It’s been a little over a year since I moved to Zürich and I can safely say living here has in many ways exceeded my expectations. While the thought of having a baby abroad terrified me at first, it worked out much better than I could have anticipated. The doctors and midwives at the University Hospital were second-to-none, the food was remarkably edible, and we even received a surprise police escort to the hospital when I was in labor.
That’s not to say living here is without challenges. I’m still getting used to $7 lattes and being so far from family but I feel incredibly lucky to be living in such a beautiful city, to have made many new friends and to spend so much of my time with our feisty, little mädchen.
And while many people presume that having a baby curtails any hope of travel, for us quite the opposite has been true. After several months of pregnancy related bed rest, I was determined to escape our apartment and see more of Switzerland. Fortunately, newborns are fairly portable and the summer in Zürich was uncharacteristically warm. This made for many memorable weekend trips into the countryside and beyond. We even made it to Lake Como and Austria. Here are a few highlights of our more local summer travel.
The first trip we took post baby was to the Klöntalersee, a natural, mountain lake in the Canton of Glarus, Switzerland. This is only an hour drive from Zürich but feels completely unspoiled and remote. We hiked an easy path around the lake admiring views of snow capped mountains receding into a crystal clear water.
A few weeks later the temperature reached the 90’s in Zürich, a city imagined well before the invention of air conditioning. I was desperately calling restaurants inquiring whether or not they had AC when we decided it was time to get out of dodge. We headed to Engadin, a long valley located in the canton of Graubünden in southeast Switzerland. It boasts 360 alpine views and is peppered with postcard perfect villages, posh hotel and an abundance of outdoor enthusiasts.
Later in the summer my sister came for a visit. We toured the old city and took advantage of the local badi’s or the lakeside beaches that Zürich is famous for. It didn’t take long before she was “badi obsessed” but I did manage to tear her away to explore Uetliberg, Lucerne and most notably a trip up Rigi on a cogwheel train.
The summer culminated with a long anticipated trip back to Boston to acquaint the little mädchen to her grandparents, friends and relatives. It was a crazy, fast whirlwind of a summer concluding a most memorable first year in der Schweiz.