On my way to the bus stop in Berlin, a fox crossed my path, our eyes met and then it continued briskly on its way. It didn’t seem the most promising of mornings – bitterly cold and a little foggy but as our plane took off from Tegel, I pressed my nose against the window to enjoy the panoramic view of Berlin with all its landmarks in miniature illuminated in the dark. And then in Zurich, as if by magic, the clouds on the horizon cleared to make way for brilliant sunshine and probably the last really warm and beautiful day of the year, almost an Indian summer. I explored as many of the charming, winding streets as I could, surprised by the sudden steepness of certain places, admiring the beautiful Chagall stained glass inside the Fraumünster and its slender, elegant spire outside. My eye was constantly caught by shop windows full of the most beautiful chocolates, bread and pastries. But on a day like that, it was the lake that proved to be the ultimate attraction. I lost track of how long I spent walking along its shores, or sitting beside it, soaking up the glorious sunshine, listening to the sounds of water lapping, birds crying, the voices of passers-by and someone nearby playing a musical instrument.
First view of Zurich
The Grossmünster in Zurich
The Pavillon Le Corbusier
Zurich’s beautiful opera house
Eventually though, my need for refreshment got the better of me and I headed to Sprüngli’s on Paradeplatz, waiting patiently in line while all the time casting an eye over the astonishing range of cakes on display alongside. I envied those children who must be brought here regularly because it really is the most wonderful place where trying one kind of cake just isn’t enough.
Another walk was needed after overdosing on coffee and cake
In the evening, I braved the cold to walk a short distance to the Arthouse Movie cinema, a charming little place with plush red seats and space to hang coats at the side, to watch François Ozon’s Frantz, one of the most beautiful and poignant films I have seen.
Zurich is, of course, also the home of my friend Jan who writes the beautiful Clovis Sangrail fashion blog. It was even more wonderful meeting him in real life and we spent a charming afternoon at Café Felix with its old-fashioned and rather OTT decor, talking and laughing over tea and too much cake. The minutes turned into hours and then it was already time to leave and head out into the darkness to the train station and then to the airport. I felt no desire to head back to the icy streets of Berlin. There was still so much I wanted to see, so much I wanted to talk about but in spite of the melancholy feeling as I boarded the plane that night, I knew how lucky I had been to have had the loveliest of weekends and that Proust understood all too well that the greatest pleasures go by all too quickly.