Blog

18 September 2021

Well this past week marked my official 2 year anniversary for arriving in Switzerland. I spent it like I spend every other day. Walked Julie to the train, exercised, cleaned the house, did laundry, cooked dinner. When we are not going somewhere, I lead a very boring existence! I have been really bad the last six weeks keeping up with my German. It was very hard to do with all the visitors, but now that they are gone I really need to start in on my lessons again.

I did get a practical lesson yesterday. You have heard me go on about the hills around here. Yesterday, as I was cleaning the kitchen I noticed an elderly woman starting to walk up the hill towards the grocery store. She had a cane, and looked like she could barely move. So I quickly grabbed the recyclables, and started off. I caught up to her about 10 meters up the hill, and in my halting german, I asked her if I could help pull the shopping trolley up the hill. She gave me a big smile, and consented. She did not speak a word of English, but we were able to talk some as we walked. I got her up the hill to the level ground, and she asked for the trolley back. I told her if she would like, I would shop with her, and help her go back down. I think she said there was no need; she does it frequently, and she finds going down easier than going up. She might have actually been saying, what a stupid foreigner. I make this walk multiple times every week, I can do it myself. But she gave me a big smile and said “Vielen Dank” so I am choosing to believe it was my first thought.

Julie is getting ready to leave me for three days next week. It will be her first work trip since February of 2020. If you remember, she went back to the US, and we were afraid she was going to be stuck there, as that is when all the travel restrictions started because of Covid. I had big plans for three days of solo exploring, but now it turns out, I might get one. She leaves on Tuesday, but Wednesday I have a dentist appointment at 8:00 AM and then she comes back home on Thursday. Not really sure why I agreed to the dentist appointment. I had a temporary brain fart. I think it is simply because I hate going to the dentist so I wanted the first appointment I could get; so I did not have to dread it any longer.

I found a new goal for next year, though. I had lunch with a fellow American on Thursday. He told me about a bike ride that happens every September called the Alpenbrevet. The ride starts in the town of Andermatt. You have four rides to choose from. The rides go from 64 kilometers up to 288 kilometers. The rides are over some of the most famous mountain passes in Switzerland. So the short ride is two mountain passes with over 2000 meters of climb. The longest ride is five passes with over 7000 meters of climb. The longest ride starts at 6 in the morning. There are two control points you have meet along the route, and then it finishes at 9 PM that night. That is one long day on a bike. No way can I make that one. I think I am going to sign up for the 2nd easiest ride. It is a little over 100 KM. It covers three mountain passes. The Furka ( go back to my post from last week where I did this one in my car.), the Nufenen, and the Gotthard. If I spend a lot more time on the bike than jogging next year, I think I can get in good enough shape to tackle this one. Anyone want to come and join me?

We also got another lesson in one of the differences between the US and Switzerland. This one concerns renting. Now please note I cannot say with any certainty that this is the way all renting is done here. This has been my one and only experience.

When I arrived, almost three months after Julie, two years ago. Our landlord had us re-sign the lease. I do not know if it is a law that both spouses have to sign, or if this is simply another sign that Switzerland is way behind the times in regards to women’s equality. Anyway, our landlord was very insistent that I had to sign the lease as well as Julie. We signed a two year lease, that was originally up in June of this year, but one thing we noticed when we signed the new lease that September became the end month. We since learned that there are two months that people traditionally move in the canton of Zürich. Those two months are March and September. Anyway, we knew the lease was coming to an end, but we had not heard anything at all from the landlord. We knew we were covered, because we did not give any notice that we planned on leaving. Anyway, I called him and he came down to talk to us about the new lease. It turns out, that once the original lease expired, the lease converted to a semi permanent agreement. Either party has to give 6 months notice for non-renewal. And of course there are only two months the notice can be given. You got it: March and September…. We found this to be strange. One reason I do not know if this is common, or not. Is I made the comment to our landlord about how different that is vs leases in the US. He made the comment, that yes, he wants to make money off the lease, but that is not his primary concern. He lives in the top floor of the building; and it is more important to him that he have long term renters, and people that are good neighbors. I guess the good news is that even though he is really the only other person in our building we have met, he thinks we are good neighbors! The bad news with the lease, is that the house next door has finally started to be torn down. This is going to be bad. The house is right next to the bedroom, and our office. If the construction noise is 1/2 as loud as all the other houses being built around here, that means we will never be able to sleep past 7 AM except for Sundays, and the office will be practically unusable while they are building the place. We thought we would be getting a larger deduction on our rent for the time period they are building, but we signed a contract that said $300; so that will be the discount. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

I did not think I had any worthwhile pictures to show, but I did find one. This morning after grocery shopping, we got back to the apartment and it looked like everyone that has a sailboat decided to get it out today. This will probably be one of the last warm sunny days; so people are out taking advantage of the weather.

Segelboote auf dem Zürichsee

Not much else to talk about this week. I will update you next week on my solo adventures. Not sure what they will be, but I am sure I will have fun doing something. My last thought of this post: Go IU! Beat Cincinnati!

15 September 2021

We had a lovely visit to Colmar, France last weekend.

Colmar, France

Colmar is about 150 KM from Zürich. It is part of the Alsace region of France. The city has about 70,000 residents. Like most larger cities, we have seen, there is an “old” part and a “new” part. We spent almost the entire weekend in the old part of town. We toured some churches, a couple of museums, and simply strolled the city. It was a very relaxing weekend. Colmar has been part of France, Germany, and (somehow) Sweden during it’s existence. The Sweden part I found fascinating. It was captured in 1632 during the Thirty Years War and was held as part of Sweden for two years. After the war it was back in German hands, until King Louis XIV in 1673. For almost the next 200 years it was part of France, but then right before WWI Germany annexed the Alsace region and returned to France in 1919. It was conquered again by Germany in WWII and then returned after the war. Because it is so close to the german border, there is a large germanic influence there. One thing that surprised me was that the symbol for the Alsace region is a bretzel. Something I have only associated with Germany.

In the center of the old town is St Martin’s Church. While technically it is not nor has it ever been a cathedral. Everyone refers to it as The Cathedral, because it is so large.

Side view of St Martin’s

St Martin was born in Hungary in 316. He was an officer in the roman army before converting to Christianity. The story that helped make him a saint, was that he met a beggar that was hungry and cold. He cut his cloak in half with his sword and gave the cut piece to the beggar so he would not freeze to death. He continued to serve for a few years after his conversion, but as he neared retirement a new ceasar took over (Julian) and Martin decided he could no longer serve ceasar as a christian. He was charged with cowardice, but before he was punished he was released from military service. He then became a monk and lived the rest of his life serving God.

Anyway, the church is massive, and the inside while plain by cathedral standards is still very beautiful. Julie and I were really struck how different the church looks at night vs the day. Look at the picture above, and then compare it to this one.

St Martin’s at night.

One final note about Colmar’s history. The man who created the Statue of Liberty, Auguste Bartholdi, was born in Colmar. This leads me to the most annoying thing we found in the city.

Brass Plate in Colmar

These brass plates are everywhere. We followed them for almost two hours on Sunday looking for the replica statue. It turns out the replica was about two miles from where we were and it sits right in the middle of a round a bout. Anyway we followed them for a really long way before we realized we just randomly moving about the city. It turns out these plates are simply pointing the way to some of the historical parts of the town. I really wanted to go out about 3:00 AM with some tools from the car, and pry one of the plates up, but Julie would not let me. 🙁

Final Art History lessons of this post. There are two very famous works of art in the town. The first one we saw was “Madonna in the Rose Garden”. This work of art was created about 1473, by Martin Schongauer. The work was created specifically for the domincan monastary that was located in Colmar. I found this bit of history particularly interesting in regards to the engraving.

” The enclosed garden of Mary was a strong symbolic theme in Western Europe, and especially in Flanders. Pious women who remained unmarried but who did not feel inclined to enter the Catholic orders as nuns, lived together in rows of small houses built around a central garden. In Dutch these are called ‘begijnhoven’ or beguinages and the best preserved of these is in Bruges. In many towns of Flanders and Brabant these beguinages can still be admired. They are havens of peace, where spirituality still hangs in the air. The pious ladies worked on embroideries and on lace in their small houses around the enclosed garden of their beguinage. They rarely painted, but one type of their artisans’ work were the boxes called ‘Enclosed Gardens’ of which many have been preserved. These were wooden boxes, sometimes as large as one meter wide and high, about fifteen centimetres deep. The boxes were placed upright. Inside the boxes were placed small puppets of Mary and of saints, splendidly dressed in white lace and surrounded by dried flowers, miniature candle bearers, and so on. White was generally the overall colour. Usually at the lower end of the box one can see a small fence, thus hinting at the enclosed garden of the Song of Songs.

Martin Schongauer’s picture is a ‘Throning Madonna’ since two angels hold an enormous crown symbolically over Mary’s head. The painting is unconventional in various ways. The hair of the Madonna is flowing freely over her shoulders. This feature was reserved since old for Mary Magdalene; it was a sign of sensuality that was rarely associated with Mary. Jesus and Mary are looking in different directions, whereas Mary usually only has eyes for her son. Mary is painted as a melancholic young lady. She holds her head inclined; she smiles affably, secretly and contentedly. But Jesus already tries to escape from her. We mentioned that the colours of Mary’s robe are not conventional. Martin Schongauer must have been one of the first painters to emphasise the strong pyramidal composition, which is obtained by the red cloaks of Mary. Schongauer certainly was a highly skilled colourist and he knew very well how to paint with realism the smallest detail, as in the various tones of the folds of the red cloak of Mary.” https://www.theartofpainting.be/AOM-Rose_Garden.htm

Madonna in the Rose Garden

The second piece of art is an altar piece is the Isenheim Alterpiece. It was created by two germans Nikolaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516. This altar piece is massive, and it has different wings that could be unfolded to display different scenes based on the liturgical year. Unfortunately, the piece was damaged during the French Revolution and pieces were destroyed or stolen. There are paintings and the plans of the artists that capture what the entire thing looked like. Below is a quick movie of a mock up the musuem had to show you how the entire altar piece looked and worked.

Isenheim Alterpiece

That is the highlight of our weekend in Colmar. The food was outstanding. I had foi gras for the very first time. It was fantastic!!! Looking at the very last picture in the gallery below. We were never able to figure out if Colmar is the first city we have seen in Europe that celebrates Halloween, or if they just like vampire bats.

This week is going to be pretty slow. There is not much going on other than hair cuts, and Julie needs to go shopping for a business trip next week. It is going to be strange. Three days next week, we will be apart. We have not been separated at all for a year! I think Julie is happy to be done with me for a few days. I know I would be happy if I had to live with me!

I hope you enjoy the pictures. Talk to you again soon.



10 September 2021

Just some updates first. Switzerland is once again struggling with COVID. It does not appear to be nearly as bad as some states back home, but the numbers are still climbing and the ICU beds are at almost 80% capacity. Because of this there will be more restrictions put in place beginning Monday.

Starting Monday you have to provide proof of vaccination, a negative test, or recovery from Covid within six months before you can go to any inside entertainment venue. This includes restaurants. The government will also be announcing more travel restrictions next week as well. The thought is that quarantines will go back into place for Swiss people who are un-vaccinated and return from another country. Possibly they will also strengthen entry requirements for non residents as well. Right now, from the EU you can come in with a negative test, that might change to come in only with vaccination. You can come into the country, if you are only transiting through the country even without a vaccination. I think this one is the most likely to change. My guess is that you will not be given entrance, unless you are vaccinated.

The vaccination rates here, are about the same as in the US, but the Swiss courts have already ruled that companies cannot require the vaccine. The company is expected to make accommodations for employees not choosing to get the vaccine. This court ruling means that our level of vaccination is not likely to get better anytime soon; so the government is trying to avoid more lockdowns by putting in place other requirements.

If you have read my blog the last couple of weeks, you would know we have had lots of visitors lately. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of pictures from my parent’s visit that I can show. My parent’s have asked that I not post pictures of them publicly. I do try and respect their wishes.

I think the trip was really good for my parents. My parents are both in their 80’s. Before coming over my father was saying this will probably be his last trip to Europe. However, by the time they left he was already talking about next year, and making plans for things he wanted to see and do. I guess travel does have a good impact on your mental state. It is hard to describe how good it was to see our family after being “exiled” for the last year. Now we just need to figure out how to get Julie to see her parents. We are on track to see everyone at Christmas again; so keeping our fingers crossed that we can still travel then.

In about an hour we are taking off for Colmar, France. It is already becoming fraught with problems. I had booked us a long weekend in Dijon, but Julie wanted to change. We had a real problem finding a hotel, but we did finally find a place. Julie just informed me, that there is a marathon on Sunday morning. This explains why I had such a hard time finding a hotel, and probably means that we will not be eating much this weekend. Julie said she has been trying to make reservations since Tuesday with no success. Hopefully there is a McDonalds around!!

I am kind of glad we are leaving the Apartment for a couple of days. The upstairs neighbors are remodeling, and the concrete construction seems to amplify the noise. It must be a pretty major change based on the amount of drilling and hammering that is taking place. We are hopeful they will finish with the long weekend.

Well Julie is finishing up her last work call of the day; so it is time to get going. Not many pictures, but I hope you enjoy them.

7 September 2021

So much to write about so little time.

I know I have not written as much lately, but our 5 weeks of visitors has come to an end. We had our first visitors since February 2020 the first week of August. Our son George arrived on 31 Juli, a week later his girlfriend Gabby came as well. We had a few days rest, and then Kaylee our youngest showed up. Kaylee and my parents passed in the air; so the day after Kaylee left my parents arrived. I literally just had enough time to wash the sheets, clean the bathroom, and mop the floor before I had to take off for the airport.

Those people following me, know I really do not like driving that much here. The roads are narrow and the rules are just different enough that driving is still stressful. My parents are in pretty good shape, but I was really worried about fighting their baggage and a rush hour train; so I decided to drive to the airport. That was my first mistake…..

I had been told that rush hour in Zürich is a lot worse than you would think it should be for a city of under a million people. Normal traffic, the airport is 30 minutes away; so I left TWO hours before the flight arrived. Probably closer to 2 1/2 almost 3 hours before they made it through customs. Here is the thing to remember about Zürich traffic. There are three major arteries feeding the city. These three arteries come into the city at basically two points, and as soon as the city limits are reached traffic goes down to two lanes, and very quickly after that to one lane. This can lead to bottlenecks at any time. Knowing this fact, I thought I would take the one really long bypass around most of the city. This adds a guaranteed 30 minutes going from one side of the city to the other. The bypass was stop and go about 2 minutes after I got on the highway. The GPS in my car kept recommending I take a side road; so I decided to try it. After all, at this point I still had 90 minutes, to go about 15 KM. There was one big flaw in my plan: Road Construction. After an hour, I was 3 KM from the airport. My GPS was telling me to take a ramp onto the airport highway, that simply did not exist. I could see the exit, I could see the highway, but the exit was closed. I tried for an hour, trying to find my way through town. I kept wanting to believe the GPS knew something I did not; so I kept circling trying to find a way on to the highway. Literally shouting at myself I finally said “Screw it!!!” I just picked a direction and kept driving for another 20 minutes. I figured I was far enough away that the GPS would re route me. It worked. By the time I got to the airport I was almost 90 minutes late. I parked the car, and finally found my parents patiently waiting for their idiot son!! Oh well, we had a big hug, and a lot of laughter as we drove back to the apartment.

My next driving mis adventure was Saturday. I drove the four of us to Stein am Rhein in the morning. We walked around the town and had lunch. The town is about 70 kilometers from our house. Normally an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half drive. Getting there was no problem, but coming back…. I left the town at 2 pm, and made it into my driveway at 5:50!!! We sat in traffic starting about 5 kilometers outside Zürich. I am not sure I have ever been in a non accident caused traffic jam that bad. It was so bad that Julie has decided we will never again go on the other side of Zürich for one of our Saturday Adventures!

Finally I had one more driving mis adventure this week. The one wish Dad had on the visit was to see the Matterhorn. We drove down to Zermatt on Sunday; so that on Monday morning we could take the Gondola up to the Paradise look out, and Mom and Dad could get some good pictures. Well that part of the plan did not go very well. Mom wound up getting altitude sickness. She came down for breakfast, and after about 90 seconds was back up in the hotel room. I have to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the staff of Hotel Julen. They were fantastic. Our original plan was to checkout, and they would hold our luggage while we explored. With Mom getting sick, we were going to simply head back home. The hotel staff kindly let us delay our checkout by a couple of hours; so that Dad and I could go up, while Mom was able to lay down and rest. Thank you again! I will certainly have to stay there again!!

So anyway, Dad and I came down from the Mountain and got Mom onto a train, and down the road toward Täsch. If you do not remember, from our earlier trips to Zermatt. That town is car free; so you have to park your car about 5 kilometers from the city and take the train into town. Anyway, we got on the road, and started home. The first 20 minutes was fine. Then the GPS told me to make a turn, and go through a tunnel. Dad brought up the fact that we did not go through a tunnel on the way there. I told him that was not odd. There have been many drives that we went through a tunnel one way, but drove around the mountain the return trip. However, another 30 minutes later, and we were discussing that: A) we were climbing B) we were going through towns we had not passed before. At that point I knew the GPS was taking us home a different route, but I did not appreciate how different the new route would be. I was not that worried, because the GPS kept saying we were getting closer to home, and it looked like it would be about an hour faster than the route to Zermatt. My passengers were all enjoying the scenic drive. I on the other hand, was to busy dodging bicycles, and making hair pin turns to worry much about the views. I finally convinced Dad to get out his phone and start taking some video.

When we stopped to take this picture, I finally realized where we were. We had just passed a sign that said Andermatt 15 KM. We were going up the other side of the “James Bond” pass. You can go back and visit my first post in January where my wife and I walked up the other side of this pass.

Furka Pass
Furka Pass in January 2021

There are two things I was thankful for yesterday. The first was the simple fact there was not much uphill traffic, as I was driving down, and the second is that Julie was not with us. Julie does not like mountain passes and she had commented as we were walking up this one that she was NEVER going to drive it.

Coming down the pass was an experience. I had to stop a couple of times for oncoming traffic. There might have been enough room for two cars to pass, but I was not sure. All I know is that at times, it felt like the right side of the car was mere inches from plunging to the bottom of the mountain, and the left side I KNOW was millimeters from losing the mirror. The speed is posted at 80 KPH. I think I got up to 60 once for about 20 meters! Part of me is scared to death to do the pass again, but an even bigger part of me wants to drive it again, with someone willing to hold a camera for the entire drive up and back down the pass!! It was something I will not soon forget!

This coming weekend will be our first “international” adventure in the car. Julie wants me to drive her to France for the upcoming three day weekend!

PRAY FOR ME!!!!



27 August 2021

It has been a whirlwind of a week. I am going to have to go through and really decide what pictures to post, because I have taken over 1000 since Kaylee got here.

Our first two days were pretty easy. We let her get through the jet lag so we stayed close to home. We spent one day just going around Zurich. She has seen all of that before, but she wanted to visit the city again. Monday we went to the top of Mt Titlis. This is one of the places I have wanted to visit since I arrived two years ago. I intentionally waited for Kaylee, because part of the visit is going across what is listed as the “highest” suspension bridge in Europe. I knew Julie would want no part of that, and Kaylee is game for just about anything.

This is the two of right after we crossed over the bridge. Unfortunately it was very cloudy at the top, so the views were simply not there. I guess this means we have to go again! Both of my children love history, and reading, so I took another trip to St Gallen to see the library. I cannot express how impressive that room is, but since they do not allow cameras, you will have to look it up yourself. :).

Before Kaylee arrived, we had asked her what she wanted to do, or where she wanted to go. The only other European country she has visited is Spain; so she told us she wanted to go to Italy, and see Pompeii. We braved the Covid riddled jet, and flew to Naples on Wednesday. It has been pretty busy since we got here. The first night we walked all around the current city. In school we all learn about Pompeii, but most of us do not know there was another town that was destroyed and preserved in the same eruption. This is the town of Herculaneum. In some ways , it is even more impressive than Pompeii. The main reason being that entire buildings were preserved in the volcanic mud. Including wooden boats, stairs, and ceilings. You will see the real differences in the pictures. The two towns were also completely different in business. Pompeii was much more of a traditional industrial town. Whereas Herculaneum was a town mostly made up of very rich roman citizens. Herculaneum is where the rich people had their summer homes. After touring Herculaneum, we went into Naples and toured the Archeology Museum. Another fascinating place.

We learned that getting around in this area is a lot different than getting around in Switzerland. There is not nearly the same amount of signage here, and the trains all run on different lines, and the tickets do not seem to be switchable from one line to another. I am sure will someone will get on here and say I am wrong, and I probably am, but here is why I made my comment. There are not many automated ticket stations here. At Herculaneum, I showed on my phone where we wanted to go in Naples. The ticket agent made the comment that we would have to change lines. I already knew that, so I did not think much more about that comment. Until we got to the gate to change lines, and the tickets I had “paid” extra for, would not let us through the gate; so we had to buy more. Also on the way back, we wanted to come all the way to Pompei, but at the first train station we could only buy a ticket that would take us to one of the main transfer stations, and then we had to buy another round of tickets to get back to Pompei. The Swiss system is so much easier. You simply type in where you want to go and the ticket is printed out to allow you to get there. Since this was our first trip outside of Switzerland in a year; at least it was good we were able to figure it out!

I think I could write multiple posts about the two cities we toured. They are each spectacular in their own right. Herculaneum because of the amount of preservation. This city was covered in poison gas, and then mud. Pompeii due to the size of the city. One thing I had not known, is that 17 years before the eruption, there was a major earthquake; so both cities were significantly smaller than they would have been. Pompeii before the earthquake was a city of almost 35,000 people. After the ‘quake it was down to about 5-6,000. For our Pompeii visit, we hired a guide. We really got lucky here. The hotel arranged for an archeologist that worked on the site to be our guide. Not only did we learn about the history, but he was able to talk to us about the steps they use to uncover the site, and how they restore and preserve the buildings and other things they find. We also learned that teenagers are teenagers through all places and all times. He pointed out graffiti that was made around the year zero, and it was disturbingly similar to things we would find today. In this case it was of a young man urinating. Prostitution was legal in that era. As long as it occurred in a brothel. Our guide also pointed out different places around the town, where an illegal street prostitute scratched out her calling card on the corners of buildings.

Another thing that I found interesting was the outside of the some buildings. These were painted red on the bottom and white on the top. The red never changed color, but the white part was used for a billboard. The top was constantly being painted over, and the advertisements would change.

advertisement

If you look at the picture above you will notice the writing on the wall. In this case it was an election advertisement. I guess politicians are also the same through all time!

A final fascinating thing we learned. The experts are now thinking they have the time of the eruption incorrect. For hundreds of years, people have said the eruption occurred in August. There are some original documents from survivors that talk about August. However, evidence now points to the eruption happening in late October. One of the reasons they think this, is the clothes that people are wearing. They are more in line with “winter” wear at the time. August is so blasted hot, that people were never fully clothed, but most of the bodies found were found fully clothed. Our guide thinks that what has happened is that survivors talk about August, because that is when the mountain started giving off signs that it was angry. Those are the people that left, and when they left.

I am sitting in the hotel room right now, and the wifi connection is awful; so I am only going to post a small number of pictures today. I will get some more up and some video when I am home. It might be a few days. Kaylee flies out on Tuesday, and my parents are coming in on Wednesday; so we have one more week of visitors!

11 August 2021

8 days until we see our daughter

Well, we have about 36 hours left in our son’s visit. The two weeks have flown by. The first week we stayed close to home, and simply caught up. We have played a lot more this week. Part of that is because his girlfriend made her first trip to ever to Switzerland. We have enjoyed taking Gabby around to some of the beautiful places in the country. I will not have as many picture this week. Most of the pictures we took were of the kids, and they have asked us to not share them online; so I will respect their wishes. (My guess is that they have already put a bunch of them out there, but….. :). )

We started off by driving to Grindelwald. We spent one day up on The First, unfortunately the rains came in during the afternoon, so that was cut a little short. We had plans on going to the Glacier Canyon on Saturday night. We had been online and seen all the pictures taken at night; so we figured it was always open late. We missed the small print that it is only open late on Fridays. So we walked from our hotel to the canyon only to discover it was closed. We decided to adjust our itinerary for Sunday, and after going up the Jungfrau, we drove over to the canyon before heading back home. On the way back home they did get a small taste of mountain passes, as we took the fast way back.

The two took the train over to Bern earlier this week. We toured the Rhein Falls, and Schaffhausen. We even were treated to an unexpected concern at the Munot. (The Munot is the circular castle above the village. Unlike most castles in Switzerland. The Munot was built solely as a fortification. Most castles served a dual role as the primary residence for the ruler, as well as having a military application. ) Today they are exploring the wonders of Zürich, and then tomorrow, I believe, they are going to Luzern and Mt Pilatus. Today they also had to go to the airport and get their COVID test. The only people flying into the US right now are returning citizens, and some business travelers. However, they have to show a negative COVID test before flying.

Pop up concert at the Munot



Whoever schedules the rain in Switzerland, you have done a good job. We have only had one rain washout during the two week stay. I hope you keep on the job, because I need three weeks coming up for our daughter’s visit, and immediately following that; my parents are coming for a week.

My favorite local store is the Trek Bike shop near our house. I’ve put a 1000 miles on the trainer this summer. (The rain has wreaked havoc on doing anything outside.). I think riding the trainer is even harder on the bike than road miles. Part of that is the simple evaporation and blowing away of perspiration. When I am on the trainer even with a terry cloth covering, a good portion of the sweat lands on the bike. I had to replace bearings in the head tube and the crank. Primarily due to sweat induced rusting! Anyway, the owner of MoveOn Bikes is FANTASTIC. Incredibly friendly. Fast and meticulous work. AND even more importantly for Switzerland the pricing is incredibly affordable. I hope to buy a bike from him before we move home, but that might be a bit of a reach. Good bicycles are even more expensive here than back in the US.

Not a whole lot more to say about this week. I know Julie will be happy when Annual Filing Season is over. She is already looking forward to (hopefully) spending a couple of days near Naples when Kaylee is in town. I will be happy too. We will be able to go back a regular schedule. and not a schedule that changes from day to day.

Hope you enjoy the pictures below. I’ll write again next week.