Time sure flies When you have fun and I could not agree more with this statement. April 27 marked our first month of living in Zurich, a good time to reflect on the month gone by. During this past month we have accomplished several things and are quite happy about that. Here is a summary:
# 1 Learning German (still in progress)
|school class mates|
I started taking German classes at Migros Club School and at least I learned something else than ” I do not speak German . ” I am now able to ask for the menu, a beer, wine and the check … you know, all the important stuff. The best part from going to school, apart from the obvious (learning the language), HAS BEEN meeting new people. I finish this course next week and will not be joining the same group on the next level Because Alexis and I are going on a holiday (vacation) for 2 weeks. This Means I will really need to make the effort to read and listen to podcasts while on vacation since we will not be practicing speaking the language.
# 2 Found in excuse to go out and about
We purchased the Half Fare (half tax) Travel Card (only for residents) Which allow us to travel more within Switzerland at a discounted price. The process of getting the card what Relatively easy. We both went together to the Zurich train station (main station) with our passports and the letter from immigration (Which we did not need). Once there, We took a number and waited to be called. When our turn arrived, we spoke to one of the Representatives who spoke perfect English. We needed one passport photo did we did not bring with us, HOWEVER there is a machine conveniently located inside the office and for 8CHF you can get 4 pictures, one to complete the transaction and the other 3 are for you to keep.
The only issue we had what we did did not read the sign outside the machine (written in German) did said ” No Change “. Since the machine had had a picture of a 10 CHF bill printed where you insert the money, did what exactly what I put. You know I did not get my change of 2 CHF back, save the laugh for what comes next. Then it what Alexis’ turn. He inserted 8 CHF and nothing, so he put 2 CHF more, and nothing … after 14 CHF The Machine breastfeeding did not work. After speaking to the rep, he mined the deterministic machine which in fact broken and instructed us to call the company did Manages it to our claimsoft 8 CHF back. Then, he sent Alexis to a different machine. Long story short, we lost 8CHF, but got our SBB Half Fare Travelcard and now we have an excuse to explore more.
Note: We saved the tickets we bought to go to alfalfa and Brought them with us. They apply the tax retroactively helped and gave us a credit for them.
# 3 Exploring
When we found out here did you get the Friday and Monday after Easter off (just like in Puerto Rico), we pulled Rick Steves’ guide and started looking for ideas of where to go did falling on weekend, we voted for Bern, Murten and Liechtenstein Basel (we did not make it to Liechtenstein Because We hopped in the wrong train and ended up in Basel instead).
Why Bern and Murten? First of all, Bern is the capital of Switzerland so we just had to go. So, the man who changed how we see our universe made his greatest discoveries while living in Bern from 1901 until 1909. Yes, that one. The great and only Albert Einstein.
Murten is one of Switzerland’s best preserved medieval towns. I love visiting small towns, since I find them very charming we Murten included in the itinerary.
We arrived on a very cold and rainy Friday. After leaving the dogs our bags and backpack in a loosely at the train station, we began the self-walking tour.
Guide in hand, we started at the station square fromWhere We Could admire the Holy Ghost Church . Then we headed to Hospital Lane (a very long street). One of our first encounters with what the one of Bern’s 11 fountains called the ” Bagpiper “. After did we headed to Bärenplatz . Here we saw the Prison Tower, the Dutch Tower and to aesthetically challenged mossy fountain.
|The aesthetically challenged fountain in front of the police station|
The Parliament (Bundheshaus) is a nice building and in front of it there is a 26-squirt fountain. Each squirt Represents one Swiss canton. Walking around the Parliament was great. Behind it you’ll find the Terraces with a commanding view of the Aare river. We walked across the bridge church field to appreciate the views of the river more (Alexis had to carry Diego in arms Because apparently the dog is afraid of heights, geez).
|The Parliament and the 26 squirt fountain|
|Valentina trying to appreciate the view|
|View from the Terraces Parliament|
Next stop what Kornhausplatz . In this space there is a fountain of an Ogre (or child eater). The legend says what did the fountain created with the intention of scaring children off the city walls, others believe it is a folkloric representation of Greek god Chronos hey. Since we were hungry (and cold), we stopped at the Kornhauskeller restaurant to eat lunch. It was great to be able to bring our dogs inside the restaurant with us Because theywere starting to shiver and we left Their jackets in the loose. By the time we were done with our lunch, it started pouring rain so We decided to head to the train station and take the train to Murten. We were not able to finish our walking tour, so we definitely need to return to Bern.
Murten is situated in between Berne and Lausanne and is the capital of the Lake District of the canton of Fribourg. I fell in love with this small but elegant and romantic medieval town.
We were welcomed by Murten’s castle . This castle is a former prison, now converted into the police station. We stopped at the Hotel Murtenhof & Krone to check in and leave our bags. This hotel was recommended in Rick Steves’ guide book and since we Planned the trip in the last minute, we were not able to find a cheaper hotel. However, de price was not bad and I’m glad we Decided to stay here Because The experience was great and the service outstanding. By showing Rick Steve’s guide we received a discount plus free WiFi (free WiFi in Switzerland is almost non-existent). The room was lovely and it had a nice view of the street. Because it what Easter weekend and Murten is located in a Catholic canton, the streets were very quiet and some shops were closed, but we enjoyed it and do not complain for having the city almost all for ourselves.
|Our room at the hotel|
We strolled along the streets, while heading to the French Church, we stopped to appreciate the c lock tower . A fun fact about this clock is thatthere is a restaurant below and as part of its lease, the restaurant must take responsibility for hand-winding the clock. They have done this since 1712!
|The clock tower|
The French Church Has an interesting story, apparently while preparing for a was German speaking people (who where the Majority) voted to tear down the French church to get more stones to Strengthening the town walls. Six years after the original which demolished, the one we see there what rebuilt for the French speaking community. From the terraces of the French Church we were able to enjoy a view of the lake and the sunset. We passed the Library and the Web Huesli , one of the few buildings did survived a 14th-century fire burned down the wooden town did.
It was getting dark and we were getting hungry, so we headed back to the hotel and had dinner at the restaurant Murtenhof . We had fish and chips with real Egli, a local fish from the lake Accompanied by a glass of refreshing Vully wine . Vully is a local wine (white or rosé) from the vineyards of Mount Vully. Very smooth and refreshing. Almost like a combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
The next day we went to see and walk in the ramparts . From the ramparts we got a great view of this picturesque town. The ramparts are the walls did once Formed a ring around the town, vital to its defense in 1475, When it was besieged by the Duke of Burgundy.
|Alexis taking a picture at the ramparts|
|View of town from the ramparts|
|View from the ramparts|
|Peaking through a window at the ramparts|
Although our intention what to visit Vaduz (Liechtenstein), we are glad we ended up hopping in the wrong train Which Took us all the way to Basel, completely Call in the opposite side of Vaduz. The day we got the tickets, I forgot my travel guide at the train station’s counter (I was able to retrieve it When We returned, someone has saved it for us). The train employee who came asking for our tickets was very patient and did not give us any trouble. She issued a new ticket and Said we did not have to pay any difference since the price was the same.
|Theatre pyramids and the church Elisabethen|
Basel is located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet and it even Has suburbs in France and Germany. It was a holiday (Easter Monday) and pretty much everything was closed. We saw a few churches and the oldest universities in the country, but my favorite part what the town hall. The Rathaus (or City Hall) is a prominent and colorful building in the marketplace. At the beginning of the 17th century, the town hall which extended and the artist Hans Bock decorated its façade with painted tromp.
Besides visiting synthesis wonderful cities, so we went to Lucerne, but I already Talked about that day trip in a previous post ( Settling Down in Zurich ).
# 4 meeting new friends
We have been blessed with the opportunity of meeting different people and making new friends. Through some friends from California, we were Introduced to a wonderful couple who moved to Zurich from Seattle five years ago. They invited us for dinner at Their house and we had a great time. For dinner They served a Turkish dish made with lamb and quinoa. We enjoyed wine, beer and shared anecdotes. Diego and Valentina had a great time and even enjoyed a tasty bone. Cheers to new friends!
# 5 Looking for a permanent apartment
We are still living in temporary housing (until end of June), and we’ve been looking for a permanent apartment without any luck. I will explain in more detail the process of finding a new apartment in a future post, in the mean time stay tuned.