Monday, September 29, 2014

We're in Zurich, Switzerland

Lausanne to Zurich, help on and off the train for Bruce’s bike, all good. Decide instead of trailing across many platforms to the local train we’d take a cab. Well that was somewhat problematic cab driver got lost although was very good about it, arrived safe and sound to a beautiful B & B without the breakfast. Very eclectic place with hammocks, bikes, wind chimes, just located out the door to bump your head into, an empty very large swimming pool, etc., a place of refuge for someone wanting to get away from it all. A bit isolated for me, but will stay and see. Found out the pueblo style cabin we are in was mostly built by Jacqueline our host. The attention to detail is quite incredible. She has been here since 1991. There is so much stuff here as well, for catering large events and many guests.

We have had a couple of issues here, the space is lovely, but bathroom on the main floor and fairly difficult stairs to negotiate. Jacqueline has been accommodating and we are set up on the main floor.  For people that have no issues with that it is a great space.

Wonderful, welcoming host, a local cat, and the host is a masseuse which Bruce will be booking.  We have the entire cottage and the outdoors are set up for weddings, celebrations, not while we’re in residence of course. She has a visiter from California doing a few months work experience in Switzerland who is interesting to talk to, named Carly, will explain about the program she is on in another post, and after some research.

Entry way to cabin

Thai Goddess as you come in the driveway, a bit worn but still beautiful.

Getting settled in as usual and it’s a steep hike to the train station, train sounds it’s whistle going across all roads but does not run at night, our only mode of transport out of the area, 800 feet above Zurich. Buying a transit pass today was funny, the fellow couldn’t believe we were living in Uetliburg. So first day in Zurich and we’ve got basics and train passes for a month. Sunny and no wind, very thankful for that after three days of wind in Lausanne. To combat Bruce's walk up to the train station, we have been given a ride up every day. Once he has walked up he has no energy to continue walking downtown or anywhere so the ride is greatly appreciated. We walk back, downhill, easier.

Went to an outdoor market they have set up while renovating the usual space for it in the basement of a large department store called Globis. We marveled at the variety of products stocked, from all over the world. Local fresh vegetables, fish, meats, bakery items – just our “cup of tea”. Stocked up a bit for Sunday although it seems that the train station shops are open on Sunday. The train station is a destination in Zurich! As is the Airport, who knew destination places could be designated tourist stops, good planning I think. So many shops of all types and will be very handy in bad weather.

Fountain downtown Zurich
Children with lion steeds, downtown Zurich.

The house itself is a charming pueblo style, large antique furniture, well stocked kitchen, nice tub in the bathroom. There are outdoor stairs that are easier to climb to a small balcony outside the bedroom which is nice to have afternoon drinks at in the sun, which we’ve had so far. Sometimes a bit cool, since it is September but typical Indian summer which is what they call it here too and I have to say I’m grateful.

People take the path down from the rail station to the bottom which is where we are and they just walk through the yard. There is a gate dividing the property but it would be just mean if Jacqueline closed it and made people walk back up again so they walk through the yard. Sometimes they acknowledge you, sometimes not, just walk through. Guess that is another tradition I don't understand.

 Somewhat strange happenings on the property today, a woman screaming while Bruce was having his massage from Jacqueline. The fellow she had staying practised some sort of religious ritual to exorcise demons. People coming and going, the internet guy who changed the access due to the carrier, well not so boring anyway. For a remote location, we do have many coming through.

Bruce had the best massage ever! Two hours of mixed methods. Jacqueline has been at it since she was 18 years old and she is now of indeterminate age but has strong fingers and has taken many courses. Bruce was very pleased and certainly a whole lot less achy.

Carly from California came to visit for a while, while she’s a nice person, she doesn’t seem to be overly world wide yet. She has been in remote locations due to her experiences in Switzerland so seems not to have had the opportunity to explore much. Her mom comes over in a few weeks and they plan to explore more so that will be good for her.

8:00 pm and they have just made fresh bread and bought us over two large pieces, lovely! I haven’t had warm bread like this since my mother had it in the kitchen when we came home from school, what a treat!

Next morning more scream therapy, guy this time. Really does sound like a torture chamber. Different Internet guy is here, was able to view and send this morning for about half an hour.

As you have gathered by now Internet access has been an issue. Swisscom is the carrier and Jacqueline is not happy with them and their service. Took two weeks or more and three sets of technicians to get it going properly. I will say she was vigilant about it and did her frustrated best. Since I can now upload pictures I'll be able to publish from here - yeah! 

Switzerland is a country for athletic people which we are not! Hills in Lausanne, hills here. Bruce said “who’s idea was it to come to Switzerland anyway?” It was his, wanting to escape a hot summer. Well we all know Switzerland for it’s hills and Alps and should have been better prepared. It's also been colder than normal here, all over, so in all honesty it hasn't been the best of summers for us. Let's move on....

Took the tram to the Bellevue District along the Limmat River which flows into Lake Zurich. Very pretty area, lots of old charming buildings and had lunch at a popular café of soup because it was a chilly day, hit the spot!

Guild house on the River, on a sunny day the tower lights up wonderfully, now used as a hotel above and restaurant under.

Note the deer on top, maybe a tannery?

This area used to be where the cargo boats unloaded. Therefore the Guild houses, where companies received the goods and sold them from. Many wonderful, stately buildings along the river have now been turned into hotels with touristy restaurants at the ground floors. Swans and ducks swam around, small punt boats tied up under a bridge, one of several bridges across the river.

I walked around a bit, very high end stores around there, very high end! Not the department stores around the train station, these are owner operated and although I didn’t check, I’ll bet there is nothing available for under, say, 100 CHF, and that would maybe a scarf, well, you get the picture. Imagine Robson Street in Vancouver on steroids!

Bruce was outside this morning and about 50 – yes, that’s fifty troupers came into the yard, wearing camouflage. The team stretched from where Bruce was sitting down to the gate at the driveway, don’t know how long that is but … Head fellow asked how to get down the mountain, even though they had a map of all the trails. This mountain has an extensive network of trails. Bruce said they were carrying sub-machine guns, not on a sling on their back but in their hands like they were ready to shoot something or someone. I missed the whole thing, being in the tub, darn, not something you see every day! Doesn’t bode well for the Swiss army’s navigational skills…

Went into the City again under rain and cloud. Bought a skier’s vest, light weight but warm for me and a light fleece for Bruce. Being in skiing country is handy if you need warm clothing! We did. I was going to buy a new coat but decided to layer instead. 

New guest by the name of Linda, with daughter. She got out of the car holding feathers, raptor, swan and eagle and a deer antler. Since this isn’t “ordinary” either, Bruce asked her about them. She lived in Montana and the Indians there taught her the ways of a sweat lodge which she is hosting here this evening. Didn’t count but several people arrived for it. One fellow had a coyote looking dog, very pretty. The area she will be doing it is far enough from us, shouldn’t be a bother I hope. You’ll find out tomorrow, as we will tonight, not attending but being close! They were quiet, didn’t hear anything but the next morning everyone was up and moving around by 0900 which is fine.

Cleared up in the afternoon with sun – yeah! Went down to Bellevue again on the side of the Cathedral (more on the Cathedral, next post) this time. Bruce had the best onion soup ever! I had a baquette with chicken which was also good at a tiny restaurant on a side street called La Couchin. This was their second day of serving food, they did well! Were having champagne for a large group after we left, probably a “Happy Opening” celebration.

Rather old camera in a shop I thought was interesting
Beautiful marble on this building
Nice view up an alley, look to the left, it indicates a sculptor's shop.

The three kiss thing in Switzerland is left to right to left according to this novel we are both reading about Zurich’s United Swiss Bank USB. Timely to read and features many places we have seen or will. The author has obviously spent some time in this city. If interested it’s called “Numbered Account” by Christopher Reich available at Amazon for Kindle.

Bruce lit another fire tonight, new method Jacqueline told him about, put a tea light candle under the kindling and light it that way – it works a wonder! They have had a very wet summer here so the logs are damp and boil. The fire box is contained so doesn’t shoot out sparks like a fireplace, another good thing. Warms the room well and lasts a long time because it is enclosed. Bruce said had he known about them he would have put one in Madeira Park, but we’ve never seen one before so didn’t know. 

Real time line. We are in Zurich until October 1st and then move to Basel, we've sort of seen everything we wanted to in Zurich, before going back to Freiburg, Basel is a stop on the way. Will keep this going chronologically so you'll read more about Zurich in the next post.

Cheers, Bx2 & Lexi