Zurich Walks

Despite the (almost constant) threat of rain during my most recent visit to Zurich, we managed to get a decent amount of walking time around the city and saw some lovely sights along the way.

There's more street art in Zurich than I was expecting, and not just usual spray can graffiti. This was my favourite.

There’s more street art in Zurich than I was expecting, and not just usual spray can graffiti. This was my favourite.

Although they are not my favourite things to walk up, the hills in Zurich mean views up and down streets are more interesting and varied.

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There are also green spaces to be found; the weather was nice to enough to allow me to enjoy them in sunshine.

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At one point, I walked alongside the river and saw someone taking a picture of what seemed to be ordinary pavement, but then I looked closer and saw lizards all along the concrete, warming themselves in the sun.

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Zurich Eats

I don’t think we have yet announced on this blog that Zurich is to be our next home. In fact, Callum has already been there for about 4 months and I will be joining him in a month’s time. So the name of this blog will have less connection to the content, but it’s too good to give up and start collecting followers all over again.

I have visited a couple of times so far but am yet to share the curiosities and experiences, so here is the first of many posts about the capital of Switzerland!

In true ithinktherefore… style, I am going to begin with a post about food and drink – two of our biggest loves.

One of the entertaining things about travel is discovering different flavours of familiar products other countries have. As you can see in the picture below, Switzerland is home to elderflower Fanta and Orangina-flavoured Haribo.

I am a big elderflower fan, so I thought it tastes great (Callum not so much) but we both love the Haribo – they definitely need to expand distribution of those sweets to, say, the UK and the Netherlands. Like, now – before I leave.

I was very surprised at how high the concentration of British-style pubs is in Zurich, and how many other additional places you can buy British ale/beer. Well played Zurich, well played. I can already predict that this will mean I become an addict of London Pride. Incidentally, has anyone ever thought of creating a name for people who are dependent on alcohol? Just an idea…

 Beer, glorious beeeeeerrrr

Not everything Zürich has to offer is familiar though; one pub is offering up a beloved Disney film character as a meal. The barbarians.

Simba... nooooo!

Simba… nooooo! Or, is this what happened to your dad after you couldn’t wake… him.. up? *SOBS*

One of our (already) favourite places to eat is Fork & Bottle. Well worth the bus journey, this place offers a big beer garden with a view to green fields and hills and friendly staff. Also, English is the default language here, which as two non-Swiss German-speaking people, is a definite plus.

Beer Brunch at Fork & Bottle

Beer Brunch at Fork & Bottle

Their beer menu is hand-picked by the owner and Callum describes it as the cream of Swiss craft beer, with nowhere else coming close in terms of offeringS, but (as with other places in Zurich) it is very expensive. You can rack up high bills extremely easily – so be warned! I am a particular fan of the Kurt Pale Ale but am definitely NOT a fan of the basil-flavoured beer they also offer. (That is what you get for being made to feel guilty about sticking with what you know and love!!)

Their food is good; the buttermilk pancakes are my particular favourite, but I felt I had to share my picture of their soft-shell crab burger. It is literally a whole soft-shell crab deep-fried and stuck in a bun. Their fish and chips (which Callum has in the background of the picture below) are also better than any of the Dutch attempts we tried in Amsterdam.

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More Zurich-ness to come…

To the Zee

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There is exactly 1 (+/- 1) advantage of living in Haarlem, rather than Amsterdam; cycling to the beach in 25minutes. This should of course be offset by the number of beach worthy days per year (7). These pictures document the journey between Haarlem and Zandvoort (the beach) on one of the first warm days of 2013.

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The west coast of the Netherlands is stacked high with well-maintained dunes to keep the sea at bay, and it is possible to cycle through these national parks or through some rather exclusive suburbs.

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I was quite impressed in all honesty: the water is not nearly as brown as I expected.

The last village at the end of the road.

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Peyresq, Alpes de Haute-Provence, France.

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Peyresq is literally at the end of the road. It ends in the village plaza (‘plaza’ is a bit generous; dusty circle is more apt). There are two permanent residents in Peyresq. This is also the minimum number of people required by French custom to be provided with a postal and road cleaning service: every day these two residents have post, it must be brought to them; all winter, the alpine road must be kept snow-free.

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I stayed here for a ten day summer school. This is a long time at the edge of civilization, and re-integration into the Nice metropolis was scary (I shirked Monaco). This isolation breeds companionship, making Peyresq a perfect location for interactive summer schools and the like.

Greetins vrum Zummerzet

If anyone ever has the ‘So where are you from in England?’ conversation with me, they will know that I can be pretty disparaging about my hometown. Ask me about Bristol, where I studied and lived before moving to the Netherlands, and you will have a face full of wide-smile enthusiasm. But my hometown? Eh, not so much. Generally I avoid telling foreigners where I’m from, in case they Google it (other search engines are available).

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Perhaps I was feeling a little guilty or trying to gain a little perspective* but when I went home this week for a few days, I took my camera and went on a sunshine stroll to take some positive photos of Burnham and Highbridge. I think I did quite well. Click through the gallery below and see what you think.

*People who use the phrase “FML” when they spill their Starbucks or drop their iPhone could do with a little perspective. You know who you are.

Postcrossing

I read about Postcrossing a while ago in an in-flight magazine, but it took me a while to actually get my ass in gear and register with the website. But… I finally managed it a couple of weeks ago! Hurrah.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, here’s the explanation from the website:

The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.

I am still a big fan of ‘snail mail’ (as it is often referred to in the UK); there’s something about seeing a message handwritten that’s so much more beautiful than printed text. I especially like postcards; Callum is brilliant and will always get me at least one postcard (frequently it’s 3 or 4!) from wherever he’s been. Being able to send and receive them from anywhere in the world is pretty cool.

I received my first postcard today and it came all the way from Canada:

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The picture shows a painting entitled ‘Big Raven’ by a Canadian painter called Emily Carr. I’d never heard of Emily before I received this card so now I have been educated in the area of Canadian art! Two great things about the Postcrossing website: they have a list of suggestions of things you could include on the postcard if you’re struggling for inspiration. Also you have a profile space where you can not only explain a little about yourself and your interests but you can list the type of postcard you’d like to receive (if possible – let’s not be too demanding!).

Here are some (I have far too many for one post) of my favourite postcards that Callum has brought back for me…

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From L-R: this postcard can double as a beer mat (maybe you have two beers at the same time?), this postcard is a cork one made from Evora cork and the last is a great picture from France.

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Mexican wrestling in Amsterdam

For the 4th Biennial Mexican Wrestling Symposium, Amsterdam was lucky enough to be visited by the formidable La Galleta Loco and El Pollo Loco.

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Outside Hotel Old Nickel. It’s hard to say whether they enjoyed it.

Feeling undernourished and homesick, the wrestlers found solace:

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Some say, under the masks, their appearance is even more engrossing then this view:

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Summer in Zurich

Zurich: pointy.

Zurich: pointy.

Being an international business mogul, from time to time I need to be in Zurich to conduct clandestine affairs away from the prying eyes of the taxman and righteous law enforcers.

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I was there this summer to embezzle money from the corrupt Wennerström corporation shortly before its very public collapse.

IMG_3654Zurich is painfully beautiful. The city lake is alpine fresh, and clean enough to swim in and drink (probably).

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Unlike most cities, there are no degenerating, bleak quarters to hustle quickly through, avoiding eye-contact with the natives, and pretend that they don’t exist. Zurich has solved inequality and poverty.

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And that’s also the biggest drawback. If you want to live in a bubble, then sure, go to Zurich. But after a while you too may need some balance (and a nightlife).

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Oooh, look, badass Zurich-

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This was the only graffiti we found, and it’s actually all part of some hippy restaurant venue, which was actually really lovely and pleasant.

IMG_3676With six-point instructions detailing the logistics of washing your hands, Switzerland is perhaps something of a nanny-state, or populated by retards.

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Undeniably, Zurich offers much more than just top-shelf money laundering.

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A few in Norway

There are few easier places to photograph.

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But at a price: 23 Euros for two beers. But as the Norwegians always say, “If there’s a more expensive way to do something: do it”.

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Living in Amsterdam, anything with hills great.

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A personal highlight was Oslo’s spanking new opera house (Operahuset).

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There would be more photos if it weren’t so dam cold.


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The ski jump looks formidable.

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