When the city becomes magical- the Züri Fäscht 2010

Posted on July 7, 2010


There have been quite a few occasions recently when I found myself thinking that Zurich is almost painfully beautiful at night, but that for some strange reason, at its most striking it tends to be especially empty of people and devoid of things to do. Most of its streets are deserted by 9 pm during weekdays, Cafes close early on Saturdays, and shops, cafes and even some restaurants don’t open on Sundays. Unless you like hanging around in bars and drinking (which I don’t – I’m more of a tea-and-chocolate-cake kind of person), the city will quite literally push you away from its beauty, because there’s just nothing going on.  I often find myself wanting nothing more than to sip a hot chocolate on a terrace overlooking the lake – only to discover that every single cafe is closed on a Saturday.

You can therefore imagine my delight when it was time for the Züri Fäscht (held every three years) which was spread over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday and during which the city came alive with colour, food stalls, amusement rides and a crowd of happy people. The eagerness with which a crowd of millions rushed to enjoy this weekend of fireworks and fun to me speaks about the desire people here have for more of this sort of thing. 

For all these reasons, the Züri Fäscht was heart-warming for me. The cafes were still closed and so were the shops, but the streets were pulsating with life – stalls proudly displayed massive whole pigs roasting away on spits, the smell of raclette, bratwurst, and meat on skewers permeated the air. All rubbish bins had been packed to full capacity and now had litter overflowing from them. There were concerts and air shows and fun fair rides, and a visual delight at every corner.

I would have loved to throw myself fully into this celebration, but being afraid of crowds, I had to leave early so as to avoid that point when a sea of people would simultaneously try to get themselves home.  I was, however, left with a clear idea of what the place I’d like to live in  should be like – its liveliness should be the norm, not just a once-in-three-years occurence. It should be beautiful, but also full of joie de vivre.


-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress.com

Posted in: Zurich