A weekend in Zurich

The gorgeous view from ETH’s terrace

A few weeks ago, I was invited to help Microsoft recruit at ETH, a prestigious STEM university in Zurich. Switzerland is one of my favorite European countries, so of course I agreed to participate.

Tyler and I had visited Zurich a few years ago on our first Eurotrip and actually didn’t really like it compared to the other places we visited (Lauterbrunnen or Lucerne). We found the city to be too much of a “banker” town with ridiculously expensive entertainment and restaurant options.

However, thanks to some local tips from my friend Sara (Danke!) and a little more research, we ended up having a really nice stay in Zurich this time.

When I wasn’t working at the career fair telling students how wonderful Microsoft is, I was able to relax and finally finish my book (“Wild” by Sheryl Strayed) and do some local exploring.

In the morning while Tyler was working, I took a train up to Uetliberg mountain for a view of the city and the Alps. If you plan to visit, make sure you take the right train that says “direction Uetliberg”, because I got on the wrong one going the same direction that turned back around a few stops earlier! While it was nice to see the mountains, if you’re pressed for time and money, I would actually just go to ETH’s free terrace shown in the first picture of this post. You’ll save about 2 hours and $30 for a better view.

Sara had highly recommended a fondue place, Fribourger Fonduestübli, which must have been really good because it was all booked up for that night. We ended up going to their sister restaurant, Raclette-Stube. This was probably the best fondue I’ve had, so I can’t imagine how good the first restaurant could have been. Next time!

If you’re in the mood for something healthy, give Hiltl a try. Choose from a big selection of vegetarian food and pay by weight. Don’t fall for the expensive weekend brunch though!

A trip to Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without some treats from Sprüngli. My favorite chocolate with Tahitian vanilla wasn’t in season anymore, but we did try ones with pistachio, sea salt, and even a chili+bourbon combo. We also appreciated that many of the cafes (such as Henrici pictured above) in Zurich were open until 11pm or later. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find this in Paris and is something we appreciate whenever we go back to Seattle or other places like Berlin.

One of my favorite things to do in Zurich is take a romantic stroll along the Limmat river that runs through the city. My cousin Stefan said he used to go swimming in the river when he lived there. I can’t imagine ever touching the water in the Seine or the River Thames.

When I think about Switzerland, the French phrase that comes to mind is, “la classe.” Zurich is very beautiful with hints of sophistication everywhere, from the fur rugs thrown casually over terrace chairs to the clock tower chimes echoing through the city. As we sipped on hot chocolate watching the sunset, I thought, “This is exactly how I imagine vacation in Europe to be.”

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