SIGHTS in Zurich:
Kreislauf 4+5 is the creative heart of Zurich: Here, fledgling designers create the labels of tomorrow, artists invent the art of tomorrow in their studios and chefs conjure up the cuisine of tomorrow. Everything that has to do with art, trend or style is at home here. And so it was only a question of time before the artists' quarter installed its own open house. The latter is called Kreislauf 4+5 here, introducing all visitors to a creative microcosm that offers anything connected with a city's lifestyle. Every May you can browse around in architectural books, buy unique furniture or devote yourself to fusion food over a coffee. Whatever you need, you can buy it at Kreislauf. And a book of the same name serves as guide through the large quarter including portraits of all stores around here. And if that's still not enough you can go on a 2-hour tour with insiders that will point out your favourite stores.
In the beginning there was a moraine hill: There, the Romans built a customs post that should become Zurich later on. Today, the moraine hill is called Lindenhof - and it is one of the most romantic spots in town. Loving couples meet here, and if you are not kissing for the moment, you might want to take a picture. The view of Limmatquai observatory and Grossmünster is unique. The many chess players around here are less interested in the view than in the essential thing: checkmate. And those who feel thirsty after having climbed up here can refresh themselves at the Lindenhof fountain constructed in commemoration of an incredible story: In 1291 an Austrian Duke had lured the Swiss Army to another spot believing he could conquer the city without resistance now. But at the Lindenhof another army was already waiting for him - and he left frustrated. What he didn't know was that women were hiding in the armour, who led the Swiss to victory. And the Lindenhof fountain still stands here in memory of this event, stimulating kisses and photographs with its ripple.
In excelsis Deo: At the imposing Grossmünster the angels are rejoicing, while the city's patrons rest in peace here. With its twin towers, Grossmünster is one of the most imposing churches in town. Legend has it that Charlemagne built it after he had found the graves of the city's two patrons here. In the 16th century Grossmünster was the starting point for the German-Swiss Reformation headed by Zwingli. The church's choir window is a special sight where in 1933 Augusto Giacometti left his trails. It also tells the story of Christmas on colourful stained glass. If you want to get closer to this man you have to walk up to the tower. While the view of Zurich is overwhelming, the 187 steps upwards are an ordeal.
EAT in Zurich:
Fans of sushi, sake and sashimi will find Zurich a suitable place: Already on four venues the Yooji's chain serves the best rolls in the typically Asian minimalistic style. Seefeld, Josef and Bellevue rather sound like "Sisi and Franz" but, gotcha, you are wrong! Behind the monarchic names hide sushi places. And that these have little in common with pomp and fanfare is generally known. A bit of bamboo, a bit of glass, small servings but lots of lemongrass dominate interior and kitchen of the Japanese restaurant. Those who like it can visit the gift shop at Yooji's Seefeld. There, they get the right kind of utensils for Asian lifestyles. The Josef, however, has fully devoted itself to rice wine. Before, with or after the noodle soup you should give the excellent sake a try. And later you can have a sake cocktail as well. Also at the Bellevue you have a good view of sake but you can also help yourself without bad conscience: There, a nutritionist checks what is served on the plate. So you can afford to sin with respect to the drink.
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.
Neni at 25hours
Haya Molcho goes Zurich. But don't worry, she obviously stays in Vienna too. The Israeli-Austrian celebrity chef makes a present to the Limmat city with her coriander, thyme and chutney creations that are served at Neni in the 25hours hotel. Neni - that stands for the name of her four sons: Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv and Ilan. Three of them work for the family business because cooking is a joint ritual for the Molchos. In order to make everything authentically Neni-like in Zurich, Haya has personally trained the kitchen staff around Peter Schüler and even revealed some of her culinary secrets. The former all find their way into the pot and result in an international culinary mix: Persian, Russian, Arabic, Moroccan, Turkish, Romanian, French, Spanish, German, Austrian and Swiss. Put more practically: fennel-pomegranate salad with roasted nuts and stained salmon. Enjoy your meal!
SHOPPING in Zurich:
André (Andi) Stutz is a true sunshine and king in his field. Together with his sisters Elsa and Maya, he runs the company Fabric Frontline since 1980 and offers an immense range of precious silks. Not only his deer friend Vivienne Westwood but also Chanel, Gucci and Givenchy count to his clients. Apart from offering fine silk, Stutz and his team also design and produce accessories like neckerchiefs, scarves, foulards and ties. The headquarters with its complete range of fabrics is located in Ankerstrasse 118, whereas the boutique can be reached at Bahnhofstrasse 25, offering fashion made of cashmere and silk. Pullovers, jackets, blouses and coats made of silk are shining brightly in rainbow colours as if they were competing against each other. The boutique itself, designed by Ugo Rondinone, is richly colourful as well. For those of you who want it most exclusive can buy a custom-tailored silk garment by André Stutz.
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.
The Boutique Roma has style, i.e. Belgian and not Italian style. While the name is somewhat misguiding, you may rest assured: What you buy here has a name. And a big one at that. You'll find Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester here. And they are not alone because Roma also hosts international designers together with the Belgian ones, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens or Haider Ackermann among them. If you have found the fitting noble outfit you can also leave your old sandals here. The new shoes come from Shoto, Fitzroy and Camper, the bags from Sak and Numero 10. And while SHE lives out her shopping frenzy, HE is also offered the fitting designer wear. Boutique Roma offers Royal Shirt, The Viridi-Anne and Georgio Brato for men. Once you leave the store you've shopped in three countries: Belgian designers on Swiss ground and with Italian names.
STAY in Zurich:
The Hotel Zürichberg is well off with its top location: on a hill above the town, amidst rolling hills, meadows and woods, with a terrific view of Zurich and the lake. Here, guests can rest and recreate, protected from noise and stress. The Art Nouveau building's façade hides what awaits you inside: top-class design. Noble parquet floors, shades in mauve and red and great designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Jasper Morrison forebode only good things for a good night's sleep. And late sleepers and caffeine junkies have only to steps to walk before reaching their own Nespresso machine on their room. While George Clooney is not included, the noble Restaurant R21 has other goodies in store. The Mediterranean cuisine is almost as attractive as George. We recommend a glass of champagne on the breathtaking terrace of Zürichberg and lots of idleness. And if that's not enough for you, you can also set out on a discovery trip in the woods behind the hotel. Double room from 219 Euros per night.
And here's another hotel of the Swiss private label "Come in and feel good". While the Hotel Otter is 770 years old, neither its furniture nor its clientele are outdated. There's a lot of art everywhere, the rooms having been designed by various artists, so you won't get bored even at night time. There is an African lodge with bamboo elements, a Japanese variant with the usual minimalism, a maritime room with blue-striped wallpaper or fancy single rooms. At the Hotel Otter they know that there are different strokes for different folk, so individualism ranks high here. But the clientele - somewhere between model and musician - has to live up to James Joyce's harsh dictum: "Love, lie and look good because tomorrow we have to die". There are no limits to the cravings for pleasure and the door is open to the bar. While the latter's name is "Wüste" (desert), it is no desert at all. Here, true Zurich people get together for Swiss chats and a genuine Swiss beer. Do you need more? Double room from 105 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.