Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bohemia Brunch

It has almost been a month now and I am craving American food bad. There are not enough sausages and chocolate to change my mind. Where is the queso? the bbq? breakfast tacos? the mac n' cheese?

I pulled Josh out of bed on Saturday and said, "We need pancakes...NOW!". We started looking online for brunch places and came across this gem, Bohemia. I had actually noticed this restaurant on my way back from Egg because it had Miller written on the overhangs. Nowhere do you see American beer. We checked the menu and were convinced this is where we needed to go. I quickly called to make a reservation (which you do at most restaurants, for any time of the day) and we left.

My eyes are bigger than my stomach at this point and I zone in on the "breakfast club". Check out the Big John breakfast though. Who eats five eggs? I guess only a guy named Big John.

First came the Mimosa mixing ingredients...

Next, some herbal tea. Need one of these steepers.

And lastly, the "breakfast club". It was all I could have hoped it would be. Starting from the left: bowl of fruit (the honeydew was even good), blueberry pancake, toast, egg omlete with smoked salmon and cream cheese with chives, and some soft cheese on the side. This was exactly what I needed. Now I just need an excuse to go back.

Monday, June 29, 2009


This past week I took a trip out to the coutryside for my first Switzerland "blind-date". It seems like everyone, except Josh and me, have some friend or family connection here. As much as I hate being set up, I promised myself that I would make an extra effort to meet new people.

I left early from the flat just to be on the safe side not to miss the Forch Bahn to Egg. Of course, I got there way too early, but to my surprise the train was already there, ready to head to Egg. I figured I might as well get on and read my book til it pulled away from the station. All of a sudden the train starts to move...and I was off...about 15 minutes early.

I couldn't figure out how this train departure time didn't show up on my SBB Timetable iPhone app. As we pull up to the Forch train stop, I hear the conductor say something like, "letzten Stopp...blah, blah, blah". I look around me and everyone is getting off the train. I am only half way to Egg, now what am I supposed to do? Thankfully, someone realized I had no idea what was going on and translated what the conductor had said. Another train would be coming in 15 minutes.

Here is part of the journey from Forch to Egg. The countryside is beautiful. Lots of green, lots of space.

Once I finally got to Egg, Hanne (my "blind-date) and her adorable son, Lucas, picked me up. We chatted over coffee and sweets. She filled me in on all the grocery secrets, online shopping details, and other insider information most people don't learn for the first year of living in Zurich.

I also met her daughter, Laura, after her much needed nap. Too cute for words. These kids were amazing. Hanne spoke Spanish to them in the home, and they reply in Swiss German, and both understand English. I am so jealous!

I left a few hours later almost missing the Forch Bahn back to the city. Got home and then turned around to meet up with some Googlers for dinner. It was a full day of new friendships. Wonderful!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

IKEA Delivers

Ahhh...I have my feet up, relaxing on our new couch while writing up this post. It is heaven. It has been exactly 3 weeks since we moved in -- living with only an air mattress and two camping chairs.

If anyone has ever tried to put IKEA furniture together using these simple step-by-step instructions, it is a nightmare.
We splurged and had the delivery guys assemble all the furniture. Money well spent.

No box springs here.

And, poof! Just like that, we have a couch, ottoman, table, chairs...

and a comfy, non-air-filled bed.

Hotel Peterthal is open for visitors.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Laundry Day

You laugh?! But, this was a challenge for us. Have fun trying to read an instruction manual in every language but english or guessing what picture goes with what function.
We share a laundry room with the other five flats in the building. Each flat gets a day of the week to do their laundry and the weekends are first come, first serve. We have Wednesday.

The washing machine. Our best guess is that the numbers correspond to temperature. Sport means extra dirty. A button for delicates. Your guess is as good as mine. And, yes, that says 1hr 05min.

Even less to choose from with the dryer. Which, by the way, can take multiple cycles to dry your clothes. This is a whole day of work.

Here is the secret to the whole process. There is a blower in the room that you turn on to dry the clothes that are hanging. I was stumped trying to figure out how my clothes were supposed to dry in the basement without any airflow...until, thankfully, Josh clued me in on this special device.

I am still not sure if we are doing this right, but the clothes at least smell clean.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Video Chat

Even though we are over 4,500 miles away from each other, I think we chat more now. Find us on GoogleTalk, ooVoo, or Skype. Thanks for the picture, Drew.

Monday, June 22, 2009


We took our first day trip this past weekend to Luzern (or Lucerne to us Americans). It's about a 45-minute train ride, southwest of Zurich. I grabbed a couple SBB SuperSaver train tickets and we were off to explore.

"Stinky" even got to come.

Our lil' international pup.

Our first stop on the Peterthal tour was Kappelbrucke. I think this is the longest covered bridge. It really is a site. Check out more detailed pictures here.

Next stop was to the Dying Lion Monument. Very cool. Stella and I had to put on our lion faces for this shot.
We sort of took a detour when we stumbled onto a castle wall. We kept walking up, up, up until we came upon this view. Mount Pilatus is in the background. Another trip we will be taking soon.

And, my reward for the day. A healthy helping of Raclette. I was hoping to find this on the wheel itself, but this worked just fine. We had a great time getting out of the city. Next trip off to Interlaken.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hundepension Acquired

I have been in search of a boarding place for Stella since we arrived. For such a dog-friendly city, this is a bit of a challenge. There are a number of expensive places (60 CHF a day) in Zurich that only offer doggie daycare, but when overnight boarding is needed most people ask friends or family to watch their dog. I lucked out again and got a great recommendation from a Googler who takes his dog to Hundepension Meissholz for only 24 CHF and she can stay overnight. There are a few catches to this find though...

After a 40-minute train ride, I make it to Bahnhof Kemptthal. Not quite there yet though. Now just a mile walk along the highway.

I made it! Welcome to Stella's new home away from home.

An outdoor area with the owner's beautiful boxers -- soon to be Stella's new besties.

Another outdoor area for small dogs when the weather is bad. Stella can wonder back and forth between the grass and "plates" area, in and out of doghouses, or inside the building. Lots of choices. Only the best for my mops (pug in German).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How many steps does it take to open a Swiss bank account?

Seriously. How many pieces of mail, bank cards, access codes, and pin numbers can one account really need? I have learned some things during this process.
  • Americans have a bad rapt when it comes to finance. Our relocation lady was convinced we would have to jump through rings of fire to open an account.
  • Most ATM machines are not outdoors. You must use either your Maestro card or Access card to enter the bank -- not sure which one yet though, since we just snuck in after someone the last time.
  • To do a "simple" bill pay, it requires a number of steps. The trick though was realizing the lame calculator sent to us is actually a card reader used to obtain your pin number each time you e-bank. Maybe I am slow, but this was not obvious. Good thing I didn't throw it away.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stella's 2nd Birthday

We decided to do a little exploring to celebrate Stella's birthday. Come to find out, we are about a 5 minute walk to our very own "Swiss Town Lake". It's also the first park I have seen where dogs are allowed off-leash. She loved it.

There must not be very many female dogs here. The boys love, love, love her. Especially this bulldog. I think it reminded her of Tito.

And, this beagle must have reminded her of Trixie.

It doesn't take much to make this pup happy. Happy birthday, my Stella Bella.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Finding a "flat" in Zurich is no easy task. We must have seen 20 flats within just a few days -- in all parts of town, in all shapes and sizes. This was the last one we viewed. We lucked out that a Googler was moving out, just in time for us to move in. This apartment is on the smaller side of the spectrum with an interior is 80m2 (approx. 860 sq. ft.), and a balcony of 80m2. It is considered a 3.5 room flat which includes two bedrooms, one living room/dining room, one bathroom, and a kitchen. Anyone want to guess the price?
This is me in pure amazement the first time I saw our apartment building. Let's just say, this is by far the nicest place we toured.

Living room. Don't get your hopes up. This in not our furniture.

Balcony with an amazing view of the hills that wraps around the building.
Rieterpark. Only a couple blocks from the flat. Stella's favorite hangout.
A view of Zurichsee (Lake Zurich) from Rieterpark. About a 10 min. walk.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


We finally made it to Zurich. The past week has been a non-stop rollercoaster. Here's a quick overview of the adventures so far.

  • Moved into our flat in Enge (above).
  • Stella arrived and was back to her normal, naughty self almost immediately.
  • Multiple trips to Ikea, Migros, Coop, and Sihl City for the bare necessities of living.
  • Registered with the city, even Stella.
  • Bought a one-month train pass.
  • Opened a bank account.
  • Got Swiss phones. Returned mine the next day after Apple announced the new iPhone.
  • Got internet up and running in the flat.
  • Laundry day.
  • Josh flew to Barcelona for his first Google off-site.

The list could go on and on...and each one of these adventures has its own special story. Nothing has been easy. We have laughed more in this last week, than ever before. More details and pictures to follow.