June 5, 2015


Signs point cyclists, inline skaters, and pedestrians over a bridge toward Zürich International Airport, Switzerland.
Traveling with a bicycle, it's generally advisable to arrive a day or two before you expect to start riding. I've been fortunate in that (so far) my bike has not been delayed. Taking a direct flight also reduces chances for your bike to go astray.

Staying in a hotel near Zürich International, I was surprised to discover signs pointing cyclists (and inline skaters, and pedestrians) on a route to the airport. Things are different, here.

Other than visiting colleagues at the office for lunch and a tour, I had no real plan for the day.

Even though I don't speak German (sadly, not even a little bit), I wasn't concerned. Past excursions in Europe have built my confidence; you can get by pretty well with gestures and a smile, help from Google Translate, and ... lots of Europeans know some English (and are accustomed to mono-languaged tourists).

Google Maps helped me navigate by train (and foot) to the office. At last, I met some people I'd only seen on video screens. They were excited to recommend sights to see, and the sweeping view from an upper-floor lounge helped orient me.

More bicycles than I could count outside the main train station in Zürich, Switzerland.
I wandered off to explore the old part of town, generally surprised by the amount of construction everywhere. And cigarette smokers (everywhere). And, bicycles! Everywhere! The Velostation at the main train station offers secure bike parking and minor services. There were so many bikes on the racks alongside the station that I couldn't capture them in a single photo. (And there were more parked around the corner, in front of the station.)

Cyclist pedals past a yellow Lamborghini Aventador stopped at a traffic light in Zürich, Switzerland.
Two passions in one picture: Am I a magnet, or what?

There were too many options for me to explore in one day, especially with jet lag creeping over me. I managed to cover more than seven miles, on foot. I figured out the routine at the post office, and a friendly clerk found pretty stamps for my cards.

I stumbled upon Predigerkirche at a lucky time: the massive pipe organ was getting a workout—it was almost too loud. What sound! I visited the Wasserkirche, strolled down to the lake and crossed the Limmat for another view of the Wasserkirche and the iconic towers of the Grossmünster.

Wasserkirche and the towers of Grossmünster along the Limmat, Zürich, Switzerland.
The Zeughauskeller had been recommended for dinner, along with a less-touristy option. I went with the former, uncertain how I would fare at a smaller place without speaking German. Normally I would have tried to master some basics before the trip, but the past couple of months just didn't allow that.

At the train station, I was too weak to pass the Sprüngli shop ... nothing that chocolate couldn't cure, of course. The box itself was an engineering marvel, perfectly designed to hold my treat just so.

Layered chocolate confection with gold leaf from Sprüngli.
Not to worry, I'll burn off those calories in the next few days.

Cyclist relaxes in the evening shadows on a bridge over the Limmat in Zürich, Switzerland.
Tomorrow, I'll join the rest of the group in the countryside.

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