Monday, April 30, 2007

wisteria balconies

Since Z in Villigen mentioned she likes wisteria, here's a picture of some impressive vines that have practically taken over all four balconies of this house on my street.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"have fun at work!"

This piece was cleverly placed next to a bus stop in the Höngg neighborhood.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


View from a friend's rooftop terrace while we were grilling some food. Two words: apartment envy.

Friday, April 27, 2007


One of the main tram stops in Zurich, where several lines intersect. As the name indicates, it's right in the middle of the city. I spend a lot of time here, either passing through on a tram (at least twice a day), walking by, or waiting for a tram.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

hb on fire?

noooooooo!....It was just the sun setting behind the Zürich Hauptbahnhof (Zürich main train station) yesterday evening, giving its windows a fiery glow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

so what time is it anyway??

So the Swiss are also known for their clocks. and watches. and precision. and punctuality. But apparently something went terribly wrong today. If you click to enlarge the picture, you'll notice that the two clock towers are showing different times. The tower on the left is part of the Fraumünster Church, which is also home to a series of stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall. The one on the right is St. Peterskirche, and at 9 meters in diameter, its clock face is the largest one in Europe. For the record, St. Peterskirche was showing the correct time and Fraumünster was off.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


As I was leaving work, I found this one person electric, er,... car (if you can call it a car...) parked outside a house and being recharged. If you enlarge the picture, you can see the electical cord on the right going from the um, vehicle, to the window above. Click here to see it from another angle and get a better sense of its size.

(apologies for the late post--rough day[s] at it's my turn to recharge...)

Monday, April 23, 2007

zurich beach

These beach volleyball courts by the river are always packed when the weather is nice. We had another beautiful, hot, sunny, weekend, and even though it's only April, it feels like summer is already in full swing. This picture was taken yesterday.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I found this stencil along the Limmat River. Though a completely different type of graffiti from the one spotted by Dsoole in Madrid last week (Sunday April 15), it expresses a similar sentiment...Love the wordplay.
added 04/26/2007 for your entertainment: "The Complete Bushisms"

Saturday, April 21, 2007

lunch break

I took this a few weeks ago, when the weather was nice, but before the trees started to blossom. These students were enjoying their lunch break on the walkway above the railroad tracks at the Stadelhofen commuter station. You've seen this station before here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

tram reflected

on my way to work...
For those of you participating in the virtual scavenger hunt looking for a certain hotel sign on Neumühle-quai, please go here. Good luck!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


The Swiss are known for their meticulous cleanliness, and it seems as though a lot of time and energy here is spent cleaning something. People either hire 'putzfraus' (cleaning ladies), or in many cases, 'hausfraus' (housewives) stay at home and spend a considerable part of their day cleaning their homes and looking after the children. This building in the Old Town is directly across the street from my office, and is home to a combination of small offices and apartments. This putzfrau has been hired by the landlord to clean the common areas of the building and I see her wiping down the windows (inside & out) of the building's stairwell at least once or twice a week. I actually know someone who lives in that building, and she tells me "that poor woman is always, always, cleaning those same windows!" I was sitting at my desk when I took this picture, and a few minutes later, she had moved down one floor to the window at the bottom of the picture.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


These flowering trees are blooming all over Zürich these days. There is even one right outside my living room window. I took this picture in the early evening as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sechseläuten Monday

Above is a shot from the Sechseläuten Zug der Zünfte (the procession of the guilds). This is one of my favorites because traditionally, membership in the guilds was only open to men, so the vast majority of the participants in the parade are men. Mostly, the women stand on the sidelines handing out flowers to the guildmembers they know (husbands, fathers, brothers, friends, etc...) as they walk by. It was nice to see a woman with her own bunch of flowers for a change, so I decided to post a picture of her. More pictures of the parade here.

And below is the highlight of the entire festival: the burning of the Böög

According to tradition, the Böög, an efigy of a snowman stuffed with explosives, is placed on top of a huge pyre. After the parade, at preciesly 6 pm, the whole thing is set on fire in order to blast away the Winter, and welcome the Spring. Legend has it that the sooner the Böög's head explodes, the warmer, longer, and better summer we will have. It took just over 12 minutes for his head to blow up, meaning that we should have a moderate summer this year. With apologies to Punxsutawney Phil, I must say that the Böög is a far more exciting weather forecaster. Click here for more details on yesterday's events.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sechseläuten Children's Parade

The main event on Sechseläuten Sunday is the Children's Parade. The kids wear historical costumes representing the guilds, carry flowers to welcome Spring, and hand out candy to spectators. It's usually cloudy and chilly during this time of the year, but the last few days have been gloriously bright and sunny, and hot, hot, hot! (around 24-25C yesterday, I think) Though cute, the poor kids were wilting underneath those heavy velvet dresses, tights, hats, vests, long sleeves, etc...This is one of my favorite pictures because it's one of the few where the boy is smiling. These boys represented the bakers' guild and were handing out breadrolls instead of candy. A few more pictures of kids (some looking less thrilled than others) in heavy costumes here.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sechseläuten Saturday

These two were on their way to a formal ball held on Sechseläuten Saturday for the parade participants and guild members. More pictures of participants in traditional costumes here.

Each year during Sechseläuten, Zürich invites one of the other cantons to be a special guest. Tents are set up at the Lindenhof, where representatives from the guest canton perform traditional music and dance. This year's guest canton is Zug (which in German means 'train').

Pictured here is the Böög, who will meet his explosive fate on Monday evening, welcoming a representative from the Canton of Zug, holding the canton's shield. Note that in the poster, Sechseläuten has been spelled phonetically in Swiss German, which for me is hopelessly unpronounceable.

(Not exactly Sunday graffiti, but I'll make up for it some other day...)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

guild banners

The city is all decked out for for Sechseläuten, Zürich's own version of Grounghog Day, which takes place this Monday. However, Sechseläuten festivities will be taking place all weekend. More on Sechselauten in the next few days. For now I'll just say that it involves parades, children, guild members in traditional costume, flowers, flying fish, and an exploding snowman. Swiss flags and banners representing Zürich's old guilds have been put up all over the Old Town. Pictured here are some of the guild banners. My personal favorite so far is the the "pretzel-makers guild"

Friday, April 13, 2007

hacky sack!

Late afternoon by the Limmat River, and these guys were playing hacky sack. Seems like the warm weather is here to stay, and everyone is definitely enjoying Zürich at its best: long days, sunshine, hanging out at the lake or river, relaxing at outdoor cafes and bars...soon the water will be warm enough for a swim...yay!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

old fashioned spiderman

I found this little guy climbing up the side of the Zürich Stadthaus, an administrative building sort of like a city hall. There are plenty of other interesting characters on the Stadthaus building, many of them representing traditional Zürich guilds, so I might post a few more in the future. But I couldn't figure out what guild this guy represented--spidermen?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

scooting by

I was reading a book on a bench by the lake when I caught this kid zooming past me on his scooter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Another beautiful long weekend in Zurich, and everyone was out enjoying the sunshine. Pictured here is a scene just outside the Chinagarten, next to the lake. This guy definitely had the right idea. Note to self: buy a lightweight portable hammock.

Monday, April 9, 2007


It's Easter Monday, and we get the day off in Switzerland. I guess they just needed to give us a day to recover from all the chocolate binging on Easter Sunday. So, to conclude the the Easter chocolate theme, I bring you a picture of one of the dislplays at Teuscher, another famous Swiss chocolaterie. However, with its generous use of fake flowers, oversized bows, and shades of pink, I find the decor a tad over the top. The chocolate is still good though. More pictures of Teuscher here.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

easter bunnies

These cute Lindt bunnies can be found pretty much everywhere in the weeks leading up to Easter, and they're my favorite Swiss chocolate bunnies. I love their little bells. And because I couldn't decide on just one picture, here's another shot of the Lindt bunnies, all lined up.

Because it's Sunday, and I didn't want to skip a graffiti/street art post, here's a special Easter edition of Street Art Sunday:

These bunny stickers have been showing up on posts and street signs all over Zürich--year round, not just during Easter time. The interesting thing about this particular sticker is that I found it in my neigborhood next to a house that has a pair of pet bunnies in its backyard. I'm guessing that's why the street artist put the sticker in this particular spot. One more bunny sticker here.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

sprüngli display

Confiserie Sprüngli is a Zürich institution, and its flagship store on Paradeplatz has been there since 1859. Above is a sample of Sprüngli's Easter window displays. For one more humorous picture of the display, go here.

Friday, April 6, 2007


Because this is Switzerland, the airport just has to have a chocolate shop (or 2, or 3...) in the airside shopping area. The Lindt store has a 'chocolate chef' and travelers can watch as he makes the fancier truffles and chocolates. This time he was just putting some finishing touches on the Easter chocolates and bunnies.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

killing time

Here's another shot from Flughafen Zürich. Apart from waiting in long lines, this is probably how most people spend their time at airports: sitting around, having some coffee, sitting around, catching up on work, sitting around, reading, sitting around, fiddling with their 'crackberries' (woman on top right), sitting around, talking on their cellphones, sitting around...
What do you do to kill time in airports?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

hcirüZ nefahgulF

I just got back from a long weekend in Rome, so I'm posting the obligatory "I-was-at-the-Flughafen Zürich (Zürich Airport)" picture. I may post some more airport shots in the next couple of days, once I get a chance to go through all my pictures and choose a few that I like.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

because we care

The Zurich transportation authority is so concerned with the health and well-being of its passengers that they decided to post a series of quick and easy stress reduction exercises on the sides of the ticket vending machines. Now we can de-stress as we wait. Or as we ride the tram. How thoughtful of them.

Monday, April 2, 2007


This is a covered walkway along the Limmat River, in the Schipfe area.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

life is a game...

...Place ya bets
I found this on a building on the bike path along the Limmat River.