The little things…

Some of the little things I’ve noticed during my first week living in Switzerland.

Some of the little things I’ve noticed during my first week living in Switzerland, in no particular order:

  • Efficient.  The public transportation system is fantastic – trams, trains, buses, and ships are pervasive, efficient, integrated, clean, timely, and understandable.  I sold my car before we left the US, and don’t miss it!
  • Clean and walkable. The city streets and sidewalks are spotless, and the air unpolluted.  Genuinely pleasant place to walk.  but:
  • Smokers.  Lots of smokers.  Living in Hanover and the Upper Valley I forget how prevalent cigarettes are in Europe.  I enjoy sitting in an outdoor café or biergarten, but have now learned to check the wind direction and the location of smokers before I choose a seat.
  • Friendly.  Everyone here has been super kind and helpful.
  • Expensive.  And just try keeping an 18-year-old growing boy fed in this place!  (We will need to double our budget.)
  • Beautiful.  Zurich is a beautiful city on a beautiful lake.  It helps that the weather this week has been downright perfect – sunny, warm, not too hot, not humid; perfect for an evening glass of bier at the sidewalk café below our flat.
  • Historic. Everywhere I turn, as I stroll the old streets between our flat and the university office, are centuries-old buildings just dripping with history. Seven chemists received Nobel prizes from their work in this building.  Brahms played music in that house. Einstein was a student here at ETH around 1900.
  • Bread. Fresh croissants every morning!  Enough said.
  • Delectable food: so far I’ve had Thai, Japanese, and Indian food.  I suppose one of these days I need to find some Swiss food.
  • Green.  Many tree-lined streets and microparks make for a pleasant walk through the back streets to my office.  Still need to explore the many larger parks.
  • Sundays.  All shops close on Sundays.  It leads to a very relaxed feeling in town.
  • No bugs.  With all this warm weather, we leave open the windows (really skylights, because our temporary flat is at the attic level).   No screens!  because there are, amazingly, no bugs.  I note all windows in the neighborhood are the same.
Bakery in Zurich.
Le Pain Quotidien, bakery in Zurich.
Zurich Hautbahnhof, with connections to ... everywhere.
Zurich Hautbahnhof, with rail connections to … everywhere.


Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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