Saturday, 24 November 2012


Bahnhofstrasse is the most famous street in Zurich.

It starts on the borders of the Zurich Lake. One of the first buildings is the Swiss National Bank. This is one of two head offices of SNB (the other one is in Bern). The SNB is amongst other issuing the Swiss Francs. Did you know that they are also the legal currency in Liechtenstein?

Later on all you will see are luxury shops. Jewelries like Tiffany & Co. ...

... or Mont Blanc (though this one is most famous for its writing instruments).

Then come the boutiques of the famous cloth designers. You will see there windows with the old-fashioned French and Italian names like Chanel ...

... Armani ...

... or Prada.

But the new trendy designers are also here, just look at Tommy ...

... and Jimmy Choo, the god of fancy sandals.

I decided to spare your sensitive hearts and I did not show you the pricetags. In some cases I counted the zeros three times. Unlike Milan, I could not find a single place where I would be tempted to go. This will definitely not be my favourite shopping spot.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


Last time I was in Zurich it was cold and rainy - after all we were there to say "Goodbay" to winter. This time I was lucky to get a glimpse of a beautiful autumn time in Switzerland.

Zurich is located on the rives of the Zurich Lake. This is a nice and peaceful place. On one hand you can see the Alps ...

... on the other the historical city center, with the Grossmünster church. The legend says it stands on the ruins of a church that was built upon the order of Charles the Great. Anyway, the one that stands now was built in 12th century so it is really old.

The banks of the Lake are a nice pedestrian zone. You must however beware of crazy bicycles. It was the only place so far where I have seen people on bikes using mobile phones during their ride and wearing flip sandals. At full speed of course.

I took there a longer walk to admire the marine with the luxury boats ...

... and the swans.

Next to the lake you can also see there the Zurich Opera House. Its surroundings are now under construction works so I could not come closer to show you the interior. No proper path was available for horses unfortunately.

When you cross the Quaibrücke or the bridge over the beggining of the Zurich lake you will see the Limmat river.  I was sure that Limmat ends in the Zurich Lake but it turned out that actually it is the place where it starts (effluence is the scientific word).

Next to Limmat, in front of the Wasserkirsche, you will see the statue of Huldrych Zwingli, a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. He was the pastor at Grossmünster where he began to preach that the catholic church must be reformed. Many cantons followed him while others remained faithful to Rome. This has almost led to a civil war. The latter was avoided but some smaller fights took place - Zwingli was killed in one of them.

The city center itself does not offer spectacular buildings - each street is nice in its own way. Like Augustinergasse with its colourful houses.

When you read tourist guides you will learn that another place worth seeing is the Paradeplatz. It is best known for being the siege of the powerful Swiss banks.

To be honest, I was not impressed by this place at all. It looked like a huge tram stop.

I was however amused by one special tram that I have seen there. For those who are not as fluent in German as I am, "Hochzeit" means "marriage". And there was actually a married couple inside, with all the wedding guests.

The Paradeplatz is a part of the Bahnhofstrasse. But the Bahnhoffstrasse is worth a separate story.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

CN Tower

When you look at the panorama of Toronto you are sure to notice one building.

Of course, the Financial District is very interesting ...

... but I meant the CN Tower.

It is 553 meters tall. In 1976 when it was opened it was the tallest building in the world. Its name "CN" originally referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. In preparation for the privatisation of the railway, the Tower was sold to a public company responsible for management of real estate property.

The Tower is quite intimidating when you stand next to it.

The circle on top is an observation deck. I could not refuse myself the pleasure of going there. From the top you can see the entire city of Toronto.

Here comes the Financial District again. Not many people (not mentioning horses) can look down at all those banks.

Here you can see the airport of the Toronto Islands, named after Billy Bishop, a Canadian pilot from World War I. The incredible thing is that it is really located on an island. As a result you cannot reach it by car, bus or train. You can only take a ferry.

And another glimpse at the Toronto Islands. This is where we took the panoramic pictures. As you see, next to the starting lane there is a little harbour.

The views from the CN Tower are breathtaking, But the Tower itself is an attraction, though it is meant only for those most courageus (like me of course). Part of the floor is actually made of glass. So you can look down and see what is below you. But the "below" means here a couple of hundreds meters.

* * *

This is the end of my trip to Canada. This was truely amazing. Thank you so much Aleksandra for taking me on this journey.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


The last city that we visited in Canada was Toronto. Toronto is the largest city in Canada, it is also the capital city of the Ontario province. Back in 18th century the indegenious inhabitants sold the land on which Toronto is located for some cash, 2,000 gun flints, 24 brass kettles, 120 mirrors, 24 laced hats, a bale of flowered flannel, and 96 gallons of rum. I would not call it a good deal to be honest. Especially since I realised that it was the price for more than a quarter million acres of land.

We arrived with the Go Transit to the Union Station.

We walked to the Nathan Philips Square, named after one of the former majors of Toronto. It is a scene for concerts, manifestations and gatherings. It has also the peculiarity of facing two Town Halls. The Old City Hall has a distinctive clock tower.

In front of the Old City Hall you will see a memorial of soldiers who lost their lives in the two World Wars and the Korean War.

At the beggining of 1960s te Old City Hall proved to be too small to be able to accomodate all officials. Nowadays it is used as a court house for the Ontario Court of Justice. The city's municipal government is today located in the New City Hall (also called the Toronto City Hall), opened in 1965.

I've shown you the seat of the local government so it's time to show you as well the local legislature,  informally known as the "Ontario Provincial Parliament".

The third place of power in Toronto is of course the Financial District. It is also the financial heart of Canada, with numerous banking companies, corporate headquarters, legal and accounting firms, insurance companies and stockbrokers.

Here you can see the Toronto Stock Exchange, the largest in Canada and the seventh largest in the world (by market capitalisation).

We then walked the longest street in the world (at least people from Toronto have no doubts it is the longest) - the Yonge Street.

We finally arrived at the most important spot of the day - the First Toronto Post Office!

Here we wrote many postcards to all our postcrossing friends. The surprise was that we had a special guide in Toronto, one of the Canadian Postcrossers, Marie.

That was a long day. We still have one important place to visit. But we will go there tomorrow. I will only let you glimpse.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Royal Botanic Garden (Ontario)

Our next stop in Canada was the Royal Botanic Garden. It is located on the border of Burlington and Hamilton in Ontario.

The RBG includes a few distinct parts. In the Rock Garden you can see and smell some local and exotic plants. Like the fountain grass ...

... or the hibiscus.

The day was extremely hot, almost 40 centigrades. So I took this nice lane ...

... that lead me to a fountain.

Unfortunately, bathing was forbidden. At least for horses. So I only washed my horseshoes.

With a new strength, we moved to the Hendrie Park. On our way, I saw one of the most amazing things I have seen ever. A bee colony without an actual nest or hive, just attached under a footbridge.

Inside the Hendrie Park I saw (surprise surprise) some nice plants.

And a bit more plants.

But of course a modern botanic garden cannot only show plants. We were lucky to see an exhibition of a sculptor from Zambia (another must-see place for me).

Finally, we went to the RGB Center. The biggest attraction was the artificial lake with colourful fishes. Alexandra told me that when she put fingers inside the lake the fish came and touched her finger tips. I preferred not to check.

And some nice water lilies to complement the fish.

I really enjoyed this trip to the Royal Botanic Garden. As they say - any trip is nice if it is done in good company.