Lucerne to Zurich

Steps: 22,962

It only takes an hour to get to Zurich from Lucerne by train, so we spent the morning in Lucerne and the rest of the day in Zurich.

Lucerne

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While waiting for the bus to Lucerne in Emmenbrück, I naturally examined the voluminous information available at the stop, and we discovered that an IKEA lay only 15 minutes distant from our hotel. Intrigued, we decided to take a field trip there and compare it to the US stores.

Unexcitingly, the differences were subtle rather than marked. A few of the products were new and in of themselves, others just came in additional colours compared to the US market. In all other respects, the stores were very similar.

Since we didn’t want to encounter the 2-6 pm kitchen closing again, and we were bound to get to Zurich after 2, we decided to eat at IKEA. Hey, at least it was cheap. Also, they had a menu item not available in the US, the chügelpastetli.

It was pretty bad. Probably the worst IKEA food I've ever had. Even the fries were worse than the IKEA fries I've had at our local store.

It was pretty bad. Probably the worst IKEA food I’ve ever had. Even the fries were worse than the IKEA fries I’ve had at our local store. Those little nuggets are supposed to be meat, I think. They tasted like the fakest meat ever.

From Lucerne, we took an intercity regional train service to Zurich. The passenger cars are quite luxurious, with two decks and this lounge area on the top deck.

From Lucerne, we took an intercity regional train service to Zurich. The passenger cars are quite luxurious, with two decks and this lounge area on the top deck.

Zurich

We got to take a street tram to our hotel! Yay new mode of transportation! Although, I'll be honest, I was expecting a lot from European street trams, and the Zurich ones were a bit disappointing, at least the routes I saw.

We got to take a street tram to our hotel! Yay new mode of transportation! Although, I’ll be honest, I was expecting a lot from European street trams, and the Zurich ones were a bit disappointing, at least the routes I saw.

We stayed at the Park Hyatt Zurich, which, as a five-star, was by far the fanciest hotel of the trip. The size of the rooms and the number of amenities was a bit mind-boggling. To give you an idea of the attention to detail, I show give you this close-up of the sheets on the bed. I don't know even where one buys sheets this fancy.

We stayed at the Park Hyatt Zurich, which, as a five-star, was by far the fanciest hotel of the trip. The size of the rooms and the number of amenities was a bit mind-boggling. To give you an idea of the attention to detail, I show give you this close-up of the sheets on the bed. I don’t know even where one buys sheets this fancy.

After checking into our hotel, we didn’t really want to leave. I think we both managed to take showers and do sundry other errands in an attempt to spend longer in the room. But eventually we tore ourselves away to go see a bit of the city.

Somehow we ended up back at the main train station (it must exert an attractive force like a gravitational pull), and we strolled around in the underground mall that’s a part of the station (FYI, this arrangement has nothing on Kyoto, which has multiple malls and multiple hotels in, below, above and around the train station). We wandered into Läderach, a Swiss chocolatier, and bought some six or so truffles. It’s true what they say, chocolate is the only cheap thing in Switzerland. I think six truffles cost us less than CHF 10. It was kind of ridiculous. The truffles themselves were middling, except for two which I really really liked. Seeing as how there are three Läderach stores in and around the Zurich main train station, I assume there’s at least one in the Zurich airport. So I’ll get more tomorrow, when I don’t have to worry about their melting.

Before leaving the main train station, we had picked up a couple of maps and guides at the tourist information center. We wanted to do the same kind of self-guided walking tour we had done in Lucerne, because it was so fun. Fortunately, Zurich In Your Pocket was just the ticket (and it had great food/drink/nightlife/etc recommendations too).

Lindenhof, now a square where people relax, take in the views, and play board games (including with giant chess pieces).

Lindenhof, now a square where people relax, take in the views, and play board games (including with giant chess pieces).

Grossmünster, a pretty church. I didn't go in.

Grossmünster, a pretty church. I didn’t go in.

For dinner, we went to a beer hall in the main train station.

Our guide claimed that more than 100 different beers were sold here, but in fact they only keep seven of them on tap. We were pretty disappointed, but what could we do but order a flight of the seven that were on tap. Hide liked the Ittinger and the Monatsbier.

Our guide claimed that more than 100 different beers were sold here, but in fact they only keep seven of them on tap. We were pretty disappointed, but what could we do but order a flight of the seven that were on tap. Hide liked the Ittinger and the Monatsbier.

The other reason we picked this beer hall was because they allegedly had a food menu of hearty and traditional Swiss fare (whatever traditional Swiss fare means).

Schnitzel with fries and carrots. Yep, about as boring as it looked. The schnitzel was all right, but hardly life-changing.

Schnitzel with fries and carrots. Yep, about as boring as it looked. The schnitzel was all right, but hardly life-changing. I think they used marginally more salt than in Australia (which isn’t saying much…).

Rösti with bacon and egg on top. The egg was great, the rest of it just heavy. Lots of potato and cheese, and we just couldn't finish it.

Rösti with bacon and egg on top. The egg was great, the rest of it just heavy. Lots of potato and cheese, and we just couldn’t finish it.

Apparently Sunday brunch is an institution in Switzerland (just as it is in Chicago and Morocco and probably lots of other places … France?), and we were excited in partaking before our flight on the morrow. But after the heavy meal of tonight, we just couldn’t face it anymore. We’ll have lots of other options, so, yeah, not even going to try.

After dinner, Hide went to a store that specializes in cigars, coffee and rum. They’re a pretty serious operation, with a smoking lounge and a wall full of espresso machines. Hide had a far better cigar experience here and than his attempt in Lugano. Although we sat outside (for my comfort), the staff in the store had serious lighters, there was no  wind, and he got to have a coffee (americano) while smoking. He was extremely satisfied with the experience.

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