Zurich has been voted the city with the "best quality of life." I would have to agree! I travelled with my friend Mary (neighbor who works at US Steel) to Zurich for my 2nd ever marathon. I had originally signed up with encouragement from my friend Jamie, but after she broke her arm, she didn't think she would be able to train and I was left without a running partner. Luckily, Mary was a sport and went along for moral support.
Upon arrival in Zurich, we both immediately noticed the increased air quality due to the mountains, lake and smaller population. We immediately took public transportation (which is fast, spotless and on time) to our hotel, and then lugged our luggage up the 15 minute stairstep hill to our hotel. In the morning, we woke up to a FANTASTIC view of Lake Zurich!
In exploring Zurich, we marvelled at the old buildings, tried out the different forms of transportation (tram, bus, train, cogwheel train, and finally boat). The old town was exactly what you would expect from Switzerland. Narrow streets, old buildings, and all sorts of watch shops and banks. We browsed the shops, walked through the "preferred" neighborhood of Zurich, and then hopped on a city tour. There were all sorts of interesting Swiss facts... perhaps the most shocking to me was that only 30 % of Swiss people own their own home. The rest rent. Imagine if you were one of those 30 %! They must own two or three.
After our day of exploring Zurich, we took the ferry back to our hotel (yep, the ferry). While on the ferry we saw all sorts of sailboats, and I was finally convinced that it was OK to have the rail in the water... they all put their side rails in the water! We had a fantastic (though not cheap... nothing there is cheap) Italian dinner in preparation for my Sunday morning race and I did my best not to think about the run.
The morning of the marathon was beautiful, and again I took the train to the race start (I was quite enthralled with the incredible public transportation). Immediately, I noticed that EVERY person at the race start looked like they might win the race. They were all in incredible shape and wore fancy sweat suits. I started to get nervous, as I wasn't sure I could finish 26.2 miles, let alone in a decent time. Luckily, there were tons of people along the race course and lots of bands to keep me moving. That along with the views of the ALPS kept me moving (barely) to the finish. It HURT!
After the race, Mary and I weren't ready to be done exploring Zurich. We hopped on the train again and headed to the largest volume waterfall in Europe. I was busy scouting it for runnable kayak lines as Mary was amazed at how fast the water was moving. It was beautiful and the perfect afternoon in the sun.
Zurich pretty much shuts down on Sundays so we grabbed some pizza (again, NOT CHEAP) and headed to bed. It was an great weekend and I now know why Switzerland gets such great press!