Tag Archives: Europe

May Holiday Day 7 – Zurich

This post will be about the last day of my holiday in Switzerland.

We didn’t wake up early since it’s already the last day of the trip. Our plan for the day was just to walk around the area near Zurich HB station and then return to the airport in the evening.

Here’s a few pictures of hotel lobby and bar. I am not a morning person and will usually be very grumpy, but the bright colors made me feel happy.

Hotel Ibis Zurich

Hotel Ibis Zurich 2

Hotel Ibis Zurich 1

We topped CHF 15 each for the breakfast. Similar to the hotel in St. Moritz, the breakfast spread was mainly bread, cheese, ham, fruits and cereals.

Hotel Ibis Zurich 3

Hotel Ibis Zurich 4

Hotel Ibis Zurich 5

breakfast

I am so used to having Nutella spread in Singapore, so when I saw Ovomaltine spread, I got so fascinated. LOL~

liver spread

I tried this liver butter spread and fell in love with it! I took this picture so that I can set off to hunt for it when I get back to Singapore. If only butter doesn’t melt, then I would have air flown them back.

cold

After breakfast, we checked out and stored our luggage at the hotel. It took us only 20-30 mins to get to Zurich HB station via shuttle bus and train. We bought the train tickets at CHF 6+ each and it is valid for 1 day for all SBB transports within the stated area. I didn’t do research for cheaper tickets since we were only there for 1 day.
The temperature was only 7°C in the morning, so I used up the remaining heat packs which Pakcik brought.

Zurich HB

Yea, that’s another thing I like about Europe: Pets are allowed on public transport. Try doing this in Singapore, and I bet you will be rejected at the door. I really wonder what’s the big fuss about pets in public. It’s not as if some wild kids are cleaner or quieter than the domestic pets.

Zurich

It started to drizzle, so we seek shelter in the shopping mall.

Migros

Migros 1

Migros 2

Migros 3

OMG! Look at all the yummilicious food in the mall! I wished I hadn’t had breakfast! Pakcik had to drag me away from the counters and lured me into my other favorite place: Supermarket.

kid

We went to the Migros supermarket. The first thing that attracted my attention was the trolley for kids! That’s so unfair!! Why didn’t supermarkets have such stuff when I was a child???
Look at the little girl, I bet she enjoyed her titbits shopping.

Migros 5

Migros 6

Migros 7

Migros 9

This is why I LOVE supermarkets. They have all sorts of stuff which aren’t imported to Singapore. The tomato looked so interesting, I wonder how it tastes…

Migros 8

I was comparing the prices of sun-dried tomatoes and peppers. Sigh… imports really cause price hikes. It’s just like how expensive a bottle of Asian soy sauce cost in Zurich…

chocolates

We have chocolates in Singapore, but we don’t have racks after racks of chocolates like this! SK declared chocolates spree on the spot. Even Pakcik couldn’t resist and joined in.

zurich

Finally, we made it out of the supermarket with Pakcik’s bag pack filled with chocolates. We walked down Bahnhofstrasse where all the luxury watches and stuff are sold.

diamond

Yep, my eyes popped out.

watch

Then, it was Pakcik’s turn to have his eyes popped out.

zurich 1

zurich 2

zurich 3

cars

A street of luxury cars. Many tourists stopped to take photos too. =)
At the end of Bahnhofstrasse is the Zurich lake.

Here are some pictures to share.

zurich lake

zurich lake 1

zurich lake 2

swan

 

The birds seemed so used to getting food from people, hence they hung around the jetty.

swan 1

ducklings

 

The little ducklings were so cute~!

swans

 

We walked by the jetty and found more swans and ducklings.

 

swans 1

 

swans 2

 

swans 3

 

swans 4

 

After parting with the birds, we strolled down the other side of the street.

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zurich

 

zurich 1

 

zurich 2

 

zurich 5

 

zurich 6

 

zurich 7

 

zurich 8

 

zurich 9

 

zurich 10

In the late afternoon, we went to Burger King at the train station. Pakcik was craving for the juicy beef burger since he last had it in Serravalle Designer Outlet.

BK

 

I can’t really remember, but I think we ordered the Double Steakhouse BBQ Cheeseburger meal (CHF 16).

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Although the meal is pricey, the burger is huge. It’s almost as big as my fat face~

BK 2

 

Sorry for the ugly bitten burger.
The burger was really yummy because the patty was tender and juicy. Comparing to the BK burger in Zurich, I think the size for the burgers in Singapore is way too small. It just keeps shrinking every year but the price never seem to stop increasing.

Anyway, after we checked in for my flight, I dragged Pakcik to Marche for dinner. I told him that I will not rest in peace if I don’t get to try Marche in Switzerland.

marche

 

marche 1

 

marche 2

 

The sausage tasted great! So juicy and flavorful~
As for the rosti, it’s quite bland so I think the one in Marche Singapore tastes better. For the 3 items, it cost about CHF 36.

swissair food

 

swissair food 1

 

And that’s all for my short 7 days trip. The meal on board Swiss air was more or less the same. I still love the cheese and bread~

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May Holiday Day 6 – Train from Milan to Zurich

I took a break and now it’s time to continue my post on the Switzerland and Milan trip.
So here’s Day 6, the last 2nd day of my very short trip.

breakfast

After a good night sleep at Hotel Albert, we packed up and checked out before heading for breakfast. I am quite pleased with this hotel because the room is comfy and quiet, the checkout process was fast and the staff were very friendly.

The breakfast spread was pretty much the same for our 3 days’ stay. I was happy with the cheese, good bread and coffee. Brie has also became my new favorite cheese since then.

breakfast 1

There was an egg boiler so Pakcik made me soft boiled eggs~ After 3 days of practice, he had found the exact timing to obtain the runny egg yolk with semi-solid egg white.

Our train to Zurich leaves at 9.10am, so we headed straight to Milano Centrale after breakfast. It just a short 5-7 mins walk from our hotel which was very convenient for us who had big luggage.
There was no rush for us because I have already bought the train tickets about 1.5 month before the trip. All I had to do was to collect the printed tickets from the ticketing machine.

Ticketing Machine

This was located in the station just outside the Trenitalia office. I just had to key in the ticket code and my name to get the printed ticket. The whole process only took less than 3 mins.

So here’s some tips for buying the train tickets from Milan to Zurich:

1) Buy in advance.
So glad that I seek advice from tripadvisors online because I made so much savings on the tickets. Usually, a regular 2nd class ticket from Milan to Zurich will cost €71. But if you buy your tickets early, you can search for discounted tickets at only €22. These tickets are usually in small quantity and it is specific to a certain train and timing.
So here’s how you can get cheaper tickets.

First, go to www.trenitalia.com, select the departure and arrival stations (e.g. Milano Centrale – Zuerich HB for my case), date, and time. Next, you will see the available timings and train numbers. Select the timing you prefer.

Train selection

Once you have clicked “select”, you can choose the discount option before continuing. There is no need to choose the class at this stage yet.

Train selection 1

Next, it will bring you to this screen where you can select the type of discount.

Train selection 2

For my case, I chose “SMART” to get the €22 tickets for 2nd class seats. There are terms and conditions for each type of offer, so do check them out before you buy the tickets. Once you have selected the offer options, the ticket price will be updated automatically. Click “continue”.

Train selection 3

I can’t really remember if you need to create an account to purchase ticket, but for my case, I did created one.
Anyway, after you have made payment, the train details and ticket code will be emailed to you. On the email, it will state the train number, car number, seat number and class. Just bring the PNR code and you will be able to collect the printed ticket from the ticketing machine in Milano Centrale.

2) Check out different websites.
There are more than 1 type of train going from Milan to Zurich. During my research, I found ticket from www.raileurope.co.uk at £20, and http://www.sbb.ch/ticketshop (Super Saver) at CHF27. The only difference is the place to collect the tickets. For SBB, you can collect the tickets at any SBB train station in Switzerland. I chose Trenitalia because I wanted to collect my ticket from Milan.

3) Ask the experts.
When in doubt, ask the experts! Try asking questions in tripadvisor forums. The expert advisors will be able to help you with your questions. They also have the best tips and updated information for different types of trains. This is how I get my research done and saved €98 for 2 tickets.

Ok, back to my trip. Here’s a picture of the printed ticket for both of us.

Ticket

Remember to keep the ticket because it will be checked during the journey.

Centrale Milano

Centrale Milano 1

Centrale Milano 2

Milano Centrale is a very pretty building. If you have time, do go there earlier to take some pictures or you can do last minute shopping as there are plenty of shops.
See the big board behind Pakcik? That’s where we checked the platform which our train will be at.

Trenitalia train

We went up the train early because we had luggage to settle.

Trenitalia train 1

This was the seat arrangement. Pakcik and I had seat number 85 and 86 which were by the window. I chose these seats because Pakcik might get motion sickness if he were to sit in the middle.

Trenitalia train 2

The seats were new and quite comfy for the 4 hours ride. See our big luggage taking up so much space. It’s probably better to get first class seats if you have big luggage too. Food can be brought up on the train, so we had chocolates and crackers to fill our stomachs.

It’s also a scenic ride from Milan to Zurich and here are some pictures to share.

Swiss

Swiss 1

Swiss 2

Swiss 4

Once we get into Switzerland, the alps started appearing~

Swiss 5

Swiss 6

Swiss 7

Swiss 8

After 4 hours, we reached Zurich HB. From there, we took the train to Zurich Flughafen and caught the shuttle bus to our hotel.
For our last night stay in Zurich, I booked the airport hotel named Hotel Ibis Zurich Messe-Airport.

My reasons for booking an airport hotel are:
1) Room rates are cheaper than those in the city
The lowest room rate near Zurich HB station was around CHF180, whereas hotel Ibis was only CHF113 (additional CHF15/pax for breakfast).

2) Complimentary shuttle bus to the airport
The hotel Ibis is located about 10-15 mins drive from the airport and there is hotel shuttle bus service every 30 mins starting from 4.55am till 11.10pm. I love this service because I don’t have to drag my luggage around the streets just to locate my hotel if I were to book one in the city.
The shuttle bus pick up point is conveniently located between terminal 1 and 2. Just follow the “Hotel Bus” sign in the airport.

3) Luggage concierge till late
My flight back to Singapore departs at 10.45pm, hence I have the whole day to explore the city. Hotel room check out time is at 12pm, hence it is important I have a place to store my luggage till I am ready to head to the airport. Hotel Ibis allowed me to do so without any charges.

Hotel Ibis Zurich

And so, we reached the hotel via the shuttle bus which came punctually according to the timetable. The hotel was rather new and the lobby was painted with vibrant colors. Pakcik likes it a lot. Check in process was simple because I have already pre-paid for the room via the hotel’s website.

Hotel Ibis Zurich 1

It’s a small and cosy room, but it has sufficient space for putting our 2 luggage without obstructing the walkway.

Hotel Ibis Zurich 3

Hotel Ibis Zurich 2

I prefer rooms with flat screen TV. Old box TV somehow just makes me upset…

Hotel Ibis Zurich 4

The toilet is clean with shower gel and shampoo provided.

vending machine

There is also a vending machine by the lift for purchase of disposable toiletries.

zurich

zurich 1

After a short rest, we went to Bahnhofstrasse for shopping. It is just a short walk from the Zurich HB station. We were busy shopping and didn’t take much pictures. Plus, the weather was chilly!

McD

McD 1

SK was curious of the McD in Switzerland so we went to try. Well… my pocket bled when I paid CHF 12 for this New York Bagel set meal. The size of the bagel was bigger than the buns in Singapore, but the patty was pathetically flat and dry. Look at the wilt lettuce in the burger and compare it to the picture on the burger box. =___=”
Sad… That was the saddest and priciest McD burger I have ever eaten.

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Pakcik was extremely excited about the final match which he will have to watch on TV in Singapore.

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Before we head back to our hotel, we stopped by Coop supermarket to buy chocolates and food which we would bring home.
One tip for buying local products: Always check out the supermarkets. Buying local products from the airport is not such a good idea because the variety is limited and they are usually very over-priced.

Usually, when I travel in Asia, I will bring home lotsa instant noodles and stuff. But for Zurich, we bought packed rosti, cookies, packed pasta, tons of chocolates and cheese. Yes, SK air flown some cheese home because they are so so so much cheaper and I can’t find those brands back home. If the flight wasn’t so long, I probably would buy prosciutto back too.
=P

May Holiday Day 5 Part III – Duomo di Milano

Here comes the last part of Day 5 itinerary. Our last stop was to visit Duomo di Milano. It is amazing how this cathedral took 6 centuries to build. To avoid the massive tourist crowd, we scheduled our visit at around 3+pm.
The quadrangle outside the cathedral was so crowded almost all the time. As usual, beware of pickpockets and strangers approaching and offering you free gift.

duomo di milano

duomo di milano 1

duomo di milano 2

duomo di milano 3

duomo di milano 4

Entrance to the cathedral is free but for photography, we have to pay €2 (just 1 person paying will do) at the counter inside the cathedral. I was given a wristband to put on my right wrist. This is to indicate that I have paid the fee for taking photographs. Do visit its website for other regulations.

It is dimly lighted inside the cathedral which makes my pictures very grainy. The atmosphere was rather solemn. Thank goodness for the extremely high ceiling, otherwise I would be feeling claustrophobic. Similar to the temples I visited in Greece, the architecture of the duomo is very impressive.
Here are some of my €2 worth of pictures to share:

duomo di milano 8

duomo di milano 7

duomo di milano 5

duomo di milano 6

duomo di milano 9

duomo di milano 10

duomo di milano 11

duomo di milano 12

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duomo di milano 13

Our next stop was to get to the terraces of the cathedral. We bought our tickets from the small souvenir shop behind the cathedral.

ticket

There is a choice of going up by elevator (€12) and by foot (€7). Of course, I made Pakcik get the tickets with elevator ride. =)

duomo di milano

This is the back of the cathedral where the elevator is located. Below are pictures taken on the terraces.

duomo di milano terrace

duomo di milano terrace 1

duomo di milano terrace 2

duomo di milano terrace 3

duomo di milano terrace 4

After going one round, we reached the centre terrace.

duomo di milano terrace 5

duomo di milano terrace 6

duomo di milano terrace 7

duomo di milano terrace 8

And of course, the famous Madonnina.
I was experiencing a bit of altitude sickness when I was up on the terraces. Tried not to walk too fast or climb the stairs too quickly. I tend to have such problems because my haemoglobin level is low and my blood pressure is also on the lower end.
Anyway, we completed the Duomo tour and headed back to the streets for some shopping.

piazza duomo

The crowd in the quadrangle was lesser at around 6pm.

ferrari

We walked down the street and stopped this Ferrari parked on the road. It was right next to the Ferrari store.

ferrari store

ferrari 2

For dinner, Pakcik couldn’t forget the gnocchi so we went back to Bar Duomo again.

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He was totally pleased with his Gnocchi Formaggi~

gnocchi

This is the smaller serving (€13). The staff informed us that we could order the larger portion if that was not enough.

pizza

Mine was the 12″ pizza with 4 types of toppings on 4 separate quarters (Pizza 4 Stagioni – €15). The topping were mixed mushrooms, prosciutto, artichoke, and olives. Other than the artichoke being too dry and tough, the rest tasted great. I like the thin crust and rich tomato paste. I made Pakcik share the pizza with me because there is no way for me to finish a 12” pizza by myself.

Do try the food at Bar Duomo if you happen to be in Milan. Their great service will brighten your day too~

If you are interested, do check out my other posts on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 Part I, and Day 5 Part II itineraries.