Cheese Fondue in Zurich

It’s November and temperatures have dropped all around in Switzerland. Winter truly is coming to Europe. And with winter comes the best time to indulge in one of the favorite Swiss dishes: Cheese Fondue.

For a comprehensive list of places to get fondue, you can either consult yelp.ch or the various Zurich tourism websites, but today I’ll take a look at my three favorite Fondue restaurants.

Le Dezaley

The “Le Dezaley” is a restaurant best known for its Cheese Fondue. In close location to the famous Grossmünster, the place is cozy and very inviting for you and your group of friends. It is a a “restaurant vaudois”, which means it does not only serve Fondue, but also specialties from the canton of Vaud. The fondue is based on a old family recipe and is my favorite of the ones I’ve tried in Zurich.

Walliserkanne

From one French-speaking canton to the next: The “Walliserstube”, which lies in close proximity to the main station, serves fondue based on an recipe from the canton of Valais.
This restaurant seemed smaller to me than the Le Dezaley and due to its location, it’s difficult to find seating without a prior reservation. For non-cheese lovers, you’ll again find your fair share of local specialties on the menu.

Swiss Chuchi Hotel Adler

The tourist option on my list is the Swiss Chuchi restaurant of the Hotel Adler, which serves all kinds of Swiss specialties not based on a certain canton. The restaurant, situated in heart of the Old Town in the Niederdörfli, is a very safe option. The fondue is not spectacular, but very solid and a perfect introduction into Swiss cuisine. Their menu is filled with other Swiss classics in case the fondue is not to your liking.

All options cost about 30.- per person and fondue. Sometime bread costs extra, but normally it is included. Fondue is best accompanied by a glass of Swiss white wine and all restaurants offer a fairly diverse wine list for you to choose from.

If you have any other recommendations or had different experiences in the places mentioned, please let me know!

Have a great week!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

Cultural Events in Switzerland

A busy week is behind me with another one coming up, so today’s post will be short and sweet. Since I’ve not been able to travel around, I’d like to highlight some of the most interesting cultural events going on.

Zurich Kunsthaus: Edvard Munch

The Kunsthaus, the premier museum for art in Zurich, opened its exhibition on Edvard Munch, the famed Norwegian artist best known for his iconic painting “The Scream”. The exhibition runs through January 12, but with the weather in Switzerland turning grey and rainy, it might be the best time to check him out. With 150 piece by the expressionist, the Kunsthaus offers a great overview of his work. It is the first time the entire collection is shown to the public. Anyone interested in great art should check out the official website of the Kunsthaus and stop by the museum.

Theater im Pfauen Zurich: Alice in Wonderland

The play “Alice in Wonderland” (German: Alice im Wunderland) premieres this Friday at the Pfauen. Based on the novel Lewis Carroll, this play promises to be an intriguing rendition of the classic children’s book. After the premiere, the shows will be staged on various dates until January. The play is held in German. More information can be found on the website of the Schauspielhaus.

Historical Museum Bern: Terracotta Warriors

The Historical Museum in Bern has been showing the Terracotta warriors from the Chinese Qin dynasty since the middle of March. With November upon us, there are only 14 days left to see the exhibition with the life-sized figures from ancient China. The exhibition focuses on the foundation of the Chinese empire and offers a glimpse of times long past. With only a few days left to visit them, anyone with an interest in Ancient History should make their way to Berne. Information on Qin can be found here.

That’s it for this week. If you’d like to highlight any other events, please let me know!

See you on Wednesday.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

 

A Great Time for Booklovers in Zurich

It’s a great time to love books in Zurich. In today’s post I’ll look back at the reading I attended last Friday and introduce two events in the next two weeks that might prove interesting for readers in the region.

Zürich Liest: A Reading with Stefan Bachmann

Last Friday, Stefan Bachmann, the young Swiss-American writer, was at the Orell Füssli Bookshop to read from his new book, “The Whatnot”. Around fifty guests gathered in the store to listen to him and they had no reason to be disappointed. Mr. Bachmann was very engaging, funny and surprisingly critical of his own works. How he would change certain things about his debut novel “The Peculiar” and how he strived to improve on his work in his newest book stood out to me. He read out the prologue of both books and answered some very interesting questions. I definitely became a fan of his after attending the reading, having not read his books before.

The Uncanny Bookclub: More Than This

I’ve written about my great experience at the UBC here and am delighted to see them host their second event this Sunday (November 3) at the Cabaret Voltaire. The official link to the event can be found on their Facebook page.

The book we’ll be discussing is the brilliant “More Than This” by Patrick Ness, easily one of my favorite books of the year. The story of young Seth, who wakes up in a deserted world not knowing exactly where he is and what has struck him, is breathtaking, fast-paced and wonderfully innovative. If you want to meet some young and passionate book lovers in Zurich, you should come by this Sunday at 5pm. I’ll definitely be there!

The Bookshop’s Bookclub: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

And just a week later, the Bookshop’s own book club will talk about another fantastic book, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This event takes place November 14 at 8.30pm at the Bookshop. Details can be found on their official website.

Mr. Gaiman’s book is highly imaginative and a wonderful storytelling experience. I felt drawn into the world immediately, as it is a fantastical and extremely charming story of a middle-aged man thinking back to his childhood and his adventures with the weird family living in a farm at the end of the lane.

So, book lovers have their fair share of events to choose from during the wonderful month of November, coincidentally also known as “National Novel Writing Month” among internet aficionados. I’ll be writing and reading a lot the next weeks and hopefully, you will too!

Have a great week.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

Tennis, Books and more!

This week is quite a busy week for me, so my post today will be a bit shorter than usual. A few interesting events are going on in Switzerland in the next few days, so I wanted to give you a quick overview of all the interesting experiences you can gain.

Let’s start off with some sports, as the ATP Swiss Indoors Tournament will be played in Basel this week. The tournament is one of the most important indoor tennis tournaments and will host some of the greatest players around this year. Roger Federer, one of the greatest players to ever hold a racket, will be appearing in his hometown as well, hoping to keep the title in the country. Stanislas Wawrinka, who has played an amazing season thus far, will try to do the same. Other fantastic players fighting for glory are Richard Gasquet (FRA), Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) or Nikolai Davydenko (RUS). For anyone interested in sports and tennis specifically, the tournament is the best chance to see it in Switzerland!

As everyone reading this blog regularly knows, I read a lot. And this weekend a fantastic event for book lovers takes place in Zurich as the city hosts “Zürich liest” (Zurich reads).
Over 100 events can be visited in Zurich, Winterthur and the adjacent regions. It starts this Thursday and runs through Sunday. I’ll be visiting a reading from Swiss-American author Stefan Bachmann on Friday at 8pm at “The Bookshop by Orell Füssli”, so maybe I’ll catch you there. Other notable events include the opening of the festival on Thursday at the Kaufleuten and a reading by the nominees for the Swiss Book Award on Friday at the Literaturhaus Museumgesellschaft. However, it is a predominantly German-speaking literature festival, so it might be difficult for non-German speakers to follow all of the action. A lot of the events are aimed at children, so families will find their fair share of opportunities to learn more about the magical world of books. For a full schedule, check out their website.

And last, but not least, the Basler Herbstmesse starts on October 26. The traditional fair has been around for over 500 years and offers it’s 1 million visitors various events. There will be Basler specialties, fun rides and the whole city will be full of interesting booths. The fair runs until November 10. I’ve never visited it before, but plan on checking it out this year, if I find the time. For more information, check out this website.

So that’s it from me for today. If you have any other events to recommend, please let me know on Twitter or in the comments!

Have a great week.

Sincerely yours,

Albert

Sweet Spots at the University of Zurich

With the new university semester taking shape and almost a month old, I’m spending more time at its wonderful halls of learning. After talking to my friends and asking them for ideas on what to write about, they kindly gave me the idea to write about my favorite spots at the University. Should you ever visit the city of Zurich, the university (and the neighboring Technical institute) is one of the most impressive structures to admire. The main building was built in 1914 and therefore is almost 100 years old.

The centerpiece and one of the hubs of student life is the Lichthof (which can be translated into “light court”), a large, spacious and bright atrium. Thanks to an impressive glass roof, this atrium is extremely bright at all times, keeping students from noticing the incoming darkness and light. According to one of my friends, it has also been the place of unspeakable tragedy, as one worker once fell through the roof and met his end on the marble floor of the university. However, it remains unclear if this story is real or just one of the many urban legends surrounding the school. The Lichthof is the most frequented meeting and hangout spot for students from all subjects thanks to its perfect location.
Adorned with carvings from Greek mythology and a headless statue of a Greek Goddess, it also offers impressive art to admire. The eye-catcher however is the famous “Blue Bed”, which was placed in honor of the first female law student at the university.
The Lichthof is the best place to take in the atmosphere of the university while enjoying a beverage of your choice, before heading up to my favorite study spot at the campus: The tower.

The tower of the university is home to a various number of rooms:  a den to sleep and relax, the language learning center, a computer room and the university staff restaurant. I prefer to study from the elevated heights of the university because of the view it offers.

2013-09-30 16.01.21My terrible photography skills and the grey autumn weather don’t do the view any justice. On a sunny and clear day, visitors can see the Uetliberg and the lake from the rooms in the tower. It offers a welcome break during the long study days right before exam time. Originally, a model of the university depicts the building to own two towers, but those plans never materialized. So the tower stands tall on its own.

In summer, I often leave the central campus to travel to the Irchel campus, about 10 minutes away from the main building. The campus, which is the home of the medical students and other laboratory-based subjects, lies in the heart of one of the biggest parks of Zurich, the Irchelpark. At it’s center is the pond, which invites visitors to take a break and enjoy the scenery. A trail around the park makes the location very popular among runners, while a football field and tennis courts offer other recreational possibilities. From April to September, I spend many of my breaks relaxing at the campus, even though I don’t have any classes there.

Should you plan on checking out the university campus in Zurich, these are definitely my favorite places to be. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

Hope you have a great week!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

 

Zurich Film Festival Recap

The ninth Zurich Film Festival ended yesterday and so it’s time to write up a short recap of the happenings around it. According to their official press release, a total of 71’000 visitors attended the screenings around the city. That marks an impressive growth of 22%. Like I’ve mentioned before, I got the chance to see two movies. Also, I’ll take a short look at the prize winners, although I wasn’t able to catch them.

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Three wonderful everyday Train Routes

A few weeks ago, I gave an introduction to Train Travel in Switzerland and announced that I would be talking about some of the most iconic train trips in the country. However, due to the start of the university semester and other commitments, my time to take on extended scenic journeys is somewhat limited. On the other hand, there have been a few beautiful routes I’ve taken while working in the financial sector. Of course, these are not famous trips like the Golden Express or Bernina Express, but everyday routes taking by students, tourists, businesspeople and retirees alike.

Bern – Geneva

The train ride from Zurich to Bern only takes an hour, but also leads to a large number of tunnels. Continuing from Bern on to Geneva however is probably my favorite high-speed route in Switzerland. Between Bern and Fribourg the landscape is full of forests and green hills, with smaller towns lining up nicely along the way. But the highlight of the journey awaits after Fribourg, when the train exits a tunnel and enters the Région lémanique. As the train weaves it’s way through the vineyards of Canton Vaud, you’re treated to a beautiful view of the Lac Léman. The train then continues all the way along the coast through the city of Lausanne to Geneva.

Biel – Yverdon

Another beautiful route along one of the many lakes in Switzerland lies between Biel and Yverdon. The train first follows the borders of Lake Biel before reaching Lake Neuchatel. It offers a comprehensive view of St. Peters Island, the peninsula where the famous philosoph Jean-Jacques Roussau spent the happiest days of his life. Along the shore there are a many tiny, idylic old-fashioned villages  and the charming city of Neuchatel to explore during the journey.

Bern – Interlaken (-Brig)

The last route on today’s list is the fifty minute ride between the capital and the famous city Interlaken. The route extends all the way to Brig, but the last part of the journey is spent mostly in the darkness of the Lötschberg tunnel, which considerably cut the time of reaching the Canton of Valais. On the way to Interlaken along the shore of Lake Thun you’ll see some of the best views the region of Bern can offer. You pass the towns of Spiez and Thun and end in Interlaken, one of the most famous tourist places in Switzerland. But the defining part of the trip is the view of the majestic Alps, which can be seen throughout the whole journey and make the trip a particularly beautiful ride.

These wonderful “normal” routes are a big reason of why I prefer train travel to car travel. I hope you get the chance to check them out!

Sincerely yours,
Albert