Today Hans Fritschi engages some former journalist colleagues to function as his guides for a marvelous boat trip from Zurich to ancient Rapperswil. Pierro Schäfer is the author of a book about female pirates on beautiful lake Zurich. Peter Sidler, former NZZ correspondent in Bangkok, was a frequent travel companion during their common years in Thailand or Southeast-Asia. The two friends once traveled from Jolo to Zamboanga together which is a very dangerous area. This is all remembered on their recent boat trip. Plus Hans Fritschi remembers the quote of Emilie Lieberherr when he told her he was moving to Bangkok 30 odd years ago: “Das isch aber a geföhrliche Stadt für an junge Mah”. The good woman was right!
When Hans Fritschi made a delicious “Butterrösti” back in one of his Nong Khai Clips, he did not know how to translate Röstiraffel into English. Andreas Lang, a blog follower, could help out. Now the two guys meet in person in Schwamendingen, a suburb of Zurich for the very first time. Hans Fritschi partly grew up in Schwamendingen and now returns there for the very first time after 30 years in Thailand. An interesting trip down memory lane, back to the roots in those strange Covid 19 times.
Hans Fritschi moves away from his Zurich hosts Peter and Mazal Sidler and booked himself into the Corona Hotel. This Hotel was once labelled as “worst” Zurich Hotel when it still was a so called “Love Hotel”. It is located directly in the heart of Zurich at Limmatquai. The two former journalists sit opposite the Corona Hotel at scenic Lindenhof and remember their first trip to Nong Khai and Laos almost 30 years ago when they both were correspondents in Bangkok. Doing that the two friends are able to travel around the mighty Mekong river during these daunting Corona times by just sitting at the shores of beautiful Limmat.
Temperatures in Zurich went down to 12 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. That is freezing cold for someone like Hans Fritschi who has spent almost 30 years in tropical Thailand. The best solution for this problem would be to board a plane and immediately fly back to Thailand. But due to Covid 19 the country is still closed for tourists and long time residents. Stuck Hans Fritschi decides to visit the fantastic Botanical Garden of Zurich and there finds warmth, tropical plants, friendship and consolation. The second best thing to travelling right now is going to Botanical Gardens.
Hans Fritschi cannot return to Thailand right now and his friend Dominik Landwehr most probably will not be able to visit him in Nong Khai in November as planned. So the two friends make the best of it and go on a personalized city tour through beautiful Winterthur. The two former journalists meet a third former colleague Matthias Erzinger and learn a lot about present and passed Winterthur.
My friend Walti lives right at the river Limmat in Zurich. Presently we both would like to return to Thailand, missing Jomtien beach Pattaya and the bicycle lanes along beloved Mekong river in Nong Khai a little bit. But by walking along river Limmat we are consoled quite a lot, this is also a nice pass-time in Covid 19 times. The landscape along the main Zurich river is gorgeous and the meatloaf of Master Butcher Bär after the walk is even better than Moo Yoh in Nong Khai. Additionally the wheat beer from Munich is much cheaper in Switzerland than in Thailand. And Hans Fritschi naturally discovers some interesting plants along the walkway.
Should long time Thai resident Hans Fritschi ever get homesick in his partly self imposed exile in Switzerland, he can always visit the Zurich Zoo. This is one convenient, safe and hassle free way of virtual travel in dangerous Covid 19 times. By going to Zurich Zoo Hans Fritschi is able to travel to Australia, Africa and South America in just one afternoon. And he also finds “Thainess” at Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park where delicious Thai food and even Thai beer is available and mighty Asian elephants can be watched closely.
Zurich is such a beautiful city thanks to the river Limmat. Hans Fritschi takes you along a scenic boat ride from the lake at “Zürihorn” down to the National Museum (Landesmuseum). All holders of tram thickets can use that boat free of charge. But it is compulsory to wear a mask on the boat during these daring Covid 19 times. When Hans Fritschi enters the boat, he is reminded by the captain about the rules and gladly complies by putting on his mask.
Hans Fritschi takes you along to a local Zurich farmers market in Oerlikon. There is an abundance of seasonal fruits, berries, mushrooms and vegetables available, a feast of colors and scents. On sale are also breads, sausages, cheeses, fish and poultry. But also omnipresent is the deadly Covid 19 virus and people try to protect themselves by wearing masks in public transport and adhering to the rules of social distancing on the beautiful market.
Does Hans Fritschi miss Thailand yet? Not at all. This native son of Zurich enjoys a summer vacation in these dire Covid times in his former home town. He resides in the lush Lake Field quarter (Seefeld), a five minutes walk from gorgeous Lake Zurich. Walking there is sheer pleasure and Hans Fritschi (so far) enjoys every minute of his stay. It is still very unclear when he can return to beloved Thailand and his great gardens, but such kind of “exile” is no threat really. He even has started to water some plants in Switzerland and has discovered an eternal butterfly…