From Ikea to Uetliberg: Four days in der Schweiz

I’m here! I’ve spent four whole days in Switzerland. I do realize now that I may have brought a few too many pairs of shoes. Considering we live on top of a hill with a 10 minute walk to the train, I’m not sure how much play my 3 & 4 inch heals will get. Albeit unwillingly, I will have to accept my true, somewhat vertically challenged stature. To all my new friends and acquaintances in Zürich, please know I was three inches taller in Boston.

Our apartment is on the second floor of a traditional Swiss style stucco house in the region of Zürich known as Kreis 2. This neighborhood is favored by families and English-speaking expats. It’s just as cute as I remembered it to be. Actually, it feels even nicer, now that it’s summer and everyone’s gardens are in full bloom.

Here’s a closeup I took this afternoon with my Nifty Fifty.

Flower with bee

The apartment itself is broken up into separate rooms, a very common layout in older apartments in Switzerland. It’s quite the change from our loft-like open floor plan in Boston but I quite like it. It’s filled with natural light during the day and has a lot of character. The best part is a little round balcony off the living room that looks out into the garden.  We are a little short on furniture at the moment but I’m confident that once we decorate and add personal touches it will really feel like home.

Decorating, however, is going to pose an interesting challenge. It appears in Switzerland, there are two categories of furniture. Dirt cheap, and astronomically, ulcer-inducing, expensive. So that basically means there’s Ikea and everywhere else. There are also fewer options as everything is generally very modern and somewhat uniform. I like modern but I also like to mix things up with some eclectic touches that could be easily sourced at home. Not so much here.

As you may have guessed my Saturday was spent at Ikea and “everywhere else” on a quest for furnishings that look nice and won’t cause us to declare bankruptcy. We were moderately successful in selecting furniture in store and then finding the exact model online for a more reasonable price.

The other benefit to going to Ikea is that they happen to serve the cheapest lunch in Zürich. I wouldn’t call it five-star dining but it does the trick.Lunch at Ikea

To my fiancé’s delight all stores are closed on Sundays. He says this used to annoy him but now he really appreciates it because it forces him to get all of his chores done on Saturday so Sunday is spent relaxing or doing outdoor activities. I think he really likes it because I can’t drag him furniture shopping. The verdict is out on how I feel about it. I mean what if it’s Sunday, you’re having a dinner party and you run out of eggs or even worse, toilet paper? Will I be forced smuggle roles of soft white gold from my nearest cafe? Or suggest my guests desecrate an old edition of lonely planet? Apparently, I need not worry because supermarkets in train stations are allowed to be open on Sundays. Whew.

So with the excuse of stores being closed, we spent Sunday exploring our neighborhood and the nearest mountain/hill, Uetliberg. I took the train while my german motorized fiancé opted to run up the hill. Here are some pics I took from the top looking down on the city and surrounding countryside. I’d say it isn’t bad considering it’s just a 20 minute train ride from my apartment.

Uetliberg tower

This is the tower at the top of Uetliberg.

View from Uetliberg

View from the Top.

View from Uetliberg

Gratuitous shallow depth of field. Many more of these to come.

On our way down, we stopped for a quick cappuccino but we did not have cake. We really wanted the delicious sounding “schoggiküchlein mit hausgemacht Vanilla Glace”.  But alas, the Swiss are very strict and at this restaurant they do NOT serve cake after 5:00 PM, even if one was seated at 4:45 and waited patiently for a server until 5:05. This is Switzerland and rules are rules!

After our cappuccino we leisurely made our way down to our apartment. I prepared dinner and we ate on our little balcony.

Dinner

Not a bad first few days.  Looking forward to seeing what my first full week in Zürich will bring.

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