The last stop on my Euro Adventure in April was Zurich, Switzerland. Not surprisingly, Switzerland reminded me a lot of Germany; beautiful, clean, a bit serious, and very, very well-designed. Although I didn’t eat anything that really rocked my world, there were so many other things that made it an unforgettable destination.
I was particularly amused by all of the amazing typography. Even things as simple as vehicle graphics were so well done. Nothing gaudy or over the top, just clean, minimalistic type treatments. A few of my favs…
Simply walking around the streets of Zurich was such a great experience. The city itself wraps around Lake Zurich, a crisp, cool, blue body of water with snow-topped mountains in the distance and sailboats dotting the coast. Picture perfect.
Right off the west side of the lake is Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zurich, a huge succulent and cacti museum. I remember reading somewhere that it’s Europe’s largest succulent collection. I have to admit, when I think of Switzerland, cacti aren’t the first things to come to mind. But damn...
All of the colors and textures were, without a doubt, Instagram-worthy.
Before I arrived in Switzerland I read up on Rick Steves’ recommendations. And one of those recommendations was Appenzell, a small village in northeastern Switzerland. According to Rick, in Appenzell, you can virtually hear the cows moaning, “milk me.” Although I could count the number of cows I saw on one hand, the views overlooking the village were, dare I say, breathtaking.
Right outside Appenzell we did a short (but very steep!) hike up to Berggasthaus Seealpsee, a little restaurant and lodge nestled in the snowy Alps. The view at the top was mimicked by the lager bottle label in my hand.
As we headed back to Zurich late in the day we soon discovered nothing was open, not even convenience stores and gas stations. Luckily for my grumbling belly, we came across a vending machine full of raw, cured, and smoked meats. I got a spicy, snappy meat stick and was left wondering why the meat vending business hasn’t made its way to the US.
On my last day in Zurich I walked along the river to the hipster-esque District 5, home to Frau Gerolds Garten. The garden is a large outdoor space made up of old shipping containers, sculptures, plants, and picnic tables. You order food and beer out of a refurbished container, pick up your order at a tented area down the line, then find a place to sit among the various tables, chairs, benches, and decks. I ordered the sausage that was on special and a Carlsberg pilsner.
But what really made the lunch was the atmosphere. Frau Gerolds Garten oozes with fun, color, happiness, and good vibez.
As if my final day in Zurich could get any better, April 16 marked Sechseläuten, Zurich’s city-wide Spring festival. If I had to compare it to an American event, it would be Groundhogs Day; however, Sechseläuten is much more celebrated and much more exciting. In essence, a huge plastic snowman, The Böögg, is set on top of a mound of dry hay that has been stuffed full of fireworks and explosives. The mound is lit on fire and different gilds, dressed in their ancient trades and craftsmen clothing, ride around the ticking time bomb until the snowman’s head blows into bit. The length of time leading up to the explosion determines the length of time until Spring. Like I said, MUCH more exciting than a groundhog and its shadow.
Like most holidays around the world, Sechseläuten is really just a good excuse to party. And party we did. Every street near the city center was shoulder to shoulder. There was music, food, and beer. Lot and lots of beer.
Minus the pre-fourteen-hour-flight hangover, I’d say it was a pretty epic way to end my European Adventure. Until next time!