Back to the Wine Boats

The first year Tony and I lived in Zurich, we made sure to explore all the Zurich wine boats had to offer.  The wine boats are an annual tradition in Zurich. Boats are pulled together at the lakefront, and different wine distributors set up shop to sell their products.  This event is essentially  free wine tasting while floating stationary.

Our first time around in 2013, we struggled a bit.  Part of the struggle was the fear of the approach.  We hadn’t learned any German and didn’t know how to “get started” when it came approaching the stands to taste wine.  This year we were much braver.  So brave, in fact, that we brought our baby with us.

wine boats

Baby on a Boat

We received two different reactions from the people on the wine boats:

  1. Aw, she’s so cute!  What type of wine does she like?  Haha, I think I am so funny.
  2. Who the hell brings a baby to a wine tasting event? I hope she doesn’t cry and spill her tears in this 2004 merlot I’m sipping.

Of course we didn’t care.  We were as considerate about it as possible, strapping her to Tony’s chest rather than daring to push a stroller through crowds of people and small spaces.

Besides, the wine distributors themselves loved her.  Because of Matilda, we were able to get to the front of the line at most of the wine stands.  We also had the distributor’s full attention due to Matilda’s interaction with them, which meant more wine for us to taste.

wine boats

wine boats

Boat, bar or both?

We only stayed about an hour because the tiny space and amount of people made it very hot.  Matilda started to get antsy and fussy, and of course, we didn’t want her tears spilling into anyone’s wine glass.

We managed to leave with a few orders or wine, and are looking forward to their arrival.

wine boats

Over it

Some things I will share in regards to the wine boats:

  • I didn’t take my own advice from 2013, which was to RESEARCH in advance.  The guide you are given is alphabatized by distributor, not wine type or wine region.  This made it more difficult to identify which stands we really wanted to dedicate our time to.  I don’t know many people who buy wine based on the distributor, so if you are serious about purchasing wine, know what you want (specifically who distributes it) in advance.
  • I mentioned this in the original blog as well – eat before you go, and go on a week night.  We did follow this advice which was to our advantage.
  • You don’t need your wallet.  They bill you after they send you the wine but watch out – you tend to spend more money when drinking. I will soon be the owner of a case of Barolo I didn’t realize I wanted. 🙄
  • Check your coat.  The event is in late fall when it starts to get very chilly.  Most people hang onto their coats because you are temporarily outside when walking from boat to boat.  However, the boats are very hot given their size and the volume of people, and the coats just take up more space.

Here’s to another successful year on the wine boats, and to starting a new family tradition! 🙂

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.  😆


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.


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.


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? 🙂