Home City Guide: Zurich Zurich Basics Fifty shades of Zurich
Last update on November 05, 2019

In preparation for a cross-Europe trip, an expat reads up on the naughty side of Zurich.

Zurich is consistently ranked the best place on the planet to live; it’s clean, healthy, wealthy, beautifully organized, committed to social ideals, politically stable, has 3.2% unemployment and recycles everything from PET plastics to pet cadavers. Garbage, incinerated in a non-polluting way, provides part of the region’s power supply. All 1200 of the city’s fountains serve up drinkable water, and the river water is so clean that even sensible people choose to swim in it. (Here in Seville, people swim in Guadalquivir River, too, but it nearly always involves alcohol and a lost bet.)

The naughty side of Zurich

Despite its squeaky-clean reputation, it turns out Zurich has a distinctly risqué side. “Sex shops and naughty bars are dotted everywhere,” writes Nora Dunn, on her Professional Hobo blog, “seemingly regardless of neighbourhood demographic; sometimes they’re next to toy stores, sometimes they’re set up as massive standalone warehouse-sized megastores. And browsing through the local classifieds reveals a fairly active culture with various types of clubs catering to the sexually liberated.”

I doubt that I’ll take advantage of the opportunity to sample the fifty shades of Zurich, unless of course I give in to the temptation to eat fondue.

Risqué cheese fondue

Enjoy Living Abroad: Fifty shades of Zurich

Like most people, I love dipping bread into hot melted cheese with a long fork. But I have just learned, from a friend who visited Zurich a few years ago, that according to her Swiss hostess, if the bread falls off your fork into the fondue, you’re supposed to take off all your clothes and run naked through the house. My friend, normally a stickler for being a compliant guest, repeatedly refused all pressure to do this (or so she says).

Fondue wildness

Enjoy Living Abroad: Fifty shades of Zurich

Zurich is probably the only place in the world where dipping bread into melted cheese counts as taking a walk on the wild side. Looking forward to making your acquaintance, Zurich!