12/14/2020 TRAVEL An Unexpected Time in Zurich

5 min

Welcome to the series that swerves your stopover into a whole new dimension.

Long forgotten are the days where Zurich was a sleepy town, more reputed for its watertight bank vaults than exhilarating lifestyle. Over the last fifteen years, Switzerland’s largest city has turned into a place internationally envied for its quality of life. So go on then Zurich, turn us green.

SERVE TIME

A police station, yes. But not the usual suspect… Unless you’re a criminal with a low success rate, it’s not everyday that you visit the police department of a big city, but this small and free detour into Zurich’s is well worth the effort. After surrendering your ID – live a little! – you can spend a moment marveling otherworldly murals by iconic Swiss artist Augusto Giacometti – one of the most influential Surrealist and Cubist artists of the 20th century. 10 minutes will do and the palace (for no other word could do) is very central, so no excuses.

  • Augusto Giacometti Entrance Hall  , Bahnhofquai 3, 8001 Zürich, Suisse

WALK THE LINE

Every good ramble is a bit like a shampoo: three in one. Pleasure, leisure, and closure. So, start your  pilgrimage at Freitag containers, where the famous adventure of the lorry-tarp bags began in 1993. Keep going until you reach the Berlin-style biergarten with the sweet name of Frau Gerolds.

Frau Gerolds Garten, photo by Nadine Kägi. Courtesy of Frau Gerolds Garten.

And then, when you get tired of the low-key atmosphere and feel like a smidgen of chic to end your outing on a high note, all you have to do is take the elevator to the Clouds bar-restaurant and order a Cüpli of champagne. Located at the top of the Prime Tower – Switzerland’s highest building – it offers an eye-watering view over the city.

  • Freitag, Geroldstrasse 17, 8005 Zürich, freitag.ch
  • Frau Gerolds Garten, Geroldstrasse 23/23a, 8005 Zürich, 
  • Clouds, Prime Tower, Maagplatz 5, 8005 Zürich, Suisse, clouds.ch

The Freitag Tower, next to Frau Gerolds Garten, photo by Roland Taennler. Courtesy of Freitag.

NO OLD FOLKS’ HOME

As its name suggests, the so-called People’s House was originally built in 1909 to accommodate some of the many and varied activities of the labour movement. But bear with us: the institution has since deviated from its initial trajectory. Now redeveloped as a cultural centre, it houses, amongst other things, a storied concert hall, a well-curated bookshop and a restaurant that is – wait for it! – truly  a labour of love. By a twist of fate, the Volkshaus prided itself on being the first alcohol-free institution of its kind when it opened. Things have changed a lot since then.

  • Restaurant Volkshaus, Stauffacherstrasse 60, 8004 Zürich, restaurantvolkshaus.ch

SPECIAL OPENING

We are opening a new TAG Heuer boutique in Zurich! If you have a moment to spare after all the chesse-swimming-shopping-culture, check out the new TAG Heuer boutique (Opening on December 11, 2020) at Bahnhofstrasse 65, 8001 Zürich. They are available at zurich@tagheuer.com and +41 43 549 66 88.

TAG Heuer Boutique in Zurich

ALL CHANGE, PLEASE!

The Swiss federal railways, known as SBB CFF FFS, may not roll off the tongue, but they are – by far – the best in Europe. Like their Japanese counterpart, their efficiency and punctuality are a source of national pride. More than just a stub-end terminal, Zurich central station is the beating heart of the city, and the beat is just so: not a minute goes by without a train leaving, always on time, for Milan, Vienna, Venice, Paris, Budapest and many other destinations. Make your unexpected stopover doubly unexpected and jump aboard?

  • Zürich Hauptbahnhof, Bahnhofplatz, 8001 Zürich, www.sbb.ch

Zürich station 1847, seen from the river Limmat. Illustration from Ein Jahrhundert Schweizer Bahnen, Jubiläumswerk des Eidgenössischen Post- und Eisenbahndepartementes, Volume 1.

BEYOND THE RÖSTI RIFT

Hard to leave the Confederation without bringing back some cheese and cold cuts. At Welschland, meat lovers and cheese enthusiasts will get their money’s worth. This tiny but calorific embassy of the specialties from French speaking Romandy (“Welschland” in German, hence its name) offers a motley mix of cured hams, sausages, and all kinds of fromages. Goes without saying that both la Religieuse – their cheese fondue house blend – and the Bündnerfleisch are essential purchases.

  • Welschland, Zweierstrasse 56, 8004 Zürich, welschland.com

Welschland, photo by Züri Isst. Courtesy of Welschland.