Live from Zurich

St. Peters Church along the Limmat River (Ryan Ariel Simon)

By Ryan Ariel Simon

“Mooooooo.” Animal sounds blare over the loudspeaker as Zurich welcomes you to the main terminal, rain pattering on the ground, monkeys and tropical birds chirping away as you enter the rainforest.

Or at least that’s what it sounds like, as the tram pulls in, bidding adieu in three languages, first that of Zurich, German, then French, then English. I feel like I’m entering an international wild animal park.

I took a train in the mid afternoon from the airport to the main station in the city, at the fork of the Limmat and Sihl Rivers. After 10 quiet minutes on the “bahn” I emerged from the underground train station, checking the return time to counter my natural instinct to be late, and eliminating the possibility of missing my plane to Tel Aviv.

The first thing I notice is that Zurich is beautiful.

St. Peter's Church, and the "Guild Houses" along the Limmat River

The mix of classic, and modern architecture is incredible, and walking around the city it felt like an older, wealthier version of San Francisco with more natural beauty.

The Limmat River, which I walked along, is lined with old “guild houses,” and one after another of outdoor cafes, “take away” eateries, and restaurants.

I myself wandered down a quiet shady alleyway on my way back the train station and stumbled upon a café across from St. Peters Church with a friendly if curt, English speaking waitress, who brought me a delicious cup of coffee as I sat on the cobblestone patio and ate my prosciutto sandwich, followed by a tasty gin and tonic garnished with bitter lemon.

Beautiful people were everywhere, smiling and sunny like the weather, reminding me of Los Angeles with their expensive classy designer style.

Tourists like me were everywhere, and just from looking around it wasn’t hard to tell Zurich is a quintessential international city.

I was originally going to head for the university to do some work, but the one of the two major rivers that run through the old part of the city pulled me along it towards the huge Zurichsee lake right in the middle of Zurich instead.

I sat on the edge of the water, watching dozens of small boats, and several ferries ride the gentle waves as geese swam nearly up to my feet, only running away when I tried to shoot them from up close with my camera.

Unlike my last trip overseas, I was lucky enough to travel Swiss airlines and had the benefit of a kindly elderly lady downing bottles of free red wine on the flight to Zurich. On the way to Israel, I was made scotch and cokes by my friendly flight attendant, and economy class was practically luxurious, much better then my jump across the Atlantic in 2008 on Turkish airlines.

I was too excited to sleep on my flight to Tel Aviv, too tired to remember my bag in the first Nesher monit sherut (service taxi) when he dropped me and another couple off in the middle of Jerusalem at 5 o’clock in the morning so his friend could take me to my hotel.

So much for Israel not being the Wild West, have I mentioned they do whatever the heck they want? But you probably knew that already.

Swiss flags hang in an alleyway of shops in Zurich (Ryan Ariel Simon)

Tourists rent bicycles along the Limmat River in Zurich (Ryan Ariel Simon)

Sitting by Lake Zurich (Ryan Ariel Simon)

A little girl and her friend row across Lake Zurich (Ryan Ariel Simon)

2 Responses to “Live from Zurich”
  1. dad says:

    Did you lose your tie, when you left your bag in the taxi? 🙂

    • bravesirryan says:

      Yes, unfortunately my black tie was in that bag…but luckily I know exactly which one it is so I can buy a replacement at Kohl’s!

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