EAT in Zurich:
If you want to get closer to the water you have to be in the water. The outdoor lounge of Acqua promises the probably best view of sailing boats, mountains and Lake Zurich's sparkling blue. Such a panorama does only harmonise with the noblest interior, of course. The terrace is white and made of wood, suiting a fish meal after a long walk along the promenade. But the restaurant is luxurious inside as well: large windows, a lot of mother-of-pearl and space for a conservative clientele concluding perfect deals over a perfect dinner. The menu is as fresh as morning dew, combining seasonal and regional specialties. Fish and meat are grilled, the pizza comes from the wood stove and the guests come from the general assembly. And that's how the prices are defined. Acqua is not cheap but it is good. And you can get great brunches here. On Sundays they serve Mediterranean "Brunch al Lago" from 10.00 to 14.00.
Breakfast in England - always worth a discussion. Some smile about it and many refuse it, but it has cult status anyway. And the Lion even serves Guiness with it. For breakfast? So what the heck, some guests think and stuff themselves on bacon, sausages, beans and fried eggs. The vitamins in the form of grilled tomato are only garnish, but there is orange juice, coffee, tea - or beer - with it. But is beer not a bit too early? No, there is no "too early" at the Lion because guests can enjoy breakfast any time, even late at night. And then the beer is a good choice again. Yet one question remains unanswered: Why do the English, as loftily as they are having tea, serve breakfasts that make every fitness trainer faint? The answer is: for tradition's sake and because it tastes good. And if you are having brunch at the Lion, you better stay and have another beer, another toast or another helping of brown sauce.
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.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Marek Krynski thought "Why not?" in 1992 and applied for the permit of a demonstration on love & peace at the police. The result: 1,000 ravers, seven cars and angry politicians. In 1994, they tried to forbid the Street Parade but nobody had expected the public outcry that ensued. Eventually, the police gave in under public pressure, allowing 30,000 ravers the party of their lives. Nothing much has changed today. You can still hear the whistles and the roll of the drums in Zurich's downtown area every August. World-famous DJs are taking part. And still people dance for world's peace. In 2010, 650,000 party people participated when DJ Hell, Paul Kalkbrenner and Fedde le Grand proved their skills at the turntables despite cloudbursts. But this time there was a minute's silence for the victims of the Love Parade. All of a sudden there was complete silence onstage and in the Love Mobiles. But the show must go on: Also in 2012 Zurich's streets will resound from the shrill, loud and above all peaceful celebrating of thousands of ravers.
As far as souvenirs go, there's probably no other country that has more than Switzerland. Okay, the Scots have their skirts and the United States have their cowboy hats. But we can bet that when you think of Swiss souvenirs at least three will come to your mind spontaneously: watches, chocolate and Swiss knives. You can buy these and more at Teddy's Souvenirshop, a store that is crammed with cuckoo clocks and other Swiss precision work. There are pennants and flags as well and everything worth printing an edelweiss on it. There are cuddly Saint Bernard toys, the famous cow bells to wear around your neck, and Swiss pocket knives with thousands of necessary functions to brag about. Teddy's is a hotchpotch of Swiss clichés probably worth only a mild smile by the Swiss themselves but the items still sell like hotcakes. Because once you are here you have to buy something, and be it a white cross on red background.
In excelsis Deo: At the imposing Grossmünster the angels are rejoicing, while the city's patrons rest in peace here. With its twin towers, Grossmünster is one of the most imposing churches in town. Legend has it that Charlemagne built it after he had found the graves of the city's two patrons here. In the 16th century Grossmünster was the starting point for the German-Swiss Reformation headed by Zwingli. The church's choir window is a special sight where in 1933 Augusto Giacometti left his trails. It also tells the story of Christmas on colourful stained glass. If you want to get closer to this man you have to walk up to the tower. While the view of Zurich is overwhelming, the 187 steps upwards are an ordeal.
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.
The Kindli is one of these honest hotels one likes to visit and likes to leave again. And one likes to remind it. Here, they've been in the hospitality business for 500 years already. While in former times the pious ones with their very pious thoughts flocked to the Christian hospice and its very pious landlord, today's guests wash away their sins on Grander water. They put their heads on Hästens pillows and pray that their credit cards last through their shopping sprees at Zurich's top designers around the corner. But also the restaurant is worth its price: While the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine has not much room for tight belts, it has made room for Hanny Fries, whose pictures are on the restaurant's wall. On the wine card you find the noblest champagne as well as red and white wines from all over the world. One thing for sure: With its fountain in front of the windows, its Laura Ashley style and the church bells in the morning, the Kindli is one of the most romantic hotels in town. Whether it's still as pious as in former times we can't say. Double room from 277 Euros per night.
All show and all the substance - the Alden holds what it promises from its looks. It is a recently renovated fin-de-siècle artwork with state-of-the-art amenities. There is the classical cosy library with brown leather sofas and golden grandfather clock. There is the presidential suite in pastel and with textile-covered chairs and the ceiling features stucco, of course. There is the Piano Bar with heavy chandeliers above your glass with Hennessy and clinking ice cubes. The modern side of the hotel features the restaurant, a mixture of state-of-the-art and antique, garnished with fresh ingredients from the organic market, dominated by innovative cuisine. On the rooms you find the cutting-edge technology every modern hotel subscribes to today: high-speed internet, flat-screen, WLAN. There are whirlpools and there is the fitness equipment of your choice. But the hotel is old, of course: the walls are old, the structure is old. But that old does not equal outdated is proven by the Alden. Above all the hospitality is classical. Double room from 290 Euros per night.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
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.
Here's another Swiss designer devoted to avant-garde: While not every woman will like Sissi Zöbeli's designer pieces, they are at least unique. The exclusive clothes are often a combination of jacket and long pants. That's why they perfectly fit the hard-working woman over 30, for whom they are tailored as well. The suits are casually combined with other designer labels. Genuine Sissi Zöbeli shoes match well with Anita Moser, T-shirts by Daniel Herman or jewellery by Ma Schellenberg. And the interior decoration matches excellently with the original style of the designer. The former butcher's shop was renovated with loving detail and has a kind of kitschy but wearable style. And, while avant-garde, the clothes that sell here are wearable as well. Sissi Zöbeli mixes jeans, plush, silk and cotton but always stays on the safe side. Her clothing is never too extravagant, even when the western shirt goes with the cotton skirt.