Zurich: Arrival

Zurich

Day 1: Pittsburgh (PIT) ─ Paris (CDG) ─ Zurich (ZRH)
Day 2: Conference. Lake Zurich boat tour.
Day 3: Conference. Dolderbahn.
Day 4: Conference
Day 5: Geneva
Day 6: Fly back to Pittsburgh

如果不是這個全額給付的會議,這輩子不知道會不會來蘇黎世。

如果是自己來玩,大概會安排在蘇黎世停兩個整天,一方面因為這個城市的重要景點很快就走完了,一方面是實在很貴。因為是來開會加上幾乎都和新朋友一起行動,照片不多也不太厲害。

瑞士西部講法文,中間講德文,南部義大利文,但在大城市用英文都沒什麼問題。

I was lucky to have this opportunity of visiting Zurich pretty much for free. I am not sure if I would ever come here if it were not for a free trip. It’s a city that’s not so tempting to me and yet very expensive.

Due to the conference and trip schedule, I didn’t get much time to explore the city or take many pictures. A two-day stay is probably enough for exploring most highlights the city has to offer. With limited time and budget, one day would allow you to cover the most important spots. The downtown area is small and very walkable.

The common spoken language in Zurich is Swiss German and the official language is standard German. English and French are also widely spoken.

Paris CDG

Pricey City 傻眼的物價

出發之前被網路上的旅遊資訊和朋友們打了很多預防針,大家都說蘇黎世是個很貴的城市,沒想到心理準備還是不敵這個城市的物價水準。我從美國出發,當時買瑞士法郎的匯率大概是1:1.2,但餐廳和超市的標價常常就算是當成美金我都還嫌貴,簡單的晚餐,只是一條香腸加一塊薯餅,沒點飲料,就要將近六百台幣!真的很慶幸可以免機票食宿的玩這一趟。

一個在蘇黎世工作的美國人告訴我們,當地人都會每隔一陣子就會趁週末到德國或法國採購囤貨,買菜跟日常用品,價差完全值得一兩個小時的車程。

Fiends and travel guides warned me about Zurich being the most expensive city in the world. And yet my eyes still widened at times when I saw the total of a dinner bill or a price tag of some sandwich in a fridge of a supermarket. When I made this trip, the exchange rate between Swiss Franc and USD was about 1:1.2. Things would still seem pricey to me if those numbers were in U.S. dollars instead of Swiss Franc. A simple dinner of one sausage and some hash brown without any drink is not worth 20 dollars.

An American expat told us that locals often do their grocery shopping on weekends in France or Germany to stock up discount groceries. The steep discounts are apparently worth the drive.

Shuttle at the airport

Impressive Public Transportation 十分優秀的大眾運輸

會議的主辦單位幫我們準備了六天的Swiss Pass,火車電聯車公車纜車都可以搭,所以我其實沒有好好研究哪一種票最划算,也不知道平常自己買票的話,封套裡面的內容長什麼樣。

Swiss Pass我的Swiss Pass裡面寫了票的起始日期和序號,要自己寫姓名、國家(country of residence)、護照號碼和簽名,上面寫 “Only valid with your passport.” 但當然平常搭搭電車公車纜車不需要出示護照,可能長程火車偶爾會查?

Swiss Pass是個什麼都包的all-in-one套票,Swiss Travel System的網站上可以查到詳細資訊,單人四天Swiss Pass是272瑞士法郎,可以搭公車火車纜車和船,還可以免費入場瑞士470個博物館。除了Swiss Pass,Swiss Travel System還有其他轉程、半價、家庭票等等不同選擇,ticketfinder可以讓你參考哪一種票最划算。

從機場到飯店最經濟實惠的交通工具是火車轉公車。據說計程車很貴,蘇黎世計程車是六塊瑞士法郎起跳,譬如說從機場到我住的飯店,大約11公里、不到20分鐘的路程,坐計程車大概要40瑞士法郎左右。

這一趟最印象深刻的大概是瑞士的大眾運輸。蘇黎世的大眾交通運輸系統叫ZVV (Zürcher Verkehrsverbund, Zürich transportation network),包括公車、電車、纜車、船和輕軌電車,我們搭到的幾路輕軌電車都十分乾淨,電車廣播會告訴你即將到站的站名和下一站,車上的小螢幕除了顯示接下來的幾站之外,還會告訴你大概的車程以及每一站可以轉程的其他公車或電車,如果知道目的地和大概的時間,只要不恍神,要迷路還蠻難的。

We all have a six-day all-in-one Swiss Pass so I didn’t look into tickets and pricing of the public transportation here. My Swiss Pass included a start day, last day and a serial number. I had to sign and filled out my name, country of residence, and passport number. The fine print at the bottom said “only valid with your passport” but you don’t need to show your passport just to take a bus. Maybe they randomly check on a cross-country train?

Swiss Pass is an all-in-one pass that allows you to take all kinds of transportation from a bus to a boat. It also includes free admission to 470 museums in Switzerland. More information and other types of tickets, such as a family pass and a Swiss card, can be found on Swiss Travel System’s website. Their ticketfinder can help you decide which type of ticket to get.

ZVVThe best way to get from the airport to your hotel is probably taking a train and then transferring to a bus or a trolleybus. Supposedly taxi is very expensive. The starting price is 6 CHF. From the airport to our hotel–a less than 20 minutes, about 11 km ride–would cost about 40 CHF.

To me the most impressive part about this trip was the incredibly convenient and punctual public transportation. The public transportation system in Zurich is called ZVV (Zürcher Verkehrsverbund, Zürich transportation network.) ZVV includes buses, trolleybuses, trams, boats and cable cars. On a trolleybus, its broadcasting and small screens tell you what the following stops are and what’s more, approximate travel time between two stops. They also tell you buses or trolleybuses that are available for transfer at each stop. It’s pretty hard to get lost.

P1520101 P1520100 P1510856

最後一天大家各自有不同的行程,造訪瑞士其他城市。同行的一位土耳其女生要跟團去Bern,脫隊跟朋友見面,再自己回到蘇黎世,為了保險起見,在火車站想要查清楚回程火車的時間,我們晃了一圈都沒看到整天的時刻表,於是走到服務台。

在土耳其小妞解釋來意之後,服務台阿姨一頭霧水,大家雞同鴨講了一陣子,服務台阿姨說妳就搭往蘇黎世方向就是了,土耳其小妞一直要時刻表,服務台阿姨說,好吧如果你堅持,讓我來看看,妳的車是五點零五、五點二十五、五點四十五….我們才了解為什麼阿姨一直不懂我們幹嘛要時刻表,站在月台等就是了,跨城市的火車比我在台北市或匹茲堡等的公車還快來。

瑞士人理論上很守時,這一趟搭公車火車的經驗完全沒有挑戰這個刻板印象,電車真的蠻準時,去日內瓦的這天,火車也十分準時。當瑞士人自己在網站說Swiss Travel System是 “Regular, reliable timetables with coordinated connections linking more than 150 public transport services”,真的沒在騙人。

Conference participants signed up for a day trip to different places in Switzerland. Most of the tours started at the main train station. A girl in our group wanted to go meet up with her friends after the tour and then get back to Zurich on her own. To be safe, she wanted to check the timetable so that she can plan ahead. She walked to the information desk and explained her situation to this woman. The information desk told her to catch any train that heads to this direction. Apparently they weren’t on the same page. Finally the information desk staffer was like, all right, let me check, 5:05, 5:25, 5:45… The train comes every 20 minutes. No wonder the information desk lady was confused when my friend wanted to know the exact times. She was right. Just go to the platform and wait. This cross-country train comes more often than most of the Pittsburgh buses and some of the buses in Taipei. And these trains are probably never late.

The Swiss Travel System said on their website that they offer “regular, reliable timetables with coordinated connections linking more than 150 public transport services.” I have no doubt about that statement at all.

SBB

Accommodation 住宿

我們住的飯店是Crown Plaza Zurich,在市中心的西北邊,一個晚上大概要將近兩百瑞士法郎,房間超級小,兩張床快要併在一起,下床跨一步就是霧面玻璃門的廁所,還好我跟同房剛認識的同團美國女生變好朋友,不然這麼小的房間真的很尷尬。

飯店早餐選擇非常多又蠻好吃,第一天發現開會伙食不好又常常不夠餵飽一千多個人之後,每天早上都特地吃很飽。

We stayed in Crown Plaza Zurich, which is located in the Northwest of downtown Zurich. The hotel was included in the conference registration fee. I didn’t know how much it cost. A night at the Crown Plaza Zurich is close to 200 CHF.

Our room was tiny. The two beds were so close that my roommate and I practically slept together. A bathroom was about one step away from that bed on the right. Luckily my roommate–whom I just met–and I became really good friends. Otherwise it would have been really awkward staying together for five nights in a tiny room with a bathroom whose glass door never fully shuts.

The breakfast at Crown Plaza offered a great variety and was pretty good. After we found out that the conference never prepared enough food to feed more than 1,000 people, I gorged on breakfast every morning.

Crown Plaza Zurich

P.S. 這趟蘇黎世之旅是在2011年8月底到九月初。

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