Europe – day 3 – Zurich

We drove from Rothenberg to Zurich. We had been informed that we needed to stop and get a sticker at the Swiss border to allow us to use the roads. The fine for failing to do so is 100 Francs but there was no information at the border that you needed to stop. I accidently bought the annual pass without realizing it. I hope that people who rent this car for the next year will appreciate that.

Zurich holds a festival every 3 years called Zurifast. 2 million people will attend we are told. My daughter Liz added Zurich to our itinerary to attend the festival. There are 80 stages, food booths, many many beer stands and a variety of shows.

We did not have a detail map of Zurich and very quickly got turned around when we got stuck in a right turn lane and off of the directions we had brought. After driving circuitously through the city for a while we stopped at a little sandwich place and fed Joan which needs to be done on a regular basis.

We had to park our car a few blocks away from the City Backpacker’s Hostel where we are staying as all the streets around it have been closed off for the party. We had been warned that it would be very very noisy as it is really in the middle of everything and the music is scheduled to play until 5am. We were warned again when we registered. We hauled our bags up 3 flights of stairs to registration and 2 more to our room on the top floor (is this becoming a theme?) and then headed our to see the city. The festival was still setting up as we arrived at 3pm.

We walked back to the main train station to check the train schedule. Liz and Danna were scheduled to arrive at 10:40pm on the train from Munich.

The main shopping street, the Bahnhoff Strasse runs south from the train station towards the Zurich Zee. We ambled down the street and stopped at the COOP market to pick up some breakfast for the net day. We wandered past St Peter’s church which boasts the largest clock face in Europe and the Frau Munster (originally a convennt) which now boasted a large stage and food and drink booths like “Sex on the Beach” and a Margarita truck.

Many shows were happening right by the southern most bridge where the Limmet river reaches the Zurich Zee. We watched kids skying down a large ski jump, doing flips and spins and then ending up in the river. There was also a professional acrobat family riding motorcycles on a high wire. There was a stunt plane and a helicopter show as well.

It was time to eat again from the many food booths. Kevin tried out a kabob which was on a substantial steak (sort of a “steak” sandwich) and came with a roll stuck on the top. This would have been very handy if he had been attacked by vampires. The ladies split a pasta dish made in a large copper skillet. I purchased a cheese crepe.

After a brief rest at the room we hit the streets again. Joan and I went to the train station to pick up the girls and guide them to the hotel (at the reception they told us they thought the normal 10-15 minute walk would take an hour at that time of day, but it was not that bad). Kevin and Susan went to watch the fireworks show from 10:30-11pm from the southern most bridge again. The press of people on the bridge got to the point were it became scary. Kevin said at one point people were pushing so hard he had to push back with all his strength to stay in one place.

Although the music did play to 5am outside our window, we had all done enough walking to be exhausted and did not have trouble sleeping.

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