Home > festivals, travel > Countries Starting with S: Switzerland, Part 1 (of 2)

Countries Starting with S: Switzerland, Part 1 (of 2)

10 August, 2007; 10:00 Leave a comment Go to comments

Last weekend I was reminded of one of the great benefits of moving to Stockholm. Not only are there what Stockholm and Sweden have to offer, but also I now have a jumping off point for so many other places that remain unexplored to me, relative to North America. For example, since last weekend was my last chance to take a trip before school starts, I used the time to visit a friend in Zürich, Switzerland. I think I’d been to Switzerland before, but that would have been when I was four years old; so it was virtually my first time to the country. Last weekend was also Street Parade, which is the largest open-air rave event in Europe. Plus, there were two other dance/electronica music festivals in the city, and the three events drew an enormous number of visitors for the weekend.

I flew in late Thursday night, late enough that after Sigrun and I went for a couple drinks to catch up, we were shocked to discover it was already 2 a.m. and the bar was closing. So Friday morning I got a bit of a late start, but was just fine — this was my vacation, right? Sigrun had just handed in a draft of her dissertation, so fortunately she had some free time to show me around Zürich, including stops at:

The Fraumunster church, with stained glass windows by Marc Chagall:


…a bike ride along Lake of Zürich to a waterfront park that featured a building designed by Le Corbusier, a Chinese garden, and this installation, where Sigrun herself set a huge stone sphere spinning on a bed of running water:


…a botanical garden:


…Cafe Voltaire, i.e. the birthplace of Dadaism:


…and Sternen Grill, for what’s thought of as the city’s best sausages (and I have to agree):


dscf1029.jpgOn Saturday, Street Parade itself dominated the experience of Zürich, since the center-city was overrun with partiers, mostly in their twenties and many from outside Switzerland. At first, I thought it looked like it might be reminiscent of Burning Man (the huge annual experimental temporary community and arts festival that is about to happen again in the high desert of northwest Nevada) because there was a constant electronic dance beat in the air throughout the central city, and because many people were dressed up in costumes. But as we waited for the parade itself, it became clear that this had a much stronger emphasis on partying, and particularly on drinking. The best costumes I saw were at the beginning of the parade:


The core of the parade was a procession of tractor-trailers, where the trailers were mini-rave parties from each of the sponsoring dance clubs. In the back of each trailer was a massive stack of speakers that made those with earplugs look especially prescient:


…and behind each of these trailers, spectators would join in and dance behind as they went on down the street—apparently they had by that time chosen the dance party they wanted to go to:


The dance parties camped out near Lake Zürich and continued all day long and late into the night.

Categories: festivals, travel
  1. majsan
    6 September, 2007; 22:09 at 22:09

    Ssssss… Cities and countries, beginning with the letter “s”… Does that include Soklahoma? 😉 M

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