“I love it, it’s so cute!” I exclaimed full-heartedly, post travel to Switzerland.
If a city can legitimately be described as cute, it’s got to be Zurich. Every aspect of the place seems to come together in harmony, offering only the most adoration of its demure quaintness. Perhaps its the mere modesty of it’s circumference, which seems entirely commutable on foot – so cute! – or maybe its the Swiss people and their colourful fashions. Maybe it’s the culture by which every part of everyday life suddenly becomes more efficient, smoother running, on time, and precise. With a clock on every corner, there’s no excuse for being late in Switzerland.
Or maybe it’s the little cobblestone streets that wind in between the neatly lined and tightly-neighboured buildings of varying colours, offering an array of boutique shops and cafes, or the little food stands with the largest variation of pretzels you’ve ever seen, the wafting deliciousness of the roasting Marroni – chestnuts – making your mouth water. But lest we forget the Swiss bratwurst – oh, the bratwurst – how cute and delicious and positively satisfying!
But to speak of the positively satisfying, mouth watering aspects of Zurich wouldn’t be complete without revealing the significance of the truffles and macaroons of the infamous Sprüngli. Luxury confectionery, indeed. Oh the joy to stroll along the Bahnhofstrasse, window shopping at Chanel while feeling any normal pangs of self-pity stolen away by the sweetness of a champagne truffle and a raspberry macaroon.
And how breathtaking – both from physical exertion and awe – to climb the many stories of the Freitag flagship store, perhaps the only store in the world constructed solely of shipping containers, stacked into a tower (luckily not leaning). Catching my breath I took in the eclectic, industrial paradise where the truck tarp-constructed accessory products sold match not only the store, but also the entire West neighbourhood.
Upon leaving, once back at the airport with thirteen chocolate bars stowed safely in my luggage, Switzerland gave me a parting gift that made me question my very opinion of it. Perhaps simply summing it up as “cute” was wrong of me after all. Perhaps I had underestimated it. Upon my arrival I had noted the escalators that rested, vacant and still, and was almost shocked into an oblivion when they began moving in fine working order the moment a passenger stepped aboard. Never before in my life had a stationary escalator been a positive thing. “Wow!” I thought to myself, smile widening. “How efficient! How impressive! How smart!”
So I should have half-expected to be wowed again, but instead I stared inquisitively at the glowing lights evenly spaced throughout the parking lot, most glowing red and some glowing green. After a few seconds my discovery sent me into another awe-stricken moment of enlightenment. The lights indicated which parking spaces were available, and which were taken, based on the sensors placed neatly above each and every space. How simple and brilliant and utterly impressive. Switzerland’s efficiency, beyond its cuteness, means no more wasted time searching for a spot, among other things.
So my five days in Zurich was cute and sweet in its brevity, leaving me wanting more while pushing me to explore its boundaries. But perhaps I shouldn’t refer to it as cute, perhaps the city has earned a better adjective.
Switzerland is cute in its appearance and size, but also capable, smart, and perceptive in its way of life. So I’ll add another “ute” without completely deleting “cute”.
Switzerland is astute.