Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Zurich: Transportation Paradise!!

Here's what I love most about Zürich: amazingly convenient transportation!!!

I was thinking about this while writing up my latest Rational Moms post: Our Visit to the Solar System! Not only is it cool that there's a "Planetenweg" (planet trail) up in the nearby mountains, but in fact the trip there is quicker and simpler by train than it would be to go by car. As much as I raved about public transportation in France (see here and here), I think Swiss public transportation may be even better, especially in terms of taking the train to all sorts of nature hikes all over the countryside.

Here are some pictures to illustrate why I love being car-free:



I don't have to keep my eyes on the road, so -- during the ride -- I can pay attention to my kids!



And if you read my Solar System post carefully, you may have noticed that it's no big deal for my kids (ages 7 and 5) to spend a few hours hiking through the mountains. That's a typical Sunday outing for us. The thing is that -- while the train network will take you just about everywhere in Switzerland -- it might not take you right up to the door of where you're going. So walking becomes second-nature.



Walking's good for you, it's fun, and feels great! Even for kids!



Despite all this, many people in Zürich drive everywhere they go anyway. (Why? I have no idea -- it is a great mystery.) To get people thinking about transportation, the city threw a fabulous downtown street festival called "Zürich Multimobil" -- my kids loved it!!!





So, we're off to find something fun to do. Ta!

13 comments:

Eric said...

Looks fantastic! I remember fondly my own walk through Zurich, upon taking the wrong tram and backtracking across campus on foot to find your place. :-)

That's great that you aren't forced to drive, as are most of us in suburban America....

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Eric!!!

That was fun, wasn't it? Maybe next time you're in Switzerland we can get our whole post-mo group together and you can meet Wry Catcher and Sabayon too!! :D

Chris said...

Ooo, Zurich! Birthplace of the Anabaptists (and final resting place of many of their charred and headless bodies, thanks to Zwingli)! I bet there are all kinds of fun historical sights to see there!

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

I can't even express how jealous I am that you live in Switzerland.

I miss Europe soooo much.

I've never been to Zürich, but I lived in Germany (West central)/Austria (Wien) for 2.5 years.

I can't wait to go back.

Sabayon said...

I don't understand why anyone drives in Switzerland and I can scarcely begin to express how irritating I find it that my bosses drive to work every day. The train from Geneva take 15 minutes, but in rush hour the drive can exceed 45! Let's not even begin on the environmental impact of two SUVs in that kind of traffic.

I also definitely think the Swiss public transit is better than in France, at least in rural areas. I doubt even the smallest village in Switzerland is without at least a bus, but many villages in the Rhone Alpes require cars. I know all the au pairs I know who need cars are across the border. Also whenever anyone complains about their train being late, it is always a French train;). I was once on a late train. It was five minutes late and there was mutiny in the air.
Speaking of (not really), I shall be in Zurich for the Christmas market Saturday after next. We should get together this swiss po-mo group that I am now apart of.

the chaplain said...

I think I'd enjoy living in Europe.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Chris!!!

Yeah, I should take more of an interest in history. I know there's a lot of it around here.

Hey Craig!!!

Well, next time you're in the area, be sure to come by and visit!!! :D

Hey Sabayon!!!

I think you're right -- France has great public transportation in the cities, but rural areas typically aren't covered by public transportation at all. Not so in Switzerland, where you can go pretty much anywhere by public transportation, and pretty quickly and easily at that. My experience was that the French rail system is quite regular and efficient, but the Swiss rail system? You can basically set your watch by it.

I'll email you about getting together. I look forward to meeting you!!! :D

Hey Chaplain!!!

It might not suit everyone, but I love it here! :D

Holly said...

It does indeed look like paradise. I love good public transportation, and I hate to drive. I'd give up my car in a heartbeat if it were really feasible for me.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Holly!!!

Yeah, this was a big motivating factor for us for choosing to settle in Europe. It's amazing how relaxing it is not to have to drive all the time.

wry said...

I agree to all you say -- the transport is the best and the rail system is amazing. I also like the walking that it requires -- which is enough to be enjoyable, but not as much as like Moscow or Paris. I would wear out all my shoes in no time.

Did you email about the get-together? I am trying to figure out what weekend is being referred to -- the one before Thanksgiving or the one after it? If it's the one before, I will be in...Geneva. :-D The one after, I will be around and a get-together would be great.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Wry!!!

Exactly!!! And I just emailed you about the plans. :D

mathmom said...

Hi Chanson---I had to show you this about public transportation, even though it's not on a recent post:
http://niemann.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/the-boys-and-the-subway/

Let me know if you get it!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Mathmom!!!

That is adorable!!! My kids aren't quite like that with the trains. For routes we take frequently, they know how to identify which train to take, but their current obsession is astronomy. It's funny to hear them chatting about black holes and brown dwarfs, etc.