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Posts Tagged ‘zurich’

Indoors!

No, I have not sunk to posting from work, I’m in an internet cafe that is not a euphemism for a dark alleyway! Here goes Zurich, with Cologne and Freiburg (frisbee tourney) yet to come:

Um. Hi. I don’t know if you remember me, but my name’s Marianna, and if you’re reading this, we were probably once compatriots in some sense. I once had this great plan to blog about my summer in Germany, but that dream was crushed beneath the jackboot of international, industrial science.

Of late, I have been in Zurich, Cologne and Freiburg. The internship is drawing to a close. I’m applying to jobs. I’m reading graduate school application deadlines. I am eating cheese. I’ve started going to Frisbee practices in Heidelberg, with exactly enough time left to go to TWO of them. “Na ja…” as we say in the business. Oktoberfest is this weekend, and I have to hem my dirndl.

I cannot express how objectively boring my life is. It’s actually not bad, but I realize that the day to day is incredibly boring from the outside point of view:

6:10 – hit snooze button

6:20 – hit snooze button

6:30 – take shower/pack lunch, whichever space is unoccupied

7:00 – leave for train

7:21 – arrive at destination/ proceed further on bicycle

7:32 – arrive at work

7:32-4:00 – work

4:15 – train back home

4:30 – go to grocery store on the way home from the train, buy food in 4:1 ratio of normal adult comestibles to junk food.

And now I must emphasize that the preceding section is literally EXACTLY what I do every day. No variation. After that, I generally scramble to make dinner, and then read or listen to music or watch a movie until 10pm, on the dot, when I go to bed. Right now, strangely enough, I am reading “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace. Despite being a fairly obscure book (until last week when its author killed himself) it was one of the few English books available in Mannheim. The essay I’m reading now (“Up, Simba”) was originally published in Rolling Stone during McCain’s 2000 presidential bid, and is about McCain as a candidate. It both brings me back to the time when I thought McCain wasn’t a bad dude, and is eerily prophetic about the electability potential of a candidate who can “inspire”

And now for recaps, which will probably be less complete than earlier ones, which you are probably thrilled about.

Zurich

So here’s the thing about Zurich. It doesn’t have a thing. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Berlin has the Brandenburg Gate, Munich has the Glockenspiel…Zurich…not so much. Don’t get me wrong by any means- Zurich is great. It has a beautiful lake, a number of superlative churches, and a definite unique character. Not to mention all the people speaking Schwyzerdutsch (Swiss German). But when you walk out of the train station, and turn to your travel companion, you find yourself saying, “So, where’s the…um…wait…crap.” Needless to say, the day started slowly.

No wait, it in fact did not. The day started 20 minutes before our train left with Stephanie and I banging on Kevin’s door for 10 minutes because he was supposed to meet us IN THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE HIS OWN DOOR 10 minutes before. We ended up leaving without him. Then our train to Mannheim to get the fast train to Zurich never came, so we had to leave an hour later. It was fun.

Once we GOT to Zurich, Stephanie and I spent a fair amount of time walking up and down the main thoroughfare looking for a bank. In Switzerland. Sometimes I feel like that whole country is a maze. But anyway.

We walked down to the lake, which is really quite beautiful with its mountains and little settlements and swans. We walked up to near the University, where there was a little street festival going on- the perfect opportunity for food! So, I paid 8 Franks (about 8 dollars at the moment) for what was literally a slice of white bread with a half-cup of melted raclette cheese poured over it and a couple of pickle slices on top. On the one hand, I was all “What a rip off!” on the other, I was all “this is the only thing I have ever wanted in life…om nom nom nom.”

It was not long before we went chocolate shopping, of course. I got three truffles: plain milk chocolate, cappuccino and walnut. No complaints. We were then aimed for the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum) when we realized that we didn’t have time before we met up with Tessa, Kamila’s German friend who was coming down from Konstanz. So we met up with her, and she had a plan, which was more than we had, so we headed to the Langstrasse district, where there were supposed to be hip stores and what-all-have-you. When we got there, there was an international festival going on with loud Latin music and food booths and cocktails for sale – BUT I WASN’T HUNGRY! It was awful. Incidentally, the cool stores didn’t seem to actually be anywhere. I did try on some ridiculous looking pants because we saw so many girls wearing them and I wanted to get a pair so when they’re hot shit in the states I can show off. But they were too ridiculous looking. They are like, baggy linen capris with a very low crotch and elastic just below the knee – like what male Afghani civilians are wearing as they squat to tend the fire on the news. Bizarre.

Museum in background with sweet tower

Museum in background with sweet tower

International Fair

International Fair

We also went looking for a church that (apparently) was the oldest church in Zurich (I actually did not care at all). There was a wedding going on which prevented us from going in, which for some reason drove Stephanie crazy.

Around this time (5pm-ish) Kevin actually arrived in Zurich and called us to meet up. So back to the train station, and then back into the city in search of dinner. There was a general consensus that we wanted to eat “by the lake” so we headed off in that direction. Strangely, there are not that many lakefront eateries. We ended up getting takeout from a bistro near the lake (serving mostly grilled and/or cylindrical meats) and sitting on the wall next to the water as the sun set over the lake. It was very nice. We spent the night at the Paul Scherer Institute guesthouse, where Kevin is now living. It’s out in the countryside in a pleasant way. Might feel kinda claustrophobic on weekends when the bus to ANYTHING only runs every two hours.

Sunday we picked up where we left off with a visit to the Swiss National Museum, sans Tessa, who left on Saturday night. The museum is housed in a beautiful old building with a multicolored tile roof and motifs painted under the eaves. It had quite an eclectic collection, with a truly bizarre audio tour- two Brits faux-arguing about nothing. I must say, the archeological collection was unbelievably poorly labeled. The collection of Medieval and religious art was impressive, as were the reconstructed 17th century rooms. They had a section all about guns, which included a room titled “Children and Guns” that was all about toy guns and video games. Unfortunately the museum was laid out across 4 floors, some of which were only accessible from certain points on certain other floors, and it was very confusing to get around if you wanted to see everything. It does seem to be under construction, so maybe it will improve?

I also talked Kevin and Stephanie to go to the Medical History and Zoological museums of the University of Zurich, basically the only things I saw last time I was in Zurich. I just think they’re fantastic museums. Obviously the medical history museum has a target audience, but the zoological museum is just fantastic- tons of familiar and exotic animals are mounted and displayed in big glass cases. There are bird and bug sections, too.

Hungry despite the visit to the medical history museum, we consulted Kevin’s guidebook and came up with a vegetarian by-the-decagram restaurant called Tibits by Hiltl. It was not too far away (and all down hill) so we mosied on down. The food was exquisite, as I had feared it would be. And some of us, to remain nameless, had trouble with the “pay by weight” concept and paid 30 Franks for dinner. But yum! Lentil salad, pea samosas, Moroccan bulgar, jalapeno poppers. I nearly wept. I should’ve gotten more. As it turned out, the restaurant was only about a block from the lake, so we returned to the little boardwalk to eat again. Then we ran around to see a bunch of churches. A few were lame, but there was one that was actually DIFFERENT looking inside (miracle!), and one that had stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. So those were fun. That’s about all she wrote, except my buying a candy bar for 3 Franks because I needed to get rid of them somehow.

American Bakery! (in the train station in Zurich)

American Bakery! (in the train station in Zurich)

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