Category Archives: Zurich Going Out

Streetparade: 20 Years Love, Freedom, Tolerance & Respect

Streetparade 2011: Centre Stage, Bellevue


Zurich: A city renowned for business, banks and a high standard of living. It all sounds so formidable. And serious! But every year at around about August, it’s time for the people of Zurich – and beyond – to let their hair down. It’s time to party!


The Streetparade event has been a magnet for techno and trance fans in ist 20 years of existence. With the first parade having taken place in 1992 with approximately 1000 participants, this number has now increased by a thousandfold. Throughout the 20 years it has established itself as one of the largest techno and trance events on an international level. With themes such as ’Peace!’ (2002), ’Today is Tomorrow’ (2005), ’Move Your Mind’ (2006) and ’Friendship’ (2008), the event is known for having proportionally few severe incidents throughout the years. An event that is affected by weather conditions, Streetparade 2003 and 2004 saw record temperatures of 37°c. But even at 17°c (2002 and 2006) partygoers still had a blast.


This year’s Streetparade was no exception. Starting at 13:00, six stages and approximately 30 floats known as ’lovemobiles’ caused the centre of Zurich to bounce. Under the theme of ’20 Years Love, Freedom, Tolerance & Respect’ approximately 900,000 ravers partied hard under the sun of Zurich. As every year the event featured big names in the world of techno and trance – Boy George, Carl Cox and Paul van Dyke, just to name a few. With free admittance one must add! Not a bad deal for an event taking place in Switzerland’s largest city in the heart of Europe. Everyone can come! And they did… Many loyal ravers have travelled from various parts of Europe to attend the 20th anniversary of Streetparade.


Many attend Streetparade afterparties – Energy being the most prominent. Starting well before the midnight hour, the event takes ravers through the night and into the early morning hours. Known as the largest indoor event of Switzerland, thousands of ravers flocked from Zurich’s city centre towards the Hallenstadion in Zurich-Oerlikon. The amazing David Guetta, DJ Antoine and Sir Colin were some of the DJs in this year’s lineup at Energy.

While the Streetparade event itself is free, the CHF 90.40 charged for Energy 2011 may cause some partygoers to think twice about attending. For the first time also, this year’s Streetparade organisers insured themselves against a financial loss due to bad weather conditions. So while Zurich became unimaginably unrecognisable on Saturday 13th August 2011, some things simply remain to remind us that we are in Switzerland after all…

Streetparade: Temperature vs. Participants































































Swimming In The Limmat


The recent hot weather phenomenon has not only brought about a plethora of roof terrace “grill parties” but also seen almost everyone Zurich take to the water.

The wonderful thing about Zurich, which seems to contrast with nearly every other inland European city, is that it has a high quality of water and this means that you are able to actually swim in its rivers and lakes. The result is a huge success and nowhere can this be more clearly seen than by the banks of the Limmat or more specifically at Oberer Letten (called the Letten by locals).

For those of you unaware of the Limmat it is the river which flows into and out of Lake Zurich, part of this river is a shallow stony basin and another part transforms into a canal, originally for industrial purposes, but which seems to have a much higher popularity with the local bathers during the warm summer months.

Located on the north bank of the river just 10 minutes north of the hauptbahnhof, Letten is an integral part of the summer social scene and on sunny days the river side is packed with people sunbathing rotisserie style inbetween frequent dips, as well as volleyball players, people barbecuing and lots of just general sitting down and hanging out. The laid back beach atmosphere will nearly have you believing that you’re at the Costa del sol but without the annoying sand.

The best thing about the Limmat though is that local businesses have managed to develop along the banks of the river and beer, drinks and food are available for not an overly unreasonable cost (by Zurich standards), as well as some deck chairs, tables, grassy areas and even for the brave, bridges for some high adrenaline jumping. The bridges as yet remain a personal goal left unchecked for me.

If you don’t feel like paying out for food at the bars however you can always bring your own or nip over the more northern bridge to the conveniently placed Migros supermarket. Here you can pick up some food from the deli, or snacks and drinks from the very large supermarket located underneath. Sun cream is also an important factor (factor 30) for those of you considering a longer afternoon by the Limmat and while the sun here is not as strong as in the south of Spain for example it still has a good effect, especially on those of us not used to being frequently exposed to anything more than rain.

I personally go to swim, relax and read a book, so if this is what you are also after, here are just a few tips when finding somewhere to sit;


    • Don’t sit near the ladders that come out of the water – everyone climbing out gets the deck and you really wet


    • arrive early – these days it choc-a-bloc so the earlier the better, saying that small groups will usually find a place


    • Avoid larger groups and standing people – especially if these people are playing annoying music and talking loudly


    • try and avoid the bins – they don’t seem to smell too much but people will be constantly walking over you to put stuff in


    • if you’re going to sit on the grass bring a blanket


So with the good weather set to continue into the weekend, get your swim suit out, jump in and enjoy.

Take Your Brain For A Spin At Denkfest

If you enjoy science and discussing it, there is an event coming up in September that may be ideal for you.



Called Denkfest, it is billed as “Four days of science, critical thinking & intelligent entertainment” with workshops, presentations and discussion groups for science teachers, students and bloggers. Or just those interested in science generally.

Sessions will be held in German and English and unfortunately like most things, the event is not free but if you are interested, more information is available at the event website:


Happy Birthday Switzerland!

August 1st is Swiss National Day so I am pleased to say Happy Birthday Switzerland!

Initially it’s nice to see the holiday fall on a weekday so we actually get the day off but it’s a day taken very seriously in Switzerland.



It celebrates the creation of the Swiss Federal Confederation in 1889.

All cities and most towns will be running their own celebrations and if you have gone past a Migros lately, you will know to expect a lot of fireworks! 

Watch The Böögg Burn

Monday April 11th is Sechseläuten in Zurich and for most companies in the city, is a half day public holiday.

Traditionally, it is the celebration of the end of Winter, with the culmination being the burning of the Böögg, a snowman perched atop a huge bonfire.


The Böögg snowman burns in Zurich


The burning takes place in Sechseläutenplatz, the area between the Opera House and Bellevue:



The burning of the Böögg snowman is said to determine the quality of the Summer to come. The bonfire is lit from below and once the flames reach the snowman, the excitement in the very large crowd grows.

The Böögg’s head is filled with explosive and the shorter the time between the lighting of the bonfire and the exploding of his head, the better the Summer will be.

In 2010, his head exploded in 12 mins 54 seconds.


Sechseläuten 2010


More information is available on the official Sechseläuten website and via Sechseläuten. You can even get your own mini Böögg at home!



Pam Ann Lands In Zurich!

Mile High Club member and Trolly Dolly extraordinaire Pam Ann arrives in Zurich at the end of April for two shows at the wonderful Dolder Grand Hotel. was able to ask her a few questions recently about her visit to our fair city (contains some adult references!)



Welcome to Zürich, Pam. How does our city compare with others you have performed in?

It is always so wonderful knowing I am coming to Zurich again. I have had some of my best shows in Zurich, the audiences are open and up for a laugh.

On my tour in 2009 I was invited to a house party of some fans, they didn’t expect me to come and I surprised them, it was awesome. They still remain some of my best friends to this day.

So Zurich holds a special place in my heart.

What’s it like playing to a Swiss audience?

At first I thought the Swiss were quite reserved but as the show continued I realised they were very open and they actually encouraged me more and more I think I ended up doing a 2hr show when it was suppose to be only 1hr 15min.

To me that is a sign of a great audience connection you don’t get that everywhere.

Are you looking forward to appearing at one of Europe’s finest hotels?

Wow the Dolder Grand reminds me of something out of a James Bond film. It is so chic and so picturesque, moments like those I am so grateful for. They are memories I have forever. It is a real honour for me to be not only staying at the Dolder Grand but to be also performing is super exciting and so glamorous, which is so Pam Ann.

Maybe I will meet my Zurich Prince?

I am actually performing the night of the Royal Wedding which makes it oh so much more Dolder Grander and glamourous. I am very excited.

What insider tips can you offer air travelers in this age of body scanners and liquid restrictions?

Personally I take as little on board as possible, I wear clothes and shoes that are easy to get on and off quickly. Pam Ann however loves an inappropriate pat down she takes liquids through and hides metal in her bra and up her vajootza, just so she gets pulled aside.

It depends if you are bit lonely and haven’t been felt up in a while it’s a great opportunity. There is always something exciting about full body search.

Have you ever deliberately crashed your cart into a passenger’s leg?

Oh yes Pam Ann has not only crashed her cart into passenger’s legs she has run over passengers and killed them.

Last question. What would you do if Charlie Sheen was on your flight and demanded a glass of tiger blood?

Pam would go and kill an economy passenger siphon their blood pour it into a champagne flute and serve it on a silver tray to Mr. Sheen and just tell him is was ‘Tiger Blood’ Any request from First Class passengers on Pam Ann Airlines we will Endeavour to fulfil.

From Tiger blood to a baby seal throws nothing is too much.

Pam Ann performs her show “You F’ Coffee” at the Dolder Grand Gallery on Friday and Saturday 29th & 30th April 2011.

More information and tickets available at

Even more info on Pam Ann available at and on her Facebook Page, Twitter Page and YouTube Channel.

Google Translate For The iPhone – Translates Speech Into Text And Audio

It’s a brand new addition to the list of the best iPhone apps for expats in Switzerland, but I thought this was worthy of its own post.

There are many apps on the iPhone that use the Google Translate interface and basically submit your text to Google and then show you the translation.

Now, directly from the source, comes a translation app that could beat them all.

The Google Translate App for the iPhone lets you speak your mother tongue into the device, wait for a translation and then see the translated text on the screen.

Not only that, but you can hear the translated text spoken back to you.

You need an active data connection to make new translations, but you can save your favourite ones for use offline.

The app certainly improves its accuracy the more it gets used to your voice but so far I am not seeing it deal too well with putting the verb at the end of sentences.

That said, it’s very useful for the basics.

Google Translate For The iPhone