Saturday, 26 December 2015

Weihnachtsmarkt in Zurich

Finally! It is Christmas! To celebrate the most cheerful time of the year, I will take you today on a tour along the traditional Christmas markets and "villages" in the city of Zurich. The first one will wait for us already at the main train station.

 It is packed with tiny wooden stands where you can buy all sort of food ...

 ... or craft.

The stands are organised in small alleys, like in a little village.

 In the back you have surely noticed a huge Christmas tree. It is really special since it is decorated with Swarovski crystals.

The tree is surrounded by little boxes exhibiting pieces of Swarovski jewellery. Just in case someone would miss an idea for a gift.

In the back there is a little old-fashion carrousel for the young ones.

Alright, I propose we grab a bratwurst and move on to the next place.

We will leave the main train station (or the Haupt Banhof) by the Bahnhofstrasse (or the train station street). You may recall that we have visited it already some time ago. But today, it has a special Christmas attire.

As we move forward in the direction of the Zurich Lake, I suddenly hear some Christmas carols. It seems we are coming close to yet another Christmas tree. A singing one this time.

Obvioulsy the tree itself does not sing. The elves do.

And they do it really well.

Next to the  tree comes another set of wooden stands, with sausages and warm wine.

In the back you will find the Zurich observatory Urania.

Let's now cross the Limmat river.

In the Sechseläuten square next to the Zurich opera comes the biggest Christmas village.

You can find there of course many stands ...

... and a few presents too.

The place is really crowded.

In the back you surely spotted our first giant Christmas tree tonight.

Thos of you who feel like doing a bit of sports can try this ice skating rink with a premium view on the opera house.

All others can just sit and chat in one of the many small bistros.

From here we can admire the full moon at its best.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Saturday, 19 December 2015


Last week we were in Thalwil. Today I will take you to the neighbouring town of Horgen, in order to allow you to see a typical Swiss village a bit closer.

Horgen is the capital of the Horgen district (I am sure that you have noticed that Swiss people are thrifty and limit the amount of geographic terms that they use).

"Karte Kanton Zürich Bezirke 2010" by Tschubby - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Let's start our trip today next to the regional office. It is far from being impressive.

The town of Horgen has something around twenty thousand inhabitants. As in most Swiss towns, Roman catholics and reformed live next to each other. Even the churches are close enough so that it is possible to catch both towers in the same picture.

The catholic church of Saint Joseph is quite modern in style.

 Let's move down to the old town.

The first human settled in the Horgen area already in prehistoric times. There are documented remainings of the Pile Dwellings around the Alps, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But if you look at the building here, they seem pretty modern, being probably a hundred or two hundred years old.

This is also the case for the reformed church, which has been built towards the end of the eighteenth century.

Let's move on in the direction of the Zurich Lake. This cubic building is the Town Hall.

To arrive at the lake side, we will take the little bridge, or passerelle as they call it here.

On the left you can see the train station ...

... and on the right the Horgen-Meilen ferry that could take you to the opposite side of the lake. I really find this view great, with the Alps as a background.

Let's go down now, to sea (or rather lake) level.

The train has just arrived. You did not hear it coming? No worries, nothing is wrong with your hearing. Swiss trains are like ninjas - they move without making any sound.

On the pier you will find some seagulls waiting patiently.

In the water some ducks and a young swan.

They all hope that we have some bread for them. I did bring a bit and will throw it to them. I suggest you take a step back unless you want to feel like in a Hitchcock movie.

Next to the pier you can spot a little marina, where the boats of the inhabitants of Horgen hibernate during winter months.

Behind them stands one of the nicest buildings in Horgen - the Villa Seerose.

Let's have a closer look. To the left my friends.

Villa Seerose used to belong to a rich industrial family. Nowadays it houses the music school of Horgen.

In front, there is a little park with some sculptures I would have difficulties to describe.

The Villa has given its name to the lake swimming pool.

We have visited it already in summer time, so now only a glimpse to see what it looks like without all these people (and without leaves on the trees).

If we go down the Seegartenstrasse (or the Lake-garden-street) we will see another nice villa, built for another rich industrial family - the Herner Villa.

It is not open to public but could be rented out for some zillions of Swiss francs. Just on the other side of the street comes the Herner garden, which probably used to be part of the same property before the street was created. Now it looks a bit like the Secret Garden.

Let's try to look inside.

This nice little path leads directly to the lake shore.

If we could enter inside, I could show you the lake pavilion. But since it is a private residence, I can only show you some pictures found on the internet.


I hope that you have enjoyed this insight into a typical Swiss town in the canton of Zurich. This was quite a long walk so I propose that we sit for a while on this nice bench before we set off for some new adventures.

Those of you who speak a bit of German have probably already noticed that it was founded by the Horgen Tourist Office. What a nice idea. The practical nature of Swiss people has definitely many upsides.