FamTrip to Zurich

Famtrip to Zurich

Zurich is located at the end of taxiway B, coming from Runway 34, just behind the Gate 16.
Unfortunately we had wind from the south... otherwise we would have crossed the first mountains of the Alps.

After the usual struggle...
“Where is my luggage?”...
“Where is my passport?”...
“Where is the next pub?”...
we chartered a couple of taxis, ten people in one car... not a good idea.
First thing getting my attention: they‘re driving on the “right” side in Switzerland, haven’t seen it for a while and... it looks familiar ;-)

Zurich is no cow town, oh no, it’ a big city: 4-lane roads, Autobahn, a lot of expensive cars like Massarati, Bugatti, Ferrari and other noble brands. “What for? They have a 100K speed limit!!!” It would make sense in Germany, but here..?

After a couple of minutes the houses get larger, taller, we’re entering downtown. One of the tallest buildings here is the Marriott Tower. Located at the Limmat River and a busy main street one cannot see the real size, you’re too close.

But the important thing is: the check-in, I want to get rid of my luggage, stroll through the narrow alleys and find a beer garden, a German butcher with all the specialities you don’t get in Ireland. Don’t get me wrong, I will never return to Germany, but my stomach has a mind of it’s own and Leberkas and homemade beer is a real challenge.

The plan was to meet at seven, the time now around three... lots of time to check the neighbourhood. I grabbed my roommate Eoin and we headed for the Railway Station, in that basement was a huge mall; without a GPS device you’ll get lost in there. Over 2000 trains pass that station per day, Zurich definitely is no cow town!

After changing our outfit from gypsy to business we met with the officials at the Bar 42, heard the “official greeting” and, after some Aperitif, were let to the White Elephant, the hotels famous Thai Restaurant where a table has been reserved for us. The dinner... not from this world! Absolute phantastic... don’t ask me what we ate but I definitely will do it again. Some colleagues “complained” about the hot stuff in the beef; “... this red one? Wait... now you can eat it!” and I had the chillies ;-) Wow.... not bad, real food must hurt!

It was some sort of All-you-can-eat-feast but all good things come to an end and this one: Mango cream! I have no words to picture the sensation my tongue felt... any word is too weak. After the dinner we took a trip to the kitchen and I asked the Master Chef about the recipe of that little nothing.

Back at the Bar 42 we rolled our bellies on the sofas and had some drinks... cocktails and a chat with the hotel employees, relaxing, stretching the nerves.

Next morning at eight: rise & shine, you’re hungry! After breakfast, around nine-something, a bus is waiting for a guided city tour. Since Switzerland is not that different to Germany I didn’t expect any big difference; it’s mostly “Bavarian style”, quiet, relaxed... No Stress! Even the flea market (boot sale) was calm, no hectic.

Next stop: the cog railway. Our guide told us that at the end is Zurich’s most expensive hotel, the Grand hotel Dolder. For the renovation the owners spend some hundred millions... I wouldn’t mind to have that money. For the large Suite one can spend easily 15.000 CHF... per night!

Back at the Marriott the order was: business dress, now comes the official part, the guided hotel tour. After a couple of floors, dungeons, stairs I was lost. “How long did it take for you to know where you are?” did I ask the guide. “Oh, it was a couple of weeks” was the answer. The Marriott are actually two hotels, connected by a bridge. The ground floor of the one is the 4th floor of the other... the labelling inside the elevator was quite interesting ;-) And the pool... it looks so inviting, the rest room next to the sauna, “... can we stay here?” Don’t ask me now where the specific Suite is, which floor... too much information... data overflow!

After this tour we met at the... right!... Bar 42 and had a relaxing chat with some of the hotel staff discussing the day we’ve had.

Next morning (the last in Zurich): breakfast at the Executive Lounge, Check-out and get shuttled to the Renaissance close to the Airport. “I’m sorry, but my suitcase isn’t large enough to fit you all in” were my last words to Tina, head of the Marriott Front Office, one last glimpse and the tower vanishes in the mist.

The Renaissance: close to the airport (haven’t I mentioned that before?) located in a business area, surrounded by Insurance companies. It is an older hotel, due to renovation in the next future, but what a sight inside. Ok, most of the plants were artificial but are therefore easier to clean. In the center of the lobby is a curved stairway (greetings from Hollywood) and below that stairway a fish... tank, ...pond...whatever with some Kois. “Oh, can we feed them?” – “Yes, you can!”

Here, as well, a guided tour through cellars, dungeons and places some regular guest will hardly see.

That hotel is influenced by an Asian mind; one restaurant was Japanese style, with chopsticks and all one might expect in Tokyo. One table was reserved for us to have a Brunch after the tour, before we left to catch our plane. “Wait... food, much food AND plane? That doesn’t fit, just have some of that fruit cocktail... think healthy!!” were my thoughts while passing the Buffet, ignoring all the goodies, asian food, ham & eggs, half pigs...


Again at the gate (which one?) waiting for our flight to be called out. But wait: where are the ladies, where is..? THEY WERE SHOPPING, duty free, perfume, chocolate, whatever some tourists might think they have to bring back home ;-)

Just for the record: this is an Aerlingus A320, Gate 24

And this is the longest part of our trip: Dublin -> Cork on board an Aircoach. Ok, it’s cheap, but five hours cramped in a seat smaller than the one a couple of hours ago? Next time I pay for a shuttle flight, that’ll be only 30 minutes.

Ted Heubach