Switzerland: Fun in Zurich

By week one, I was becoming a professional bummer and my days were split between minding the boys, strolling in the park, dodging cigarette smoke and watching some exceptionally fascinating programs on European cable tv.

Yah it’s pretty out there but it’s pretty comfy back in our stripper home too.

The only English channel was BBC, but they also had TLC which was dubbed entirely in German. I don’t watch a lot of TLC back in Asia but I figured it didn’t have highly-engaging, highly-intellectual content like its Swiss counterpart, such as advertisements for erectile dysfunction featuring a singing, dancing penis and a reality series centered on a dwarf and her romantic relationships entitled Little and Looking for Love.

I was also extremely delighted to come across a show called Louisa & Rosanna. Louisa, which incidentally in German means WARRIOR PRINCESS, isn’t a very common name in the 20th century and a Louisa starring in her own tv show is rarer than an honest politician.

So hell no, I ain’t missing this shit for the world.

It turns out that Louisa was a transgender who’s married to another transgender called Rosanna, which is fine by me. Louisa also happens to be over-inflated, over-botoxed individual who looks like a cross between Megan Fox and Marilyn Manson.

It’s just too bad I didn’t understand a word this other more famous Louisa was saying.

After that, my head is swimming with life-altering questions that were begging to be answered like: what made her pick the name Louisa? How much did she have to shell out for those realistic-looking double Ds? Is that hair on her chin?

Like I said, quality programming, guys.

Anyway, if you manage to tear yourself away from the telly (in which case, congrats!), there are other ways to have a swell time in Zurich.

The most obvious fun activity, of course, is a cruise around Lake Zurich. There are many ways to do this, but I’d recommend buying a day pass (CHF8), which entitles you to free tram rides AND a scenic boat cruise. It’s supposed to be very relaxing — unless of course, you are lugging two babies and half the house around like us (Thank God for moms and mom in laws!).

Doing the tourist thing.

But seriously, the lake is lovely on a summer’s day, filled with pedal boats for rent, ravenous swans and ducks ready to gobble up any yucky restaurant food on your behalf, and the occasional busker who’s too lousy to make a living in other European towns.

They seem to love stale bread too.

So bad he’s gooood.

Taking the pedalo out because Mika made us.

Second most fun activity is the museums. I mean, if you don’t like museums then boo hoo, sad for you, and what’s an uncultured ass like you doing in a European city anyway? Go to Thailand, you moron.

Anyway, while it ain’t New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the kids will love the Zurich’s Zoologische Museum (Zoological Museum) and so will the adults because entrance is free.

It was all in German but, hey, anything for a picture.

Can’t keep his hands off this giant beaver.

My personal fave, however, was the Kunsthaus Zurich (CHF15), and it was pretty amazing to see so many Van Goghs, Matisses and Chagalls crammed into one rather tiny place. It’s also free on Wednesdays so even cheapskates load up on some art and culture.

YASSS!

The Kunsthaus also happens to be close to this great little bar called Cabaret Voltaire, which brings us to the third most fun activity. Cabaret Voltaire is THE birthplace of Dada-ism — not a funny new language, but a subversive art movement. Anything anarchic or subversive makes me pant with excitement so it’s only natural that I had to make a pilgrimage there with le husband and our two year old.

Not our picture but you get the idea.

To gain entry however, you have to be members first. And to be members, you had to draw something and perform something — ANYTHING — in front of the other bar-goers.

Obviously this is not possible with a two year old in tow (and not because of my obvious lack of talents thankyouverymuch). In the three seconds that we had left him alone to check out one of the performances like a pair of creepy stalkers through the window, Mika had wandered off by himself and was now screaming in agony because he was pinned under a big bike that had toppled over. WTF. #parentingfail. Cabaret Disaster.

Fourth most fun activity is a stroll in the sterile old town, along the Limmat river.

Whoever thought summer could be so cold?

Zurich isn’t Paris or Rome but it is relatively tourist free, and any place in Europe that isn’t inundated with tour groups these days is bloody fcking great, at least in my opinion.

It’s wonderfully purged of people on non-festival days.

If you can find your way out of the altstadt, the fifth most fun activity is a forty minutes ride away by train: the Wildnispark in Langenberg. This is the anti-zoo, where you get to see super exotic animals like bison…

Cows on steroids.

Bears…

You’d never guess this is one of the most dangerous animals on earth just by looking at him.

And wolves in a natural forest-like setting.

Bringing Big Bad Wolf to visit his broskis.

Some animals like the Przewalski’s horses from Mongolia look pretty sad in their enclosure (they even bothered setting up a yurt nearby to make you feel like you were in Mongolia) but the rest (see above) seem content and even proud to be exhibited for human entertainment.

There is even a ‘Walk with the Wild Boars’ trail, which presumably allows you to get close to these creatures because, who knows, you might be kindred spirits.

The final most fun activity is Uetliberg, a half an hour away from the city.

The perks of traveling with two moms.

It’s steep enough to torment the physically and horizontally challenged, but basically it’s doable for the rest of us sightseers — just not with a stroller. We found out a little too late so we left our stroller behind and prayed no one would nick it while we hiked to the top and admired Zurich and all its blandness from above.

The biggest city in Switzerland isn’t that big when viewed from above.

And you know what? No one did. And that by itself makes this city pretty special.

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