It is official. I am now a resident of Switzerland. My first job this morning was to start the laundry, and then walk to the town hall and register. This sounds ominous, but this part is no different than moving to a new place in the US. You have to show up to the town hall, and find out about garbage pick-up, and other things you need to know about living there. Well the ominous part comes in two weeks, when I have to go to the migration office and have the biometric screening done. Julie tells me this is more than just simple fingerprinting. It is fingerprinting, facial recognition, and I think she said DNA samples. I was surprised I did not have to register the cat. I thought there would be a fee for that, because it seems like there is a fee for everything else. I do not intend that to sound bad. I think it is actually a good idea that you pay for what you use.
The other thing that happened this morning, that makes me think I am official, is that we got our first JUNK MAIL today. At least I think it is junk mail. I haven’t scanned the flyer into Google Translate, yet, but I believe it is campaign literature. There must be some kind of election coming up. I have to admit the graphics are kind of interesting. I also got my “train card” in the mail. For the local trains you do not have to go through any control points. You simply hop on the train. The catch, is there are security people that will eventually catch you. If you don’t have a ticket, watch out. The fine is hundreds of francs. My train card gives me access to any of the local zones around Zurich. The only catch is that I cannot be on the train before 9:00 AM Monday – Friday unless I buy another ticket. The part that has me confused, is that I do not know does this mean after midnight and before 9:00 AM, or maybe I just can’t be on the train from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM. I guess I need to find that out sometime soon.
This weekend Julie and I took our first little European getaway. I had told you all earlier that I had to visit Milan, Italy to actually get my Swiss Visa. So Julie and I took the train to Milan on Saturday. We spent Saturday afternoon touring the Duomo (the 5th largest cathedral in the world); including taking an elevator up to the rooftop. It was a really good way to spend the afternoon. Sunday morning we decided to go to Mass in the Duomo. We didn’t understand a word, but other Catholics can understand me when I say it was really uplifting to know the prayers and what they were saying, even when you don’t understand the language.
We spent the rest of Sunday exploring Milan on foot. This was partly because Google Maps didn’t work very well. It turned out that Google Maps had two different hotels about a mile and a half apart with the same name. Unfortunately, I chose to walk to the wrong one. 🙂 Oh well, Milan is a really nice city. We are going to go back, because we want to see the painting “The Last Supper”. We found out that you have to make a reservation about 3 months in advance if you want to see the painting on a weekend. We will certainly be going back. It is only about a 3 1/2 hour train ride, so being this close, we have to see one of the most famous paintings in the world. The other attraction on our return visit will be the DaVinci Science Musuem.
On Sunday we also visited the Pinacoteca di Brera. There was some amazing art displayed there. The majority of the art is religious. We learned the religious aspect was by design. Apparently, in the early 19th century, all of the religious art that had been confiscated throughout Italy was shipped and housed here. It was then later turned into a free library and museum. I also have to mention that we had dinner Sunday night in a fabulous restaurant named Albufera. If you like Paella, and you are in Milan, you have to try this place!
Monday we visited the Swiss Consulate to get my Visa. Then we returned to Rüschlikon in the afternoon. The pictures below are some of the things we saw and did in Milan. I have to go now. It is time to get another load of laundry in the washing machine, and I need to walk up the hill to the grocery store.