The trip from Buchs (SG) to Zurich was incredible. It was during the ride there that we found out just how stunning Switzerland is. Mountains everywhere, no matter which side you looked at and beautiful lakes with crystal clear water. Especially mindblowing was the breathtaking Walensee – one of the most amazing views of our trip (really – go check it out!). That is why our expectations towards Zurich were really high.
The first thing we’d seen was the Zurich lake. It was so long that accompying us through one half of our way to towards the city and- as probably everything in this country- was incredibly beautiful. Since our road there was short and we had a lot of time until we could meet up with our host, our drivers left us clost to the northern part of the lake. We walked to the Arboretum where a lot of people were resting and decided to join them. We were just laying on the ground, watching people play, laugh and have fun; and were a bit jealous of kids nearby that were celebrating someone’s birthday party – they had a lot of food, and we were very hungry :<
Even with all that, it was an amazing introduction to the city that we were supposed to stay in for a few days.
Seeing as we still had a lot of time and didn’t really want to explore the city with our heavy backpacks on-we were also extremely hungry and in one of the most expensive countries we’ve visited- we decided to go dumpster-diving. Although we decided not to see the city because of our backpacks, we still did a whole lot of walking with them, even when only dumpster diving. We’d checked on trashwiki where the nearest open-dumpster place was and started walking there. We were super tired and decided to take a break again- but then, a brilliant idea came to our mind: we decided to rest; but no just on a bench; no, no! We decided to rest in front of a supermarket with a sign “FOR FOOD : <“,a metal box for coins and hope that someone will give us something to eat. At first we were very embarrassed, since we were basically begging for food like vagrants. We know that this way of getting money might be really frowned upon by many people- even we are still a little sceptic when it comes to doing it. We were in a real conundrum at the time, but since we were in a dire need for food, we decided to give it a try anyway. After first 5 minutes we knew that it was a good idea. People were actually giving us money and food! We got some fruit and a chocolate, and by the end, one guy asked us why were we there; we explained that we were traveling through europe without money. After that, another guy came over and said “I’ve heard your story and I think it’s amazing. Here, take this.” and he handed us 50 euro… We were speechless and didn’t want to take it from him but he insisted, saying that he had enough money to share that 50 with us.
We are still sceptic towards begging and we don’t think it’s an amazing or the most effective way of gaining money. We just wanted to get some food and at the time we thought that it would be better to rest and try to get something than just simply sit on a bench and stay hungry. Since people were in fact giving us food and money, we can recommend this way of getting goods in our post about busking.
After that, we decided to carry on, since we wanted to get just a bit of food and ended up with a lot of money… We went dumpster-diving and we found two great spots. The first one, with a lot of bread and rolls – it was all just nicely laying on shelves next to a dumpster. The second one was a dumpster full of vegetables and fruit. We got a lot of food and were extremely happy.
It was very difficult to find a host in here, just like we said in our Liechtenstein post, but after a while we finally managed to do it. We were staying with a guy who had just came back from his trip where he found the love of his life and got engaged to. He had asked his flatmate to move in order to have the entire place for him and his love, and was just waiting for her to arrive and move in. He was feeling a bit lonely living alone for the first time in years and that was mostly why he accepted our request. We were very happy – not only could we meet someone new, but also the location of the flat was perfect. Right in the middle of the Old Town with an amazing view from the rooftop.
In Zurich, the architecture is simply beautiful! We love white buildings and, fortunately, were able to find many of them here. There are also a lot of amazing churches. We visited some of them, as usual during our traveling. One of the most important in the city – Grossmunster – didn’t really leave a good impression; you had to pay for the entrance (so, of course, we couldn’t see the inside of it) and from the outside it wasn’t as amazing as we thought it would be. We also saw St Peterskirche and a few others in the Old Town. But to us, the most beautiful one was the smaller Predigerkirche that was just one minute away from our temporary-house. The inside of it was incredible: white and with many small details. Later, we also found out that the altar was decorated with beautiful rainbow tulle, candles, flowers, and an LGBT+ flag after the Orlando shooting (check it out! It was beautiful!). It’s not common, especially in our home country, Poland, for a church to be sympathetic towards queer people; That’s why we were very happy to see this kind of memorial in that particular one church in Zurich that became our favourite.
Not only the architecture was beautiful, but also the nature; Views of the Alps and the water. Zurich lake and the river going through the city were so clear and clean; we’ve never seen anything so incredible. We also found out that Switzerland has one of the cleanest water on the whole world.
One day, since we had some more time to spare, we decided to visit the Old Botanical Garden. It was very small and didn’t have a lot of exotic plants but it was indeed worth visiting. There, you could find greenhouses with different temperatures and different irrigation processes but with the same kinds of plants involved. Thanks to that, you could compare how various temperatures and irrigation can influence plants and their growth. It was especially interesting to see, because these kinds of changes may actually take place in a few hundred years.
Since it started raining, we went to visit the Ethnographic Museum. The entry was free, and we can totally recommend it. There were two very informative exhibitions there. Not only you could enjoy the view of paintings and drawings, they also had a lot of interactive stuff (even games and puzzles!) and books so you could educate yourself in a more fun way.
One day, after the visit in the Old Botanical Garden, we decided to visit a big, new Botanical Garden, since we heard many good things about it. On our way there we saw the nice Stadttheather and were able to enjoy more of the suburbs of the city. And then, it suddenly started to rain. The downpour was so hard that it was difficult to even walk and soon enough we had to take shelter. After 15 minutes of standing under a tiny roof in front of someone’s door, we decided that it’s probably not going to stop any time soon and we are kind of far away from the city center and very close to this Botanical Garden anyway; We would walk the rest of the way in the rain.
Unfortunatly, we misread opening times, and all the greenhouses and palmhouses were closed by the time we arrived. The only thing that was left to see was the nature outside. We tried walking a bit but it was raining so hard that we couldn’t really enjoy it so we decided to head back. We were a bit disappointed, since we really like plants, especially cactai and succulents; that is why we wanted to see the garden in the first place. But well, that’s how life is sometimes – not everything is always going to go your way, and sometimes it’s simply better to laugh those kinds of things up ; )
On our last day we decided that since we had some more time before we needed to start hitchhiking, we could go and try to swim in a lake! We couldn’t possibly miss that opportunity, since the sun was shining, it was hot outside and water was just so incredibly clean. When we arrived near the lake, we found out that there are almost no places where you can swim for free. Most of the avaiable options are the ones you have to pay for. We found one, very small part of the beach where we sat down near other people and decided to give it a try. The shore was covered in rocks so it was difficult to get into the water and the ground was unstable and uneven. After a few falling downs we were finally in the coldish water, enjoying our time in Zurich. We didn’t have much time so we spend around half an hour there and then went to hitchhike.
We were very amazed by this city. It was so clean, tidy, there was no trash laying around. It was just really well-kept. We were so in love that we decided that we need to make a special Switzerland-only trip some other time, and get to know the country more. We also thought of living in Zurich one day and because of that, Aleks even started learning German! (although that particular journey ended pretty quickly; even before our trip ended). The thought of living in such a nice city is still with us and we hope that one day we will have the opportunity.
- Couchsurfing: 1/10
- Hitchhiking in and out: 4/10 overall
- Freeganism: 9/10
- Busking: 8/10
- Blackriding: 7/10
It was extremely difficult to find a host and we found the same day we were supposed to stay there. Hitchhiking is hard in Switzerland in general as people are really doing everything by the law and even though your spot may seem doable and you clearly see a safe place for a car to stop, they usually won’t stop when it is not 100% legal. So you should try on petrol stations/parkings/etc. We spent a few hours in the middle of the day in burning sun and thought that we won’t make it… As we said in our post: we found a lot of food so freeganism is easy in Zurich. We also got a lot of money not even busking but begging; so we suppose that it would be even easier if we had our gear for doing balloon animals. We think that blackriding is ok but we’ve only tried once so we don’t really know a lot.
Buchs (SG) -> Zurich: on a roundabout where you can go out of the city on a highway no. 13; somewhere here: 47°10’05.7″N 9°29’09.7″E
Zurich – north: we took a tram to Sportweg and hitchhiked closed to the ramp (as said on hitchwiki)