Zurich, Switzerland

Emma and I went to Zurich, Switzerland to meet up with her classmates for her grade 12 year abroad. She’s attending school in a French speaking town in western Switzerland. Hopefully she comes back with just as great a French accent as Hannah did after a three month exchange in France.

We loved this narrow house overlooking the river.

I had a few days to explore Zurich – certainly only enough time to put a small dent in it. It’s a beautiful city and if ever given a chance, I would visit again.

There is quite a large historic section that spans both sides of the Limmat River with the lovely Schanzengraben Canal intersecting part of it. It’s a very walkable area and super clean and pretty. After a full day I ran out of new streets.

What do you know – a bridge filled with love locks.

I’m not sure what these girls were up to.

The side streets were narrow and pristine and pretty much looked just like these ones.

I went back to many places that Emma and I only saw at night. This park on a hill was nice and quiet the evening before.

They’re all here for the view.

Speaking of, the view across either side of the river is filled with beautiful buildings with detailed architecture.

The building third from the left houses H&M. That store has been in every single city we went to on our trip round the world. That and KFC!

The Limmat River empties into Lake Zurich. The waterfront walkways go on and on along either side of the lake. And there are more cool things to see.

I stopped to watch a couple swans along the way and then saw that swans in Zurich may be just like ducks along the Ottawa waterfront. Too many – And they’re messy!

There is also a windy walkway along the canal. It’s a quiet area and I was the only tourist.

How Much Things Cost – Zurich Switzerland

A tram ticket is 4.40 Swiss francs – good for only one hour. Pretty steep for public transit. Or 8.80 francs for a whole 24 hours – much better value but still a whopping $12 Canadian.

The tram system made touring around super easy. By the last day I was hopping on and off for a stop or two just like the locals. The only thing I didn’t do like a local was walk across the tracks right in front of the moving trams.

Forty-nine Swiss francs for a men’s cut! I don’t know, Rob’s been going to the barber for years and it’s twenty bucks with tip in Ottawa.

Prices in Switzerland include all fees and taxes. And in restaurants they also include service. Though I read us North Americans are still expected to tip in cities like Zurich.

Don’t ask me ‘why pickles’. I went into a Co-op grocery store right downtown to check out what’s on offer. I thought a lot of stores were quite chaotic inside which was a contrast to my expectation, Swiss precision and all. I thought that pickles were quite pricey. I started with the fruits and vegetables but couldn’t figure out if they were sold by the kilo or per package/piece.

Okay, seven francs for one slice of cheese pizza. That’s takeout and $9.30!

Wrap it Up

Emma and I ate out a few times together in the historic section of Zurich. It wasn’t too bad (22 – 27 CHF each) but we stayed off the two main streets where entrees were well over 40 CHF. Once I got back to Kyiv and saw how our dining Swiss francs converted to Canadian dollars, I was relieved that we went down the side streets.

Paris is on my list of cities to visit so I’ll just consider this as practice.

Besides, Kyiv is doing quite a good job offsetting any expensive outlays.

I saw this mural from the tram on my way back to the hotel. I didn’t know to watch out for street art in Zurich. I love street art like this.

It’s Monday and I’m back in Kyiv.

Ben’s at school and Rob’s off socializing at work.

Hannah started her uni classes last week and says she didn’t learn much. I’m certain things will pick up for her there. It sounds like her favourite class is … Latin.

Emma is finishing up her orientation trip today. She’s been assigned her pension family and she even has a roommate. I think classroom time starts for her tomorrow.

Anyway, that’s my update. Hopefully there aren’t too many photos slowing things down. The photos are from my cell phone so hopefully the quality isn’t too bad. Reading about basic photography is on my long list of things to do.

I hope everything is well with you all!

xo C

One Big Disadvantage of being an Expat with Teens

Expat Life - a stroll along the water in Zurich at night

We’re a family of five. Now we’re down to just three of us in Kyiv. And the kids are only 18, just turned 17 today (Happy Birthday Emma!) and 12 years old. We’re scattered all over the world now.

It’s something we knew going into this. Several months ago these new and separate adventures were only just an exciting aspect of this expat thing. A bonus even!

This morning I left Emma at the Zurich airport with her classmates.

Last week, I put Hannah in a taxi to the Kyiv airport for her trip back to Canada for school.

All my initial excitement for their new experiences is gone. Completely.

Okay, it’s still there but it’s buried under a bit of a heavy heart. I’m trying not to be dramatic, honest. Or weepy.

We’ve been travelling as a family for years now. And during our round the world trip, we spent every single day together. Usually in just two hotel rooms. Sometimes we’d break off into groups for separate things. But pretty much we were 24 and 7 for a whole year.

It was some kind of wonderful!

For the most part.

Now, here I am in Zurich! – By myself. I’ve always had a bit of envy for solo travellers. Not so much anymore.

Don’t worry, I’m in good spirits. I even have a catchy song stuck in my head.

♫ One is the loneliest number ♪

Okay, enough of that.

This is a bit of what my last 24 hours have looked like:

I feel a bit bad for Hannah who never got to try this when she was in Kyiv. I’ve added it to a list of she-must-dos for her return. Emma and I had it for the first time at the Borispyl Airport in Kyiv Ukraine .

Cheese-filled pancakes served with sour cream and tart berry sauce.

Super yummy delicious. I could only finish three.

Kyiv, Ukraine Food - Cheese pancakes with sour cream and berry sauce

We flew Borispyl to Zurich Airport on Swiss Air. Lots of leg room. I already dislike European flights. The boarding chaos is absurd. We stayed back until everyone boarded and then took our seats.

Once we checked into the hotel, Emma and I took the tram to the centre of Zurich. The old quarter is gorgeous and the tram system is pretty cool. Emma was in charge of pictures. Of course, she’s got them all with her. So mine will have to do. Well, I took a photo of our tram stop for reference later. I’m sure you’re not interested in that. Aside from that I don’t have much to show of Zurich except at night – at least until Emma sends them off to me.

Emma, here she is eating again.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of the endless restaurants in the historic area. The one we chose was in a courtyard between the main street along the water and the main shopping street. Both streets were lovely and had many tempting terraces. Though most people were only having drinks.

The restaurants in the peaceful courtyard were much less expensive than the ones just around the corner. And people were actually eating. So after exploring we settled into the garden area. Entrees ranged from 22 to 27 CHF (Swiss francs) and surprisingly a glass of wine was only 7 to 9 CHF.

We strolled around some more through the narrow cobbled streets and enjoyed the view along the water. It’s a really nice city.

The next morning Emma rearranged her bags yet again. Hopefully she’s satisfied. But still, not everything fits. No matter what she does.

It’s not too bad I guess.

We met up with her fellow students at the airport. I didn’t really talk to Emma much after this. But she was kind enough to come and give me a couple more hugs. That’s her on the far right.

There she goes.

Okay, I followed her.

Now, there she goes.

I did a similar thing with Hannah. Though it never occurred to me to take photos at 4 a.m. I had a bit of practice with Hannah so I wasn’t quite such a bag of sighs with Emma.

From her updates, Hannah sounds like she’s settling into residence and having a good time. She’s made new friends and seen her old ones.

I’m pretty sure Emma and Hannah are both going to enjoy their school year. I’m looking forward to hearing about their adventures when I see them both in October.

I’m missing them like crazy!

I’m heading out for some solo travel now. Sniff. I know!

As always, thanks for reading. And I loved all the comments. I don’t suppose you could do that again?!

With love and best wishes from Zurich,