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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Zurich, Switzerland

Relax in the sumptuous surroundings of one of the city’s many parks, or wonder at the vibrancy of its business culture. Zurich is a prosperous city that enjoys a diverse cultural life with many museums and an abundance of restaurants and hotels that meet the highest standards.
The Limmat River runs through the city to Lake Zurich and the streets on either of its banks contain the city’s most remarkable features. Shop in the exclusive stores of the Bahnhofstrasse or explore the craft market on Thursdays and Saturdays in the old town of Rosenhof. A walk around Lake Zurich is a must for local and tourists alike and the Arboretum on the West Bank offers an ideal location for relaxation and contemplation. On the East Bank, there is ample room for swimming and sunbathing. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the thriving city and take a tram out to Switzerland’s biggest zoo, Zoo Dolder, which backs on to the large and peaceful Zurichberg wood.
Zurich has always been famed for its cultural and intellectual activity. Carl Jüng was born here, and during World War I, James Joyce, Lenin, Trotsky and the founders of Dada were all active in the city. The visionary painter Johan Heinrich Füssli was born here in the 18th century. The city’s art galleries and museums pay handsome tribute to the best of both contemporary art and the achievements of the past. The Museum of Fine Arts houses a collection that ranges from the early Renaissance to David Hockney and Francis Bacon. Art aside, the Toy Museum and the Beyer Museum (a museum devoted to time) are worth a visit, as is the Lindt & Sprugli chocolate factory museum, which is free and also offers free chocolate samples at the end of the tour. At festival time, the locals come alive. In spring the Sechsläuten festival marks the end of winter with a parade by guild members in historical costume. In November, Expovina offers a chance to sample wines from all over the world on boats on Bürkliplatz. The famous Fasnacht carnival with musicians and costumed processions begins at 11.11 am on the 11th November and continues until February. Zurich’s famous Tonhalle orchestra performs in the town hall along with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. The city also has an internationally respected opera, the Opernhaus. Concerts ranging from rock and jazz to avant-garde are held at many venues throughout the city.