| Travel, Zurich,

You won’t believe what you can do in Zurich

Beatrice Lessi

All right, all right, in Zurich they speak Swiss German. It sounds like that noise you hear when you look for a radio station and there’s no reception. But don’t give up… I can guarantee you’ll manage to communicate with locals; and here’s how. Don’t ask Swiss people “do you speak English?”: they will start wondering if their English is good enough and answer no. But if you learn even just 2 German words and pronounce them badly (very easy task), they will immediately switch to a decent English and help you. So here we are, you can talk to them now. Therefore I suggest you to try something (some) locals do.

Hang upside down in the oldest pub in town

For example, you can go to the oldest pub (and restaurant) in town, the Oepfelchammer. It still looks like 200 years ago, they serve terrific local wines in a all-wooden setting and completely carved walls. The special challenge of the place is the following: if you manage to climb over two ceiling beams and drink a glass of wine hanging upside down, you will get your drink for free, and will be allowed to carve your name into the wooden walls. Not easy.


Oepfelchammer’s carved walls. It’s the oldest pub and restaurant in town. Photo: tripadvisor.com

Deliciously melting chocolate

Or maybe you want to try the Lindt Chocolate course. Park your car in the Lindt headquarters parking space, and you already feel in paradise. Awww, the smell! Delicate, silky, sensual, first-class warm chocolate smell. Get in through the stylish entrance (resembling a boutique hotel more than a chocolate factory), wear your gold buttoned uniform and Chef hat (available also for children), and stand in front of the laboratory. In a surprising move, all automatic doors will open at a given moment and a Hollywood-like music background will make you feel like a chocolate star. Go to one of the Maitre Chocolatiers, and do what he/she does. You will get to dip your spoon in huge pots of melted chocolate and make your own pralines, teddy bears, chocolate creations…anything you feel like creating. The packaging will also look first class, so the final product will look like your own personalised, chocolate art. Prices are 70 CHF (about 79 USD). For more information, go to Lindt & Spruengli.


Rogere Federer at a Lindt chocolate course: he made a sporty chocolate sculpture. Photo: the-slice-com

Opera for any budget

And how about going intellectual, and trying the Zurich Opera? Dress up, it’s the opera after all! Most people make an effort and look elegant. Some look weird, but I love weirdos. Again, the first pleasure here is the parking space. Recently renovated, it must be the most expensive parking space in Switzerland (and don’t forget Zurich is the most expensive city in the world), but the displayed ruins and the stylish design will make you feel like in a brand new, tiny museum. Now it’s time for music and passion; let the emotions flow, feel the tears or the goose pimples. For budget deals go on a Sunday lunch show, or get a cheap ticket from a side seat (it will cost you about 38 CHF – about 43 USD) , or enjoy your pic-nic at the the free outdoor opera once summer arrives. For more information, visit the Opera website.


Red velvet, golden roof and pillars, and a huge chandelier at the Zurich Opera House. Photo: zuerich.com

An impressively well organised Treasure Hunt

Finally, you can go for a Treasure Hunt – alone, in a couple or in a group. It will bring you through the most beautiful spots of Zurich, and is available in English too. Check online the many tracks available in different cities. Choose a walk you like, book your treasure hunt, then go the starting point. Dress comfortable for walking, take the task seriously because it’s quite fun if you do so, follow the instructions, solve riddles, decipher secret messages, find the following path, have a laugh. You can wear make up if you like, because at the end, in a secret location, you will get a surprise picture and it will be posted in the internet.



Hunters enjoying the Zurich challenge. Photo: Zuerich.com