With our Swiss Pass in hand, which guarantees us unlimited access to all modes of public transport and entrance to over 450 museums and other attractions throughout Switzerland, Sarah and I began our first full day in Zürich by taking a reconnaissance tour in and around this beautiful Alpine city. With a populace that is very cosmopolitan in its attitudes and lifestyle, serviced by a public infrastructure system that is by all appearances second to none, Zürich is also in many ways a contradiction coexisting with well-maintained and inhabited buildings, churches, and other forms of architecture that are hundreds of years old.
Strolling along the Bahnhofstrasse, which stretches from Bahnhofplatz to the edge of the Zürichsee (Lake Zürich), we passed the headquarters of several major Swiss banks along with upmarket shops such as Prada, Hermes, and Salvatore Ferragamo. While many symbols of opulent excess do abound within this city, the cobbled side avenues often led us toward sights which were more stimulating in other ways. St Peters Kirche, with a clock face that is reputed to be the largest in all of Europe, the Christmas market at Haupbahnhof train station, and the stained glass windows designed by Russian Jewish artist Marc Chagall at the Fraumünster (Minster of Our Lady) church were just a few of our stops. We paused long enough to join many of the locals in the food emporium of the Globus department store for a cheap and cheerful (yet very tasty) warming lunch of Thai Rad Na fried noodles and shrimp.