Zurich – Day Two

July 20, 2012

Today began with a large breakfast with the Empting family with whom I’m staying. It consisted of many different cheeses, artisanal breads, berries, fruit and cereals. There was on particular cheese of interest that translated roughly to ‘Frenchman’s Head’ cheese that was scraped off with a circular blade to form a shape somewhat like that of farfalle pasta. After the adults retired, Eva and I happily polished off the leftover punnets of raspberries and blueberries.

From there I traveled by train to Tiefenbrunnen station, about 30min walk out of the CBD. There exists a charming walking path along the banks of Lake Zurich, and I thoroughly enjoyed my walk (see pictures below). Making it into the city center, I walked along the main shopping street, Bahnhofstrassen and tried to get a feel for the place. Most striking were the wide streets with generous foliage along the sides.
At 12:00 I was to meet Eva at another station by a fountain, which after a little searching and a detour into a music store I found. For lunch Eva took me out to a fantastic vegetarian buffet place, that charges by weight. Lunch as displayed below, was delicious and I left wholly satisfied. Mmmm… vegetarian bolognese.

Eva then returned to her university, ETH Zurich, with me in tow. On the way we found a letter written to a family here, on display in a window. Eva then informed me that Einstien had in fact studied at the same university as her when he was younger! As she discussed her courses I realized that though she is in first year, the standards here are high such that she is studying the equivalent material for our  second year. For those keeping track this means 2nd year level mechanics (Lagrangian Dynamics etc.), an analysis course (Real Analysis) and, other equivalent courses.

The afternoon I spent wandering around again, sampling a lovely piano in the aforementioned music store for a good twenty minutes and, visiting numerous chocolate shops. I treated myself to a Swiss Movenpick Icecream: strawberry, 4.50CHF. Of note is the dessert shop Sprungli, which is from the same family as Lindt & Sprungli, separated since a few hundred years ago.

I met Eva at the hauptbahnhof at 3:45 to catch a train to Baden, where I was to surprise my friend Carmen who, working in a hospital full time, had no time in which to see me. This was a troubling affair for me as she worked in a small hospital in a rural town! For 20CHF I purchased a return ticket and went to Baden. However, when I got there I had little idea how to catch a bus to the hospital. Luckily, I heard two women speaking Hebrew as I was exiting the train and asked them for advice. They took me under their wing, even going so far as to board the bus to the hospital with me, being happy to help a young, Israeli tourist.

Once in the hospital I was challenged to explain in swiss german, that I wanted to find Carmen Flury, an employee in some unknown part of the hospital. I was first directed to the 11th floor where they puzzled for a minute trying to figure out what I wanted. Eventually, an english speaking intern came in and redirected me to the palliative care unit a floor below. It was there I was presented with the opportunity to give Carmen a near heart attack, as she didn’t know I was coming! I spent as much time as possible with her before returning to Eva in Kusnacht at 6PM.

Once back in Kusnacht I knocked on Eva’s door to find it answered by her boyfriend Jonothan. A lovely guy who spoke good English. I, Eva, Jonothan and her family, then proceeded to dinner at a Kosher restaurant in the Jewish quarter, located inside the community center. The guard at the door was very suspicious at first and wouldn’t let us in until I spoke to him in Hebrew, reassuring him that we had good reason for seeking out a kosher restaurant, despite most of us not being Jewish, flustering the Empting family somewhat. For dinner I tried a Swiss dish, some kind of sausage, that was fine, if a bit heavy for my liking. Following dinner we returned to walk along Lake Zurich before going home.

My last few hours of consciousness were spent talking to a few people around the world, sorting out a mess or two, and reconnecting a bit with home.

Switzerland – Day One

July 19, 2012

Flying Etihad ended up being quite lovely! Great staff and a huge range of entertainment options. As we drew close to landing, I took in the beautiful sight of the alps and Lake Geneva. I was stunned at how physically beautiful the landscape was!

Landing in Geneva was a simple process with passport control taking no more than a few seconds. Their visa on arrival process is very liberal.

On exiting passport control I shaved in the airport and cleaned up a bit, feeling very yucky after flying for so long and, then proceeded to baggage collection.

At this point I started to get a bit disoriented and after collecting my baggage, had a rather long appointment in the ticket office to convert some money, buy a ticket from Geneva to Zurich and, attempt to purchase a 20CHF prepaid SIM card.

Eventually I got to the train and boarded, trying to sort out all my paperwork. I spent a good ten minutes trying to replace the SIM card in my phone which wouldn’t come out and finally when it did so, my phone wouldn’t connect to any network! I needed to call my dear friend Eva to let her when to come pick me up from Zurich HB, the central station where I was heading. In desparation I asked a woman and her daughter in the next row ‘parlez-vous anglaise?’ to which the answer was a resounding no. It was at this point that I became very grateful for high school french and proceeded over the next minute to attempt phrasing my request, which I did so in very broken french.

Over the next then minutes we attempted to call Eva, who’s number I had apparently taken down incorrectly. Finally they realized I was using the wrong dialling code and I got through to her and I sighed in relief.

I sat back down in my seat and ate a piece of dairy milk. Wanting to give my thanks to the two, I offered them some and ended up getting caught up in an hour and a half long conversation during which my french improved immensely.

Two hours later, after much gazing out the window at the countryside, I arrived into Eva’s warm embrace. We then spent the afternoon in Kusnacht, her town, walking along the edges of Lake Zurich. Amazingly I managed to avoid the bulk of jet lag and slept soundly in a comfortable bed at her place surrounded by swiss chocolate.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney