Dec 06 2008:
One of the more delightful aspects of international travel is that on occasion one’s travels coincide with those of your friends (Friends of Junior FoJ) – specifically in this case with two of my dearest friends. It would seem that based on historic trends, our European adventures cross paths about every two years or so – the last being in Prague in September 2006. So when the opportunity arose to visit them in Zurich, Switzerland I didn’t hesitate. Of course when we noted our itineraries this time around, one of my first thoughts was to quickly determine how far it was from Greding, and secondly, how fast I might bridge the distance. This tendency of mine to reduce distance to a function of speed, was further cemented when during our escape from Zurich into Liechtenstein, and as we were ascending a relatively steep and twisty road, all three of us simultaneously commented thusly: (1) Mr FoJ and Old School Chum “what an interesting place for a cafe”, (2) Mrs FoJ and also Senior Executive “what a lovely view” and (3) Junior “what a road for a sports car”.
Not that the excuse for a visit was absolutely tied to an opportunity to drive the hell out of a Mercedes C220, but it did help.
It is, of course, impossible to see anything more than just a fraction of a large city like Zurich in just over 24 hours but I think I did my best to gain a sense of the area. Immediately following check-in around 1100hrs, I hiked into town under an overcast sky. I wanted first to get the lay of the land, finding various districts of interest in relation to my hotel and then secondly, using Tyler Cowen‘s ethnic dining guide as a rule of thumb – particularly useful for finding interesting eateries in foreign cities, to find a suitable restaurant for lunch. Fortunately I spied a mexican restaurant just as the skies opened and it began pouring down rain. A couple of beers and an enchilada later, the rain had stopped and it was time to work off the calories with the march back up hill and a quiet rest.
Later I met up with FoJ and we wandered somewhat aimlessly through town (to be fair Mrs FoJ likely knew not only where we were, but where we were going to eat all along) arriving a delightful Italian restaurant. Much pleasant conversation, food and drinks followed by more wandering throughout the old town, culminating in several attempts to capture the very pretty christmas displays in pixels – not entirely successfully though. We parted ways agreeing to meet up on Sunday morning to make a quick dash down to Liechtenstein.
I stayed at the Hotel Rex, listed as a three star hotel on hrs.de, but whilst the room was modern, I found it be quite small, and with very little soundproofing. It has a decent location being about 1.5km from the old town and thus clearly within walking range.
How to get there:
By road from Greding: join Autobahn A9 south towards Munich approximately 70km. At Kreuz Neufahrn, take A92 SW towards the A99. Join the A99 SW following signs for Stuttgart, noting also the signs for “A” (Austria) and “CH” (Switzerland). Exit the A99 onto the A96 towards Bregenz – note that there is a break in the Autobahn of about 8km in length in the vicinity of Gebrazhofen, where traffic is slow as it is moved onto a two lane road – the completion of the Autobahn in this area is likely to be completed in a couple of years. Before the Austrian border ensure that you purchase the motorway tax sticker or ‘vignette’ and while you are at it, you may as well pick up the Swiss motorway tax sticker. Follow signs for St Gallen and the A1 towards Zurich. Have your GPS handy, as Zurich is full of one-way streets, streets which are not through roads, and junctions where it is impossible to turn.