Note: I don’t usually publish what I write in my journal but this just has to be an exception.
July 8, 2017
Entry 1 As I head to Zürich, I cannot help but feel an elevating sense of excitement. I have been there once before on Ankit’s invitation to visit ETH Zürich’s computer science department but I barely explored anything else in that visit. This time, however, I have fully planned the trip. As soon as my train reaches Zürich in 20 minutes, I will put it into execution.
I will begin by visiting the ETH Bibliothek (ETH Zürich’s library). Then I will wander across the building of ETH Zürich. By 1045, I will enter the Swiss National Museum, followed by a visit to the Kunsthaus Zürich (the Zürich Museum of Fine Arts) at 1230. At 1415, I will take a walk in the Chinese Garden in Zürich followed by a visit to Lake Zürich. At the end of the day, I plan to take the train on platform 31 at 1802 back to Lausanne and reach my room by 2054. Here’s to an educational, informative and exciting adventure!
Entry 2 As I sit here in the main wing of ETH Bibliothek, I cannot hide my admiration and amazement at the cultural wealth and beauty of the ETH Zürich campus. I wonder how Einstein must have felt while studying here and later in his life teaching here. How Von Neumann attended lectures in these auditoriums while pursuing his undergraduate degree here. Twenty one Nobel laureates have been part of this wonderful place. An even larger number have set foot in it.
Entry 3 Once again, I find myself in the main building of ETH Zürich but this time after having visited and marvelled at the splendour of the Universitat Zürich Zoological Museum, the Swiss National Museum and the Zürich Museum of Fine Arts (I visited them in the order I mentioned them). As a science enthusiast, it is unneccessary to mention the fact that I liked the Zoological Museum most. It contained the skeleton of a mammoth and the fossilized skeleton of one of the first fish species to evolve tiny legs for crawling onto land. That skeleton (or the individual it belonged to) may as well be my ancestor! (and an ancestor to the homo sapiens, our species).
The Swiss National Museum contained a display on migrants including Albert Einstein mentioning how he moved to Zürich after completing school, studied at ETH Zürich and kater in developed the general theory of relativity here before migrating to the United States. The Zürich Museum of Fine Arts technically had a ticket not covered by my Swiss Pass but the nice attendants there (secretly) gave me a free ticket. No doubt it contained amazing stuff. Unfortunately, I have not learnt to understand or critique art yet but I took lots of pictures (of all three museums) so maybe some day when/if I manage to learn the skill of comprehending artistic expression I can take a look at the pictures and experience some of the admiration and awe that comes with comprehension and which I sadly missed today.
I returned to the ETH Zürich main building because my phone’s battery was almost completely drained due to all the camera, mobile data and GPS usage. Since I need my phone to find my way in Zürich, it was a necessary delay. There are only two things left in today’s plan. the Chinese Garden and Lake Zürich. Due to the extra stop made at the Zoological Museum, I might end up having to give up on one of the spots if I intern to catch the 1802 train back to Renens but I will try my best to make the most of the remaining time.
Entry 4 Change of plans. I just fiund and ETH Bibliothek pamphlet titled “Einstein’s Zürich”. The pamphlet mentions ten places relevant to Einstein’s life and work in ETH Zürich’s many buildings spread all over Zürich and other places. My new plan is to spend the remaining time I have before the train arrives in visiting as many of these ten places as possible.
Entry 5 I succeeded in visiting four of the ten places. The first being ETH Zürich itself. The second Einstein’s residence between 1886 to 1888 and from 1889 to 1900 at Unionstrasse 4. It even contained a memory plaque commemorating Einstein. The third was Einstein’s residence from 1900 to 1901 and fourth place was the site of ETH Zürich’s old physics department where Einstein was a full professor of theoretical physics from 1912 to 1914. The site now has the ETH Zürich electrical engineering department. It started raining after that so I was forced to hurry to the Zürich central train station. Overall, this was a truly amazing day. Quite possibly, one of the finest days of my life.