Zurich, Switzerland part 2: Bahnhofstrasse, trams, museums, Zug

We are continuing our in-depth look at Zurich, Switzerland In this episode we are focusing on the modern side of the city showing you the great boulevard, the Bahnhofstrasse and some of the other shopping lanes We will go out on a lake boat ride, take you on an excursion to a nearby town, and generally show you around Zurich is generally ranked among the world’s top cities for quality-of-life and you’re about to see with your own eyes how true that is, starting out in the heart of downtown Bahnhofstrasse is the pride of modern Zurich, and counts as the one and only Boulevard of the city It is famous for being one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping streets in the world Here you can get anything from diamond rings to chocolate to fur coats Globus and Jelmoli are the two fiercely competitive department stores, both of whom carry items from many high-end brands About 140 stores are located along it A study in 2011 named the Bahnhofstrasse the most expensive commercial rent for retail property in Europe, and the third most expensive worldwide, behind the top two — New York’s 5th Avenue and Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay It came into existence when the city fortifications were demolished in 1864 and the ditch in front of the walls was filled in Until that time, the name of the location had been “Ditch Of The Frogs” which then was changed Station Street, or Bahnhofstrasse, due to the new train service which had recently begun here in 1847, as the first railway on Swiss territory The wide sidewalks have many benches where you can sit and rest, in keeping with the pedestrian orientation of the street Much more than a shopping strip or a tram route this is a major public gathering place Notice how the different activities mix together here and everybody seems to be in a relaxed mood, there’s no rush going on This is midday so it’s not rush hour and it’s a busy place It’s a lively spot with pedestrians, there’s bicyclists on the tram mall, the trams are rolling along, there’s families out together strolling and just taking it easy here One of Europe’s finest boulevards, lined with thriving, modern retail frontage from end to end No cars or trucks disrupt this pleasant shopping atmosphere — only pedestrians and quiet electric trams gliding by This is how a city should function and could serve as a model for any metropolis aspiring to show a human scale in the middle of its urban center There are many trees along Bahnhofstrasse and there is also a few small green parks where the family can stretch out and relax and set up a kiosk to promote your cause Sprüngli is a Zurich institution that offers a variety of sweet and savory goodies including a lot of pastries and chocolates, from hand-made truffles to special chocolate bars They’ve got locations throughout the city, including here on Bahnhofstrasse, inside the train station and their flagship store on the Paradeplatz This is shopping central for ladies clothing as well as a business center for many major banks and offices Paradeplatz just off Bahnhofstrasse is the banking center of the country Billions of dollars in gold bullion are stashed away in corporate basements beneath your feet Zurich has always been the economic capital of Switzerland based on the very strong banking and financial sectors They used to be notorious for having secret bank accounts where the billionaires could stash their money away from prying eyes and taxation in their home countries, but that’s all changed now — that is not allowed Many visitors would never get down to Paradeplatz and yet it’s a fascinating spot with this widening and busy tram intersection and many shops all around it right along Bahnhofstrasse With seven different tram lines passing through it, it’s the second-busiest intersection after the main train station Fascinating how these trams can make such tight turns, it’s almost a right-angle turn, and notice the casual interaction of the pedestrians and the trams Everybody’s moving along slowly and politely here Paradeplatz is quite central It’s just on the Bahnhofstrasse and only a kilometer from the main train station, 400 meters in the other direction to the lake

And now we come back to the bears Well, you’re not going to see them anymore because this particular part of the movie was filmed a few years ago when these bears were on display and what a great show it was, each one different, all funny and all to raise money for charity Each bear was for sale for a good cause You’re going to see many more of them in just a moment as we ride up and down the Bahnhofstrasse on the tram Street crime here is very rare so why is this guy being locked up with handcuffs? Oh wait, yeah it’s another stag party He’s getting hitched We will have some more silly fun at the end of the movie along with street mimes, musicians and a bar dance We also have a boat ride coming up, a fleamarket, some tips on hotels and restaurants, and a ride on the tram down Bahnhofstrasse There are a lot of different tram routes within the city of Zurich, including some novelty trams like this one, it’s semi open-air and they serve drinks on board This was a special event, they don’t come by every 10 minutes with a tram like that, but on occasional festivals or when the timing is right they’ll bring out the Caliente tram Most of the time the tram ride is strictly utilitarian for the locals to get them from point A to point B, but for the visitor it can be fun just to ride back-and-forth up and down Bahnhofstrasse and that’s what we’re going to do for you now It’s a very smooth ride on these tracks, they are fine-tuned by the Swiss engineers to keep it nice and level for you, so it’s really easy to just look out the window and watch all of the shops and buildings and people glide by You’ll notice again lots of bear statues out there on the sidewalk — makes the view even more entertaining Those bears were up a few years ago, they’re not there any longer was part of that fundraising campaign mentioned earlier By the way the reason that we can present such a long and comprehensive program about Zurich is that it was filmed during 10 visits to Zurich in recent years, enabled us to show you the whole city Public transport is extremely popular in Zurich, and its residents use it in large numbers About half of all journeys within the city use public transit, popular for locals and visitors alike Now this network of public transport and high frequency of service claims to be the world’s densest per capita usage, which means they ride bus and rail more than anybody The urban center is small enough for a visitor to see exclusively on foot but it can be very helpful to also hop around on transit to save some time as most tourists will do It’s easy to catch a ride, so we’re going to explain here how it works with some travel tips while riding along on Bahnhofstrasse, and all the fancy shops of the street gliding by In this segment we are giving you an extended tour by tram Well ok here come some details about how the transportation system functions Three means of mass-transit exist here: the S-Bahn, which are suburban trains, trams, and buses Some of the buses are diesel, some electric, and some have overhead trolleys connecting to the wires The public transport network includes boats on the lake and river, funicular railways and even a suspended cable car They do not have a subway nor is there an elevated train Numerous trams lines and buses service the city at street level Typical of most public transport you purchase a ticket from vending machines at the stop or from one of the ticket selling kiosk before boarding and validate them, and you can board through any door and are not required to show your ticket Instead the tickets are randomly checked by roving teams of fare inspectors and big fines are imposed on passengers found without one The size and complexity of the network may be daunting at first, but you will soon realize that there are various ways to get from one place to another and following any of them will still be efficient Zurich’s tram network now has 172 kilometres of track, or 107 miles The system has got 313 vehicles, and 70 new trams, were recently purchased, each with 2 cars and passenger capacity of 280 people The first trams started here way back in 1882, pulled by horses and about 10 years later

they were electrified Trams became popular throughout Europe in the 20th century, but then by mid-century had experienced major reductions and termination of service However within the city of Zurich there were relatively few line closures, and in recent years the system has been expanding further into the suburbs Tram or light rail service is found today in six other Swiss cities and 100 cities throughout Europe have In America light rail street-level systems operate in about 30 cities and are rapidly gaining in popularity Trams within Zurich are largely street based, with varying degrees of mixing and separation from other street traffic, from automobiles and trucks and buses, and significant sections such as on Bahnhofstrasse where trams run in unrestricted traffic lanes through largely pedestrianized malls Challenges to the tram have come from its perceived inflexibility and the growing traffic congestion in city streets One proposed solution was the conversion of the less busy lines to trolleybus routes, and two lines were converted but could not provide service equal to tram, and so no further conversions to bus were made Tram succeeds because of its superior level of comfort, convenience and service Over the past 70 years several plans were made to put Zurich’s trams underground, as a metro, but voters have rejected this in repeated referendums Right in front of the Hauptbahnhof main train station there are five different transit stops available, with a total of 9 different tram lines The main tram stop here is just on the east side of the station, with 5 different trolley lines running through it Notice that the trams are all easily accessible at street level, with no platform provided, although most of them do have a few steps inside The newer trams have what’s called low floors, so no step up is needed to board And yes you can carry a suitcase at no extra charge, showing how easy this system is to use for the visitor We’ll present more of the tram ride and scenes along the Bahnhofstrasse coming up later, but while were in front of the main train station let’s go inside and have a quick look around and show you some of the facilities and attractions of this amazing place The magnificent sandstone neo-Renaissance building features a triumphal arch in the facade And in front of the arch stands a water fountain and heroic statue monument to the railway pioneer Alfred Escher, a Swiss politician, business leader and railway pioneer who had an unmatched influence on Switzerland’s political and economic development in the 19th century If entering the station from the Bahnhofstrasse you can go down an escalator and avoid all of that street-level traffic, so that’s a much easier way to get in It brings you down to the lower mall and from there, there’s escalators to bring you back up to the main level It’s more than just a train station — it’s more like a small town in itself There are many restaurants and bars and cafés and the lower level has got a vast shopping mall, and it is really popular because these stores are open at night and on Sundays when many of these stores in the city are closed You’ll find a whole variety of shops available here, not just travel items, luggage stores, but clothing stores and sundries, there is the sandwich shops, there is the stationary places, all kinds of ways to spend your money So if you need an after-hours pharmacy or you’re just looking to pass some time while you’re waiting for your train, come on and browse around in this interesting mall It’s called “ShopVille” with over 200 stores and other businesses It benefits from a Swiss employment rule that generally labor on Sundays is not allowed, but it is allowed in train stations, so it’s usually very busy on Sundays, even while the streets of Zurich are largely empty at that time And the shops are open late every night so it’s always busy The main hall of the station is a huge, covered area It’s like an indoor piazza and some days it looks totally empty, other days it’s quite busy depending on rush-hour or not, or weekday, and sometimes it’s filled up with celebrations and special events If you’re here towards the end of September you might get lucky and run into the Oktoberfest celebration These are Swiss, they also like their beer and their lederhosen and their sausages, very

similar to Munich in southern Germany in Bavaria It’s Oktoberfest time with some great Swiss beer, there’s some music in the air, and a lot of fun Everybody is very friendly here and the whole station turns into one big party scene Of course there is a close connection between the Swiss culture and German cultures They speak pretty much the same language and share a lot of traditions They are bordering countries, and they love their sausages, it makes a great fast food Just stand up at these tall tables, have a beer, have a sausage It will take you very little time and very little money Switzerland’s first railway service connected Zurich with Baden in 1847, putting the Zurich Hauptbahnhof at the origin of the Swiss rail network The present station building dates from 1871 and of course it’s been expanded and modernized ever since There’s a real convenient luggage storage area here It’s all automated You just put your money in the slot and take the key, lock up your bags You can use a small locker, medium-size or a big locker, and this is a great way to stash your bags, let’s say, if you’re only visiting Zurich on a day trip That could happen, maybe you’re arriving in the morning, passing through later in the day to some other city but you’d like to have a look at Zurich It’s really easy here, you don’t have to deal with any attendants, you don’t wait on line, and it’s such a large space with so many lockers you’re undoubtedly going to find a place to stash your bag — another fine example of Swiss efficiency Not only do they have clean restrooms, you pay a fee to use it, you can also take a shower in some of the restrooms, and it’s also very clean, it’s private and safe, and you just pay a small fee Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof is the busiest train station in the world as measured by total number of daily trains Nearly 3,000 trains pass through the main station every day, with between 400,000 and 500,000 commuters — about equal to the city’s total population It’s one of the most important railway hubs in Europe As a tourist, visiting a small city like Zurich, you might think you really don’t need a tram, but for example, if you want to go from the train station down to the lake and then back again, that’s over 2 mile round-trip And you certainly might want to head down to the lake just to see the waterfront — it’s a beautiful promenade — and why not take a boat ride? That’s what we’re going to do in a moment but first, as we got to the end of the tram line by the lake we notice something going on in the square There is some sort of a fleamarket happening, so let’s take a quick walk through the fleamarket and check it out before getting on the boat We were lucky to be here on a Saturday because it only happens on one day a week, every Saturday from the beginning of May until the end of October It takes place on Burkliplatz which is right at the bottom of Bahnhofstrasse It’s been held here for 45 years There’s a competing fleamarket that claims to be even bigger also on Saturdays but year-round It’s the Kanslei and that’s in a different part of town on Kansleistrasse This location at Burkliplatz also has a fruit and vegetable market twice a week on Tuesday and Friday mornings Flea markets like this are a lot of fun for many visitors You get to look around at some junk, at some quality antiques, some rarities, some clothing, you might even find some souvenir-type of items to purchase, and have some conversations with the local vendors They are all going to speak a little bit of English and they’ll certainly be friendly trying to sell their goods Now it’s time to cross the street and catch our boat At the south end of Bahnhofstrasse you will run into the lake and there’s were you can buy a ticket on the dock for a boat ride on the Zurichsee Lake steamers leave from Burkliplatz at the end of Bahnhofstrasse, but they leave on schedule so don’t be late or you’ll miss the boat Oh well, they depart every hour in the season, from the beginning of April till the end of October The name of the boat company is Zurichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft and they operate passenger vessels on the Limmat and the Lake Zurich, connecting surrounding towns along the lake They offer a variety of tourist-oriented trips including a jazz brunch, dinner and some trips on historic steamships

You can take a short round-trip for 90 minutes which is what we’re showing you here, cruising along, stopping at a few villages then back to Zurich without getting off Or the longer round trip takes four hours and it goes all the way to the south end of the lake at the town of Rapperswil will and then returns back to the Bahnhofstrasse Especially during nice weather, like summer or springtime, the lake is a beautiful place to spend the evening or the weekend Starting from Bellevue, the boardwalk goes for about three kilometers along the lake towards Tiefenbrunnen About halfway from Bellevue there is a meadow where you will find thousands of people on a sunny day The boat makes a few shortstops on this 90-minute round-trip The map shows this routing There are several longer journeys that go further down the lake and return to Zurich in varying lengths and timing, two, three or four hours but you’ll probably find this 90-minute trip is just about ideal It’s long enough for a real experience and not too long And you’re welcome to get off if you like and catch the next boat coming through or you could walk back to town along the lake front, or just enjoy the ambience of the playground and the atmosphere of the little villages along the lakeside The boat’s a nice size with a variety of kinds of seating — you can be up on the deck or on the bow on the stern or downstairs indoors, and there’s little snack bar there, you can get a beer, of course, while you’re cruising along Going for a swim in Zurich is a leisure activity that dates back to the 15th century And yet, previously it was just for men Swimming in the lake or in the Limmat was not allowed for women Until the 19th century, special buildings for swimming did not exist Now there are public beaches and a string of little parks with benches and green lawns and trees There’s quite a few houses along the lake, many of them have their own boathouse for a garage And sailing, obviously, is very popular here The waters are so clean that pollution is no problem, so swimming is perfectly safe The earliest permanent settlements here, about 6000 years ago, were along the shores of the lake They were on stilt houses that were not actually suspended over the water, they found, but they were kind of on the marshy coastline, and just inland And some of these remains have been discovered and excavated by archaeologists, and provide a great insight into life back in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, and they have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site A relatively large number of these prehistoric pile dwellings have been discovered around Lake Zurich — about 10% of all known such sites in the Alps — which suggests that this Zurich area, the lake and the shores have always been an attractive place to live, just as they are today Well, this boat ride is such a relaxing event — there is really nothing to do except sit and look at the view and have a beer, which gives a chance to meet some of the locals There are quite a few Swiss who are the passengers on these boats, and they are friendly, speak English, and talkative Then before you know it, the boat ride’s over and you’re back on shore If you’re starting to get hungry there is a particular excellent restaurant that you might consider — Hiltl This favorite restaurant choice near the Bahnhofstrasse is the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant It’s been at the same location since 1899 and still operated by the original family, four generations later Dig in to their enormous buffet loaded with dozens of delicious, healthy choices Their varied offerings feature a global cuisine with the flavors of India, Greece, Thailand, Lebanon, Italy, France and more, and they’re open from 6 AM until midnight Right in front of us here we’ve got some grapes, we’ve got some fruit salad, some fresh melon, and on the right the first bowl is the typical Swiss bircher muesli We have a tofu maison here, Italian tofu salad with tomatoes and dark olives We’ve got some Spanish beans We’re having our lovely outside boulevard terrace where people can enjoy the nice evening,

in summer, spring and autumn, and have their great dinner What’s going on here? Over here you see the scale, we have a large buffet, and everything is just weighed here You get a ticket, which pops out right here, and that shows you the price and you pay at your table Okay It’s great food, it’s very colorful, very fresh, and we are very happy to have you here And it’s a very large operation now, we have a lot of people coming here, we’re growing We are very famous for our Indian food, and it has always been vegetarian Sit where you like — ground floor, upstairs or at the sidewalk tables Eat here first and you will surely come back another day or night for more food from this great restaurant Or perhaps you just want to come for an evening drink and a snack Hiltl is a very popular night spot for the young locals — there is a wine bar, serving cocktails and beers and it’s buzzing every night Easy to find, it’s located just a block off of the Bahnhofstrasse There are nearly 300 hotels in Zurich so you have a wide range of choice from the cheapest hostel up to a five-star deluxe hotel like the Hotel Savoy Bauer en Ville It’s right on Paradeplatz and Bahnhofstrasse — a very refined and expensive place to stay, with prices generally above €500 Perhaps four-star luxury is more suitable for you and definitely less expensive We enjoyed the St. Gotthard Hotel It’s right on the Bahnhofstrasse just one block from the train station, making access about the best in town You’ll probably either be arriving and/or departing by train, so this is super-convenient and the airport is a direct 10-minute ride by train The hotel has got 138 rooms, which is a very good size, not so huge that you get lost in a crowd, but with enough rooms to increase your chances of getting a reservation, and the prices here are well under €300 It first opened in 1888, and it’s been owned and operated by the same family now for four generations Not a chain, it’s one-of-a-kind, and managed, they say, with passion and professionalism A full buffet breakfast is included with your room rate Among their three restaurants is the Lobster and Oyster Bar which has been offering fine seafood for over 75 years This hotel has deep roots in the community and it’s a reliable place to stay So convenient, right on Bahnhofstrasse a block from the train station which is where we’re going now If you’re staying in Zurich for a few days you might want to consider a day-trip to a nearby town and one of the closest destinations is the historic city of Zug It has a small historic center with several remarkable buildings It’s just about 1/2 an hour away by train, and the trains leave twice an hour from Zurich So it’s really easy to get there It’s a direct train You don’t have to change and some nice scenery along the way And then when you arrive in Zug you’ll notice that the train station is shockingly modern If you think you’re coming to visit an old historic town, which is really the plan, you’ll be surprised at how beautiful and up-to-date the station is, and in fact the city itself is a modern city with a historic Old Town That’s what were here to see So you can get on the public bus — you don’t want to walk from the train station to the Old Town, it is just too far, over a mile So get on the bus, and it’s a short ride, will take you through the modern part along the lake shore There’s a beautiful Lake Zug You’ll soon be arriving within a few blocks of the Old Town The map shows how small the Old Town is, really, it’s just a few blocks down by the lake shore And before walking into it you can walk around a little bit in the modern streets of the city as well to get a quick little overview For several blocks all around the outside of that Old Town you have got the lovely, charming typical Swiss buildings with their pastel colors and historic facades Many of these are 500 years old Of course, it’s also a very modern city and you might be surprised that little Zug is an economic powerhouse The population of the city is about 27,000 people and there are 27,000 companies registered in the city of Zug That’s because it’s a tax haven They extend special breaks to foreign corporations with very low corporate tax rate of about

8 1/2% and so thus they are host to such luxury brands as Cartier, headquarters of Piaget and Vasheron and others They are big in the oil business too, with about 3% of the world’s petroleum traded here and a Zug-registered corporation is building a critical gas pipeline to link Russia with Europe via the Baltic Of course, education is very strong in Switzerland, especially in a city like this that is so economically powerful, and the locals seem quite healthy, with a high standard of living typical of Switzerland The prices are high, but so are the incomes Until you get inside those several blocks of the Old Town it’s normal traffic out here You will spot some historic sites on your way including the Municipal Theater which is over 100 years old This tower, over 500 years old, was used to store gunpowder And then there’s the castle which is one of the landmarks of the city It’s now a historic museum inside there For the kids it’s just a soccer field Were just making half-day excursion from Zurich so not taking time to go inside any museums, mostly just walking around in the old streets of the Old Town In yellow the preserved historic district and blue shows how far it went back in the old days We have arrived inside the Old Town We’re on Unter Altstadt which is the main street of the Old Town It’s only a couple blocks long As we walk along it for the next minute you’ll get a thumbnail sketch of the history Zug was founded in about the year 1200 by Austrians, the Habsburgs, typical of much of Switzerland, and by 1352 it joined the Swiss Confederation It was the eighth Canton to join, and it had to because it was surrounded by the other seven Most of the buildings we see today are at least 500 years old and beautifully preserved Notice the split-level street here — a very impressive adaptation when you are building your city on a sloping hill It is like a terrace embankment It’s quite a unique touch and helps stabilize the buildings which is important here because in 1435 there was a catastrophe where the lower road of Zug fell into the lake and 60 people died and 26 houses got destroyed Of course there are some hotels here, small hotels, if you wanted to spend a night or two and have a relaxing visit And we will notice several attractive sidewalk restaurants as we walk around, especially beyond this town water fountain Get to the end of Unter Altstadt and you arrive at the Fish Markt, a cross street that has got three wonderful-looking restaurants surrounded by historic buildings We’ll see more of that clock and arch tower in a few minutes This was filmed in the month of May so the weather was really quite nice It’s usually in the 70s or high 60s and made perfect time to be here Friendly family from Macedonia spoke some English so we had a nice conversation One of the benefits of traveling in any country You’ll meet foreigners from all over At the end of the lane you run into the lake You can’t miss that site It’s so tranquil to see the restaurant along the shore and the boathouse and the old houses The town is very proud of its views of sunset over the lake, but we’re not sticking around that long to see it, so we will just enjoy it during the daytime There’s a path you can walk along here or bicycle or just sit down at a park bench and relax And there is a fishing museum down here if you’d like to learn about the pike and trout that inhabit the lake Otherwise that’s about it for seeing the interior of the Old Town Enjoying a few more glimpses of buildings and details and flowerpots as we make our way out through the arch gateway to outside the walls, and then turn around and look back at the view That is perhaps the most spectacular view of the entire visit Saving the best for last This fountain and heroic statue are at Kolin Square which is the site of the City Hall, the Stadthaus Most impressive historic site has got to be the Zytturm, or clock tower, standing over the medieval gateway A fitting climax to our little visit to Zug And now it’s back to Zurich to wrap up our visit with a few more things to see We’ve been showing you the great sites of Zurich

This is part two of our series on this wonderful city, focusing on the modern side of downtown In Part One we brought you into the old side of downtown Now were back on the Bahnhofstrasse, the main street of the city and one of the great boulevards of the world And now continuing our tram ride Passing the Hauptbahnhof main train station once again, a city in itself we showed you earlier This place has restaurants and shopping mall downstairs, and a neighborhood around it that’s rapidly developing into a beautiful new city And now swinging around and moving on down into the Bahnhofstrasse itself We glide along on smooth tracks of street-level train looking out the window at the interesting sites of the city going by The street is so attractive you can visit it several times and see something different each time you go A 24-hour ticket called a day pass cost the same as two single rides in the central zone so if you are doing more than one round-trip that is worth buying If you do not mind starting your travels after 9:00 am, the 9 o’clock-Pass is the best option It is available as daily or monthly and it will save you a lot of money, especially considering that 9:00 rule does not apply on weekends It’s a clever way they can encourage tram usage while not overloading the trams at rush hour If you are staying for a while and taking more than 10 rides it’s cheaper to buy a monthly pass You can find a schedule at every stop which is accurate to the minute, most of the time However these schedules can be missed, because of snow, wet leaves on the tracks during autumn, or exceptional traffic, it can mix up the schedule But it does not really matter, because the frequency of service is so high, usually about every 7 to 10 minutes, you just wait for the next one Alternatively, you can borrow bicycles for free from several places in Zurich including the central train station, and that includes e-bikes and skateboards This offer is called Zurich on Wheels Beware though that bicycling within the city is only for the experienced, as trams and buses frequent the roads and these tram tracks are a serious hazard to inexperienced cyclists In 1976 the first tram extension since 1954 took place, and unlike older lines, this extension was built mostly on reserve track with a separate right-of-way which is been the precedent, followed by most of the subsequent suburban extensions If you already have the Swiss Pass for traveling intercity in the country it’s valid on all public transportation in Zurich and if you are a tourist visiting a lot of Switzerland, this is your best way to save money and time and it helps you not to bother figuring out zones and routes and fair options However if you have a Eurail pass it is valid only on the S-bahn and the boats, not the tram or the bus This extended tram ride we just experienced has given a chance to really see the sites along Bahnhofstrasse up close and in detail as we go past several times You got to see people, buildings, shops and the trams, which are a fascinating transportation solution for our modern age For many cities, traffic congestion is a horrible problem throughout the world, and finding money to build a subway can be very difficult, especially in the medium-sized or smaller city Modern buses can be very efficient and do have great flexibility driving on existing roads and with potential for express service, but the tram also plays a role in this mix of transportation technology, and we’ve seen how nicely it works here in Zurich For visitors who have any interest whatsoever in art, it’s worth walking a few blocks to the south edge of the old town to visit Zurich’s art museum, the Kunsthaus Zurich Before even entering you’re treated to a pleasant garden with sculpture by Rodin, including his famous Thinker and a Reclining Figure by Henry Moore The collection will surprise you with its uniform high-quality and this well-designed building makes it easy to navigate, revealing one masterpiece after another This medium-sized museum will keep you spellbound for a couple of hours, or stay longer, if you want to study the paintings and sculpture in detail With the right pace and energy you can see the entire collection, with its main focus

on European paintings including a wide range of styles and periods from Old Masters right up through yesterday, and the museum also showcases a variety of Swiss work Just by themselves, these penetrating blue eyes in van Gogh’s self-portrait, which was painted in his final year, could make your visit worthwhile And there are several other works by that mad genius, including one of his last paintings He also painted this portrait of a peasant, a neighbor of his in Arles, with shocking, bright yellows contrasting with the blue There are also dozens of other Impressionist and Postimpressionist works, with Europe’s largest Monet collection outside of Paris, for example, including two large canvases from his l’Orangerie series Rodin is found again inside the museum with two more of his most famous works, the Age of Bronze and a portrait of Balzac Modern artists represented include Picasso with a handful of his works from different periods and other works by Cubists Kandinsky who invented abstract art is well represented Matisse, Klee, Munch, Leger, Miro, Giacometti, Magritte, Mondrian, Rothko and Bacon, including Mark Chagall who is a hero to the art world of Zurich with his stained glass windows in the Fraumunster, and there is much more This really is one of the most significant art museums of Europe While most travelers are not familiar with Swiss art, this museum offers a fine opportunity to appreciate some excellent pictures by native painters It can be quite surprising to discover relatively little-known artists who rarely exhibited outside Switzerland, and there are also the famous Swiss artists like Klee and Giacometti And did you know that the dada movement of early surrealism started right here in Zurich? The typical museum layout pattern groups the pieces together by chronology, by time period, similarities of styles and mixing in the paintings and sculpture together Spread out over two floors with a lot of room to give each piece its own space There’s also a good sample of late Gothic, Dutch, Flemish, Italian Baroque and Venetian paintings including works by Canaletto, Rembrandt, Rubens, Domenichino, and VanDyke A spectacular large canvas by Peter Bruegel depicts Christ on his way to crucifixion and in typical Bruegel style, there are dozens of people in the scene carrying on with their own activities, some grieving, others ignoring the tragedy of Christ heading to Calgary They have an excellent website with descriptions of the main artists and illustration of their work, and the museum has published several catalogs including one with illustrations of all 4000 paintings and sculpture in the collection And there’s a pleasant café You can take a break midway through or when you’re finished, sit down, have a meal, fully stimulated and energized to help you carry on with your explorations of Zurich There is one more highly recommended museum on the other side of the Old Town Behind the train station the country’s largest museum occupies a huge neo-Gothic castle built a century ago and houses a grand display of Swiss history illustrating the full length of human culture from the Stone Age up through the 1940s With 80 different galleries filled with remarkable art and artifacts They use their large courtyard to host many community events like the concert we see here Stag parties and hen parties Walk around in Zurich for a few hours, especially on the weekend and you’re going to see the guys and gals going through these celebrations It’s a street party that usually drops in and out of a few bars along the way Getting ready for the wedding It’s always easy to tell who the main person is they usually have some kind of a goofy getup and they’re the center of attraction [laughter, indistinct conversation, cheering] Generally it is some kind of interactive public

spectacle were they want to get you involved Singing dancing Hello, hi hi hi Now here is a most unusual site It’s a bunch of mimes These guys are just fooling around They’re not out to make any money, they’re not busking, they’re not asking for any change They’re just out to have some fun These are ordinary civilians, not professionals, making people laugh We are going to leave you with some exciting energy of a typical day in a local pub Actually, it’s a Sunday morning Look for our complete series of travel videos about Switzerland covering many highlights of this beautiful country We’ve got snow-covered mountain scenes and train rides across the lush, green landscape We’ve got detailed city visits to Lucerne, Interlaken, Zermatt, Lugano and Locarno, we take you on hikes on mountain trails, boat rides and many travel tips showing how to get the most out of a visit to Switzerland Look for these videos in our travel series