“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
― Leo Tolstoy,
After mountains, the best outdoor things in Switzerland relate to the rivers and lakes, in which Zürich doesn’t make an exception. It’s been quite of an heatwave this week and I’ve found myself almost every day in one of the badi‘s in town. Earlier this week, I tested the free official one and the free not-official one, which offer active playgrounds for cooling down. And yesterday, in a need of quiet, relaxed self-care day, I tested Frauenbad Stadshausquai, which charmed me right away. This women-only badi (bath) offers for 8CHF all the necessities for a perfect bath experience, as well as good views of the Zürich old town and even of the snowy Alps. Not to forget the art nouveau design of the bath itself.
Chilling river, topless sunbathing, food and good poolside bar in Zürich centre? Here you have it. Picnic is possible too (you may find Sprüngli around the corner). But sorry men, there’s nothing to see for you in here during the daytime, as this is a women-only experience. Official opening hours of the bath during the summer season from May to September are around 9am to 8pm, depending on the weather. Nevertheless, the Barfussbar – barefeet bar – at the same location welcomes the other gender too after 8pm.
For me, relaxing in the bath and swimming offers a well-needed break and care for the muscles tired from all the moving, running, hiking and biking. I still have problems staying still for a long time, but in places like this, I can quite easily survive a day or at least a half. Following the loosely structured routine: read – nap – swim – drink – eat – swim – read – nap– repeat. Moreover, the place would offer nice remote working and studying possibilities too in the shadowy corners. Though I might want to keep this as a no-working zone. But a notebook is good to have, as creative moment easily happens in this kind of a situation; in Finnish having a drink can be even called a “neuvoa antava,” loosely translated as “giving an advice”. And yesterday, this aperol spritz clearly said: pause, woman.
Where: Frauenbad Stadshausquai, Stadthausquai 12, 8001 Zurich
Ps. Fun Wikipedia fact: “Zürich’ government decided in 1837, to build a public bath for women, to prevent that “they are no longer forced to bath at night in the fountains” and to protect them from the eyes of men.” With these tropical nights in Zürich this week, I salute these brave ancestors who bathed in the fountains when nothing better was available. Women, claim your space. Always.
New town, new rivers, same old restless feet. On Friday I said goodbye to Interlaken, for a while at least. The period between summer of ’16 and summer of ’17th was definitely one the best periods of my life, which taught me a lot and left me with many great experiences and memories. But nothing lasts forever, and so I packed my stuff again on Friday. Parted it into storage (thanks friends for your help again) and into my loyal duffel bags, which I then carried in train to Zürich, for my July residence. Many times, people wonder why I need so many bags for different purposes. But again it proved good to have a climbing back for my mountaineering gear, a trekking bag for my trekking gear, ski bag and ski back bag for ski and avalanche security gear. And the city handbag for urban exploration, of course. Though high heels I seem to have dropped off my wardrobe altogether. No need for them in here.
It was an incredible, humbling and intensive year in Interlaken. I met amazing people, got an interesting start-up experience and learned that wild things should be free, always. Switzerland is a good country for me, and the Alps especially. I fell in love, with the mountains and quality of life (cheese, you’ll not be forgotten either). There are things I would do differently now though – I’d start learning the language right away, and I’d let go easier when there’d be no good reason to hold on anymore. But I don’t regret a thing. It’s incredible what other cultures and foreign countries can teach you, but even more, it’s been the mountains and nature in general, which has impressed me the most. Teaching the best lessons and making me want to learn so much more (serious mountaineering, I’m ready).
And yes you see right, the legs are bruised. And I have tanned skin and sun-bleached hair which hasn’t seen hairdresser in one and a half year. I have also more muscles and more strength, both mentally and physically. And again, I have my stuff all over the place, in storage in here and in Finland, in bags and friends’ place, waiting for the moment I again find a base camp to settle in, with everything I can’t let go of. It’s all messy but that’s alright. Perfect is boring.
Even after a year in here, every time I board a train and travel somewhere in Switzerland, I’m amazed by the experience. The travel infrastructure, SBB & PostAuto, I love you for bringing me and my stuff, my skis and my bike, to the greatest adventures ever, and especially making sure the tired me makes it back home safely in the end of the day. And then there are the high mountains with their snowy peaks and glaciers and green meadows with their cows and goats. The highlands and lowlands, lush fields and the colours after rain and sky just before a storm. The gloomy foggy days, when the clouds are hugging the mountains tightly; when it seems like the fog is the way for mountains to breathe. The villages with their church towers aiming high, but never even close as high as the mountains. And the towns and cities, organised, clean and international. It’s the life in between which fascinates me most, the journey to find out what’s on the other side, and after a good amount of mountains, it’s time to try the life in destination called Zürich.
Never lived here before, and in a matter of fact never been here longer than few hours at a time, so when the opportunity came (in a form of saved money and holiday season – no Mr. investment banker on sight still, unfortunately) I decided to try this quality of life too. In July I’ll also start working with some interesting new projects which will eventually bring be back to Lapland even (then the song, from which the name for this site comes from, will become even more accurate, heh). Moving on, but also moving back.
Zürich tips will follow, as well as the stories from Andalusia and Alps waiting for editing. Maybe something more about the work, in the past and in the future, and about how to keep up with this lifestyle and with as many adventures and outdoor hours without sponsors deals. Keep tuned, take care and please, be as brave as I’ve been. It’s scary to jump into something new and unfamiliar, but after I’ve done that close to million times myself I’d say that embracing the change and freedom has been the best I’ve ever done. And there’s never anything wrong with new perspectives.
Everything I was writing was actually a way of trying to reconnect with other human beings when you’re always in transit.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods