Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Life as a Hausfrau

The most difficult part of our move abroad is giving up my job and putting my career on hold. I firmly believe the experience - travel, new cultures, different ways of living - is worth the sacrifice, but that hasn't made the transition any easier. Friends and family ask me how I spend my unemployed days. While I definitely keep busy, it's sometimes hard to explain how. Here's a bit about how this Hausfrau kills time....

7:30 a.m. - I get up just before Matt leaves for work, turn on the news and catch up on email that accumulated overnight while I have coffee and breakfast.

9:00 a.m. - Clean myself up and straighten the apartment.

9:30 a.m. - Walk the dog. A tired dog is a good dog, so I try to wear Henry out early in the day.

10:30 a.m. - Run a short errand or two like dropping off mail at the post or grabbing milk at the Spar, things Henry can come with me to do.

12:00 p.m. - Lunch. Sometimes Matt comes home, which is nice. If I'm alone, I watch an episode of whatever I'm currently obsessed with on Netflix, otherwise the TV is pretty much off during the day. I enjoy the quiet.

1:00 p.m. - I try have an afternoon activity of some sort at least twice a week (hopefully more for my own sanity)... Stitch and Bitch at the Bellevue Starbucks every Wednesday, puppy play dates with Governor and Jennifer, coffee with Misty, or a shopping trip to the Glatt or Creasphere.

If I don't leave the flat, I'm probably writing a blog post, which can take up to 3 hours start to finish, making curtains with my IKEA sewing machine, working on a crochet project, baking/cooking, or applying for jobs.

6:00 p.m. - If I'm out, I try to be home by 6. Matt is usually home from work and we might run an errand together, or he takes over with Henry so I can go to Coop for groceries.

In the evenings we make dinner, catch up on TV or take a long walk.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Exploring Switzerland: A Day in Basel

A few weeks ago, Matt and I spent a sunny, warm spring Sunday exploring a new Swiss city: Basel. Located just 85 kilometers northwest of Zurich, a quick 45 minute train ride, Basel straddles the Rhine near Switzerland's borders with France and Germany, both of which you can see from downtown Basel. Alsace, France, where they make very tasty sweet white wines, is just a short drive away. 
Sundays in Switzerland are always quiet, and since we brought Henry with us we were unable to explore Basel's excellent museums (including the largest Kunst museum in the country), but we did lots of walking and exploring. After a quick coffee, we spent more of the morning strolling through the medieval Old Town. Winding streets are full of gorgeous old buildings. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Tour of Our Swiss Home

Sleachmour B&B is really coming together. One day, we'll do a video tour of our flat. For now, here are a few photos of our home in-progress.

We have a flat on the first floor. You can barely see our balcony in this photo.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Baking in Switzerland: Carrot Zucchini Muffins

I love baking - it's in my genes. My mother is a fabulous baker, known for her cookies. My brother makes his own bread from scratch. My sister and I are always plying our partners and co-workers with baked goods. We can't help ourselves! At least if we share, we aren't stuck eating two dozen cookies ourselves, right?

Two weeks ago I made a batch of Martha Stewart's Healthy Morning Muffins. Martha is my go-to for simple, delicious recipes. She never lets me down, and this was no exception. These muffins are packed with banana, carrots and raisins, low in fat and super tasty.

As always, I made a few adjustments. I only had two carrots, so I substituted 1/2 of the carrots for shredded zucchini, making them a bit more like zucchini bread. Add a smear of Swiss butter.... yum. 

Matt loved them so much, I made them again this week for his breakfasts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Animal Friends

It's spring here in Zurich!

No Filter.
Which means Henry and I are spending lots of time outdoors.  The spoiled little doggy gets two walks most days.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Paris Transportation, Accommodations, Tours and Tips!

Getting There
We chose to fly from Zurich to Paris, rather than take the train, for the cost savings and convenience. An hour and fifteen minute flight on AirFrance was cheaper than the four hour train ride. However, we realized we'd failed to account for the cost of Metro tickets from the airport to central Paris and back - another 20 euros each. The wait time for flights and baggage and the extra cost and time for a Metro ride to central Paris negated most of the time and money we thought we'd saved by flying. Next time we're taking the train.

St. Merri Studio
St. Merri Studio
After our fantastic experience with the Bed and Breakfasts we stayed at in Rome, I decided to search for similar deals in Paris. The best reviewed B&Bs on Trip Advisor most often can't be booked online, so I began the process of emailing back and forth with B&B owners until we found one available - Chambres d'hotels Delareynie. We booked the St. Merri private studio apartment for 110 euros/night. The location was absolutely perfect, on the edge of Le Marais and surrounded by cafes, bars and shopping. From our doorstep, we were a five minute walk from Notre Dame and two Metro stations, and a more leisurely 20 minute walk to the Louvre. The studio was small, but with enough space for a queen size bed, sitting area, kitchen and our things.