There is no shortage of clean drinking water in Zurich; there are over 1,200 fountains that tap into the never-ending source of pristine groundwater. We were at the lake one afternoon and mentioned to the group we were going to buy a bottle of water. They quickly corrected us that there was a fountain not far and we could get free water. One girl accompanied us and when I saw her cup water with her hands from a fountain which a young girl was stomping and splashing away in, I almost choked. It looked like a regular fountain back home which re-circulates the water meaning we would be drinking some pretty nasty water. Feeling it would be rude we took one or two sips before excusing ourselves stating we really weren’t that thirsty (we were). Back home, we googled it and learned that Zurich has an excess of ground water, therefore, the fountains do no re-circulate water. In Switzerland, if there is a fountain or tap which you can’t drink from, there has to be a very obvious no-drinking sign.
We stayed with my friend, PJ who is from New Zealand, although we met in Canada while he was studying abroad and I last saw in South America four years ago. He completed a masters in Zurich and is now working on a PhD. We arrived by train from Paris in the late evening on Friday and spent the weekend at his flat which he shares with four other students. On Saturday, he invited us to join him and a group of international friends for a late brunch on a patio and then we went to the lake.
After a few hours of relaxing he toured us around the small center of Zurich pointing out the main spots. We grabbed a bite to eat at ‘Äss-Bar’, a company that buys day-old food from bakeries around the city and resells it for a small profit; thus reducing food waste and keeping broke students and travelers from starving! Not a bad idea. On the topic of costs, Switzerland is by no means cheap, or even affordable: we saw signs at various street stands selling one cocktail a for 12 to 17 CHF!
In the evening we went to an “open air” event. Filled with people, there were multiple food and drink stands with picnic tables in the center and a large stage off to one side. There were street performers and musicians; an overall upbeat and lively atmosphere. Luckily, the gas station across the street sold beers for about a third of the price and there were no restrictions on drinking in the open or bringing in your own liquor.
Sunday we explored the city a bit more before meeting with another friend, Alex, and driving to Zug.