Back in the US we are still about a week from the official kick off for Christmas. I say official, because I have some idiotic friends, that started listening to Christmas music a month ago, but that is another story…. In Switzerland, I guess the official kick off to Christmas is about a week earlier. The main shopping street (The Bahnhofstrasse) is completely decorated. The stores are all set, and on some of the side streets; people have set up Christmas displays. It is really quite festive, and I’ll have some more pics to share later. The display we really wanted to see was the living Christmas tree. This is a community display. Schools, churches, and other groups apply to perform for one night during the Holidays. I do not know which group performed last night, but Julie and I were both amazed that all the songs were in English. Probably not going to be the case when we visit again.
Julie spent three days this week in London. It still seems kind of strange to say that. I am still not used to the fact that all of these glamorous places are only a short flight or train ride away. From Zürich, London is only about an hour and a half by plane. About the same as flying from Minneapolis, MN to Chicago, IL. Anyway, since she was gone part of the week, we planned a casual at home weekend. We took the train into Zürich and walked down the Bahnhofstrasse to the Opera. The plaza in front of the Opera is where the main Christmas Market is set up. The market started this week, so it was a zoo.
I still struggle with my small town mindset. The Zürich Metropolitan Area is close to 1.4 million people. That is quite the change from Greenville, WI which has a population of about 10,000. I think everyone in the area was near the Opera this weekend. We could barely walk. I told Julie if the other Christmas markets are like this one, she will be on her own the rest of the time. 🙂 We did find a new drink for being outside in the cold, though. It was Baileys and Hot Chocolate. Here there is a kicker, though. You put in a hunk of dark chocolate about an inch cubed on a stick. The chocolate of course melts into the hot chocolate. MMMMM it was good.
The other thing I did this week was get the arrangements made for the Cat while Julie and I travel home for Christmas. I had found a place to take the cat, which was quite a struggle in itself, but it cost $50 per day. Which I have come to find is actually quite cheap for boarding a pet over here. I was having a hard time adjusting to the fact that our trip home was going to cost an extra $600, but I just had to accept it. Here was my problem. The boarding place, was requiring me to update all of her vaccines again, and get checked out by a vet. There must be a shortage of vets over here, because I could not find one that would get me in for vaccines and a checkup before we leave (and that is still a month away!).
So I started looking at other options. I did find a woman, who has set up a business here in town, pet sitting for people. She charges $20 a day and she comes in for abut 30 minutes to play with the cat, feed it, water it, and empty the litter. She also collects the mail. So she came over on Thursday and “interviewed” me. She told me she will not take on a new client, until she has a chance to come over and meet the owner and the cat. I wasn’t so worried about me, I am a pretty likable guy!!! Eowyn, though, is another story. Her normal actions are to run and hide whenever someone new comes into the house. The woman must have smelled like cat, however, because she was only here for about 5 minutes before Eowyn stuck her nose in the living room. She immediately walked over the woman, and jumped right up beside her. So the good news, is the cat will be taken care of while we are gone. The better news is that I am saving $100 because I agreed to go over and visit her cats the week before we leave so she and her husband can vacation in Israel for a week!
Today, Julie and I decided to go on another hike. This time we walked up the hill, and along the ridgeline to Kilchberg. Kilchberg is another town similar to Rüschlikon. It is primarily a bedroom community for people that work downtown. The one big company in Kilchberg is one that most people reading this blog have heard of; Lindt Chocolate. It is kind of nice, sometimes as we are going by on the train we get a really good whiff of whatever they are cooking up at the time.
The Picture of my dinner in the album, below, was in celebration for all my successful hunting friends back in Wisconsin. Venison, is actually something that you see regularly on menus over here, so I had Venison for dinner last night. The big Christmas Tree is in the main train station. It is sponsored by a company called Swarovski. I guess they are well known for their crystal, and other expensive doodads. At least that is what Julie tells me. Anyway, the tree is pretty amazing. There is not one light on the tree, but with all of the lights bouncing off and through all the crystal ornaments, it looks as if there are lights all over the tree. There are also some pictures of balcony off our apartment. Julie, really gets into Christmas Decorating. So she went out and bought some lights for the balcony.
So that was our week in a nutshell. We are thinking about taking off to Interlaken next weekend. Apparently they have one of the nicest Christmas Markets in Switzerland. I just hope it is not as crowded as the one in Zürich!