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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Pre-Christmas Time in Zurich - Zurich Christmas Markets

Good morning you lovely people!

There are a few more days till Christmas and less than 5 till I get to see the new Star Wars! Ain't life exciting / grand?! You have to excuse me just now for being a nerd but those 2 events were I could think of this year :) kidding aside, I don't always think of that. When I have free time I think of travelling... if I could I would be on the road 24/7. I admire people like Laura and Andrei who volunteered in different countries. Laura even wrote a book about it ;) - in Romanian language. I recommend it! I also love expats - people like me, who left their homeland for a better job and a more ferm economical situation. I feel they understand what I feel.
Most of all, though, I love travel bloggers. I love people who travel and enrichen themselves. This way they broaden their horizons. You can tell travellers from the regular people on holidays. You can see and feel that their mission is to understand the culture they immerse themselves in. Of course they will take pictures of everything but not in the "crazy mode"... they will want to capture a moment, a feeling, and they will know how to share that with you. I sometimes get jealous on them... I always wish to travel more, to know more of the world.

The first time you go to a city you are a regular bloke, regular tourist, who wants to see as much as possible at the first go... I still do that mistake sometimes but my awesome other half helps me through as he quite disagrees seeing more than 2 museums in one day - which is smart! My first time in Zurich was this summer, on a work travel assignment. I was there from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon, working regular hours from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Still, I must admit that being in Zurich during summertime has one main huge plus: the sun is up almost till 8 pm! Hence, you get to see more and do more. The huge minus: all museums close at 5 pm.
Zurich - View exiting from the Central Train Station
During my first stay I had quite enough time to see most of the important places in Zurich and I even had several small boat/large boat trips - one even as far as Rapperswil! So this time, during my short stay in Zurich, I was quite relaxed about everything. I came late afternoon Tuesday 8th and went away Thursday afternoon  10th December. It was all a hurry but it was all about meeting the team and setting up the plan for the new year. The one evening on 9th we had a team party so the single moment I could do something was the afternoon I came - on the 8th.

I had read numerous bloggers singing praises about the Zurich Central Station Christmas Market Fair. The main attraction, of course, was the shiny and sparkly Swarowski Christmas Tree :) I had to see it for myself and that is quite inevitable as almost all tourists will eventually get to the Zurich Central Station - main hub for trains, trams and buses. Try not to get lost ;) and allow yourself to be invited by the delicious smells of the fair.
Zurich’s "Wienachtsdorf" at Sechseläutenplatz
Of course, there is not one Christmas Market in Zurich, but several, in different locations throughout the city. I managed to squeeze 2 actually in a day! To my shame I was quick and did not buy anything to eat/drink, though there were a couple of things that really looked tempting. Each Christmas Market has its own charm - for example the one in front of the Opera House - Zurich’s "Wienachtsdorf" at Sechseläutenplatz - has an artificial skate ring where kids and grown-ups alike can have fun. There is a huge Christmas tree right in the middle of the square and there are several paths that lead you to food/mulled wine but also local handmade goodies. There are around 100 (or more) stalls that make you really believe that somehow you have entered a village where everyone is out and about having fun :) On the side of the street, quite close to where tram 11 turns to get to the Opera House station, there is also a special tram for small ones - you can leave you child there, to take a ride and have fun with Santa and the elves (no grownups are allowed inside and parents can have a break!).
The Christkindlimarkt - Christmas Market in the Main Station Zurich, is quite different from the one at the Opera House. It boasts itself of being "one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe"with a number of over 150 stalls! And its not just Christmas decorations, mulled wine and food that turns your nose and invites you to grab a bite... oh no! In case you did not know, this Christmas Market also hosts (each year!) a 50 foot tall Christmas tree decorated by Swarowski, with over 70.000 crystals! Since 1994, the Zurich Christkindlimarkt has been held in the historic main hall of Zurich’s main station – the main hall was built in 1871 based on plans by the architect Jakob Friedrich Wanner. Even when I came here in summertime, I thought it is the best place to have a market - covered, sheltered and with thousands of people passing through it! But be quick as the markets close around 9 pm and then you will have to wait for the next day. Last time there was a market but it was a one-day thing. Now, as it goes on for several weeks... security is necessary, so each night I have seen strong police guards standing by (also to protect the precious tree?!) and also K9 team. The Swiss spare no costs when it comes to keeping something safe ;)

Of course the entrance to the Christmas markets are free, but if you wish to visit more than one I would suggest having some kind of transit card, that would allow you to get fast from one place to another. Now I always use during my stay the Zurich Card - which can be found at the tourist office / train station / hotel - and it comes with the option of 24 or 72 hours. This gives you access to all Zurich areas - trips from the airport to the main tran station in less than 15 min! Besides train, tram, buses, you can also have a boat ride - it comes still as public transport ;) and I heard there is a nice Christmas market in Rapperswil as well :) How about you, lovely people, have you ever visited Zurich? Have you visited it during wintertime? Are you planning a visit soon? If you need any help - tips and tricks - pop a line and I will be glad to answer you ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Christmas Time :)