31 July 2009

European shopping

I knew it. They do jack the prices up in the US. I bought a dress from Mango on sale for 20 EUR in Germany, and found the same dress on sale for $33 in New York. It's about a $5 difference. Something tells me that Zara does the same. Good thing I spend all that money traveling to Europe to buy the clothes for a few bucks less.

27 July 2009


I'm not one to get homesick, but I am starting to lack a hearty bowl of soup very badly, or at least food cooked by myself. Soup noodles would be nice. I'm desperate enough at this point to have looked up the location of Wagamama in Newcastle. Not the most authentic, but it should hit the spot.

10 July 2009

Zurich Day 2

I began today with a big mistake. Not stopping to question the oddness of playing a concert on a Friday at noon, I bought a 60 CHF roundtrip ticket to Zofingen. Very charming town and a charming ride, but as it turns out my concert is tomorrow. At least now I know precisely how to get there, and I took the extra precaution of pre-purchasing a ticket for tomorrow as the machines don't always accept the bills you feed them.

Despite the not inexpensive mistake, it was difficult to stay angry at myself for long since I suddenly had a day to explore Zurich. I’m sitting now by the corner balcony of the lovely African Lodge Room on the sixth floor of the Hotel Otter, listening to a lengthy concert of swinging bells coming from perhaps two churches northwest. The named penthouse room had better be a free upgrade, because it’s slick--a masterful blend of African savannah and cosmopolitan neo-Baroque. What is it with me and penthouse upgrades? It’s evident from here that the Swiss love plants. Every spare bit of rooftop is lined with them, more so than with lawn furniture. Densely built as this old city is, everywhere you look (presuming you do a good job of looking up) there is green.

My first stop was the Migros Museum, Kunsthaus, and surrounding galleries, all tucked into a sleekly designed former factory space. After a delicious cheese sandwich, I happened upon an exhibit on urban renewal at the ETH Zurich--how I’ve missed these European topics presented in their modern European designs. The Law Library of the University was difficult to find, but as the Wallpaper City Guide mentioned it multiple times, I kept looking. Everyone I asked on the block remarked that the photo was beautiful but they had never seen the space. I hope they seek it out, because the moment I walked in I felt as if this Santiago Calatrava building had changed my life (and I hadn’t even opened a book)! An eye-shaped receptacle of natural light framed by wooden beams, and dramatic glass elevators that whisk you past each eye-shaped level lined with studious aspring lawyers to the top skylight. I’d been skeptical of spending my time in Zurich finding an academic library, but the guide was right to mention it multiple times. Few buildings have caused me to smile.

A stop by cash-only vendor of used designer purses SecondBag and I was trotting down the Bahnhofstrasse with a cheap orange Longchamp (boy will Ingrid have a fit!) in near-perfect condition on my shoulder. The Champs-Elysées certainly defines class and bling, but I wonder if Zurich’s most expensive shopping drag couldn’t give it a run for its money. Gorgeous Burberry blondes and high school girls with designer purses I haven’t even considered buying yet mingle on the tram with backpackers and immigrants, cyclists ride perilously between trams on tram-only roads, bike messengers with wing-like reflective yellow backpacks wave to each other, and a bespectacled man rides calmly and quietly alongside my tram on a Ducati 900 Supersport. On the winding cobblestone streets leading south to Grossmünster, I am pulled to and fro by delicious smells emanating from chocolateries and crêpe stands. Several photography postcards and musical stamps later, I’m back in my room impatient for my roommates to arrive two hours late. I suppose they did me a favor hurrying me wide-eyed through the Bahnhofstrasse to meet them on time, but I rather wish I’d spent more time there... and was eating now.

The only thing that has bothered me so far about this place is the abundance of fake blondes (is it that desirable?) and shoe stores. Expensive shoe stores. Zurich has a citywide shoe fetish. Why?

As if the world wasn’t small enough, Sue has elderly relatives living in Zofingen. I hope they enjoy my concert tomorrow if they can hear it.

It’s half an hour after I started writing (19:00), and another bell has started ringing. I could sit here listening all day.

02 July 2009

I started following Dezeen yesterday and today Dezeen started following me. I have the unique honor of being the 999th person followed by Dezeen. Enchantée.