The summer days are upon us but what to do? I love the outdoor life but also love to relax on a summers afternoon. Fortunately Zurich offers a way of experiencing both without too much effort and (for Zurich,) a pretty small financial outlay. I am talking of course about floating down the river in a rubber boat.
The most obvious route is to ride along the Limmat down towards Dietikon. Get down to the Wipkingerpark and get pumping. Once your boat is in good shape, hop in and let the currents take you.
As you head down the river you will pass the Hardturm on your left hand side and under the Hardturmsteg footbridge and the railway bridge. Hidden behind left hand bank is the Toni Areal and in this tranquil environment it is quite hard to believe that you are still in downtown Zurich.
Soon houses appear on the right hand side of the river as you pass Höngg and the Europabrücke will come into view. It is important to stay to the left side of the river here as there is a weir and you will need to hop out and carry your boat about 50 meters and rejoin the river on the other side.
To the daredevils amongst you: Take heed of any signs, either on the banks or on the bridges. The Swiss don’t do “Nanny State,” and if a sign warns you of something then you’d better heed it. Trying to ride over the weir will result in almost certain death. Don’t even think about it!
After this the river takes you past Werdinsel and it is a smooth and tranquil ride down towards Dietikon. You will see the motorway running close to the river and shortly after this there is a small weir to the right of the river as well as the rather quaint ferry. If you can get out on the right hand bank you can have a look at the Kloster Fahr where there is a small restaurant if you have run out of provisions.
Enjoy the river and countryside. As soon as you see the railway tracks running along the river on the left hand side you know that your voyage is almost at an end. Hop out at the left bank and it is a short walk to Dietikon station with your (now deflated) vessel.
Okay, this is only one of many boat excursions. If catch the bug for it there is a great book with 22 different trips dotted around Switzerland and although it is in German there are plenty of maps and images. Have fun on the river Captain Ronster.
Rons Tip 1: Be safe. Check the condition of the river, the weather forecast and follow all signs on the river.
Rons Tip 2: If your boat has two chambers for inflation then you are subject to the same regulations as if you are driving. Really. If your plan is to drink a six pack of weapons grade lager then expect to lose your driving license if a policeman asks you to blow.
Rons Tip 3: Take sun screen and plenty of water. It gets pretty hot out there and there is no shade. If you do decide to take a dip, try and acclimatise first. The shock of diving in cold water can cause pretty serious problems.
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