Zurich: Water fountains and cheese aplenty

The latest of my wanders into Europe took me outside of the European Union for the very first time. The city of Zurich, Switzerland was our oyster for just over 24 hours.

As is usually the norm in Europe, we headed to the Swiss capital on a Flixbus. It took around three hours and only cost us 15 Euros each return, we were grateful for this as the cost of our destination had been made all too clear to us in the previous days. We left Stuttgart at 8:15am so upon arrival in Zurich, we were ready for a pick me up. A nearby Starbucks gave us rest bite and we got our first glimpse at the expensiveness of the city. A small coffee put me back CHF 7.80, approximately £6. In my bleary eyed state, I didn’t mind too much.

Once the coffee had been consumed, we set off to our apartment to drop our stuff off ahead of a day of exploring. Situated just 25 minutes out of the centre via tram (a day pass costing a relatively priced CHF 8.80) and costing just 15 Euros each, it was ideal for our one night stay.

There was a sense of relief once we were on the tram back into the centre; it felt that our day could start. One place we were all keen to check out was the lake which shared the name of the city. We didn’t have to wait for too long, and it made for a fantastic view. You can walk straight down a main street and the lake just opens up in front of you, the bustling city feels a million miles away. The cold hits you hard; the ice cold wind blows down from the Etzel Mountain and across the water but it’s worth it for the view.

From the edge of the lake, we weaved back through the streets towards the Fraumünster church. Built on the remains of a former abbey for aristocratic women, the church was founded in 853 and is incredibly picturesque. The spire and clock face were particular favourites of mine, towering alongside the Limmat river.

One thing we noted was the number of water fountains dotted around the city. They came in all shapes and sizes and apparently there are 1200 in Zurich, so you’ll need to be there more than a day and a half if you fancy finding them all. This is a popular bucket list article, with the city supplying maps of all the fountains in the city.

The relatively early start of our second day had us out and back on the tram at 11 am. This left us with around 6 hours left in the city until our coach back to Stuttgart. A quick breakfast gave a chance to sort out what we’d do with our time, for me it was a simple decision; the FIFA world football museum. A visit to this place was relatively high up on my list of things to do in Zurich, and luckily I managed it.

The building is situated just 15 minutes away from Zurich main station on the number 6 tram; there is a stop right outside. For students, you can gain access for CHF 18 (just remember your ID) and it’s worth it for any football fan. They have a rainbow of shirts from every one of the 211 member nations as you first step inside, as well as an in-depth timeline of the history of international football; I was fairly excited by this point.

The museum continues into essentially a World Cup long room. A replica of the Women’s world cup trophy is joined by the trophy which will be awarded to the winner of the men’s tournament in Russia next year, truly fascinating stuff.

The final event of our trip was a traditional Swiss meal out. It was a bit more on the pricey side, but the CHF 26 we paid for a cheese fondue was money well spent. After all, I don’t think I’d be heading to Switzerland again soon. After wandering around the icy cold streets, tucking into boiling hot melted cheese with bread and potato was just what we needed. All that was let was to take a few pictures of the Grossmunster Cathedral, by late evening it was lit up from all around. It was a special way to end our flirt with this European gem of a city.

Before we knew it we were back on the bus to Stuttgart, but the visit will be remembered regardless of how fleeting it was. A weekend was probably enough time to spend in the city, if you want to go for longer your money saving skills will face a tough examination.

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. Passionate writing about politics, culture, sport, society and more