Hixie's Natural Log

2006-05-25 23:00 UTC Late Spring 2006 Travelog: Part 11 (More thoughts on Zürich and Geneva)

Zürich has a Jet d'eau. And an Horloge Anglaise. And the Cirque Knie. What exactly do they think they're trying to pull, here?

On the other hand, it has a much more complicated tram network (easily rivaling Amsterdam's in terms of complexity; as with Amsterdam's, I'm amazed they don't have regular tram accidents). Also, while the majority of their trams seem to be quite old, with a 70s or early 80s feel to them, their new trams are much less ugly than Geneva's.

People in Geneva and Zürich are much more civilised than other places I've been to. It's no one thing that makes me say that, it's just that you can get away with things here that you can't in, say, London, or New York. Things like this guy who has brought his piano into the middle of a big tram stop and is busking with it, sometimes leaving it unattended, apparently without fear that it might get stolen or vandalised. Oh and things like this other guy, who just randomly walked up to the aforementioned busker and started, while standing next to the busker, while holding a big bag under his left arm, and with another bag slung over his shoulder, jamming away using the top octave of the keyboard.

They're jamming away improvised jazz at a tram stop at half ten in the evening, two strangers in the night, with quite the audience building up from the people waiting for trams.

A third person just joined them, jamming on the bottom octave.

Another thing that makes Zürich and Geneva seem more civilised is the cleanliness. In Manhattan, the trash is put in bin bags and placed on the side of the street to be picked up. I have no idea how the trash is picked up in Zürich. I haven't seen any trash. The roads are clean, there's very little litter, and there are certainly no trash bags on the sides of the streets.

Large parts of the centre of Zürich, like the centre of Geneva, are public-transport-and-pedestrians-only. It's so peaceful. You can hear the birds chirping, people talking, the occasional bicycle. There's none of the blaring horns of a taxi-ridden American city.

And despite all of that, I still feel more at home in Mountain View. Go figure.