Yesterday, as planned, I finally had my first Swiss National Day barbecue.
On Thursday (a bit late but still with plenty of time) I had sent a bunch of emails to invite some friends and colleagues but I was a bit afraid that not many people would have still been around: many had already left for a long weekend on the mountains or in Ticino.
Lucky me some had stayed and we manage to organize a early evening barbecue. But then another issue came along: where? In fact, the choice of the spot in these cases is crucial: having picnics and barbecuing is a national sport for Swiss people and they are experts on where to find the best spots with facilities such as public grill, toilets and drinkable water. Some people arrive early in the day to occupy the best places and sometimes there is so much people you can’t even stand let alone to sit and eat!
One of my friends – very wisely I must admit – suggested to avoid renown places (our first choice was the coast of Lake Zurich in front of the Chinese Garden), and another one mentioned “Enge Wiese”, a nice lawn that is on the other side of the Lake.
We didn’t know much about it but we trusted some cool pics found on internet …and we were right.
The place was awesome, full of young people having fun and listening to music. Unfortunately no public barbecue available, but we brought ours! We had forgotten (like most of the people there as we learnt) some form of accelerator to start the fire but some good Samaritans lent us their. Before 8 everything was set and barbecued as the true Swiss do (bratwurst, cervelat and stuff like these!).
We were a bit disappointed as we learnt from the internet there was not going to be an official fireworks program from the City of Zurich but close to 9 o’ clock people started making their own fireworks. And people went crazy lighting up all sort of fountains, fireworks and lights (the red ones were the coolest!). And a group of people started to sing “happy birthday to you”. At first we didn’t understand: we thought it was one of them’s birthday and then we got it. They were singing it for Switzerland, to celebrate its foundation with the Federal Charter in the early days of August of 1291! So I must admit: it was a very cool birthday party for such an oldie!