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.