Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mist on the Uetliberg

Mist on the Uetliberg
Originally uploaded by bristley.
It was foggy all day today. At lunch we caught the tram to the Uetliberg and went for a walk. There were a lot of joggers. It was quite cold and very misty. Not a good day to see a view.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sunday Afternoon in Basel

Yesterday we hopped on a train and went to Basel. We like walking over borders and so we walked, caught a tram and walked again to the french border and wandered for a while in France. We like walking over borders because it is something you cannot do in Australia.

It was a very warm day for the end of November. We even saw people in t-shirts. Very nice.

In France we wandered along a road for quite a while. After it got dark, we saw a map in a town, had a snack and walked back hoping we'd recognise the road that led to the border. After a while we crossed Rue du Bale (with a little hat on the a) which we recognised as the french for Basel. So we turned down it and sure enough after a few blocks there was the swiss border.

We caught a tram back to the station, saw that there would be a lot of trains for the next hour or so as it was about 6:30pm so we caught a tram back to the christmas market we had seen from the last tram. It was very pretty with lots of lights and stalls. It was in the grounds a church. We had a lovely onion, cheese and potato slicy thing. Then we caught a train back to Zurich.

These are all things you can't do in Australia in the same way. You can't catch a train to another major city in an hour or so. You can't get a GA. You can't walk into another country. You won't see pretty Christmas markets in the same way. You can't use public transport so easily to move around a city knowing there will be another tram in 7 minutes. Such a gentle day with nothing very exciting happening but really very nice.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fence of the Cows Coming Home

Fence of the Cows Coming Home
Originally uploaded by bristley.
This was the fence of a very cute little chateau at Arosa. The fence was carefully rusted iron as was the fence. Another lovely touch of art encountered on a walk through Switzerland.


Originally uploaded by bristley.
In Arosa we saw mountains. Mountains with snow. They were very pretty. Last time we were here I only saw mountains from a distance due to foggy weather and me getting a cold at the wrong time.

Due to the joys of our General Abo we can happily make day trips like this with no problem. Not having to buy a ticket or decide on a plan really makes a difference. We almost hopped off the train earlier and went to Lichtenstein instead because we heard an announcement. Very different from Sydney.

Camouflage Sattelite Dish

Camouflage Sattelite Dish
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Arosa today on the train. To my delight I realised that the satellite dishes there were bought to blend in with the houses. This one and other wooden houses had brown satellite dishes. Another building that was white had a white one. Switzerland is wonderful - people pay so much attention to detail here :-)

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I was just reading Apartment Therapy. As we've just bought our flat (settlement 5th December) I've become more interested in looking at sites like this. I always enjoyed them but now we'll get to paint things and nail things in walls.

I was reading a thread and came across a link to a lovely apartment remodel by Olga.

There is a photo stream that goes with it. I loved the stencilling work done on the ceilling and one window sills. Must think about this.

While we're here in Europe we've been looking in the shop windows and design stores for ideas. What's cool is that things I'm seeing things on line like new lights I then see in the window of a shop on the way to work :-)

In Sydney either things don't get brought out to Australia or they're less likely to be in a lot of shops. Here cool things seem to be everywhere.

I suppose window shopping is bigger here and so window dispays are more impressive too. I think it's because shops are shut on Sundays but as people still walk through the Bahnhoffstrasse and all the other pretty shopping streets it's very good advertising to have a good window display.

I also know some people in Australia who won't go to a store that looks stylish because they perceive it will be expensive - even if it's not. I don't think the shops I see in Zurich work that way. I'm only a visitor though so I don't really know how things work here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


My vocabulary is definitely getting better but mostly in particular topics. Last year I got good at reading about car accidents. That's because I was reading Zwanzig Minuten on the tram and the front page always had any interesting car accidents. So did the "swiss info" site I was reading on my palm pilot before we arrived.

I can do crying children because I read Heidi in German on my palm pilot with a dictionary last year too. After that, I was trying to reading a thriller where someone was being paid to assassinate someone which meant I learnt spying and murder words.

This year on swiss tv I'm seeing lots of home shows and CSI seems to be on about 5 times a day. So I might be able to at least follow a conversation if it involved someone who knew a family with a small child who were murdered in what was made to look like a car accident after having there home remodelled. I'm sure that will come in handy :-)

Monday, November 20, 2006

My German Shopping Story

I am watching Harry Potter in German and have been inspired to write some of my shopping story in German so I can practice my terrible writing and grammer. I wonder if I will remember that ein gruenes Paar, zwei roten Paare now. Probably not.

Am Samstag gingen wir einkaufen in Spreitenbach. Wir fuhren mit dem Zug und dann mit dem Bus. Die Haltestelle war IKEA. Das IKEA ist neu und ist sehr gross. Später gingen wir zu anderen Geschäfte. Wir schauten an Schühe und warme Kleidung. Ich habe Einladen and für mich Schühe finden ist sehr schweirig. Am Samstag fand Ich zwei Paare. Da war eines grünes Paar und eines braunes Paar. Ich kaufte keine Paare.

Either I'm getting used to watching tv dubbed in German or they really dubbed this Harry Potter very well. I particularly thought Snape was very good. The actor used the same tones and vocal tricks that the original one does.

I haven't done too badly understanding it but I that's really because I know the book and so I'm not losing the plot even if I miss a sentence or an entire long Voldemort speach. Harry is running from the Basilisk right now. Oh no it's ok - he's tricked it. Er ist ein Kluge Junge.

Autumn Trees in the Dusk

Autumn Trees in the Dusk
Originally uploaded by bristley.
Yesterday we went to the new Spreitenbach IKEA. It was very big and filled with people. It was funny watching the people. It was like they were having the same conversations that you overhear in Sydney but in multiple languages. It's IKEA's couple councilling service. As people who are setting up house together for the first time, they learn about each other's likes and dislikes and how to resolve problems such as he liking the purple shag rug and her liking the hot pink sofa.

Then we wandered into the nearby shopping centres and then we went for a walk along the Limmat ending up at Dietikon. I love wanderwegs. You'll always end up somewhere with a way home.

We were fairly tired after all of this energetic looking at things. I even tried shoes on - always tiring. Luckily there is a Mollino's in a straight line from the tram stop to our flat so we stopped and had a very nice Pizza. A very nice day.

The autumn leaves are very pretty.

L168 Plecostomus

L168 Plecostomus
Originally uploaded by bristley.
This is a photo of my L168. I gave it away when we came to Switzerland. He used to hide a lot but is a very striking fish.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Harry Potter in German

As it's Sunday morning, we're watching bad television while contemplating going outside into the light rain and wind. I'm watching the German Popstars watching them being made to do calisthenics while sing popular songs in parts.

While watching this wonderful program, I saw an add for a Harry Potter movie in German. The title in German is "Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens". I didn't recognise the words and asked Dear Reader. I asked the words individually so the first translation I got was "Harry Potter and the Cupboard of frighteningness". I temporarily forgot the English name of the book and had to look it up. It's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". With my translation it would be a whole new book. Learning a new language is so much fun :-)

Last year we were here when the Harry Potter book came out and so I was part of the massive crowd at the English Orrel Fussli here in Zurich buying Harry Potters on the first day it came out. One man I know had to buy a copy for each member of his family to prevent fights :-)

Blogging in German

While I'm in Zurich I'm going to try to improve my German. I find that this time round after the 6 months last year, I'm able to listen and get the gist of conversations a lot better than last time. My speaking is not very good and in Zurich it's hard to practice because everyone I work with speaks English to me and around me people speak Swiss German. So I thought I'd try and write some of this blog in German. This morning I have managed about 3 lines on what we did yesterday. My Dear Reader has corrected it for me so here it is:

Wir wachten wieder früh auf. Es ist für uns sehr unüblich. Wir frühstückten und dann gingen spazieren. Es war ein bisschen kalt. Wir fährten mit dem Tram zu Seebach und dann wanderten hin zu Oerlikon. Da war ein Markt.

We wandered around the market for a while, got very cold, had some coffee and a Gipfel - which are definitely growing on me and then went home. Later in the day we walked to the Bahnhoffstrasse and bought some warmer clothing.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Floating Circus

Floating Circus
Originally uploaded by bristley.
Thanks to jetlag and timezone changes, we are getting up very early in the morning at the moment and we're trying to get in a walk before I start work everyday. On Wednesday we walked to the Altstadt and the Niederdorf and came back via the bridge where the Zurichsee leads into the Limmat river. They were setting up a circus on the river. We saw about 15 guys pushing the sign in. It's nice seeing Zurich in the morning.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We're in a serviced flat while we're in Zurich and we needed a kettle. For some reason although it has a dishwasher, a microwave and all sorts of other things, it doesn't have a kettle. So we pottered out to interdiscount which is kind of like Switzerland's answer to Australia's Harvey Norman and bought the cheapest kettle.

But as we were paying for it I read the top of the box and discovered it's AMAZING feature. It changes colour. Someone has designed a kettle that when the water changes fades from blue to a whitey grey colour. It's bizarre. Other than that it is just a normal kettle but it CHANGES COLOUR.

Monday, November 06, 2006


We have now arrived in Zurich again - this time for a 3 month stint. We flew from Sydney to Zurich via Singapore with only a 2 hour stopover and now we are sitting in the lounge room of our serviced flat watching Charmed in German. The sun is shining now the fog has lifted and soon we'll go exploring a new suburb and find the local Coop or Migros and buy some important things like toothpaste, soap, a hairdryer and some food. We've been busy lately, buying a flat, moving and then going to Zurich all at the same time.

We caught a taxi and while chatting the taxi driver mentioned that his neighbour was from Australia and was about to go back for a couple of months. It turned out that the taxi driver's neighbour is the guy who I'm substituting for. Isn't serendipity wonderful :-)