Zürcher Oberland nahe Kollbrunn. Foto/Photo: TES.

The Zürioberland, Paul Burkhard and Tüfels Chilen

Not many Americans and British will associate the Zürcher Oberland, also known as Zürioberland, with one of the greatest musical hits of the 1950s. The composer Paul Burkhard (1911-1977) composed the musical ‘Das Schwarze Hecht’ for the Schauspielhaus in Zurich in 1939. One of the songs was the song “O mein Papa”. Het lived many years and died in Rämismühle-Zell.

One world war and eleven years later, the Swiss singer Lys Assias (1924-2018) chose this song to perform with the orchestra of Radio Beromünster conducted by the same Paul Burkhard.

Jack Metzger (1918-1999), Paul Burkhard, 1950. Foto: Sammlung ETH Zürich

The radio broadcast was a great success, and the song was recorded on a single, which at that time was beginning to take off (nowadays, it is almost forgotten: a single is a record with one song, a Long Player, LP, has many more songs by the same artist or group).

In 1954, O mein Papa was number 1 in the German hit parade for months. Soon after, a film of the musical was released under the name Feuerwerk, which gave the song even more fame. Subsequently, the song has been sung in various versions by different artists. The song is available in over 40 languages, including Dutch, and can still be heard regularly.

However, the greatest success was in America and the United Kingdom. In 1954, the comedy ‘Oh ! my Papa‘ was shown in London’s West End when The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie (1890-1976) experienced its first success in 1952. In America, the song was the first European hit to reach number 1 on the hit parade for eight weeks, with 1 million copies sold.

Not many Swiss will be aware of it, either. However, those who pass the village of Rämismühle-Zell will cross the Paul Burkhardweg. This village (canton of Zurich) is close to the castle (now a museum) of the Counts of Kyburg near the Tösstal. This dynasty played a prominent political and military role until its extinction in 1264. Together with Savoy and Habsburg, they were the most powerful rulers in this area.

The Paul Burkhardweg leads the hiker through this beautiful area with low mountains, forests, meadows and villages. One of the unique features along the way is the Obstgarten in Oberlangenhard (Rikon).

The restaurant lives up to its name with its fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, fresh eggs, and fresh meat amidst colourful meadows, blossoming fruit trees and cattle. The restaurant is known as far away as Oslo. On 4 May 1997, Queen Sonja of Norway had lunch in the garden.

The many fruit trees and vegetable gardens are unsurprising in this fertile environment. Not far from Kollbrunn, in the Rörlitobel gorge, are the so-called Tüfels Chilen.

It is a collective name for water sources. A metres-thick layer of peat covered the spring from which two large and two smaller springs flow. They find their way into the Bäntalbach and its small side streams.

The steep rocks, the high deciduous and coniferous trees and the (sun) light are ideal for orchids and other plants that need a lot of light. They show off in and from the spring.

The Swiss Alpine Club

The Swiss Alpine Club (Schweizer Alpen Club, SAC/Club Alpin Suisse, CAS) regularly organises hiking trips in this region (and elsewhere).

The SAC organises ski tours, mountaineering and other sports in the high mountains and the Alps and activities in other regions.

Proofreader: Adrian Dubock