Zurich

  1. lodging
    • If (and you really should at least arrive by Saturday, to be sure weather or other issues don’t result in your missing our first meeting) you’re arriving before the start of our lodging at Hotel St. Josef (Sunday), you should get lodging. Contact folks from your cohort and see who you may be able to stay with (check airbnb.com, hotels near our hotel, and the Leoneck Swiss Hotel [“Crazy Cow”]). Many participants have had good experiences at the City Backpacker – Hotel Biber. This hostel is very conveniently located and the accommodations are decent, it is also probably the most economical option close to Hotel St. Josef.
  2. Pumpstation: if you want to get a nice meal/drink and see a little Zurich, it’s a nice walk to this place and you can sit and look at the water.
  3. Get some chocolate from Läderach (Sprüngli is good too)
    • there are multiple locations of each, maybe go to one outside the train station to have a slightly more pleasant experience.
    • Sprüngli’s hot chocolate is good
      1. beware: many of their locations are small kiosks that do not make the hot chocolate
  4. Eats: Food tends to be rather expensive in Switzerland, especially in Zurich. Most every meal will cost you at least 15 CHF (= $15 at time of this writing)
    • if you need to just buy some fruit/groceries/beverages or even an electrical adapter, “COOP Supermarkt” is your friend: https://www.google.com/maps/search/coop/@47.3740269,8.5327125,15z/data=!3m1!4b1
    • If you’re in zurich on wednesday, consider going to the market held in the main train station
    • One good vegetarian option is the buffet at Hiltl. It is an all vegetarian restaurant. It is rather expensive meal (expect 30 CHF) , but there is a truly impressive amount of vegetarian food at this pay-by-weight (of plate!) buffet http://www.hiltl.ch/en/
    • In most places in USA, we don’t have one of Europe’s most popular “snack” (aka “fast”, “cheap”, “unhealthy”) foods: called “Döner” in most european countries, it is similar to gyro/kebab. google “doner” or “kebab”.
    • The restaurant in the top of the eiffel tower also has a restaurant in Zurich at which i have not eaten http://www.jules-verne.ch/
      1. just above this place (you have to enter it to get to the elevator, there’s a “panoramabar” which is this tower where you can get a drink and look out over zurich
  5. Mountaintop (“Üetliberg”)
    1. you have to take an easy train ride to get there (~9 CHF), and then it’s really not too bad of a hike at all. This activity is HIGHLY recommend. You can grab a beer at the top and look out over several towns. There’s also a really tall observation tower. It’s a very nice experience. http://www.uetliberg.ch/en/

Milano

We will have a morning schedule in Milano ending around 2pm. Usually people chose to explore Milan after this. There’s no official schedule. It tends to be difficult to stay in very large groups, but groups of 4-5 tend to have more success moving through the city and finding things to do.

The Duomo, Sempione, and the big mall (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II) are all very close together, you could easily see all those things. If you’re willing to take a later train back, you can see more even farther around the city.

Sites

  1. Duomo: an enormous cathedral. You can visit inside (you may need to make sure you have clothing/shawl that covers your knees and shoulders), you can climb stairs on the exterior to walk on the top, or you can pay for an elevator ticket to the top. Pretty incredible to see all the workmanship to produce all the sculptures all over it, and a nice view of Milano (from the top). We will walk to the Duomo as a group and then you will be free to go off on your own from there.
  2. Sempione
    1. Parco Sempione
      1. walk down side streets nearby and find a deli/wine (e.g. Parma and Co. and take them to enjoy in a picnic in the park.
    2. Castello Sforzesco (it’s a castle!)
    3. “Arco della pace” (arc of peace) / Porta Sempione

Shopping

Only a few cities in the world (and fewer in the USA) have some of the stores available in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. If you like shopping, especially for fashionable clothing, etc. go here. go into debt.

Apertivo

definitions:

  • http://www.foodrepublic.com/2015/03/26/10-places-for-excellent-classic-and-modern-aperitivo-in-milan-italy/ The aperitivo is one of the most cherished Italian pastimes. And while this social predinner drinking ritual didn’t exactly originate in Milan, it’s safe to say that the tradition is at its strongest here. Partaking isn’t merely recommended. It’s obligatory — at least once — when you’re in town. During this convivial early-evening gathering, locals and visitors alike sip on a cocktail, nosh on some small bites and enjoy good company and conversation. Among the standard cocktails sipped during this elevated happy hour are the spritz, made with Aperol, prosecco and soda, and the Negroni — composed of gin, vermouth and Campari. And here’s where it gets good: With the purchase of a cocktail, you are entitled to help yourself from a bountiful spread of pizzas, bread, crostini, pasta, arancini, vegetables, meat and more. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the spread isn’t an all-you-can-eat Vegas-style dinner buffet. In fact, loading up in such a manner is frowned upon. Think of it more along the lines of sustenance accompanying a predinner drink that also helps prevent imbibers from becoming too tipsy.
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-best-places-to-grab-an-aperitivo-in-milan_us_56c499e0e4b0b40245c88c5a If there’s one thing a Milanese knows how to enjoy (otherwise it’s work, work, work) it is an aperitivo: for those who live in the city the best time of the day is when you meet up with friends after the office for a glass of wine (or cocktail) and something to eat (no aperitivo is complete without good food). There is a wide choice of venues: there are the classic bars, the traditional, those popular with a young crowd or fashionistas, and the five-star bars (in hotels etc.). Here is a selection of the best in terms of quality and price in a delightful ambience.

I don’t know where’s best to have it, but have been recommended before to go near the canals.

Elsewhere

  • Several past GPPers got to Switzerland via Iceland air through Reykjavik. I understand that they make it VERY easy for you to stay in Reykjavik. If you choose to fly with Iceland Air, see if you have a little time on the front or back of our trip to stay there for a few days.