Parks and Towns around Lake Zurich, Switzerland

A Day At Lake Zurich

I felt a little puny today, which, if you think about it, is pretty funny. I traveled all over Southeast Asia and Africa, eating everything in sight, including raw vegetables washed in the local water, and never got sick. But two days after I arrive in Switzerland I come down with some sort of gastro-intestinal, flu-like ailment that puts me out of commission for all but the most basic of activities. I decided to be kind to myself and just stroll down to Lake Zurich.

Walking along the shores of Lake Zurich Switzerland

Walking along the shores of Lake Zurich

Ferries carry passengers back and forth across Lake Zurich Switzerland

Ferries carry passengers back and forth across Lake Zurich

By the time I reached the lake I was beginning to feel better, so I continued around the lake shore. Several miles later I came upon the China Garden and a nice lakefront park, its nicely manicured lawns dotted with intrepid sunbathers braving the cold lake waters and 70ish degree weather. Here I also found a nice lakefront restaurant where I parked myself at the water’s edge and ordered some much needed food (with my stomach doing somersaults, I hadn’t eaten for a day). Within minutes after sitting down the wind whipped up, the skies turned black, and it began to pour. Fortunately, by the time I’d finished lunch the rain had let up and I was able to catch a water taxi back to the main dock without getting drenched. Since it was now around 3PM and the weather looked iffy, I decided to take a cruise to the other end of Lake Zurich on one of the big ferries.

Lake Zurich fountain Switzerland

Lake Zurich fountain

The ferry pulled away from the dock PRECISELY on time – of course. We passed the water fountain at the city marina and headed for our first stop, the town of Thawil. Along with the trains, the ferries that ply Lake Zurich are the lifeline of the small towns that are nestled at its shores. Some, like the ferry I was on, carry people from one end of the lake to the other, making stops at various towns along the route. Others ferry cars and people across the lake to avoid the necessity of driving all the way around. The towns we stopped at were all picture postcard perfect – in each the obligatory church steeple poked its head up over homes and businesses that were terraced up the green hills. I found the towns of Stafa and Wadensvil to be particularly charming:

Town of Wadenswil on Lake Zurich Swwitzerland

Town of Wadenswil on Lake Zurich

Town of Stafa on Lake Zurich Switzerland

Town of Stafa on Lake Zurich

As we neared the opposite end of the lake the mountains finally began to come into view. During the past two days, clouds and haze have obscured the distant mountains and this was my first view of the alps. They rise quickly and steeply from the shores of the lake and provide a magnificent backdrop for the town of Rapperswil, our final destination.

Alps emerge from the clouds on the as the ferry nears the southern end of Lake Zurich Switzerland

Alps emerge from the clouds on the as the ferry nears the southern end of Lake Zurich

View of the Alps from Lake Zurich at the town of Rapperswil Switzerland

View of the Alps from Lake Zurich at the town of Rapperswil

More than just another picturesque town, Rapperswil has a 14th-century castle, a 15th-century town hall, and a 17th-century Capuchin monastery. So, rather than staying on the boat for an immediate return to Zurich, I disembarked and took a walking tour of the town, climbing to the top of the hill where Rapperswil Castle commands a view of the entire town.

Main plaza in the town of Rapperswil

Main plaza in the town of Rapperswil

Rapperswil Castle Switzerland

Rapperswil Castle

From here, the views are of amazingly well-preserved ancient houses, interspersed with vineyards of a more recent vintage:

Castle looms over the town of Rapperswil Switzerland

Castle looms over the town of Rapperswil

Rapperswil Switzerland

Rapperswil

View over Rapperswil and Lake Zurich from the castle Switzerland

View over Rapperswil and Lake Zurich from the castle

View over Rapperswil and Lake Zurich from the castle Switzerland

View over Rapperswil and Lake Zurich from the castle

Two and a half hours later I caught the last ferry of the day back to Zurich. This was the much acclaimed “Sunset Cruise,” but the sun was nowhere in sight, as the rain that had been threatening all afternoon finally materialized. Wind-whipped whitecaps covered the lake and driving rain lashed the boat, forcing me inside to the restaurant, where I loitered over one 4 Franc cup of tea for the two hour journey. Although the rain had let up by the time we docked, I was wet and shivering with the cold by the time I walked the mile and a half to my hostel. So much for taking it easy. Oh well, tomorrow is another day – maybe the sun will shine and warm my aching bones.

2 Comments on “A Day At Lake Zurich

    • Hi Dalwin: So true – the architecture in Zurich is so beautiful.

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