The city of Zürich has many fountains – in plazas and on streetcorners. Some are decorative, some are commemorative, and some are purely functional – but all are potable. On my morning walk I pass at least two such fountains, and always pause for a drink. They run constantly, even through the winter, and thus always taste cool and fresh. It is a delightful public service and a boon to those who’d rather refill a water bottle than purchase yet another disposable bottle of water.
This elaborate fountain sits in a courtyard garden called Zentralhof, in one of the oldest quarters of the city beside Bahnhofstrasse and not far from some long-buried (but recently rediscovered) ruins of Roman baths.
In a common traditional design, the fountain pours into a pool over which metal bars can support a summer-time planter. Such fountains (like this one on Bahnhofstrasse) also have streams that pour water over gaps in the metal bars, on which a villager could rest a pot to collect water.
Other fountains are more plain and functional; like many, this has a mini fountain at its base so your dog can drink as well.
And some newer fountains take a more contemporary approach, yet blend it with the natural world so ingrained in Swiss consciousness, such as this rocky fountain near an entrance to the Universitätsspital.
As I varied the routes of my morning walk, I began to realize the huge variety of fountains, and it occurred to me it might be fun to find them all. Since most (if not all) appear on a street corner, i.e., at intersections, the challenge appeared to be similar to the famous Hamiltonian Path problem in computer science: given a graph of vertices (intersections) connected by edges (street segments), devise a path that visits each vertex exactly once. No such option existed for me, as I spread my travels out over several weeks and must begin/end each walk at the same point. But I’ve tracked my walks as a means of finding new routes to cover each day; here’s how it looks so far:
See the gallery for more shots of the above fountains. More fountain pix yet to come!
The city apparently has a project underway to refresh and renovate some of the historical fountains.
Switzerland is slowly reopening as the number of daily coronavirus cases declines. Museums, shops, and restaurants opened last week, as well as primary schools; barbershops and gyms opened two weeks earlier. Many restrictions still apply, though, and the goal is to remain cautious lest we trigger a large second wave of infections.
So on Wednesday when I started feeling mildly ill, with a slight difficulty breathing, I began to be concerned. It took more effort to speak, and my voice deepened. After two nights of difficult sleep while finding it hard to breathe, I decided to contact the university coronavirus testing center. It’s only a few blocks from here and I’d noticed its sign a few weeks ago. Read on to see how it all turned out.
Spring flowers burst forth in March and continue to this day.
Spring has been truly beautiful in Zürich, starting in late March with the daffodils and flowering trees. The city plazas and hillside gardens have all been in bloom, making it a delight to walk through the hillside neighborhoods. Every week a new phase seems to begin – the wisteria and chestnut trees have faded, but the azaleas are now bursting with a range of hues. Over time, I’ve captured a few photos of these colorful displays, and share them in a gallery here. Below is our neighbor, the Liebfrauen church.
It’s a dreary, rainy day today so I pulled out a photo from Monday’s sunny morning. I was walking along the Limmat river and liked the way the morning sun reflected off the Landesmuseum tower and the placid river. The museum re-opened that day, and I hope to go back for another visit soon.
Unfortunately, I was coming due for a haircut just as Switzerland closed all the barbershops (and other services*) on March 16. Although Switzerland re-opened barbershops and nail salons on April 27, it was only yesterday that I finally decided to give it a chance and get a haircut (Haareschneiden), 15 weeks after my prior haircut. I picked a cheap place near the university, put on my brand-new mask, and headed in. The barber was wearing a mask, and sanitized his hands between customers, but otherwise there appeared to be few of the protective measures I’d expected. Still, the haircut came out well, and now I’m set for another couple months.
* thelocal.ch, March 16: “Postal and banking services can remain open, as well as outlets offering take-away or delivery food, though hairdressers, barbers and prostitutes were among those told to shut down activities.” – Wait, what?
Last week I saw one upscale hair salon trying to lure customers with champagne al fresco. Maybe I should have gone there…
Zurich’s old buildings often carry elaborate carvings.
As I walk the quiet streets of the neighborhoods on the Zürichberg hillside we call home, I try to look up from time to time. Many of these multi-family apartment buildings used to be, I believe, grand homes of wealthy businessmen perhaps a century ago, and each has its own distinctive style. Many have elaborate ironwork on the balcony railings, or classical figures carved in relief. The lion is especially common, because two appear on Zürich’s coat of arms, and the Lion is the namesake of the local hockey team. But I found this particular building, with an elaborate combination of an eagle and a snake, above a mustachioed man, to be especially captivating. I wonder what it means?