flight to zurich

The view from Lindenhof

When life presents you with an escape, particularly a temporary one, no matter the adventure, I think one should always say YES.  Grab it with both hands and then think about the logistics later.

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So, when the beloved husband being his super-creative self, was offered the chance to work for his head office in Switzerland, we got very excited and started planning an adventure.  Zurich!  On our own!

An adventure I benefited from with the freedom to explore, while he slaved away, but an adventure noneless, in beautiful Switzerland.

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It’s not often one gets the opportunity to explore a city quietly, sans children for 2 weeks, following ones nose, and just seeing where laneways and twists might end up.

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I kept a diary of sorts for the kids to read through, full of strange things we had seen – like a busker in Berne with an act that consisted of hiding under spangled fabric with a stick poking through a hole in the middle.  The stick had a puppet head (if you could call it that) that opened and closed its mouth making a snapping noise.  That was it.  It went in the book. We paid him/her for bravery.

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Flamingos at the Zurich Zoo -they come from a cold climate.  Incongruous nonetheless.

I went to the Zurich Zoo, a day trip on my own that was wonderful, and confronting.  There was a fabulous Masoala rainforest dome that was hot and humid – while it was cccold outside. Awesome.  The hippo enclosure was so inadequate it brought me to tears.  Ditto the gorillas.

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Grounds of the Reitberg Museum

The Reitberg was a fabulous experience.  Not so much for the exhibitions – though they were great, but because the grounds were sensational, the buildings themselves beautiful and carefully thought out, and  everything was beautifully presented.

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Swiss Carnival Masks at the Reitberg.

By far the most emotional experience of the trip was had on the first full day, when D & I went to see an exhibitions of prints by Edvard Munch.  An artist so close to my heart for most of my life.  Retrospectives of his work are not often seen in Melbourne, and the few we have had have always been highly emotive & been highlights for me.  The first when I first moved to Melbourne on my own (back in the dark ages), the second, when Z was born and I took her in a pram and she blissfully slept as newborns do, while I wandered and sat, and breathed it all in.

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A poster for the exhibition.

This exhibition at the Kunsthaus was no exception.  Shared with my soulmate in a new country, I was so overwhelmed I had to sit often.  There were tears of joy and disbelief and it was incredibly moving. So nice to be sharing that big experience with him.

The riches of the Kunsthaus didn’t stop there – and while we avoided the very old art for the most part, there were rich seams of beautiful works at every turn.  One room casually had some Van Gogh works opposite some Monets (as you do), which brought D close to tears himself.

Works by Cy Twombly and Rothko, Giacometti, a room full of assorted surrealists.  All very surreal in itself as an experience.  I should have gone back.  I didn’t want to spoil the magic.

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We caught a train to Bern.  We should have been more informed about Bern, which became a pretty place to second-hand shop and eat lunch.

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We missed the museums and galleries that were probably there.  We didn’t know Einstein lived there.  We saw lovely rooftops and mountains.  We had some very good chocolate.

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The next day saw us on a train to Lucerne – lovely Lurcerne, which was mostly closed on a Sunday, but was perfect for wanderers looking to escape the crows and see the buildings themselves.

We took a 2.5 hour boat trip around lake Lucerne, where my camera ran out of batteries early on, so The snow tops are etched in my mind.  spec.tac.ular.

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And there were bugs.  At the strangest most dated little museum with an ancient echidna that looked like it has been stuffed with a shoe box, and a koala that was almost unrecognisable.

The bugs though, were fabulous!

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We had amazing Sunday buffet brunches at Imagine at Rail City.

Mexican in Zurich’s colourful old town section (we loved the old town with its cobbled streets and grungier feel) with too much Sangria and a chilly walk to the tram.

And italian, italian, italian.  Weirdly, we couldn’t even find any swiss food.  Italian food everywhere.  There were some great places near us in Milchbuch (the suburb we stayed in), but we just craved some Thai.  The lack of vegetables was staggering!

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It’s a conservative city.  People sit in the extremely punctual and tidy trams with their hands neatly folded in their laps.  Almost everyone is polished and tidy and the few people we saw who made fashion statements executed them deliberately, not casually.

I secretly craved some chaos, but soaked up the amazing chocolate with coffee at Globus, the perfect-every-time Bretzel Koenig, and the ease at which one could fit in.  The uniform seemed to be skinny jeans tucked into boots, with a warm jacket, and straight hair.  I was set.  I took skirts and felt like a freak, so lived in my one pair of jeans.  My boots need re-heeling,  The shopping was not inspiring but basics were readily available.  I liked it.

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I’ve been asked a lot since coming back if we would consider  moving there…

It’s shocking how comfortable one gets in life.  Living spaces are small and expensive.  Everything is expensive actually.  And on the whole people and places are not as bright as they are here.  The light is so different (Australia is blinding), and people assess you as you walk down the street – in a cold way.  It’s not aggressive, just an assessment which is probably flattering in its own weird way.  People smile a lot more in Melbourne.  We missed our home.

We missed the kids.  We missed our cat. We missed grunge & the rich design scene.

But I think we’ll be back…





5 thoughts on “return

  1. I’ve been wanting to comment on this post for the last few days Michelle, but haven’t quite been able to put into words just how AMAZING this whole experience looks! Gorgeous photos. I scrolled through them twice. So lovely that you kept a visual diary. Lucky, lucky you. xx

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