Tales from the road: Zurich
Zurich was founded by two monks– Felix and Regula– who lost their heads, then carried them to Zurich under their arms. They were later sainted.
We arrived in Zurich after flying 14 hours with our heads foggy from lack of sleep. We shlepped our bags through public transit, dragged them uphill and arrived at our hotel at 9:30 am, too early for our room to be ready and desperately seeking sleep.We were not sainted. We were zombies.
Zurich has an amazingly efficient tram system. It isn’t free but we never saw anyone buy a ticket or be asked to present one so we just hopped on a tram at will every day and planned to plead zombiness or dumb Americans if ever confronted.
On our first night as jet lagged zombies, we walked for one hour to find a well reviewed tapas restaurant. However, it was closed for a private party. We wandered another 30 minutes, ending up at a Thai restaurant on our side of the river. It was good and expensive- 100 bucks for just two dishes and one glass of wine! We were warned Zurich restaurants were expensive so it turned out to be a good thing we saved money on public transit using the zombie dishonor system!
day 2- Saturday
Zurich is in the throes of a heat wave and we were not ready for blazing temps of 90+. Quickly, my fantasy of climbing Heidi’s mountain or hiking around the city were shattered. And, oh there was this other little thing going on during our sojourn. Saturday was streetparade, Europe’s largest techno music festival for one insane day.
Let me give you an idea of its scale. Zurich is a city of 1.8 million very tidy people. But for just one day, another one million people swarmed the lake and river banks. That is one million MORE people in the city. All under 30. And us!
Wild costumes, nudity, drugs and endless bottles of wine and beer. It was definitely a party scene in the heat with random dancing, trucks with blaring techno beats driving slowly thru the throngs that reluctantly parted with each new vehicle in the procession. Plus, water guns, water hoses and glasses of whatever poured over heads. We stayed for a bit knowing we would not return that night as the crowds promised to be even wilder when the little ones …yes there were little ones…were put to bed!
day 3 Sunday
It’s still too damn hot so we decide to make like locals and tram it to the beach which is actually a section of the lake where swimming is permitted. We walked thru the once pristine park and could see piles of party detritus being collected. It will certainly take more than 24 hours to return Zurich to its prior tidy condition. But the city is quiet again and piles of trash are the only evidence left of one million partiers’ libertine night.
Monday is our last day in Zurich and a boat ride on the lake sounds like a grand idea. We’ve done all the tourist stuff: we visited Kunstmuseum‘s fabulous collection of Giacomettis –both the sculptor and his painter father –saw various Munch paintings before “The Scream” and a wonderful collection of Chagall paintings. We also visited the Chagall windows in the Fraumunster Church, which was a small consolation prize for missing them at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
We also walked miles, visited the Brooklynesque trendy West Zurich with its Viadukt collection of shops burrowed into a train station’s arches. And we ate lots of great food,—and ice cream, but the best meals were at our daily buffet at our charming Hotel Sorrell Rex with the best whole grain breads, fresh yogurts and homemade jams, eggs, cheese fruit and the tenderest, lightest smoked salmon so that I didn’t miss my morning peanut butter on toast tradition one bit!