"The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself..." - Mary L Bean
(21 - 23 June 2001)
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of some 364,500 in the city proper and close to 1 million in the agglomeration area. Zurich is on Lake Zurich, where the lake meets the Limmat River, in the north of Switzerland.
As Zurich is the central node of the Swiss-wide train network and also runs the biggest and busiest international airport of the country, it generally is the first place for tourists to go to. Because of the city's close distance to tourist resorts in the Swiss Alps and its mountainous scenery, it often gets referred to as the "portal to the alps".
Zurich has long been known for being clean and efficient. Due to this, it has been continuously ranked as the city with the highest living standard world-wide for many years. However, it is only for the last ten years has it truly become a fascinating and worthwhile travel destination. This is mostly thanks to the liberalization of the cultural, party and gastronomy sectors. An increasingly cosmopolitan population has helped, as well, though Geneva remains Switzerland's most culturally heterogeneous city.
The Zurich dialect of German (which sounds very different from standard German) is the city's main spoken language, a relatively peculiar type of Swiss German, but speakers of this dialect invariably also understand and speak standard German. Many people will understand English, French, or Italian as well.