Just some random thoughts from my time in Zurich the past few days.
1. The chime to announce a stop on the Zurich trams is the opening two notes of Hamilton's "Wait for It."
2. I just saw a field trip of a gaggle of three year olds. They were all wearing bright yellow sashes and holding their teachers' hands, and several of them toppled over as they crossed the street. Like dominoes. I know I'm going to hell for this but I laughed out loud. Funniest/cutest thing ever.
3. I am the only person in this city wearing a hat. What?! it's cold!
4. Irish pubs are the cockroaches of the tourism industry. They are everywhere and they always survive. But as another traveler pointed out to me recently, in a pinch, they are a place where you can always find an English-speaking expat to help with something. Though, in Switzerland, everyone speaks English, so I'm still going to say: cockroaches.
5. Yeah, it's pretty here. You don't have to hit us over the head with it.
6. You've got old.
7. You've got new. This is the law library at the University of Zurich, by Santiago Calatrava (the same guy who did the World Trade Center transportation hub in NYC. The ceiling looks the same to me.) I spent the day working here and felt very smart. I also felt very hot. See #9.
8. And you've got in between. This is the Le Corbusier Center in Zurich, formerly known as the Heidi Weber Museum (she was an art collector and friend). This was the last building Le Corbusier designed.
9. There is no air conditioning in most restaurants and public places. I guess it doesn't get that hot. But it was so stuffy in the library. And I'm the person who is always cold.
10. My favorite kind of burger: luxemburgerli .They are basically #macarons but airier and smaller, and most important, branded by the Swiss confectionary Sprungli. From far left they are: orange=mango green and pink = strawberry rhubarb, pink = raspberry, yellow = dulce de leche, brown = chocolate, and the gold at far right = champagne.
11. Sprungli also makes chocolate. Lots of chocolate. It used to be one family company with Lindt, but they split way back, without drama I believe. Anyway that's not why I took this picture. I took this picture because my brain was completely f'd up by these scarabs. They're chocolate. But they're bugs. They're chocolate! But they're bugs! Who would do this kind of thing and why are they torturing me? I learned later that all the chocolate stores do beetles in the spring, it's a seasonal tradition. I do not like it.
12. Here are some things I found in the grocery story—which is always one of my favorite places to visit when I travel. What do they eat? And, equally important, what will I eat? What interesting flavors of yogurt do they have? Can I find peanut butter here? How do you say "rice cake" in German/French/Italian?
12a. Not only are there matzos in the main grocery stores, but they are French matzos. Which of course means that they are fancy matzos.
12b. Picnic eggs. Makes you wonder what the chickens looked like. (Thank you very much, I'll be here all night!)
12c. Fondue in a box. I saw a lot of this. Didn't eat any.
13. The Urania Observatory is right in the middle of the city. It's too bright for stars, but you can still see the moon and planets (not to mention really great sunsets). I don't know anything else about this place because the cheap public tours are only given in German so I have no idea what the guy said. If you want an English tour you have to pay something ridiculous like 360 CHF, but you can bring up to 40 people. Anyway, I went and got to look through this giant telescope, and I saw the freaking craters on the moon! The craters on the moon!!!! And not just like you see on a regular telescope either. I could see their depth and their texture, it was like the moon was right up in front of my face. Plus, the building itself is incredible. The dome is made of wood and it splits open so the telescope can peer through. It also moves! The telescope is on a track and it can move on both the X and Y axis. But the roof also rotates, so that the telescope doesn't have to do all the work, I guess.
14. Just letting you know that traveling is not all rainbows and sunshine and pretty sunsets and stargazing tours. In fact it has rained most of the time I've been here. I spent most of my first weekend working at my computer, and by the time I finished on Sunday, it was pouring—and it didn't stop for hours. Plus, I had my first unhappy Airbnb experience (their giant, terribly trained dalmatian lies outside my door and jumps aggressively (owners insist "playfully") on me every time I leave the room; there is a surprise additional resident in the apartment; and the decor here includes an overpowering version of a trendy room perfume you may have heard of, eau du pot). I know, I know, I am still very lucky to have the privilege of traveling the world, but sometimes traveling just means letting yourself spend Saturday night reading Facebook and watching Netflix. Kinda like at home. :)
15. And then other days, you get this. This was taken at the top of Mt. Uetliberg, a mountain pretty much on top of Zurich that rises high enough to get this great view, but not high enough that you can't walk it. Or you can take public transportation, like I did. The tram went right from where I was staying to this mountain in about ten minutes. Then you walk for another ten minutes when you get there, and ta-da! Two of my friends from Singapore (who live in Zurich now) got married here, and you can see why.
That's all for now.