SHOPPING in Zurich:
The bulky pelican in the label is fortunately not a guideline for the men's styling who stop by Pelikamo in Zurich. They rather come into the former bank house - only a few minutes away from Bahnhofstraße and the tradespersons - because of the straight menswear by Mismo, Lavenham, Aesop or Pelikamo. There are bilious green pants lying next to the pink sweater and the moss-green loafers - and everything looks impeccable. Evidently a woman had a hand in the store concept. Together with three men Mia Zeltner has opened Pelikamo in 2011. Apart from garments they also offer tartly scented candles and whiskey from a Swiss distillery. Between the fittings they let their male customers sit on the retro sofa and give them magazines to read - to reflect over certain matters. Randy Kündig, the kind soul at Pelikamo will bring an espresso. It might be possible that the suit trousers will still not fit after that. But that shouldn't be a problem as the in-house tailor will change the garment or make a new pair for you.
It's so typical: When you finally have time to read a book on your vacation, it's a boring book you've taken along. Either you've bought it somewhere shortly before your departure or you wanted to brag with it because it looked so good. Here comes our tip: The Orell Füssli Bookstore is centrally located and sells books that look good. Also the inside looks good. The specialist for design, photography and architecture has anything that makes the hearts of art fans leap, from Andreas Gursky to Adolf Loos or to essays on genuine British cottages. And if you are in no hurry you enjoy coffee over Helmut Newton and talk shop with your neighbour from the other table. But if you are no friend of coffee-table books you will also find literature at Orell Füssli, along with books on Switzerland and a selection of French books at that.
Here comes our tip for a perfect day in Zurich: a visit to the Kunsthaus, a gourmet lunch at the Kronenhalle and if you are in the mood for gift shopping visit Steinhauer's around the corner. The store offers a wide variety of international gifts. The perfumed candles come from Paris, the towels from Japan and the leather bags from Vienna. Steinhauer is equally popular for its wedding presents. And if you have been married before you know that one can always use silver cutlery - and salad servers and champagne glasses. What a shame when the serviettes are missing at your new home! That's why the wedding list by Steinhauer comes in so handy. The store offers individual complete packages for couples so that the relatives know what they should buy and the newly weds don't have ten toasters in the end. But even if you don't want to get married you will find the right present for any occasion here. The garden furniture might be a bit bulky, and you might not be able to get all the china into the suitcase. But handkerchiefs and felt slippers will even fit into the hand luggage, for sure!
STAY in Zurich:
Everything's a bit artsy here, a bit casual and easy-going. The Hotel Seegarten adapts to the vicinity of the lake, pouring oil on troubled water with its famous calm before the storm. The Seefeld district is not a quiet one, after all. Many bars, stores and galleries demand a high degree of shopping discipline, weigh heavy on credit cards and make visitors dizzy with shopping frenzy. We recommend you keep your nerve and quickly check into the Seegarten Hotel because there you will be able to catch your breath. Its Mediterranean flair, its rattan furniture and the terracotta floors make the world appear much more relaxed. No wonder that the hotel became a pilgrimage shrine for the stressed-out. Among the media and advertising trades the hotel enjoys great popularity. Apart from its nice atmosphere you can also enjoy delicious culinary treats dished up by Restaurant Latino, very leisurely and stress-free, of course. You will seldom find a more uncomplicated hotel than the Seefeld in clockwork Switzerland. Double rooms from 187 Euros per night.
A butcher's shop in the past, the hotel today serves breakfast until 16:00 daily. Are all the guests late risers? Perhaps. But it might have something to do with the rooms' names as well: "Williams", "Kirsche", "Zwätschgge", "Pflümli" or "Quitte" forebode nothing good (being names of schnapps altogether). Is the Kafischnaps a hotel for alcoholics? No, it's not. While the rooms are named after schnapps types, you don't get a hangover from the lovingly decorated rooms. Beyond pompous luxury chains one is devoted to working with the things that are within reach - and has a toast on them. Speaking about "beyond": While the Kafischnaps is not located in the direct centre, prices are beyond those of rents in the popular district. And if you have missed out on breakfast you can still enjoy the puff paste pies with hearty filling and have schnapps with them in a relaxed atmosphere. The sights can wait. Double room from approx. 36 Euros per night.
All show and all the substance - the Alden holds what it promises from its looks. It is a recently renovated fin-de-siècle artwork with state-of-the-art amenities. There is the classical cosy library with brown leather sofas and golden grandfather clock. There is the presidential suite in pastel and with textile-covered chairs and the ceiling features stucco, of course. There is the Piano Bar with heavy chandeliers above your glass with Hennessy and clinking ice cubes. The modern side of the hotel features the restaurant, a mixture of state-of-the-art and antique, garnished with fresh ingredients from the organic market, dominated by innovative cuisine. On the rooms you find the cutting-edge technology every modern hotel subscribes to today: high-speed internet, flat-screen, WLAN. There are whirlpools and there is the fitness equipment of your choice. But the hotel is old, of course: the walls are old, the structure is old. But that old does not equal outdated is proven by the Alden. Above all the hospitality is classical. Double room from 290 Euros per night.
EAT in Zurich:
Industrial design: While the Swiss have not invented it, they like it anyway. At the trendy Rosso, for example, they overdo it a bit, with cables hanging loose and bare light tubes on the walls. Also the view you have from the long window front will only appeal to railway fans. Tracks and trains dominate the scene, and dinner is little romantic. But while you can get your water directly from the tap, you have to be patient awaiting your pizza. But when it finally is served, the waiting has been worthwhile. It tastes equally fantastic as the grilled calamari, making up for bare walls and bad service. The clientele that comes here likes the hippie chic because it's part of the scene. Medical students like the clinical surroundings, eagerly dissecting their wood-stove pizzas. Sometimes a local DJ acts as pizza man, unless he is occupied with his own business. All in all the Rosso is certainly an adventure not to be missed - but if you come a second time is a question of patience.
If you want to get closer to the water you have to be in the water. The outdoor lounge of Acqua promises the probably best view of sailing boats, mountains and Lake Zurich's sparkling blue. Such a panorama does only harmonise with the noblest interior, of course. The terrace is white and made of wood, suiting a fish meal after a long walk along the promenade. But the restaurant is luxurious inside as well: large windows, a lot of mother-of-pearl and space for a conservative clientele concluding perfect deals over a perfect dinner. The menu is as fresh as morning dew, combining seasonal and regional specialties. Fish and meat are grilled, the pizza comes from the wood stove and the guests come from the general assembly. And that's how the prices are defined. Acqua is not cheap but it is good. And you can get great brunches here. On Sundays they serve Mediterranean "Brunch al Lago" from 10.00 to 14.00.
Aura in the Alte Börse in Zurich stands for a restaurant, bar, smoker's lounge and big event hall. It's the work area inhabited by Joachim Karsten, well-known in the city for his work at Tao's on Bahnhofstraße which was given a European-Asian cuisine by him. At Aura in the financial districts it's a bit more meaty - BBQ specials (like blade steak, bison filet or burger) are grilled on the open barbecue in front of the guests' eyes, according to the guests' wishes. Fish lovers' palates are tickled by salmon steaks, zander filets or lobster with tomato-basil-butter. And for dessert (which by the way opens the menu) they serve apple-blueberry-clafouits or caramel flan. This meal wants to be digested well - that's why you head to the second floor of the venue - to the Smoker's Lounge or the bar. By the way, Aura has been furnished by Evelyne Haussener. She is mother of the CEO of the Tao group that - apart from Aura - comprises Tao as well as the clubs Indochine and Icon.
SIGHTS in Zurich:
Good ideas should be handed on. Especially those like the Senior Design Factory in Zurich which brings the young and old together: for meals, chats and getting creative - for example during a knitting workshop. The idea for this project - building bridges between generations - comes from the Zurich designer Debora Biffi and Benjamin Moser. Crucial: her diploma thesis and Andy Warhol with his Silver Factory in New York melting art and consumption. The result: in March 2011 the first Senior Design Factory subsidiary opened with shop, atelier and workshop room located on Josefstraße. You can buy interior accessories, recipe cards, tea, brushes and household items. In autumn a second subsidiary opened on the pulsating shopping street, only a few houses away - with café and restaurant. Maybe you need to wait a moment longer for you coffee which you order from the 70-year-old waitress. But you'll possibly receive a charming smile in compensation. Also at the knitting workshop for beginners and advanced knitters with senior designers aged 90. Stop by, it can only get exciting!
The photographer Ganz once built the first residential building here when the street was still unheard of. People thought he was crazy. Today, you would see dollar signs in his eyes if you think of the horrendous rental prices here. You have to pay some 4,000 Swiss Francs per square metre and year today, if you want to live in Europe's most expensive district. Money lies in and under the street here. The renowned Swiss banks have conquered this place in the sun, stashing away the money that makes the world go round underneath. But not only Credit Suisse and Zurich National Bank are worth visiting the street but also the magnificent Art Nouveau buildings. And where elsewhere houses mushroom up together with soaring prices, Zurich implemented strict building regulations. All the houses are 18 metres high, not more and not less than that. Swiss precision work? Sure, and in addition to the monumental facades accommodating banking secrecy, you'll find 2,500 metres of window shops, 180 stores and 200 lime trees. You won't find more elegance elsewhere.
Marek Krynski thought "Why not?" in 1992 and applied for the permit of a demonstration on love & peace at the police. The result: 1,000 ravers, seven cars and angry politicians. In 1994, they tried to forbid the Street Parade but nobody had expected the public outcry that ensued. Eventually, the police gave in under public pressure, allowing 30,000 ravers the party of their lives. Nothing much has changed today. You can still hear the whistles and the roll of the drums in Zurich's downtown area every August. World-famous DJs are taking part. And still people dance for world's peace. In 2010, 650,000 party people participated when DJ Hell, Paul Kalkbrenner and Fedde le Grand proved their skills at the turntables despite cloudbursts. But this time there was a minute's silence for the victims of the Love Parade. All of a sudden there was complete silence onstage and in the Love Mobiles. But the show must go on: Also in 2012 Zurich's streets will resound from the shrill, loud and above all peaceful celebrating of thousands of ravers.