Last May, I called up one of my close friends at 1 a.m. and instructed, “I found this crazy flight deal for March. Check your email and book it too.” Ten months, four spreadsheets (you know me), and a very necessary purchase of Nike Flyknits later, we set off with an amalgamation of friends from all walks of life. In two weeks, we traveled around the world, covering New York City, Zurich, Prague, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Kyoto on a trip that could possibly only describe us as #planehopperz, or batshit crazy.
In my next few posts, I’ll be highlighting the best things I ate and drank in each of these cities along with some insider tips on how to get around and soak in the best of what each place has to offer. Our first international stop was Zurich – see interactive Google map here to follow along!
As an avid Bollywood fan, since childhood I had perceived Zurich to be a beautiful place. These movies wax poetic about the rolling mountains, the snow, the chocolate, the water. After spending time here, I now see Zurich as indeed a beautiful place, but also a very wealthy, almost unattainable city for most people unless you work in banking, own a car over $200k, and/or are willing to spend $5 on a bottle of water.
Zurich charms you in many other ways, and word on the street is right in saying that the cheese and chocolate are delicious. Being a small city, most things are walking distance, which make eating that much better as you walk from place to place. My highlights were the following:
Fondue in Switzerland is a must-have (Fun fact: Fondue only became popular in the country after a Swiss cartel artificially boosted demand for it. Check out this podcast for the full story – it’s pretty cool!). This spot in Langstrasse – a common nightlife area – is good for straightforward cheese fondue. Everyone speaks English, and while the menu is short – only two types of fondue – it is gooey and delicious for a cold evening.
Everyone knows about this place because there are outposts everywhere, including at the airport. Considered more posh than most bakeries in Zurich, visit the Paradeplatz location for a leisurely breakfast and get the truffle cake. Then be like me and come back again in the afternoon for coffee and a millefeuille. Then go back two more times. You see where I’m going with this.
This vegetarian restaurant claims to be the first in the world, started in 1898. Walking in, you would never guess how old it is – elaborate disco chandeliers hang from the ceilings in a way that is almost Vegas-esque. The food comes either off the menu or buffet-style, which you pay by weight – an interesting concept in self-awareness over how much food you are actually eating. While some things are better than others, there is enough variety here to keep you full and satisfied.
Some travel tips for y’all:
- Zurich is very, very expensive – our fondue meal was around $40 USD per person. Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere so rely on your plastic rather than cash to get around.
- Jägermeister seems to be the shot of choice. Accept it and drink up.
- Take the train to Uetilberg Mountain capture a spectacular view of the Swiss mountains and city. Once you’re done, warm up (you’ll need to) with a hot chocolate or whiskey at the café.
- There are many, many H&Ms everywhere. Why?
Check out my interactive map on Zurich – Prague is next!