Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Zürich first impressions

It has been 6.5 months since we have moved to Zürich, so I think it is time to write about our first impressions.

We followed the advice of our friend David to move here before summer was over. The reason is that everyone is friendlier and in a better mood during the warmer months.
Locals sunbathe and barbecue at the park next to the lake. You can even drink in public without hiding your booze.
It is popular to stroll or bike along the shore.
Sailing too.
Anyone can borrow free bikes from the city by putting down a 20 CHF deposit.

The old town is quite quaint in typical European style: cobbled stones streets and small shops. The main difference is that Zürich prices are enough to break the bank.
The Limmat river divides the old town.

The weather stays warm enough day and night to eat and drink outside during the summer. This is a welcome change coming from San Francisco and has convinced us to look for a rental apartment with a balcony.
Breakfast at one of the many restaurants with outdoor seating.
Muesli quickly became my favorite Swiss breakfast dish.
It is common to sit down for an Aperol Spritz or another aperitif with your friends between work and dinner. Similar to Happy Hour in the States.
Outdoor dining at night. I can get used to that.

It blows my mind how clean the water is in the lake and rivers passing right through the middle of the most populated city in the country. The water here was never polluted and it is normal to see kids and adults alike stopping for a swim on their way to school or work. Some do it during their lunch break. On the weekends, everyone is in the water!
The Limmat has a boardwalk and is a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming.
Yup, those are swans.
I couldn't resist.
Yes, those guys are riding a raft right next to office buildings.

There is some variance in the vibe from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, the area near Im Viadukt has a blend of industrial and artsy feel but it is less walkable than other areas.


Zürich is famous for having over 1200 water fountains -- almost all of which provide potable water. Some people make it their mission to visit and drink from every possible one. A formidable challenge.
Always carry a water bottle during the summer. It would be silly to buy bottled water here.
This particular fountain is decorated by the owner of the flower shop behind it.

My first purchase in Switzerland was a replacement for an item that was taken away from me at the airport by TSA. I guess I came to the right place.