35th Balloon Festival at Chateau-d’Oex

Chateau-d"Oex balloon festival


Chateau d’Oex is famous for it’s spectacular annual hot air balloon festival and this year it is celebrating its 35th birthday. It is definitely worth a trip out of town to go and visit. It’s on all week, finishing next Sunday 3rd February. As well as the usual colour and excitement of this famous “balloon week”, Saturday 2nd February will be particularly notable as they will be staging a unique show called “Night Glow”.
Chateau-d"Oex  balloon festival
The evening will start at 6.45pm and the theme very aptly, will be “Happy Birthday”. It promises to be an amazing evening with 300 performers and extras taking part, amongst them 20 complete balloon crews, the Swiss Ski School, skydivers, fireworks experts, sound engineers and many volunteers. The local atmospheric conditions play a crucial role in influencing the positioning of the balloons and the requirement for precision timing. The fireworks will be set to music, there will be a torch-lit ski descent and paragliders will take to the skies – all this against a backdrop of illuminated balloons.There’s a complete programme of entertainment organised for every day this week available to download from the website and even the opportunity to take a ride in a helicopter with Air Glaciers – simply book on the spot.  Rides cost CHF 60 for adults and CHF 40 for children.
Air Glaciers Helicopters
Entry to the Chateau-d’Oex Balloon Festival is free during the week. At the weekend it is  CHF 10 for adults and under 14’s are free. Included in the cost is the parking, a visit to the “Espace Ballon” museum and a visit to Etivaz’s cheese cellar at 10am or 3pm.

Enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds and do take your camera! For more information.

Chateau-d"Oex balloon festival
Photos: © Chateau-d’Oex Tourisme, Julie L and Fabrice Wagner
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Zurich Tanzt 3rd to 5th May – Zurich’s Dancing Festival

Zurich Tanzt 2013 is an amazing dancing extravaganza that will be taking place in Zurich from the 3rd – 5th May. It will feature dance events of every type imaginable and there will be dancing for everyone no matter what your age or interest.
Zurich Tanzt 2013
The auditions or “casting events” for the play “The Show Must Go On” by Jérôme Bel at Schiffbau will take place at Club Plaza on 27th January. The organisers are looking for 26 diverse people from the Zurich Area, who want to dance on stage for the opening piece. If you’re interested, you can register here up until 20th January. So if you’re keen to get involved and show the world that you can dance – sign up now!
Zurich Tanzt 2013
There will be 15 short dance performances by dancers from all over Europe, as well as some crash courses in different styles of dancing and a variety of events throughout the city. There will even be one big event at Zurich Hauptbahnhof on Saturday 4th May to show the world that Zurich “rocks”. They’re keeping it under wraps at the moment but there will be more information to follow.
Zurich Tanzt 2013
So don’t worry if you’ve got two left feet, or no rhythm, you’ve got plenty of time to start practising. After all, there are still a few weeks until the beginning of May, and it looks as if the whole of Zurich will be dancing that weekend!
For more information (in German) read here. Enjoy and have fun!
Photos: © Zurich Tanzt

Things to Do in Zurich This Weekend and Dreikönigstag

Dreikönigstag – 6th January

This weekend it is Epiphany on Sunday 6th January, which is celebrated in Switzerland with the baking of the special Dreikönigskuchen, or “Three Kings” bread. The bread is actually made of balls of sweet dough, sometimes with raisins, stuck to a central larger piece of dough to make a kind of “crown shape” and baked in the oven. Tradition has it, that if you are lucky enough to find a small king (usually the small white plastic kind!) in your piece of bread, you get to be crowned “King for the Day”  and can be absolved of washing up and clearing and other household chores for the day  … AND you get to wear a paper crown for the day too! Good luck and enjoy your rule!

Dreikönigskuchen

6th January is also the traditional day for taking down your Christmas decorations and tree. Check with your recycling / rubbish calendar as sometimes you can leave your tree out in the street for collection / recycling.

Photo13 Exhibition at the Maag Haalle

Photo13 takes place at the Maag Halle in Zurich, near Hardbrücke until the 8th January from 11am – 8pm each day. It is a great opportunity to view some fabulous photography and there are also lectures on photography from famous and world-renowned photographers. Entrance cost CHF 15 (lectures extra). For further information read our previous post about the event or check the website.

Photo13 Zurich

Free Ice Skating – “Gratis Auf Glatteis”

Heuried and Oerlikon ice rinks are offering another “Gratis auf Glatteis” ice skating event at their ice rinks this Sunday from 10am – 7pm. So if you’ve never been before and wanted to try it out for free – why not take advantage this Sunday 6th? Not only is the entrance free, but the skate hire too. If the previous event they had in November is anything to go by, this is sure to be a popular event! For more details (in German) check the website.

Paul Gaugin at the Kunsthaus

If you fancy visiting a museum or art gallery why not pop into the Kunsthaus to view “the Prints” exhibition showing work by Paul Gaugin which is on till 20th January? Click here to read our previous post. Or indeed, “Chagall, Modern Master” which runs till 8th February?  For more information check here.

Chavin Exhibition at the Rietberg Museum

The Chavin Exhibition at the Rietberg explores Peru’s mysterious temples in the Andes and runs till the 10th March. For more information.

Skiing

And of course there is skiing to be had!  Check out our Practical Info page for information on various ski resorts near to Zurich and check the webcams before you set off too!

Whatever you do, have a great weekend!

Snow scene in Switzerland © NewInZurich.com

Photo credits: Bruce Gilden at Photo13, NewInZurich

This Weekend In Zurich … heading for the New Year!

Weather Zurich

 

 

 

 

After a dull, rainy day in Zurich on Friday the forecast is for a little sunshine this weekend – so perhaps a chance to go for a hike, stroll round town, get to the shops and check out the sales?  If you want to know the shopping hours do take a look at our NewInZurich Christmas / New Year Shopping Guide to check the dates as there are special opening times around the New Year’s holiday. Or why not head for the ski slopes and get some skiing in? Or perhaps you fancy going to see a circus or a show? There are still a few tickets left for Salto Natale before it ends its run on 2nd January and also for Swiss Christmas in Oerlikon. We have some more details about the shows in a previous post which you might like to read.

Salto Natale Zurich

Maybe though, you fancy relaxing after all the festivities of the past few days and you’re planning on saving yourself for a great party atmosphere in town with the firework display in Zurich on New Year’s Eve.  Click here to read all about Zurich’s New Year celebrations.

New Year's Fireworks in Zurich

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just to prove that we did have some good weather earlier in the week, here is a view taken from just outside Zurich. Have a great week whatever you do! We wish you a “guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!” Happy 2013!

View over the mountains from Zurich

New Year Fireworks in Zurich – New Year Magic in Zurich!

New Year's Fireworks in Zurich

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything planned for New Year’s Eve in Zurich? In case you didn’t know there is an amazing firework display taking place in town on December 31st which started back in 1988 as a small New Year’s Eve party on Zurich’s Gemüsebrücke and which has now evolved into an annual event. Starting at 8pm, the party goes on till 3am (program below) with the highlight being a spectacular 20 minute firework display lighting up the Zurich skies.

Firework Display Zurich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors from across Switzerland and overseas are expected to visit the country’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations and enjoy the party atmosphere and watch the amazing display. The area around the Quaibrücke and the Limmatquai will be pedestrian-only from 8pm on 31st to 6am on 1st January, and the whole area around the lake from Limmatquai through Hechtplatz and up to Utoquai as well as over the Quaibrücke at Bellevue as far as the General-Guisan-Quai will be full of vendors selling food and drinks and there will be music too!

The fireworks, which are sponsored by Zurich Hoteliers Association, will be set off from 00.20am to 00.40am from two specially anchored boats.

Parking will be extremely limited so it’s best to use public transport to go to the New Year’s celebrations. The ZVV trams and buses will be running until 4 o’clock in the morning – so why not go along and see in the New Year with a bang?

New Years Eve Fireworks Zurich

Photo credits: zuerich.com

Lichterschwimmen in Zurich Thursday 20th December 6pm

Lichterschwimmen in Zurich

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss the very pretty and quaint tradition of “Lichterschwimmen” on Thursday December 20th at 6pm as hundreds of candles are lit and released onto the river Limmat and then float gently downstream. It all happens just off Weinplatz near Stadhausquai and as the children float the lights gently on the water, you can watch them sail downstream along the Limmat. The Zurich tourist office will be providing refreshments at Weinplatz – so grab something hot and wrap up warmly as the lights sail by. If you want a view right by the river it’s advisable to  get there a little earlier as the lights start setting sail promptly at 6pm.

Click this link in blue to check out a video from the Tages Anzeiger to see what goes on.

Lichterschwimmen in Zurich

Samichlaus Swim in the Limmat in Zurich – brrr!!!!

Samichlaus Swimming in Zur

Despite the ridiculously cold temperatures, not to mention the snow falling in Zurich on Sunday, there was a long line of people of all ages qeueing up to take (almost) all their clothes off and jump in the river! What’s more they had had to pay for the privilege – as well as register in advance for this rather mad tradition known as “Samichlaus Schwimmen”.

Samichlaus Schwimmen Zurich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now in it’s 13th year, it usually takes place at the beginning of December and involves jumping into the Limmat at Pier 7 near Bellevue and swimming across to the other side ending up (hopefully) at the Frauenbadi, preferably wearing a Father Christmas hat or some other festive adornment.

Samichlaus Swim in Zurich

The blue and sunny skies belied the cold temperatures – and the water temperature was between 4 and 7 degrees !!! However,  this did not deter just under 350 eager participants taking part this crisp December day.

Samichlaus Swimming in Zur

The groups were divided into small batches as they jumped into the Limmat every 4 minutes, accompanied by divers from Scuba Viva, the local scuba diving company based at Pier 7.  Around nine divers were on duty including Bruno (see photo below) and a boat ferried the swimmers’ luggage across to the Frauenbadi.  The police and a number of ‘watch men” were also on hand for safety.

Samichlaus Schwimmen Zurich

Some swimmers, including Lisa (see photo wearing garland) were not quite cold enough and insisted on swimming across whilst eating ice lollies.  Thankfully though they warmed up with a glass of schnapps once they arrived at the other side (after finishing off their lollies).

Samichlaus Schwimmen Zurich

If this has inspired you to try the “Samichlaus Swim” swim next year then don’t forget to register next year!

samichlausschwimmen

Samichlaus Schwimmen Zurich

What’s on this weekend in Zurich 1st & 2nd December and ahead…

Swarovski Christmas tree at Christmas Market

There’s lots to do this weekend in Zurich.  Here’s a quick round up – just click on the blue links for more information:

1.Whisky sampling on the Whisky Ships at Burkliplatz.

Whisky ships zurich

2. The Singing Christmas Tree in Werdmühleplatz just off Bahnhofstrasse is an institution in Zurich and if you haven’t seen it before then don’t miss it this year.  Christmas carols are sung by children all lined up in the formation of a Christmas Tree.  Why not go along and watch with a warming glass of Gluhwein! From 24th November to 23rd December
 For more information.

3. The LIP Lounge Christmas Party takes place on Saturday December 1st from 7.30pm to 4am at Schloss Sihlberg, Sihlberg 10, 8002, Zurich.

Local International Party Zurich

4. Samichlus Schwimmen – Father Christmas Swim in the Limmat – takes place on Sunday 2nd December from 2pm from Schifflände near Bellevue (Restaurant «Pier 7») to the Barfussbar at the Frauenbadi in Stadthausquai  Don’t worry, it’s too late to register to actually swim – but you can go along and watch as the brave souls dive into the freezing cold water!

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 10.38.38 PM

5. Sunday Shopping  in Zurich, in Glattzentrum and in Sihlcity.  Check this post for full details.

6. Book signing on Sunday 2nd December by JJ Marsh at Orell Fuessli in Rennweg in Zurich from 4.30pm – 6pm

Raw Material, JJ Marsh

JJ Marsh

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Airport Santa bakes Christmas Cookies this Saturday and Sunday from 2pm – 4pm on the Upperdeck of Zurich Airport.  This event is free for children 4 years old onwards, accompanied by one adult. If possible register in advance (see link above in blue) otherwise you can just turn up. Free refreshments for children and live music too.  This event is also on on 8th and 9th December at the same time.

8. You can also go Christmas Shopping at the airport and leave your little ones in a free creche. While you shop the children are entertained with painting and other activities.  This service is available from 1st – 23rd December on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1pm – 6pm and on Saturdays and Sunday from 10am – 6pm.

9. A visit to Zug for the English speaking production of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs.

10 A visit to a Christmas Market in Switzerland.

Christmas Market Zurich

11 A trip on the Marlitram for the children.

12 On 4th and 5th December Landscapes of the Soul Art Exhibition by Guillermo Rodriguez. Read more here.

Guillermo Rodriguez

This Weekend in Zurich – Christmas is on the way!

There is plenty to do this weekend in Zurich.  If you’re in need of some artistic inspiration don’t miss the Blickfang exhibition at Kongresshaus which is running on both Saturday and Sunday. As well as plenty of ideas for the home and fashion it’s also great for present ideas too! Scroll down to see our earlier post for full details on opening hours, tickets etc.  Bring the kids along as they even offer child care too!

If you missed the Christmas lights going on in Bahnhofstrasse, (Zurich’s main shopping street and incidentally, the world’s fifth-most expensive retail street), on Thursday,  why not go and admire them this weekend?  This year’s version of lights are called “Lucy”, consisting of 1,550 “diamonds” made from light refracting crystal. Over the years there have been a variety of different patterns and types deployed since Christmas lights first were first introduced to Bahnhofstrasse in 1971 and these “eco” lights, use  50% less electricity than the previous design.  They are also a tad more subtle than London’s Oxford and Regent Street lights (which this year bizarrely feature a bottle of marmite as part of the display!), …. it just all means that Christmas is on the way!

Singing Christmas Tree, ©NewInZurich

On Saturday 24th the first performances of the “Singing Christmas Tree” will take place in Werdmuhleplatz, just off Bahnhofstrasse.  Featuring school children dressed in red and green, singing carols in the formation of a “human Christmas Tree”, this is something not to be missed.  The concerts take place at the weekend at 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 6.30pm.  During the week the performances are at 5.30pm and 6.30pm and today 24th November the performances are just at 5.40pm and 6.30pm. They continue until the 23rd December.

On Sunday 25th there is the Samichlaus” Christmas Procession” in Zurich. Santa Claus, known locally as Samichlaus, and his assistant «Schmutzli»  hand out snacks and treats as they parade along Bahnhofstrasse. The procession starts around 5pm in Usteristrasse between Globus and Bahnhofstrasse.

Samichlaus

And if you fancy sampling a Gluhwein or two why not head down to Zurich Hauptbahnof where the annual Christkindlmarkt takes places from now until the 24th December.  With stalls selling everything from jewellery, knitwear, pashminas, candles, as well as amazing cheeses and meats and you can even have your lunch or supper there as there is also raclette and bratwurst on offer! The crowning glory of the market is as always the magnificent Swarovski Christmas tree standing 15m high and glistening with over 7,000 crystals. Open daily till the 24th December from 11am – 9pm and on Thursday, Fridays and Saturday till 10pm.

There is a smaller Christmas Market in Bellevue near the Opera from 24th November to 24th December.  Once again there is Gluhwein, raclette, bratwurst, marroni and more. It’s best seen when it gets dark when all the fairy lights show up beautifully against the late afternoon and evening skies. It open daily at 12 (on Saturdays at 11) and finishes at 8pm on Saturdays, 6pm on Sundays and 9pm on weekdays.

Voca People

Or why not try something totally different and go to a show?  Voca People are performing at the Maag Halle just off Hardbruecke and going by the motto of “life is music and music is life”, this troupe of five men and three women dressed all in white with bright red lips entertain their audiences through music and sound.  For more information and tickets see here.

Photos: NewInZurich, http://www.chlaus-zuerich.ch and Voca People

6 Things to do in Zurich this Weekend!

Lots going on this weekend in and around Zurich and it looks like it will be a good one whether it snows or not. A few things to keep you busy:

1. Open Day (Tag der Offenen Tur) at Zurich Kunsthaus – the gallery is open to everyone for free and lots of special activities including music, tours, competitions etc will be laid on to entertain you and please scroll down to our previous post on this topic for more information. Don’t miss this great opportunity: kunsthaus.ch

Photo: Kunsthaus.ch

2. Continuing with the “art theme” there is also the exhibition of young Swiss artists in Winterthur jungkunst.ch which looks like a great occasion to view aspiring Swiss artists in a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy, music, shopping and food and drink. Love this picture by Alain Poussot:

3. Jelmoli Style Days continue with a Family Day in the children’s department with special offers, family photo shoots, a special family breakfast in the newly opened Sopra restaurant and 10% discount on many items across the whole store.

4. On Saturday evening there will be an “apocalyptic evening of fun and food” with a reading in English by Justin Cronin, author of “The Twelve” at Orell Fuessli bookstore at 8:00 p.m. Entrance free. For more information click here. This is part of the “Zurich Liest ’12” initiative which you may have seen advertised on billboards around Zurich.  From October 25th to 28th, the international literary festival «Zürich liest 2012» there will be 140 literary events and more than 200 writers from Switzerland, Germany, Europe and overseas in Zurich and Winterthur «Zürich liest» is a well-known literary festival in the German-speaking world and project is run by the Zurich booksellers and editors association (www.zbvv.ch).For more info in English click here: Zurich Liest ’12

5. On Sunday there is the Family Halloween Day at the Jucker Pumpkin Farm in Seegraben from 11am till 5pm.  For more information scroll down to our previous post on the pumpkin farm and it’s “Olympic”pumpkin exhibition or click here to go to the website (in German)

Photo: Jucker Farm

6. And if you’re feeling thirsty why not taste some wine at the Coop Weinmesse at the Schuetzenhaus in Albisguetli.  It’s closed on Sunday but it is open on Saturday 27th from 2pm – 10pm. For free entrance (worth CHF 20) click on this link and download the coupon under the Zurich Albisguetli heading. Prost!