A Day at the Zurich Zoo

Zurich has a zoo.  I know, right?  It’s not something one would naturally associate with this city.  I have actually known about the zoo for a very long time.  I see the 6 tram everyday on my way to work, and it ends at “Zoo”.  So yeah, Zurich has a zoo.

Today, we finally decided to visit the zoo.  I think having a child now makes it a bit more acceptable.  🙂

Matilda and I both dressed in our stripe-y dresses and were on our way.  We found ourselves on the 6 tram that I had viewed thousands of times before, and got off at the very end – Zoo.  I hadn’t expected much, to be honest.  I mean, exotic animals in the middle of Switzerland?  However, I was pleasantly surprised.

First stop was the penguin exhibit and aquarium.  Tilly was clearly too small to see and understand what was going on, but we stopped at each tank to watch the fishes.  The penguins themselves were adorable.  They waddled in a group, following each other step for step, above ground and then into the water.

zoo

zoo

We quickly came to realize just how special this little zoo in Zurich actually was.  Unlike the zoos in Chicago, the animals were constantly out, always moving, always active.  There were also tons of new babies to see – baby bears, baby monkeys, baby camels.  Every exhibit was one worth sitting at for hours.

zoo

Baby Bears

Matilda had a great time, too.  Even though she didn’t understand much of what was going on, she made her own fun.  Her favorite part was playing with her own monkey IN the monkey house.  Imagine that.

 

Our last stop was at the elephant exhibit.  I absolutely adore elephants.  I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to ride them and feed them in Bangkok, and see them up close in South Africa.  The exhibit was at the bottom of the zoo with lots of room to roam.  It had a Thai feel and decor to it, which made it even more endearing.

 

Overall, we had a truly wonderful day at the zoo.  We really enjoyed ourselves and would absolutely go back, especially when Matilda is a little older.

 

Playing the Tour Guide to our Great Visitors

I love having visitors, and with Matilda’s birth, we have had the pleasure to host multiple people.  During these visits, I try to make sure to highlight the most beautiful and special parts of Zurich.  As such, there are a few hot spots I always stop by.

My best friend and her husband were our most recent visitors.  When they first arrived, we discussed how Zurich is very unique compared to other European cities.  As they are well-traveled, I explained that Zurich has a special, understated, less obvious charm.  Unlike Paris, Rome or Tokyo, there are not hundreds of monuments, museums or celebrity spots to see.  Rather, Zurich is meant to be present in, and felt.

visitors

This trip, my friends arrived on what felt like the first day of summer.  The sun was shining and the lake glittered under the sky.  We walked from the top of the lake down to where we live in Wollishofen, along the lake shore almost the entire way.  It was the best introduction, especially with the mountains so clear in the background. Rote Fabrik, one of the stops along the way, provided a colorful background and interesting perspective of the city.

visitors

We then ate lunch at Seerose – outside, of course – to maximize the magnificent view.  However, Tilly wasn’t sure how she felt about the situation.  😆

visitors

After lunch, we showcased our apartment.  I always love hearing the reaction from my friends and family when I welcome them into my home.  I have photos of most of my visitors somewhere in my place, and for a brief moment, it’s like I never left.

Dinner was then scheduled at Co Chin Chin later that evening.  This allowed us to show off the “party” part of town, just off of Langstrasse.

visitors

After dinner, we walked through Old Town Zurich.  We specifically showed them the incredible views from Lindenhof and Jules Verne.  The Grossmunster and Fraumunster church peaks along the river are some of my favorite views in the city.

visitors

The next day, we took a long and leisurely boat trip to Rapperswil.  Riding on the lake is like Heaven.  Aside from enjoying the stunning views up and down the shore, we also explored a different Swiss town.  The rose gardens are so stunning here, and each rose treated us to a different smell.

We spent their last evening grilling at our house, looking at the lake from our terrace.  I was sad we didn’t get to spend more time together.  However I was so happy to be able to once again highlight how wonderful Zurich is to those I love most.

Who will be our next visitor? 🙂

The Böögg and Sechseläuten

It’s that time of year again – the time of the Böögg.  I cannot believe Tony and I have lived in Zurich long enough to experience 5 of these events.  In honor of this, I decided to repost our original experience from April 2013.  It is so fun for me to look back and reread our original impressions – hope you enjoy!

Böögg

Böögg in 2017

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Böögg.  Depending on how you say it could sound you like are trying to say “boogar” but get stopped mid-way.

The Böögg is part of the annual Sechseläuten festival, which occurs on the 3rd Monday of every April.  More details but can found here on Wikipedia, but high level, there is a parade and it’s a way for all of the different guilds of Zurich to represent, kind of like when I was in junior high and we all had different Starter team jackets – I had the Carolina Panthers because I was clearly a fan at 13.

The burning of the snowman, or Böögg, represents the burning and end of winter.  This huge pile of hay is lit on fire and the snowman sits up at the top waiting, just like a witch during the Salem witch trials.  Rumor has it, the longer it takes for the snowman’s head to pop, the longer winter will be, but if you listen to some of the other rumors, it means a long and mild summer – you pick, I prefer the latter.  (You can see some better pics here or here, I promise I was closer than my camera makes it seem.)

Böögg

Böögg

Well, my understanding was that people expected the fire to reach the snowman and his head to blow after 10 minutes.  Yesterday, it took about 35.  Yikes.  I guess that means we are in for an icky summer – I sure hope not!

When we first arrived we were expecting a horrible crowd but it was actually very manageable.  Coupled with the standard politeness, Tony and I laughed and thought about all of those horrible trips to the Taste of Chicago.  But the crowd kept getting worse and worse the longer the fire burned.  As we stood there waiting for the explosion, we got pushed more and more and more….so I guess there ARE rude people in Zurich.  They only come out for Sechseläuten apparently.

The snowman still burned painfully slow…and there were little pops that teased the crowd as the fire climbed higher and higher.  Even after his whole body was scorched, his head was still in tact.  But after he finally blew, quite the cheer arose!  Especially from me, I was tired of the elbows in my back.

Böögg

Böögg

From there, we and a million other people started towards the bars.  There was a small alley section that had a DJ and beers and everyone was standing outside, having a good time, dancing and drinking.  I even cheated on my vegetarian diet and had a sausage – I know, horror of horrors.  But let me tell you, that thing tasted better than Giordanos pizza.

The fire continued to burn throughout the night and people crowded around with their beers and sausages to welcome the coming of summer.  And that was the end of my first Sechseläuten and Böögg.  We will see how it goes next year – if the weather was anything like yesterday, it will be just as fantastic.

Böögg