Touring Downtown Zürich
Switzerland  (March, 2011)
On Saturday, March 26th, our good friends, Norbert and Beate, arrived from Freiburg, Germany,
for a short visit.  Boarding the passenger ferry in Thalwil, Irmi and I escorted them on a day tour
of downtown Zürich and surrounding area.  Norbert took these photos with his digital SLR camera.
On the upper deck of the passenger ferry from Thalwil to downtown Zürich, a thirty-minute ride.
(Beate on the left; Irmi on the right)
Look closely, and you can read the "Lindt Chocolate Factory" sign, as we steam past.
A couple of locals preparing their boat for the upcoming sailing season.
Someone out for a little early morning exercise.
Still on the ferry, approaching the Bürkliplatz in downtown Zürich.
(End station, last stop, everyone off the boat!)
As we wandered up the Bahnhof Strasse toward the main train station, Norbert turned and
snapped this shot down a side street: financial district on the left and a hotel on the right.
Approaching the Großmünster, one of two magnificent churches in downtown.
The Limmat River originates as snow melt high in the Alps and flows into Lake Zürich from the
 south, near the city of Rapperswil.  It exits the north end of the lake in downtown, eventually
 merging downstream with the Aare, which, in turn, empties into the Rhine River above Basel.
A small, really small sidewalk cafe.
(Okay, technically, there is no sidewalk!)
Ron, Beate, and Irmi, navigating narrow streets of "The Old Town."
Smart bird!
Limmat River and "The Old Town," as seen from a park high above in the Lindenhof.
Beate and Irmi, wandering down from the Lindenhof, en route to "The Old Town."
This store sells nothing but "Gummi Bears."  See the Gummi Bear "pizza" in the upper left?
(That "pizza," according to the sign out front, costs the equivalent of about $21.00)
This is H. Schwarzenbach, one of the oldest stores in Zürich.  Obviously, they offer a
little bit of everything.  I enjoy visiting just for the smell, which, thankfully, still is free.
Irmi and Beate, at Conditorei Schober, struggling with a life or death decision: which cake to
 order with our coffee.  Here, we took an hour's respite from the rigors of window-shopping
 to engage in the time-honored tradition of afternoon "Kaffee und Kuchen" (coffee and cake).
Walking along the Limmat again.  (The bridge in the foreground is where I accidentally
  dropped two pairs of newly purchased shoes -- and felt obligated to dive in after them
 -- on the 4th of July, 2009, for anyone who may have read that story on my web site.)
 Irmi and Beate in "Shopville," located underground below the main train station.  For some
inexplicable reason, a number of successful authors have used this setting for chases and 
shoot-out's in spy novels.  Trust me on this, nothing that exciting ever happens down there.
Still underground in Shopville, we have moved to the chocolate store "Sprüngli" (175 years in
  business), a daughter company of Lindt Chocolates.  These confections, called" Luxemburgerli" 
(Luke's-oom-boo-ur-grrr-lee), are approximately one and a quarter inches in diameter and, as
one can see, come in various flavors.  Unfortunately, they are extremely fragile and go bad in
three days, so they must be eaten very quickly.  Place one on your tongue and press it against 
the roof of your mouth, and . . . it melts . . . straight into your bloodstream.  Pure decadence!
Still at Sprüngli, this is my all-time favorite cake -- orange cake.
 (Sorry, Aunt Virginia, but it tops even your world-famous pound cake!)
These are not gold bars.  Even better, this is pure one hundred percent Sprüngli chocolate.
Still browsing at Sprüngli, the strongest willpower melts in the face of this display case.
We took the cog-wheel train from the main train station to the
top of the Uetliberg (Oot-lee-bear-g) (a hill by Swiss standards)
overlooking Zürich. The platform at the top of this tower affords
 additional views in all directions. It is 150 feet high, and Norbert
and I bounded to the top in 30 seconds without breathing hard. 
 (This is a test to see if you are reading closely.)
 Beate, Norbert, and Irmi -- atop the Uetliberg -- with Lake Zürich in the background.
 Downtown Zürich lies below and to the left, where the northern end of the lake ends 
(and the Limmat River resumes its course).  Lake Zürich varies in width from one to
 three kilometers (.75 to 1.5 miles) and extends 37 kilometers (22 miles) in length.
This is not a particularly good photograph, but one can see where we live below 
the white arrow . . . and the relative proximity of the Alps in the background.
Walking down from the top of the Uetliberg to the cog-wheel
train station.  Do not ask what animal this is!  A combination
  moose and giraffe?  It is a lamp post and it tells us only that
someone, at some point in the past, had a great imagination.
Riding the cog-wheel train from the Uetliberg back down to the main train station, Mr. Karpinski
has no doubt uttered a profound witticism, bringing a lovely smile to his lovely wife's lovely face.
Passing through the great hall of the Zürich Main Train Station, as we transfer from
the cog-wheel train to an inter-city express for the ten minute ride home to Thalwil.
Irmi and Beate on the train ride home (from downtown Zürich to Thalwil).
 See how clean, comfortable, and convenient public transportation can be?
Walking home from the train station in Thalwil, this is one of two entrances to our housing complex.
The sun has set, dinner is done, and we stroll through the living room and out 
onto our back balcony, . . . and reflect on a great day sadly coming to an end.
That's all, folks.  Adieu und auf Wiedersehen.

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