I have been traveling from A to Z a lot lately. While I live in Amsterdam most of the time, I visit my girlfriend near Zürich as often as possible.
Even though I have been hanging out in Zürich for a while, it is still hard for me to grasp the city’s identity. I find it somewhat strange yet impressive, and I often feel like a lost little boy looking for his parents.
What is Zürich all about, and who are its residents? Are they open minded or reserved? Will I be able to connect with them? These questions are going through my mind as I walk the streets, feeling a bit like an alien.
Can somebody show me the real face of Zürich?
In order to put Zürich into perspective, I decided to find some locals who could show me around.
Here are three kind women who took me by the hand during my recent visit to Zürich (figuratively speaking). They were more than glad to help me out! Next, I am looking to hang out with some male residents. It will be interesting to see what side of the city they prefer to show me.
With Tamara on Lindenhof
The first woman is Tamara. She is 24 years old and works as a nurse at the university hospital. When I ask her to show me a nice place in Zürich, she almost instantly mentions Lindenhof.
Lindenhof is a big, tree covered square about 20 meters above the left banks of the Limmat river. Even on this late winter day, there are a number of people hanging out here.I can only imagine how popular this cozy hideout must be during summer…
From up here, we enjoy a really nice view over Zürich’s old town with the Limmat river below and the Grossmünster towers in the distance. No wonder the locals like to escape the busy city to this place of serenity: Lindenhof is perfect for winding down, talking with friends and enjoying the bird’s-eye views. Now and then, you can find Tamara hanging out here. I am very thankful to her for showing me this place.
With Carine at Waid
The second woman I meet is Carine. Also 24 years young, she studied pharmaceutical sciences at ETH Zurich. From the bus stop where we first meet, Carine takes me to a vantage point much higher than those I have previously been to: Waidbadstrasse.
It is a cold and rainy day, but the views from here are really impressive nonetheless. Carine tells me that she used to sit here a lot with friends when she was still living on the campus nearby. I understand the reason why: From Waid, you can literally see the whole city of Zürich. How cool!
Thanks for the great advice, Carine!
With Alexia at Rote Fabrik
Lastly, I meet up with Alexia. This young lady studies literature and I first ran into her on her way to school. Alexia kindly offered to show me her favorite place in Zürich that day after class.
From the entrance to ETH Zurich, we take a tram to the Rote Fabrik. This alternative cultural space is located at the lake near Wollishofen. I can imagine that a nice drink can be had there, as well as a party (or two)...
But today, Alexia buys a couple of cappuccinos and takes them outside. I find out that it is not really Rote Fabrik that she wants to show me, but rather the lakeside just outside. No wonder: I share Alexia's love of the lake and mountain views from here, and get why she likes to hang out here.
Tamara, Carine and Alexia showed me their favorite Zürich spots with nice views. Through these locals, I have learned to see Zürich from a new perspective and I like the big open spaces it has to offer.
Now, Zürich, I still don’t know what you are, but you have some incredibly nice people walking around here! Next, I am hoping to meet a lot more people and I am curious where Zürich's guys will be taking me. Take care Zürich, I'll see you soon!
He travels back and forth to Zürich at least once every few months to make portraits of the cities' inhabitants. And to visit the love of his life, of course!