Monday, December 2, 2013

Stroke of colour: Zurich

I drafted this post in a cafe in Zurich, Switzerland, stomach full of spinach quiche and a local sweet, citrusy beer. I sat at a warm, wooden table with a view over a little square in Zurich’s Old Town, where the combination of yellow fall leaves and freshly-cut spruce trees strung with Christmas lights was more than a little odd to this Canadian (but a welcome change nonetheless). The servers at Henrici had tattoos and cool hair cuts, and spoke impeccable English with a perfect Swiss clip. A pretty American girl at the table next to me was taking Swiss lessons over a latte. 

watched the Swiss walk around in the cold - about 8 degrees Celsius - in light winter coats and hats and boots, in sombre (albeit, sophisticated) colours. Their kids toddled around in puffy little snowsuits, wild with excitement at every window display and Christmas wreath. College-aged guys were hard at work setting up Christmas market stalls. Cyclists rolled by at a much more leisurely pace than in Amsterdam. As the temperature dipped fat snowflakes began to fall.

It was grey outside, but I can’t imagine Zurich being more pretty in any other season.

After less than a full day in Switzerland I had to hunker down in that cafe and give my eyes, and my brain, a break. Zurich is that kind of beautiful. It’s almost too much. The perfect misty lake, the river spanned by simple grey bridges, the crisp stone churches, the austere but grand architecture. The shops - the shops! - filled with all kinds of Christmas goodies (what exactly are they full of the rest of the year?). The most beautiful sparkling glass decorations and felted garlands. Fur throws on every chair at every al fresco cafe. The Christmas decorations on every street - what I imagine must be kilometres of string of lights. The intense Munch exhibition at the Kunsthaus.

It was a visual information overload, and I loved every minute of it.


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