Zurich: Of Cobblestone Streets and Cathedral Climbs

I have heard Zurich called “boring” before but, after a few days in the city, I just cannot get on board with that label. Sure, it’s quiet and organized and perhaps not quite as vibrant as a Paris or a Barcelona or a Rome, but it never once struck me as boring. Rather, when I think back on my time in Zurich, I’ll think of how lovely and elegant, how peaceful and beautiful, the city was.

I’ll think of the Limmat River, which winds its way through the heart of town, lined by colorful buildings on either side. I’ll think of criss-crossing the river again and again, pausing on one bridge to examine the ubiquitous “locks of love” that you find on bridges in cities all over the world. I’ll think of how I never got tired of photographing the river scene, and how it always looked beautiful – whether at morning, noon, or night.

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I’ll think of the Grossmunster church, with its twin towers that define Zurich’s landscape. I’ll think of how the interior wasn’t remarkable, but how the view from the top sure was. I’ll think of how my trek up the tiny, narrow, and somewhat terrifying staircase was utterly worth it, providing me with perfect views of the city at the end of my climb.

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I’ll think of Lake Zurich, where I spent a relaxing morning sitting on a park bench and snacking on a champagne truffle from Cafe Schober. I’ll think of how the lake’s landscape reminded me of a truth I’m coming to learn about Switzerland, which is that it’s so blue. In Ireland, it was green as far as the eye could see, green filling the frame of every photograph I took. In Switzerland, it’s blue, the blue of the lake and the air and the mountains, crisp and refreshing.

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I’ll think of the tiny cobblestone lanes, the little winding side streets I would discover at every turn, that were perhaps my very favorite part of Zurich. I’ll think of how, down these little streets, it was a pleasure just to window shop, as each store window was filled with delightful looking treats and treasures.

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Most of all, I’ll think of how Zurich is a nice place to just be. How the streets are quiet but inviting, how the cafes practically beg you to linger for a while, how the lakeside benches provide a peaceful respite. And if those things make a city boring, then I’ll take boring any day.

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