SHOPPING in Zurich:
It's so typical: When you finally have time to read a book on your vacation, it's a boring book you've taken along. Either you've bought it somewhere shortly before your departure or you wanted to brag with it because it looked so good. Here comes our tip: The Orell Füssli Bookstore is centrally located and sells books that look good. Also the inside looks good. The specialist for design, photography and architecture has anything that makes the hearts of art fans leap, from Andreas Gursky to Adolf Loos or to essays on genuine British cottages. And if you are in no hurry you enjoy coffee over Helmut Newton and talk shop with your neighbour from the other table. But if you are no friend of coffee-table books you will also find literature at Orell Füssli, along with books on Switzerland and a selection of French books at that.
The Boutique Roma has style, i.e. Belgian and not Italian style. While the name is somewhat misguiding, you may rest assured: What you buy here has a name. And a big one at that. You'll find Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester here. And they are not alone because Roma also hosts international designers together with the Belgian ones, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens or Haider Ackermann among them. If you have found the fitting noble outfit you can also leave your old sandals here. The new shoes come from Shoto, Fitzroy and Camper, the bags from Sak and Numero 10. And while SHE lives out her shopping frenzy, HE is also offered the fitting designer wear. Boutique Roma offers Royal Shirt, The Viridi-Anne and Georgio Brato for men. Once you leave the store you've shopped in three countries: Belgian designers on Swiss ground and with Italian names.
Where the world is still a disc, the world is fine. At the Zero Zero you won't find a double zero as it sells only the best the music world has in store. At the perhaps best-assorted and largest record store in town music fans will find anything their heart desires. A comprehensive discography of rock's history, a lot of reggae and much Indie is big here. Our tip: If you arrive here on Thursdays, DJ Rexx will advise you and he is a true expert. You cannot only buy records here but also the fitting streetwear. Labels like Superdry, Abercombie and Goorin are the right outfits for Hip Hop and Co. And if you own something that you don't need anymore you've found the right place, too. The Zero Zero buys anything in the fields of CD, DVD, records or games. They even pick up bulkier stuff at your home. There is one genre though that even deters the wildest record dealers: The store doesn't sell hits and they are not bought here either.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Good ideas should be handed on. Especially those like the Senior Design Factory in Zurich which brings the young and old together: for meals, chats and getting creative - for example during a knitting workshop. The idea for this project - building bridges between generations - comes from the Zurich designer Debora Biffi and Benjamin Moser. Crucial: her diploma thesis and Andy Warhol with his Silver Factory in New York melting art and consumption. The result: in March 2011 the first Senior Design Factory subsidiary opened with shop, atelier and workshop room located on Josefstraße. You can buy interior accessories, recipe cards, tea, brushes and household items. In autumn a second subsidiary opened on the pulsating shopping street, only a few houses away - with café and restaurant. Maybe you need to wait a moment longer for you coffee which you order from the 70-year-old waitress. But you'll possibly receive a charming smile in compensation. Also at the knitting workshop for beginners and advanced knitters with senior designers aged 90. Stop by, it can only get exciting!
Summer, sun and barbecue: Can you imagine anything more beautiful than staring into the flames over a refined beer, while the Argentine steak grills on the barbecue? While the Swiss call it grillage and not grill, the ritual is the same: Put on the "Kiss-the-cook" apron, fetch your grill tongs, open a beer and you will be far away from the daily grind right away. Zurich offers a total of 13 barbecue sites where chefs can test their skills at grilling. One is GZ Schindlergut above Obere Letten. Between rare and medium you will even have time for a soccer game on the charming field right next to the site. And when the last sausage has finally been eaten we recommend a midnight's swim in the Limmat river which is part of the Zurich summer anyway.
Dada doesn't rest - Dada reproduces itself, says a phrase on the topic. And we add the following: If you say Dada too often, you become a bit gaga. But that's how it should be, probably. As what began at Cabaret Voltaire in 1916, soon became known as a playground of crazy emotions. Thus, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings and Hans Arp did not only stage their protest against World War I when opening their artists' pub but also invented a new art movement, which can hardly be described in words, therefore being simply called Dada. Dada is a collage from cubism, futurism and Medieval mystics, a wild blend of abstract dance and atonal music, of poetry, painting and the performing arts, i.e. Dada. If you got lost by now just come by. The Cabaret Voltaire is still flying the flags for Dada, delivering magic moments with exactly the right amount of irony palpable in every work of Dada.
EAT in Zurich:
Rigiblick offers ample space for unfolding to its guests. Nobody suffers from claustrophobia here but you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the wine. If you are not an expert you should ask for advice, otherwise you might mix up the St. Laurent 2007 with the Pinot Noir - and that would be a faux pas. But if you still mess up the etiquette rules you need not fear an angry look from your neighbour: The tables are as far away from one another that you won't even hear high-pitched laughter from the other side. At this noble restaurant guests can concentrate on the essential, namely the food. The latter, while expensive, is pan-Asian and creative. Halibut is served with Malaysian vegetables, veal fillet comes with pineapple and duck liver comes even twice: fused with pumpernickel or with limes and rocket. What a feast! Also a feast (to the eyes) are the light-flooded rooms, the summer terrace with a terrific view of Zurich and the distance to your neighbour's table. It is understandable that gourmets feel at home here. And it is understandable that poor guys stay at home.
Who made it here made it everywhere. No, we are not talking about New York but about Zurich. To be precise, we are talking about cheese fondues in Zurich. This Helvetian specialty is heavy stuff - heavy too eat because melted cheese sticks and heavy to digest because you feel the fondue's effect even days afterwards. And yet, if you don't honour the Caquelon you are not worth to visit Switzerland. The fondue pot is a must for all Swiss, and if you want to become a cheese adept you have to visit the Fribourger Fonduestübli. You'll pay some 20 Francs for it but considering the quantity that's not really bad. Besides, you've saved your next meal, for sure. Bread with fondue is important but you won't be able to eat the pearl onions and forget about the potatoes. Tough ones go for a mousse au chocolat afterwards but all the others ask for the digestif card and choose the one that has the best effect. If you regret your decision be assured: The Fonduestübli has been melting cheese for 30 years, so you will survive!
A typical American diner with typical megalomania: Here, cholesterol junkies can enjoy the biggest burger in town. "Big Mama" is not apt for single eaters though. 2-4 persons can easily take a nip from the beef with bacon and cheese. If you still order side dishes you are either the chief or very hungry. But what else is on the menu? Tex-Mex of the finest, naturally. Chilli, nachos and tortillas are the restaurant's specialties, and also the Swiss like them. Don't ask how your stomach feels afterwards, but if you treat yourself to burgers every once in a while you can't do anything wrong. Only the lunches are slightly more European: Bratwurst, Greek salad and hash browns, while being less American, still taste good. The evening programme is a further highlight at the Iroquois: While having your meal at the bar you can watch the current soccer games on a giant screen. What's an American bar without sports TV anyway?
STAY in Zurich:
A butcher's shop in the past, the hotel today serves breakfast until 16:00 daily. Are all the guests late risers? Perhaps. But it might have something to do with the rooms' names as well: "Williams", "Kirsche", "Zwätschgge", "Pflümli" or "Quitte" forebode nothing good (being names of schnapps altogether). Is the Kafischnaps a hotel for alcoholics? No, it's not. While the rooms are named after schnapps types, you don't get a hangover from the lovingly decorated rooms. Beyond pompous luxury chains one is devoted to working with the things that are within reach - and has a toast on them. Speaking about "beyond": While the Kafischnaps is not located in the direct centre, prices are beyond those of rents in the popular district. And if you have missed out on breakfast you can still enjoy the puff paste pies with hearty filling and have schnapps with them in a relaxed atmosphere. The sights can wait. Double room from approx. 36 Euros per night.
Greulich (sounds like grey or gruesome in German) is not the best name, however, it derives from the street name there, and the street is named after a renowned labour movement politician. The refined understatement is palpable all over the district. Where once the clack of heavy boots resounded, the creative scene walks high-heeled about its showrooms. Designers also gave the finishing touches to the hotel, paying tribute to the thirties and fifties above all. Function and colour dominate the interior of the design hotel - here a bit of secretive blue, Mediterranean shades over there, interrupted by a lot of glass for the perfect view of the inner courtyard. And it's this view that surprises: Instead of the usual three wooden tables with open sunshades you find birch trees, conveying a lot of tranquillity amidst the scene district. The rooms are devoted to Zen as well: Purity, indirect lighting and minimalism at its best. The business people like that and the cuisine as well, Catalan specialties following the topical principal of slow food. And if you have eaten your food real slowly, you can slowly light a cigar at the Cigar Lounge. Double room from 180 euros per night.
The Hotel Zürichberg is well off with its top location: on a hill above the town, amidst rolling hills, meadows and woods, with a terrific view of Zurich and the lake. Here, guests can rest and recreate, protected from noise and stress. The Art Nouveau building's façade hides what awaits you inside: top-class design. Noble parquet floors, shades in mauve and red and great designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Jasper Morrison forebode only good things for a good night's sleep. And late sleepers and caffeine junkies have only to steps to walk before reaching their own Nespresso machine on their room. While George Clooney is not included, the noble Restaurant R21 has other goodies in store. The Mediterranean cuisine is almost as attractive as George. We recommend a glass of champagne on the breathtaking terrace of Zürichberg and lots of idleness. And if that's not enough for you, you can also set out on a discovery trip in the woods behind the hotel. Double room from 219 Euros per night.