It’s very quiet in central Zurich on a Sunday. Especially if you’re out early, as I was this weekend. Around the lake, there’s a bit of activity. A few tourist buses, people catching ferries, joggers, dog walkers and a few people fishing.
I had a wander around the top of the lake on the Enge side – the West side of the Zurichsee, also known as the Silver Coast. I haven’t really been over there before. It’s a bit quieter and more residential than the opposite bank – the Gold Coast. But there’s Seebads (lake swimming areas) and rowing clubs on both sides. And nice looking restaurants / sail club type places too.
I didn’t go very far though, because I had spotted something interesting to explore at the top of the lake. A little estuary that weaves its way through central Zurich. It’s called the Schanzengraben – and a quick bout of internet research tells me it’s actually an ancient moat – part of the city’s fortifications dating from 1642.
Nowadays it’s a very quiet spot – a clear green stream rushing smoothly through town. Walkways on both sides (mostly) that dip down to below water-level underneath some of the bridges, so you’re walking shoulder to shoulder with the flow. Some bits have a wooden boardwalk or smooth stone walkway that’s almost at the same level as the water. Because it’s Switzerland, there’s no fence or anything.
I didn’t see many other people – a few dog walkers and a couple of lost-looking Japanese toursists. All the shops in Zurich are closed on Sundays, which means Bahnhofstrasse goes from one of the most expensive retail strips in the world to a ghost town. As for foliage-clad 17th century moats nearby… they’re even emptier.
I didn’t really know where I was going but I knew the general direction. And I’ve seen the top of the river Sihl from the train so I guessed I’d come out somewhere familiar. And I did, one block away from the Hauptbahnhof.
A very pleasant morning’s walk.