A Night in Zurich

[…Glattbrugg, Zurich, Switzerland…]

I finally made it to Zurich after a couple of months of planning to come back here. It seems like it’s been raining here a lot, or at least every time I looked at the forecast, rain was in it. That’s not to say that today was a perfect day weatherwise — it was still cloudy with 30% chance of rain, but at least there’s that 70% chance of whatever that I can live with.

I don’t know where the Swiss went for the weekend, but they certainly weren’t in Zurich. Save for a handful of tourists, the city is a ghost town for a Saturday. Arriving in the city center around 6 p.m., our feet took us to the cobbled streets of old town to the trendy plaza were metal grates had already been pulled down for the day. The gentle breeze that blew from the up the hill of Lindenhof down the alleyway by the riverbank played with the dozen red-and-white Swiss flags that flew above unlit shop signs.

Meanwhile, in Lindenhof square, spurts of small crowds came and went as I sat waiting for the light to change. From under the slim shade of linden trees, I was forced to listen to upbeat Latin music that blared from a mini boombox two gentlemen were playing. Couples like to go to Lindenhof to catch a sweeping view of the city; they sit on the ledge with their feet hanging towards the Limmat river, a cold beer on one side and a companion on the other. They mimic the twin spires of the Grossmunster that just narrowly escapes your eyes when you look at Zurich skyline.

When you’re waiting for the light, sitting there doing nothing, you are trained to watch your surroundings more keenly than you might want to. Where there are young lovers doing their business in a modest corner, there’s that lonely playground waiting to be discovered. Once in a while, the swings find its way into the thin air, and in between, Kasparov-wannabes try their hand at the giant chess pieces on the other side. It’s cheap entertainment in Lindenhof, but it’s a good way to pass time.

When it was time to take the camera out, I was happy. It was nice to have it sitting in my hand once again in the middle of this hectic month. Pity that the weather wasn’t the most ideal today, but I did what I could with what I was given.

So, it started as a quiet night in Zurich, and ended that way. The swift blue-hour light saw me half-running down the hill to the river, barely making in time to complete my planned route. Again, you do what you have to do and hope you did enough to satisfy yourself. I wished I had another night here so I can do it all over again, but that’s just being greedy. Sometimes, the moments in-between-capture count as well.

View of Grossmunster and Zurich Skyline from Lindenhof hill.

Folks come up the hill to try their hand at this giant chessboard. There are three of these in Lindenhof.

Playing with bokeh at the Hedwig fountain of Lindenhof.

Grossmunster Cathedral and the Limmat river at dusk.

The lost art of painting. It was refreshing to see an artist "paint his palette blue and gray" while photographers like me can have the same picture in an instant.

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4 responses

  1. I really like the fountain with bokeh shot. The “paint your palete blue and gray” line comes from the song “Vincent” by Don McLean.

  2. My daughter and I were way-laid in Zurich last summer when one of our connecting trains from Venice to Kaiserslautern was delayed. The transport dept. paid for us to stay the night in Zurich. We certainly didn’t complain! It was early enough to enjoy a late night dinner of wursts and beer and a walk through the pedestrian zone. While walking, we noticed a memorial set up on the opposite side of the street from us. It was then that we learned of Michael Jackson’s death. He was revered in Europe, it seemed.

    Did you see giant-sized hand-painted planters throughout Zurich? I don’t know if that was a traveling exhibit or a permanent fixture, but each one was so unique! The reflections of the lights at night in Zurich were stunning. It was an enjoyable little delay for us on our way home.

    P.S. I’d say the Swiss were on holiday in Italy or other southern parts of Europe!

    • Glad you had the chance to see Zurich, Susan, and for free too! No, I didn’t notice any planters around, they might have been there temporarily.

      Unfortunately, they did not turn on the lights until too late for me, so I only had a short window to work with. Some of my night shots were too dark already.

      And you might be right, I think the Swiss are on a holiday somewhere where it’s warmer and not raining. They’ve been getting way too much rain there, I pity them.

      Didn’t you notice how much more expensive it is there than any other countries in Europe though? Even McDonald’s was expensive.

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