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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I took a trip – a long weekend (from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon) – to Zurich. Which is the capital of Switzerland, by the way. Whilst that may have tones of condescension, it seems apt to point out given the amount of times it has been met with ‘oh in Norway/Sweden?’ Or with a blank face and hesitation - ‘er, where is that?’ It had been booked with an essence of spontaneity; a time when my future self was merely an abstract mist with a solid-stacked wallet. Ergo, it didn’t take long for, once the flights had been booked, this future self of mine to materialise as a figure of perpetual hangover from nights out, fit with an emaciated wallet. It did not alleviate my pang from lack of a prudent mind to find that Zurich was the second most expensive city in the world.
Fortunately, we were staying with my girlfriend’s dad, who lives about a 30-minute tram journey away from the city centre, in what can only be described as a modern make-shift village which was very similar to the Greenwich Peninsula. On our first day, we travelled into the city centre and spent a few hours looking around. Zurich is a lovely city. It revolves around a lake, which, if you are to follow with your eyes, eventually inclines up towards a backdrop of snow-tipped mountains. This easy intermingling of the serenity of nature and the industrial endows Zurich with a friendly duality. The city is littered with cobbled streets and back alleys, most of which will exhibit an artisan shop of hairdressing, cloth making, antiques or books, and these shops are stored away in soft-coloured buildings with old European windows. Running adjacent to these, however, was one long strip, perhaps longer than Oxford Street, of exclusively designer shops. And this street, with all its pomposity, its glamour, its wealth, had a pressing tension – suddenly I was posited as a pauper, conscious of the dirt on my shoes. But if you are to visit cities with a nomadic zeal, these moments soon fade into irrelevance. What was more appealing to us was to travel up towards ETH Zurich, the main university of the city, where Albert Einstein famously went to study. The university was at the peak of the city, and, though it requires a rather laborious uphill walk, is a brilliant place to get a view of the city. The university itself was, like most of the things in Zurich, slick and modern. Though, as me and my girlfriend soon became aware, there hangs in the air the ominous inevitability that you will have to pay for something, and on this occasion it was a bottle of water. Given that we were in a university building – and so, as one accustomed to British living would believe, should be relatively cheaper than the rest of the city – this bottle of water cost us 2.80 Swiss Francs, the equivalent of around £2.10.
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