Day 19: Zoo Zurich and Far Too Much Cheese.

The unrelenting heat continued well into the night, the asthmatic building air conditioning doing nothing to calm the flames. Our fitful sleep was brought to its end by the blinding column of light emanating from the bathroom, the bathroom clear bathroom door an aesthetic choice more than a practical one. Even as we stepped out into the building proper the temperature only dropped a few degrees but it was enough to grant us some brief respite. The breakfast offering was meager but filling enough although not enough to abate the simmering hatred that I was brewing for our lodgings.

But once we left things started to improve.

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Zoo Zurich is perched at the top of Zurich proper, meaning we’d need to ascend no small height to get there. Thankfully there’s a tram line helpfully named “Zoo” that takes you all the way to the top and provides a great view along the way. It was interesting to note how the increased altitude meant more affluent the neighborhood was with apartment buildings giving way to old money houses and astonishingly large plots of land without a house in sight. Once we reached the top it was a short walk to the entrance of the zoo itself and onto our adventures within.

It was your typical zoo, although obviously much better set up than many others that I’ve seen. Strolling around all the exhibits took us the better part of the day, staying longer at the ones that interested us and breezing past those that didn’t. Of course some of the enclosures were a little heart breaking to see, with many of the great apes confined to places that just didn’t seem big enough for them. That coupled with some rather obnoxious visitors did make my wife and I both feel for them. All I can hope for is that our patronage helps in improving their situation.

Of particular note were 2 attractions: the elephants and the Masoala hall. As far as great animals go you really can’t go past the elephants and their massive enclosure housed several specimens, including a young calf. My wife and I both exclaimed when we first saw them, something which a pair of American tourists responded with “We said that too!”. It’s not like I haven’t seen them before, indeed I rode one as a kid (a circus came to town with them, something I no longer support), but seeing them up close really never gets old.

However they paled in comparison to the Masoala hall which is a giant artificial jungle that plays host to numerous plant and animal species. Indeed the photo atop this post comes from an encounter we had in there, the chameleon just hanging off a nearby try that many people had walked past without noticing them. It even contains a board walk which takes you to the top, a rather harrowing adventure but not for the height but for the heat. At the top was a roasty 35 degrees with 80+ humidty which soaked us both to the bone in minutes.

At the very beginning of the walk through the hall my wife noticed a leemur that jumped quickly out of sight when I looked at it. After we reached the end of the walk (which finished in a beautifully air conditioned aquarium) we decided to walk back through hoping to catch them again. As luck would have it we did, seeing 3 of them jumping between the trees. My wife was elated and we left the hall happy.

My wife had been hoping to do a tour of the Lindt factory as she’d seen some tours available on a couple sites. So we went back to the hotel to figure out which one we’d do. As it turns out there’s no such tour to be had, there’s only a factory outlet nearby that’ll sell you Lindt for a small discount. Deflated my wife decided it wasn’t worth the effort and instead we spent the afternoon lounging in the oven of our hotel room as we plotted our next moves.

We’d settled on fondue for dinner, wanting to indulge in some local cuisine again. We found a local place that came well recommended and settled in for a night of cheese and bread. It was delicious but honestly I don’t think man was ever meant to have that much cheese as a meal, even if it’s accompanied by bear and some salad. Satisfied we waddled back to our hotel room to settle in for the night.

Tomorrow we make for Mount Rigi, the so-called Queen of the Mountains. The weather prediction for tomorrow is rather grim but I’m hoping our luck, and maybe the altitude, will give us some good views over the surrounding countryside. That’s likely going to be a full day in of itself so we haven’t planned on doing much further. Not that I mind doing nothing, especially considering the number of days that we’re starting to rack up abroad.

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