. although it has sound proof walls and windows, you still get the feel of that treble and bass. calypso shit. it was so bad, i physically have to disco or rave my way to the bed. i even breakdance while i sleep. ok so thats moslty a lie and i am exaggerating. but the fact of the music being heard in your room is highly possible.


surprisingly, the roads are not that dirty. maybe a few beer cans... a couple of mouldy with interesting dabs of colors puke stains/puddles... a few people lying nearby a trashbin... ok more exaggeration... but not so terrible. it will be cleaned in a few blinks. it doesnt even leave a bad smell in the air.


food, perfectly similar to Geneva. you have lots of choices of any national european dishes. and its normal for me to pick the kebabs as my first choice in food. there are a few asian restaurants as well as for vegetarians. so, if you are a muslim like me, you know the drill. kebabs are sure fire hits and usually have the ‘halal products used’ sign displayed outside.


wassalam

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