Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Introduction to Zurich

On Wednesday, I left Columbus for Zurich. Matt had arrived four days earlier for work. The long weekend was my introduction to the city I had already agreed to call home. Luckily, it lived up to my expectations!

I arrived Thursday morning and checked in to our hotel. Matt had a full day of work, so I was on my own to explore. I spent it strolling through Old Town, which sits at the northwest tip of Lake Zurich. It was beautiful and small enough to see the main sites on foot. Public trams got me safely there and back (with a little help from the hotel staff). Matt met me for dinner on the lake and a stroll before heading back to the hotel.
Old Town Zurich

Old Town Zurich
Friday morning we explored Winterthur, a picture-perfect, little town about 30 minutes outside of Zurich by public transport. There are several universities in Winterthur, which could make it a good spot for me to find a job. While there, we stumbled on the best farmers market I've ever seen and discovered Coop City, which feels very much like a Target. Winterthur was immediately added to the short list of neighborhoods we'd consider for our Swiss apartment.

That evening we met up with Dimitri and Mamiko, friends who previously lived in the states, but now call Zurich home. They took us out for a fantastic happy hour on the water and to the Zurcher Theater Spektakel.It was nice to catch up with old friends and a good reminder that we already have several in Zurich!

Matt lends a hand at Theater Spektakel
Manually powered carousel at Theater Spektakel
Saturday we met up with Andy, an American expat who will be working with Matt in his new job. Andy and his wife, Misty, moved to Zurich with two small children a couple years ago. Andy spent the day with us as our guide, visiting more potential neighborhoods for our future home. I also got to see Greifensee, where Matt will work, for the first time. In the evening, we met up with Misty for dinner on Lake Zurich in Rapperswil. The view was beautiful and the company was great. I am really looking forward to spending more time with Andy and Misty.

Sunday was our final day. We'd heard rumors of a microbew festival in Rapperswil, so we trekked back to the opposite end of Lake Zurich to check it out. It was well-worth the trip. The festival was in a castle, and I'd estimate 50% or more of the volunteers and attendees were expats from America and the UK. Also, the beers were tasty.

At the castle in Rapperswil, vineyards behind me and Lake Zurich
We traveled by boat back to Zurich, wandered the Old Town, then hopped on a tram back to the hotel. We left the next morning for home.

The trip confirmed just how expensive living in Zurich will be; modest dinners out easily cost the equivalent of $50-$60 per person and public transportation isn't cheap (but it is clean!). However, I also discovered that wine is no more expensive than in the states (woohoo!!!), that apartments can be spacious and modern (if pricey) and that Coop City has my shampoo and conditioner. All-in-all, we ended the weekend incredibly confident that we'd made the right decision and excited to return.

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