Today we have an interview with Roman Rey, Spotter for our Zurich cityblog
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 25 years old and moved to Zürich three years ago from a village near Bern to work and study journalism. That’s what still consumes a part of my time. I used to spend a lot of time in Bern and in trains because of a relationship. Relationship’s over now and I get to enjoy my City full time, which is a pretty new and different feeling. I like it.
What else is going on in my life? I’m playing in two bands, drums in one of them, guitar in the other. I’m also a couchsurfer, together with my two flatmates and we host a lot of people from all over the world, have beers with them, play boardgames, show them Zurich, take them to the lake and play guitar, stuff like that. Other than that I’m learning spanish, read a lot, am an idealist and enjoy beer. There you have it, me in a nutshell.
How do you like being a Spotter? Do you have a nice Spotters-story?
Being a spotter is great. It makes me more aware of the City and I’m always looking for worthy and interesting spots to write about. Plus, I discovered some pretty cool stuff from my fellow spotters. Funny thing: when I’m in the city with my friends they now expect me to know what’s going on all the time. Because, you know, “you do that spotter thing, don’t you?” As it weren’t enough that they constantly want to know from me what’s on the telly, because I wrote for a TV-Magazine.
Oh, and I have a new way of impressing people: I just tell them that the Times Online quoted me – that has a great effect. (laughs)
Which prejudices about Zurich are true? Which ones are not?
Recently there’s been some Internet-vote about the most boring cities in Europe, and Zurich scored second. So I think I need to comment on that: it’s rubbish. We have a big concentration of cultural venues like theaters, cinemas, Concert Halls and Bars with live music. There are big events like the Caliente, a latin-festival that was recently, the Streetparade or the “Theater Spektakel” in August, a two week theatre-festival.
Of course there are cities where more is going on, but what do people expect? It’s 350’000-People Zurich, not 3 1/2-Million Berlin, of course there’s not the same amount of action. I have a suspicion: when people say boring they mean tame, clean and a bit over-organized, thereby leaving little room for spontaneity. This other prejudice I must say is a bit true. For example, you hardly see buskers or street artists around here, which is a bummer. Don’t they inspirit a city? Street art and graffiti? You have to look hard. Next prejudice: It’s expensive. True, at least for students. Last one: people are arrogant and unfriendly. Nope, wrong.
What do you know about Zurich what no tourist will know?
There are some pretty interesting characters around. There’s an old woman at the train station, standing at the same spot, day by day, for years. She blesses people that walk by. There are many stories going around what the reason for her being there might be. One of them is that she’s waiting for her husband, who died somewhere en route, to come back. And there’s this other guy who’s rolling around on the streets with his old rollerblades. No matter what weather, be it rainy and cold, he always wears super short shorts and you can see “alle tot” (everybody dead) written on his naked leg. He forms his finger to a gun, points at people and “shoots” them. Hmmm, now I’m telling the story I notice how crazy this is…
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Zurich at this moment?
I’d say for my generation it’s the west part of the city-center (Kreis 5: Industrie), the former industrial quarter. Why? Because you can do everything there: live, work and party. There are a lot of clubs and Bars, Restaurants, a Theater venue, a huge Event-Venue and a big movie theater. And not to forget the Limmat-River with its popular public swimming baths. It’s changing fast too, a lot of things like high-risers are being built and will be built in the near future. I myself live in a more quiet area and as someone who doesn’t really need traffic noise to fall asleep at night, I’m pretty happy with that. But with the bus, I’m where stuff is happening within seven minutes. That’s the beauty about the size of Zurich: you get eveywhere fast.
Is there something else you want to share?
Sure. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a couchsurfer and I like to host travellers. I had so many great experiences hosting and travelling, that I want to share the word – and the spirit. So if you plan to come to Zurich, want to meet some locals and don’t mind sleeping on a mattress in a living room, just write me, I’d be happy to meet you and show you around.
Read all of Roman’s articles here.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters