By Patricia Wersinger
Lake Zurich, located in north central Switzerland, looked stunning on a warm afternoon in early April when I visited. With the sun sparkling on the surface of the lake, strollers took to the banks for long excursions, while stopping to take in the breathtaking view, which stretched all the way to the snowy tips of the Alps in the background.
A favorite of swans, ducks and sail boats, you can spend hours on a sunny Spring day enjoying the peaceful setting, drinking coffee, eating Swiss chocolate, or making new friends along the way.
After resting on the banks, explore the old town with its charming stone streets, elegant high church steeples and stop to look into the shop windows of some of the oldest jewelry and luxury watch stores
A world-renowned city and known as the financial capital of Switzerland, Zurich is also a unique travel destination with charm and gemutlichkeit, a sense of wellbeing typical of German speaking regions in the Middle and South of Europe.
Whether you decide to lose yourself in the daedalus of city streets in the Old Town, have a fine meal, go shopping or enjoy one of Zürich museums, your heart will find more than its asks for. Zurich is rich in globally acclaimed museums such as the Kunsthaus Zürick where you can enjoy a wide collection of old European masters and Impressionists as well as a modern collection including the Zürcher Konkreten. I found one of my favorite paintings in this museum by Johann Heinrich Füssli, an 18th-century Zurich native.
The Rietberg museum that is constituted by the collection of Baron Eduard von der Heydt in his original elegant home is also a no miss as well as the National National Museum situated in an old medieval castle in the middle of the city where you can learn all about Switzerland, its history and culture. Stroll down the river that passes on the castle’s ground and through the city, you will see many people enjoying a moment in the warm sun, eating a sandwich or drinking a coffee and you will feel like a regular Züricker as you sit with them. Named the city with the best quality of life in the world in many surveys, Zurich is also considered the wealthiest city in Europe in terms of GDP per capita. Yet the city is unpretentious and full of common and green areas for everyone to enjoy.
To spend the night, many distinguished hotels to suit all tastes are to be found from the center to the outskirts of this municipality with an urban agglomeration of 1.315 million.
If you are looking for a hotel with typical Swiss charm and the personal care that comes with a family-owned business, come to the Florhof Hotel. A peaceful residence slightly away from the center of Zurich, near the university and on a hill overlooking the city, it distinguishes itself with old-fashioned conviviality, quaint beauty, and contemporary comfort.
Owned by a distinguished patrician family in the 18th century that worked in the silk factory, the house still has its original appearance from 1763. A pensione since 1907 and a hotel today, it is a restful and refreshing oasis to relax and unwind whether you are travelling for business or leisure.
The friendly staff at the reception is especially warm and welcoming, treating you like someone they are genuinely glad to see.
Don’t miss the old tile carloffer in the entrance. Typical of Southern Germany, Switzerland and Alsace, these tile ovens were used to offer comfort to visitors in the old days after their journeys.
My room was pleasing to the senses, quiet and comfortable. Equipped with fine parquet flooring and large windows, it allowed plenty of natural light to filter in from the outside. If you want to escape the 21st century and imagine yourself back in 18th century Europe, these beautifully appointed chambers with their simple local style will give you plenty to dream about. A bed, an armchair, an old fashioned oak cupboard, a desk with an elegant chair by a window through which at the end of the day, you can hear the wind carrying echoes of the students at the Music School next door, as they practice their flute. You genuinely feel like you are stepping into another time. However, no worries, you can connect on Wifi easily and keep up with world news on TV if you must.
In the morning, before you head to enjoy the city or wander in one of its museums, enjoy a nutritious breakfast that includes local breads and cheeses, pastries, salmon, cold cuts as well as oatmeal, muesli, yogurts, fruit salad, juices, coffee or cappuccinos. At night, the restaurant has delicious delicacies to offer depending of the season. You can also simply sip a glass of selected wine on the terrace as the day wanes.
Conveniently situated within a 10-minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof or main train station, you can easily get to your train while enjoying a last stroll and from there a 10-minute direct train will drop you off at the international airport.Trains can also be accessed to any European destination. And if you have any questions about Zürich or its whereabouts, don’t hesitate to ask the friendly staff at the desk as they are more than happy to chat with you.
For more information about this charming hotel, go to http://www.hotelflorhof.ch
Explore Zurich this summer, conveniently situated in the middle of Europe — it’s close to France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Its local Swiss German dialect is irresistible, even if sometimes incomprehensible. However, don’t worry: everyone speaks English and the food, landscapes, and the friendliness of the local people will make you want to visit more than once.
For more information about Zurich, visit http://www.zuerich.com
Zurich, General View photo credit = Zürich Tourism Med