Despite the fact that I've been living in Munich for almost two years now, and that I have had - and still have - friends living all over Switzerland, I hadn't stepped onto Swiss territory for some ten years. Not that it doesn't appeal to me... I dream about getting lost in the middle of nowhere around there some day, looking for all this awesome contemporary architecture that blossoms here and there amidst the mountains.
A couple of months ago, Margarida, a friend who studied with me in Porto and with who I've also shared a flat there, told me she was organizing a trip around Switzerland with some other friends, after Easter... and I decided it was the perfect time for me to finally cross the border!
A few days later, at the office - what a coincidence!, - Anna asked me if I wanted to join a group trip to Zurich. Apparently there was some international students trip, yet I said I already had plans to go there. She tried to talk me into going with her... but in the end she suddenly decided to come with me! We bought the tickets and booked an hotel almost the same day.
A two day trip, it had to be, as we couldn't take any days off, yet I think it was actually enough for sightseeing and feel the city. We were lucky that our trip coincided with the Spring celebrations there, and got the opportunity to see the beggining of the festival, with an awesome parade!
I liked this city so much that I thought I should share some bits of my trip with you!
Hope you like it!
First of all, let me introduce you to the travellers.
This has to be the best selfie ever, especially because I couldn't see a thing while taking it.
We started our trip on Saturday... at 6 in the morning! A bus took us to Zurich. I, the person who a couple of years ago could never sleep on a bus, slept the whole three hour trip through Germany and Austria and only woke up right before the bus left the highway to stop at the Swiss border. For some "exciting" moments we believed that Anna would have to stay there, because apparently no Swede over 18 possesses an ID card (she's gonna be mad at me for making fun of it again! First part is just dramatizing but the second is a funny fact).
We had made a short plan for our trip, a list of architecture must-sees, and Anna had it all pinned on a map in her phone. We started the trip with the things that were farther from the centre, as we wanted to see the festival on Sunday.
While looking for our architectural checkpoints, we stumbled upon a crazy steel structure wrapped up in ivy: a vertical garden, unfolding into several platforms, which were reachable through steep metallic stairways. We climbed our way to the top, but the best view was actually found from below up. How cool is it to have a machine-made material being muffled by nature?
The artificial and natural, intertwined.
And Anna, the explorer - notice the (let's say cool) neon yellow trainers ;) like Wally, she'll keep showing up in these pictures every once in a while, so keep your sight sharp!
While walking around the suburbs we couldn't help but notice the profusion of brand new housing buildings, many of them still under construction. Lots of different architectural concepts end up crummed together at the same place, buildings designed by different architects standing opposite to each other, yet they shape a quite harmonious ensemble. Seems like all these guys were taught to think alike - yet everything looks pretty different. Just take a look at the following balconies...
One of the things I liked the most about Zurich, besides the lovely old town and the stunning lake landscape, was the Viaduct. Some smart guys decided to use an urban area that is usually neglected - dirty, shady, shameful, whatever - and turn it into a upbeat open mall. It is huge, extending itself under some fifty double bridge arches, and with a higher platform along one of its sides. There is a small speciality market at the end of it all, and multiple stores selling trendy clothes, homeware and/or bikes, together with some cafes and other smaller food shops.
Lunch by the lake... we couldn't get enough of it! We both love the sea!!
The weather was not so nice that day, it even started raining at some point, but thankfully it didn't ruin our plans.
We found that they had a self-service Lindt truffle counter at the supermarket, so I couldn't help it but bring my favourite for dessert (marc de champagne) ♥
Next step was to check out this Le Corbusier... a gem! And it had this cute little kitchen :O
We ended up by the lake again - what an awesome feeling it is to look at ALL THAT WATER.
And the snowy mountains on the background... oh wow ♥
Zurich is also beautiful at night...
And here's why I should find a rich Swiss husband:
ahhh lovely truffles.
I had to stick with this:
My friends were arriving on Sunday, and staying for Monday, but we did have plenty of time in the morning to check out a lot of other points of interest that we were missing before meeting them.
First of all, there was this museum, that looks like it has been covered with curtains. Except they are perforated steel curtains. The inside looks pretty much like a renovated factory, and it reminded me a lot of these new constructions they made for Guimarães when it was capital of culture a couple of years ago.
...they had pink stairs :O!
The Prime Tower was our next stop.
It has a cafeteria and a bar on the rooftop, with an amazing view over Zurich.
It's a looong (lift) way up!
Some more nice morning details:
a) some bar decided it would be a cool idea to hang random umbrellas on the street...
it recalls Águeda, defintely.
b) daffodils... they were - literally - everywhere!!
c) cool stairway to nowhere.
d) the weirdest statue I have ever seen - and I've seen some pretty awkward ones!!
Continuing our beautiful architectural route...
The guy who designed the following building was architecture 'nobel' just last year.
I think the guy who let us in was kind of proud of working in a building designed by such a person ;)
Take a look at the floor - it's awesome, and it was made with local stones!
And we finally met my friends, Margarida, Alice and Ricardo! The weather was awesome that day, and it felt great to just walk around the crowded city. Oh yeah, it was REALLY crowded - everyone seemed to have come for the Spring festival, and the parade!
This part looks a bit like Miragaia, in Porto.
The old town is really nice: narrow streets, cute houses and a cozy feeling ♥
Many streets were all filled with flags - for the festival?
And finally the backstage of the parade! How cute are these kids!? There were groups coming from everywhere, we didn't even know where to turn to! And then there were also camels, lamas...! Crazy!
We had lunch - wurst, how original! - sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for the parade. It was really cool, I had never seen such a crazy parade: there were groups of kids dressed up according to all the epochs, chronologically ordered, and then other groups representing different countries. I really liked this picture and the way the background kind of interacts with what's happening on the foreground.
As it could not be otherwise, taking into account the amount of portuguese people living in Switzerland, we were also represented...
And... oh, well... no one knows this... but we "wasted" our last two hours of Zurich laying down by the lake, sunbathing, eating ice-cream, and looking at people, making up funny stories about them.
Couldn't ask for better :)
See you some other time, Zürich!
And you... you have a nice Friday!