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Initially we had planned to heading on to somewhere after arrival in ZRH but the prospect of additional traveling after a twelve hour flight put us off. We decided to stay the night near Zürich instead and explored the city a little before moving on.
Our train from Bassersdorf arrived in the labyrinth of what is called Zürich Hauptbahnhof (Zürich HB). There were lots of activities going on and it took us quite some time to find our orientation.
We found our way to Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich’s premier shopping avenue. Our plan was to walk its length to Lake Zürich where we would catch a ZSG ferry to Kilchberg, where the Lindt factory outlet is located.
There was a Coop supermarket along Bahnhofstrasse and we got our first experience of grocery shopping in Switzerland there.
Realizing that we would need to carry the groceries for the rest of the day, we just bought a packet of spaghetti and some instant soup.
Further down Bahnhofstrasse on Paradeplatz stands Confiserie Sprüngli, a famous Swiss luxury confectionery maker. I read on Tripadvisor that hot chocolate there was awesome there so we decided to try it.
Total cost: 16,90 CHF. Quite pricey for two beverage and one small pastry.
Just before we reached the ferry terminal at Bürkliplatz, we came across a flea market.
Nothing caught our fancy at the flea market and calls of nature made us search for loos. Free ones could be found at the Bürkliplatz ZSG Terminal.
Since we had some time before the next departure, we decided to get some bratwurst for lunch.
There were two decks on the ferry and we headed to the upper deck. Without Swiss Pass, it will cost 8.40 CHF on the short round trip (~1.5h)
Despite the gloomy weather we were happy to go on the ferry ride.
Not long after departure, a staff came around to take orders from the restaurant but there were few takers. Most were content to just take pictures of the picturesque lake.
It didn’t take us long to realize that despite Switzerland’s reputation as a clean country, there is graffiti everywhere.
25 minutes after departing Zürich Bürkliplatz, we arrived at Kilchberg Bendlikon. No one was waiting to board the ferry though.
We didn’t have map of the area and chose to turn right, thinking that it was the way to the Lindt factory outlet. It turned out to be a mistake (we should have turned left instead) and we only realized it after approaching a resident who was on his way out. He kindly offered us a hitch in his car which we gladly accepted. Merci Marcel!
Easy reference for those interested to visit:-
It even had a bus stop named after it.
There was a strange sense of excitement as we were entering the shop; it reminded me of the story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Somehow visiting Lindt factory shop felt like we had found the Golden Tickets.
While not huge, there are many different types of chocs in stock and the prices are lower than elsewhere. We weren’t the ones around; there were many Asian tourists who also managed to find their way there.
In the end we got quite a bit of chocs and most of them were bought with the intent to be brought back home. It also meant that we added substantial weight on our first day in Europe. Well done.
Outside the shop, there were some giant Lindors and we couldn’t help but take pictures with them.
Returning to central Zürich was much faster. We chose to take 13-minute train (S8 or S24) from Kilchberg Bahnhof.
The area around Hardbrücke is also known as Zürich West and what used to be factories are turned into trendy galleries and cafes. The Freitag flagship shop is the landmark of the area and it wasn’t hard to see why.
It is made up of 17 shipping containers stacked on top of one another and is 85 feet high, tall for a Zürich building.
Freitag makes products such as bags and wallets using recycled materials like tarpaulin, bicycle inner tubes and recycled airbags. Every product is unique; no two products are the same. Despite the less than pleasant smell, Freitag products ain’t cheap either. A messenger bag easily costs a few hundred Swiss francs.
Despite its height, there are only four floors of retail space.
Even the shelves are made from recycled materials.
Ying liked the messenger bag designed for cyclist but wasn’t willing to part 190 CHF for it.
While the concept of using recycled materials is cool, I am not entirely convinced about Freitag products’ value for money. However, from my observation on the streets, it seemed that one in every two Swiss was carrying them. Perhaps the Swiss find Freitags to be of better value than me.
Beyond Floor 3 are the stairs to the observation deck where one could do “truckspotting”.
While the view from the observation top wasn’t exactly breathtaking, it was good enough for us to linger more than a little while.
After visiting the observation deck, we checked out the space beside the Freitag flagship shop. It seems like a cool and hip place with shops selling eclectic stuff. The eating and drinking establishments wasn’t operating though. We could imagine the place coming alive in the evening later.
We took the train back to Zürich HB and then walked around in Altstadt (Old Town).
Despite the cobblestones and the hills there were guys who were actually cycling uphill through the crowd. Hats off to their determination and cycling skills.
There were also numerous souvenir shops in the area and we visited one of them. Beside the usual tacky things, Switzerland has an unique souvenir in the Swiss army knives. It was fascinating seeing the ones with all sorts of functions; only the Swiss could have thought of making them.
In all, we spent around an hour plus walking around Altstadt and took pictures along the way.
Before taking the train back to our accommodation, we went to the Coop near Zürich HB for more groceries. It was crowded and I guess that it was due to the fact that most shops would be closed on Sunday.
Neither Ying nor I really love Zürich; it is probably because Zürich is a fairly large city and doesn’t really fit into my impression of Switzerland (of mountains and cowbells). Nevertheless it was still not a bad day out in Zürich for us. Switzerland could only get better from now on.