Ever since I read our friends’ blog post about last year’s Schoggi Tram, I have been waiting to go on it. Several weeks ago I picked up the flyer on a tram with most of the important information: the dates, the times, the cost. However, to know all the other important details, you have to either guess at them, or have your friends give you more exact information. The Merry Swiss Miss told me that the tickets are sold starting about an hour before the first tram ride in Bellevueplatz. That place is a little big, so she gave me not only exact information about where to stand to get the tickets, but also what the lady who sells the tickets looks like. She also said that when in doubt, look for the clump of people. So, we got there just before 12:30 (first tram on a weekday is at 13:30). No one was there. It was pretty cold, and standing in the breeze under cloudy skies at about 38 degrees, we were chilly, but undaunted. Then, a nice older lady came up to me and started a conversation with me in Swiss German. I smiled and nodded, and when I think that she asked me if I had ever done this before, and I had a chance to give her an answer, I replied that this was my first time. She immediately switched to High German and I learned that she goes on this every year. She loves it. Yesterday there were too many children on the trams, and there was really no room for all those Kinderwagens (strollers). She also said that they start selling tickets 30 minutes before the first ride. Pretty soon people started gathering, and somehow, most of them started queuing up behind this lady and me. About 8 people stood in a circle with us at the front of the line. Now I have done my homework, and I know that if you are shy in Switzerland, you may not get to ride the Schoggi Tram or anything else if you show nice manners and let other people in front of you. So, when the ticket lady showed up, I was right up there near the front, and did not feel guilty about worming in since we had actually been the very first people there.
Now, glampers, you know this is an expensive country, but here is an amazing fact. The Schoggi Tram costs ONLY 5 Francs per person! I should back up and describe what all the fuss is about. For your 5 Francs you get a 30-minute ride on an old tram (think San Francisco cable cars), and the good people at Honold, a Zürich confectionery, serve you hot chocolate, an almond cake and specialty chocolates while you ride throughout the old town. It is wonderful. On weekdays there are 6 trams, and on weekends there are 7. The Schoggi Tram runs from 1 Nov – 9 Nov, so this weekend is the last chance this year. Schoggi is Swiss German for Chocolate.
We did learn, though, we should have been earlier to board the tram (we left for a few minutes to go grab some non-sugary lunch and came back 10 minutes before our departure time). When we boarded the two seats left were on different ends of the car. I looked pleadingly at the man, and he asked one person to move so we could sit together. The displaced woman glared at us, and I don’t think that we could have said, merci any more or nicer. So, here are some pictures of our 30-minutes of delight. It was so delicious, the hot chocolate so warm on such a cold day that the windows steamed up. We rode to parts of town that we have not yet seen, and our seat mates gave us hints about where else to go in town. Apparently there are a wide variety of specialty tram rides throughout the season. None is as low-cost as this one, but they do look interesting. I hear there is a tram for children soon with Santa and face-painting. There is an Apéro tram with champagne and appetizers for 35 francs, a Fondue tram for 93 francs which includes mulled wine, appetizers, dessert, and coffee. I believe both of these must last longer than a half hour, and you can buy tickets ahead of time.