Settling Down in Zürich
Updated: Oct 7, 2018
A week ago today we boarded Swiss Airlines flight 039 from San Francisco to Zürich. A week already and I can’t believe it. So far we love our new life in Switzerland. We’ve been exploring the city as much as we can. Our temporary apartment is very close to Grossmünster, which turned out to be THE perfect location. Close to main attractions, the Limmat river, train station and everything we need. Gossmünster is a church that was built in the 12th century, with two impressive towers. For a small fee, you can climb the 187 stairs in one of them, to be rewarded with one of the most amazing views of Zürich. Besides visiting the church, we’ve been doing one of the things we love the most: eating! We have tried different restaurants in the area, and so far we haven’t found one we don’t like. From Swiss to Spanish food, it seems everything is good.
To “warm up” we joined the Free Walk Tour of Zurich on Friday and Saturday. We did the “Downtown” and “West Zurich” tours. What a great way to get to know the city and meet new people! We met Sandra, a Spanish girl from Galicia who’s boyfriend also works at the same place Alexis works and Patric, one of the tour guides. One other thing we are doing to get acquainted with the city (and staying in shape) is to run. Alexis and I have been running in the mornings for 3 miles, which give us the opportunity to spend time together and see different parts of the city. Running to Bellevue area has been one of my favorite routes so far.
After exploring a bit around Zürich, we felt adventurous enough to take the train to another city. We chose Luzerne because it is only a 45 min train ride from Zürich and because we heard wonderful things about it. We took Diego and Valentina with us, in what was their first train ride. We bought our tickets-including tickets for the dogs who paid half price- and took the 12:04 train going to Luzerne. The ride went smoothly. We saw some of the “country” side of Switzerland and we even spotted some of the famous Swiss cows in their extensive green landscape
Once we arrived in Luzerne, we followed Rick Steve’s self walking tour of the city. Stoping at the TI first and grabbing a map of the city. The train station is right in front of Lake Luzerne, which was filled with beautiful swans in mating season. It is said the swans were a gift from the French king Louis XIV in appreciation for the protection he received from Swiss guards. Valentina and Diego were amazed by those swans, stopping each time they saw one.
We had an amazing time in Luzerne. Walked around the city’s major attractions and stopped at Taube Restaurant to try one of the famous dishes, the chügelipastetli. It is basically puff pastry stuffed with mushrooms, veal and pork in a creamy sauce. Very tasty! The restaurant is pet friendly (like many other places in Switzerland) and since they didn’t have any tables available “al fresco”, we got a table inside the restaurant and were allowed to bring our dogs with us, pretty cool!
While on the train, we were told that if we put our dogs in any kind of bag, they would travel for free. Since we were in Luzernem which can be slightly less expensive than Zürich, we stopped by “Qualipet” a local pet store and bought a couple of bags for them. They can now travel comfortable and for free. Just take a look at them below :)
Among the activities we’ve enjoyed during this week includes going to a wine expo. Just for the records, Alexis and I love wine. We are not professional wine connoisseurs, but we enjoy trying different varietals and learning a little bit from each region. For the past 8 years we lived between Washington and California, which make great wines from Walla-Walla, Yakima, Napa Valley etc. We also took a few trips to Willamette Valley in Oregon which is famous for its fantastic Pinot Noir. The wine expo is called “Expovina” and it last for a full week, hosting a plethora of booths offering unlimited tasting of grapes I never heard before. The entrance fee costs about 25 CHF each, but to our luck we found a guy at the entrance who gave us two tickets for free (score!). Patric, the tour guide from Free Walking Tours also came and we had a great time. We met Paul Keller, a wine aficionado from Zweifel Wines, a local wine company from Zürich. Paul is retired, but he offered to take us in a private tour of the winery which is located in Interlaken and we are totally taking his work on it. Expovina was so much fun. We had “Vino Verde” (green wine) from Portugal and had wine from Galilee, which according to the Gospel of St. John, it was here that Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine at a wedding.
Life is good right now. We hope we can continue to enjoy this new chapter in our lives, and travel more around Switzerland and Europe. Alexis will commence his new job on Monday, so coming to Switzerland 10 days before has been great since it gave us time to overcome the jet lag. In the next post we are going to talk about the process of registering ourselves (and the dogs) with the state and the police. In the meantime, please enjoy pictures of our new apartment: