April 6, 2017


When they heard I'd be spending the week in Zürich, my friends were eager to hear about my adventures. “It's a trip for work,” I explained. They seemed unconvinced.

Towering bookshelves and chandeliers, B2 Hotel, Zürich, Switzerland
Day one began with a 7 a.m. breakfast in the two-story library (33,000 books) at the hotel (in a building that once housed a brewery). The chandeliers were crafted using original beer bottles. The day ended around 7:30 p.m., at which point my boss and I headed out of the office for dinner.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Much good work got done.

One evening was reserved for dinner with the team. Another evening, a colleague and his partner hosted us for a Moroccan-inspired dinner at their apartment. (It was amazing.) I conspired to keep one evening free. In Zürich, as in San Francisco, it's ballet season.

Giant clock composed of flowers along Lake Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
On my way to the Opera House on a lovely spring evening, I strolled through the Arboretum.

Lake view of the Opera House with swans, Zürich, Switzerland
What could be more picture-perfect than swans on Lake Zürich?

Tonight's performance? Swan Lake.

Front view of the Opera House from the Sechseläutenplatz, Zürich, Switzerland
I learned that the Opernhaus Zürich has a somewhat surprising history. Not all cultural treasures are treasured, it seems.

Ornate carved and painted ceiling with chandelier at the Opera House, Zürich, Switzerland
I thought the restoration was stunning.

The performance, featuring Anna Khamzina and Tigran Mkrtchyann, was ... interesting. I'm most familiar with Helgi Tomasson's interpretation (which, as fate would have it, I had seen just four days earlier in San Francisco). Alexander Ratmansky's revival includes elements that were unfamiliar to me, truer to the historic Petipa version. Some seemed superfluous or even confusing; other moments I will regret missing whenever I see Tomasson's version.

Mosaic fountain glittering at night, Zürich, Switzerland
I walked back along the edge of the Arboretum, where this mosaic fountain drew me in for a closer look. Public fountains spouting drinking water are pretty common, but none so lovely as this.

Night view of the Münsterbrücke, flanked by the Fraumünster and Grossmünster churches,  Zürich, Switzerland
After a moment's hesitation (walking alone, at night, in a foreign city), I backtracked to cross the bridge for a clear view of the Fraumünster and Grossmünster churches. It was worth it.

When my colleagues in Zürich asked if I had visited before, I summarized my bike trip (2015). “You've seen more of Switzerland than I have!” they'd respond. Not on this trip, though. Next time ...