It Rained That Day In Zurich
When it comes to Switzerland, images of Interlaken and Lucerne flood our vivid minds but on our third trip to the country which technically, was 'just' a flight hop, we, that is, my husband and me, decided to spend a full three days in Zurich. We had it all sorted, planning to travel to the neighbouring touristy cities by train each of these three days while our luggage rested conveniently at some Airport hotel. It had to be Bern and Montreux, I insisted as I had yet to sight the 'Barengraben' and the 'chateau' de chillon'. My husband meanwhile wanted to revisit all the places we had done before( how romantic, one must think, but turned out tickets to the latter were cheaper). So we had plenty of time in our hands and obviously, covering most of these places seemed very very achievable and we weren't ( when I say we, it is mostly I incase of travel plans and aspirations) the types to waste our precious holiday time in Zurich, the financial capital of Switzerland ( yeah! It sounds boring even in the head), especially after several well wishers had warned us about the drab and the dull Zurich. " There isn't anything to do in Zurich", " Why couldn't you catch a direct train to Lucerne and stay there instead", " Three whole days in Zurich, are you guys crazy"....and yet we didn't listen, were here, brimming with enthusiasm to explore Switzerland, we had smartly chosen a central hub, had no worries of chugging the heavy luggage from place to place and planned to take a new direction from here each day.
But what do you do when you wake up on the first morning in the hotel bed and are faced with the looming possibility of having to spend 24 hours in Zurich, Switzerland, as all roads going up to the mountains are closed due to incessant rains. And however crazy you might have pictured us to be, we weren't stupid enough to burn precious swiss franks in train tickets on such a sloppy wet day.
Well, what do you do when it rains in Zurich?! Actually, you are in for a real treat; grab your umbrellas ( in our case, we bought one from the nearest store which happened to be a kid's shop and tried sharing it!), get a Zurich city pass(ask your hotel for one.) and board the first tram to Zurich Zoo. This gem of a rainforest themed zoological park hidden in the heart of Zurich will enamour you with its lively ambience and eclectic showcasing of exotic animals and their niches and a superb layout. The cherry on the cake is the Masoala Tropical Rain Forest under a geodesic dome where the entire Madagascar biosphere seems to come alive with the musical cacophony of birds flying around, myriads of buzzing, fluttering insects and chameleons and the likes gracing the giant green trees, not to mention the overgrowth of exotic epiphytes and ivys. The gurgling of a waterfall cascading down in the background and soft raindrops pecking your cheeks from an artificial downpour has a mesmerizing effect. The boardwalk through this paradisiacal jungle is a stimulating, exhilarating experience and removes you far far away from that cold blue rainy day of Zurich. Later, you can take a boat cruise on the Zurich lake and a little dance in the rain at the deserted promenade wouldn't hurt either, trust me I am speaking from experience. It was one of the most romantic days of my life, we wandered aimlessly, rode the free trams and city trains( thanks to the all day Zurich pass), drenched ourselves silly and shared umpteenth cuppas of hot tea. Tomorrow would be another day!!
P.S. IN PICTURES: ZURICH, Mt.TITLIS, LUCERNE