The park takes center stage

First off: The Zürifäscht was incredible. With great booths and fantastic parties, I spent most of my weekend in the city enjoying the party. The highlight was the spectacular display of fireworks both on Friday and Saturday, illuminating the clear summer sky and accompanied by a brilliantly fitting soundtrack. As far as pyrotechnics goes, the Zürifäscht didn’t disappoint and still delivers the gold standard. I really hope you didn’t miss Switzerland’s biggest festivity this time around, because it kept its promise of sun and spectacle. If you did, make sure you’re here in 2016 for the next edition.

After such a busy weekend, obviously many visitors of the Zürifäscht will have the need to calm down and relax. The city of Zurich has many great places by the lake for an afternoon of bliss, including the Renten- and Chinawiese. On beautiful summer days, they’re packed with high schoolers, college students, stay-at-home mothers and fathers and anyone lucky enough to have a free day.

However, nothing can compare to the recreational area my friend and I visited last week: New York’s central park. The massive green patch in the middle of Manhattan is one of the great wonders of the city. Also known as the lung of the city, the 840 acres has been a mainstay of all of my New York visits so far.

The first time I arrived in the city of dreams, I was awestruck by the skyscrapers as well as the energy and mass of people. I felt right at home. This feeling was amplified when my friend and I, staying in a hostel on around 95th street, walked the few blocks and stepped into the park. Seeing such a large space of grass and trees amidst the brownstones and posh apartment blocks was fascinating. We then made our way to the Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis Reservoir. I clearly remember standing there, staring at the calm face of the water, getting passed by the swift movements of joggers and thinking: why would I ever leave?

On my second visit my girlfriend at the time and I covered even more ground: we took a bicycle tour through the park and explored more of the east side I didn’t know before taking the route to the sullen memorial to John Lennon. One of the great architectural feats of the central park is the ability to merge cyclists, joggers and tourists. During the tour we discovered many of the hidden ponds and fountains scattered all over the park. We enjoyed the shade the tall, impressive trees provided and listened to the bits of trivia our guide had to say about the park.

This time around, my friend and I spent most of our time on a Sunday lounging in the large lawn in the south of the park near the Fifth Avenue entrance. Just watching the various pastimes of New Yorkers brought serenity to the hectic pace of our six-day trip. To our left, three twenty-somethings were trying to produce bubbles as large as basketballs with one girl succeeding after what seemed to be a hundred tries. Our eyes followed the bubble as it took flight, ascending higher and higher passing the young ladies lying on their towels tanning themselves. With the help of the slight breeze the bubble travelled over to the group of high school kids celebrating the end of the school year and the promise of future. It continued to the couple clumsily tossing a baseball back and forth. The girls, who had blown the bubble, were naturally delighted by their success and their laughter filled the air, although it was soon drowned out by the excited shouts from the group playing high level beach volleyball nearby. The bubble, now slowly descending, got a last bout of second wind and flew by a kid in Spain jersey (unsuccessfully) trying to emulate his idols with his father. We took a last look as the bubble burst on the soft grass and continued our journey reenergized and completely recharged.

Sincerely yours,

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