How to spend two days in Zurich – and could a strike spoil a Spanish break?
Wednesday 04 April 2012
Q. My husband has to be in Zurich on business later this month, and he would like me to join for him for a long weekend. Would you have some advice on how we could spend two days there? Rebecca Grunwald, London
A. Plenty of misconceptions surround Switzerland's biggest city, pictured, largely because of its primacy in financial services. Yet it is a civilised, cultured and beautiful place to spend a couple of days, with the opportunity to explore the mountains if you can steal an extra 24 hours. It is also very easy to reach from London by air, with BA and Swiss competing from Heathrow and London City, and easyJet flying from Gatwick and Luton.
Zurich stands astride the Limmat river, surrounded by hills. The city centre is full of historical interest as well as Switzerland's best shopping. The cultural hub is the Kunsthaus (kunsthaus.ch), whose current exhibition – until 29 April – is "Winter Tales: winter in art from the Renaissance to Impressionism", with works from Breughel the Younger and Goya to Monet and Munch. And the Swiss National Museum will help you understand this complex country.
Our latest 48 hours in Zurich, available online at ind.pn/Zurich48, will enlighten you on many other aspects of the city, from Europe's first vegetarian restaurant (Hiltl) to the Café Odeon where Einstein, Lenin and Trotsky held court. The one drawback is likely to be the expense – sterling has slumped against the Swiss franc, almost halving in value in five years. But buying a ZürichCARD at the airport will provide transport into the city and admission to nearly 40 museums.
Q. My son and his girlfriend are due to fly back to Stansted from Mallorca this Saturday, 7 April. Will they have trouble getting their luggage when they land? Dee Douglas, Birmingham
A. Baggage handlers at Stansted belonging to the GMB union had called a strike over the Easter weekend in a dispute over pay and conditions with the ground handler, Swissport, but late yesterday afternoon it was called off, with both sides saying that talks were progressing. So your son andhis girlfriend should be fine – but other passengers travelling to and from Spain could be grounded by a strike of Iberia pilots on Easter Monday. The Spanish airline has cancelled eight flights between Heathrow and Madrid.
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