This weekend I:
- investigated a hot coffee shop tip: Bar Infinito, on Sihlstrasse. With no less than five grinders nestled together on the counter, I had high hopes: although the espressos were fresh and short, the flavour was pretty mild. I would have liked to choose which of those five I got, in addition to turning down the piped music before settling down to read. Still, a nice place and the first decent coffee place I know of opening late near the main station.
- finally called into Record Warehouse, a large second-hand CD and vinyl store near Central which had heretofore been closed on the previous few occasions I passed by. It was worth calling in: a large jazz section offered two albums with tracks from a much-listened compilation album I picked up a few years ago. Just when you think you’ve explored every little nook and cranny, the city throws up another little nugget of interest.
- hopped on the #6 tram bound for Fluntern Cemetery, to finally see James Joyce’s grave. Reminiscent of Sihlfeld cemetery in the city centre with its neat rows of ornate graves and gravel pathways, Fluntern is much smaller and less trafficked, despite its proximity to the zoo and well over a dozen famous graves. Joyce rests towards the back, a simple marble tomb embedded in the ground alongside a statue of the man himself. I had been under the impression that Joyce spent many happy years in Zurich, which was not quite right: although he did leave Dublin for Zurich in 1904 with the promise of a teaching position with Berlitz, the job offer was a fake and he ventured further to Trieste, settling there for almost a decade until retreating to Zurich for the First World War. Unhappy with the post-war Trieste, he settled in Paris for almost twenty years before retreating – again, finally, and for just a few weeks – to Zurich to escape the occupation of France.
- spent a day skiing at Pizol, near the Austrian/Lichtenstein border at the far end of the Wallensee beside Sargans. It was a gloriously sunny day with a lovely group tackling some surprisingly challenging new blue slopes. Though the skiing was wonderful, the highlight of the day had to be the brass band celebrating Fasnacht at the summit. 30 musicians of the Pelzchappni Brass Band bedecked in traditional garb blasting out German pop and rock favourites for the patrons of the restaurant at the top of a mountain in the middle of the Alps. You might think the sound would dissipate in the thin bright 2200m open air…but no. I was rarely so happy.