Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This is one of my favorite pictures I have taken in Switzerland!
Zann - "Sweet Home Alabama"
Sarah - "Peace Dude - now give me back my glasses"
James - "This wool hat is really hot!"
Miriam - "Wow - you speak really great German." "That's b/c I'm German."
Nathan - "Wow that's a really big pretzel you have there"
And Me - "You can have her for $5...I need another beer."
So here we all our - getting a bit tipsy off our 1 liter beers. And yes we are standing on the benches with our cow dung infested shoes - but don't judge us - we were in the moment (and probably had been overserved). :) But I wouldn't go sit down at the 2nd table from the front on the right side of the stage either - just sayin'. Surely they do a thorough cleaning every night - right? I mean it is SWITZERLAND.:)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
For your information, there are some very good "Non-traditional" uses for a Fondue Set.
1) It can be used as an oversized Potpourri burner
2) For all you high tech Red Necks, you can use it as a stove on your next camping & hunting excursion
3) Most importantly, you can always "Regift it" to another lucky newlywed couple.
Joking aside...It is time to break out that Fondue set and fire it up.
First of all, let me explain how fondue started. It is a a Swiss-born dish (cooking lore says it was created in the 18th century in Neuchâtel to use up cheese rinds and stale bread). Fondue reached its height of popularity in North America in the 70s and 80s. Like all old fads...there is always a comeback. OK I AM STILL WAITING FOR JAMS AND PARACHUTE PANTS TO MAKE THEIR RETURN
We have lived in Switzerland for almost 6 months continuously trying to adapt to the Swiss culture. Now with the onset of Winter, my wife has been pressuring me to buy her a Fondue set. Well yesterday was the big day. Keep in mind that this is very stressful buying experience as there are only about 40,000 to choose from. After hours of searching, we found the one we were looking for....THE ONE THAT WAS ON SALE!!! (Love you mom...thanks for teaching me how sniff out those deals).
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I haven't craved fast food at all since we moved to Zurich, but something about getting over the flu and the fact that both my sisters and all my nieces and nephews are in Raleigh made me home sick, so I thought what is more American than McDonald's - right? I needed a little "taste" of home!
But when I went to order -it was a little scary! First of all, all I had on me was 10 CHF (right now 1 CHF = $1) and I didn't want to (couldn't) spend more than that. Now you are probably thinking - how could one person spend more than $10 at McDonald's if they were trying to be spending concious? Well - Switzerland is home to one of the Most Expensive Big Macs in the World! So of course I knew I couldn't get THAT, but all I really wanted was a cheeseburger, small fries, and a coke light. I just wasn't sure how much that would be. The menu states that a cheesburger is 2.50 CHF, but none of the drinks (getrankts) or fries (pommes frites) are listed! Hello? What happened to informed buyers?
Anyway, when I got to the front of the line (yes McDonald's is crazy busy in Switzerland - they don't care that the prices are insane), I asked the cashier "Sprechen sie English?" - "Nein". Damn - I didn't think so (I was in Oerlikon). So I said a little prayer (so as not to completely embaress myself when I couldn't pay) and ordered. Guess how much it was? Guess.
9.90 CHF! Yep! For a cheesburger, small fries, a small drink, and 2 ketchups (.20 CHF a piece)! But a small price to pay for the only slice of Americana I could get today:)!
Once I sat down, I started reading their marketing and found out it was Schwiizer Wuche at McDonald's! (I think they were advertising this at the counter, but again I was too nervous to go over my budget so I wasn't really paying attention.) What does Schwiizer Wuche at McDonald's entail? McFondue, McRosti, and McRaclette burgers! Yum!
So what are on those burgers? Well the McFondue is pretty easy to figure out - it has swiss cheese on it:) (Le Gruyere & Emmentaler) and "fondue sauce". Rosti is basically Swiss Hashbrowns. So the McRosti had hashbrowns and bacon on top of the burger - yum! And Raclette is a type of cheese and an "eating process" here in Switzerland. The McRaclette has raclette cheese, gherkins, and pickled onions on it (typical toppings when serving Raclette at your house).
They all sound so good! But I am seriously going back for the McRosti! And since they stop serving it on October 20th - looks like I'll be eating McDonald's TWICE this week:)! Supersize Me - here I come!:) And you know what....
I'm lovin' it!
Friday, October 9, 2009
So the fever thing really just started this past Tuesday, so it wasn't till then that I started thinking flu. But nah - I couldn't possibly have the swine - I work in MY apartment by MYSELF! Some days I don't even leave the chair in front of my computer (yes - it kind of sounds pathetic when I write it down - but truly I love my life)! Anyway, I just started downing the Theraflu every 4 hours as recommended and thought I could handle it myself.
The truth is - I dreaded going to the doctor in Switzerland. Well not really going to see the doctor, more like dreaded trying to FIND a doctor. I knew it was going to be a pain in the ass. First, because I don't speak German. Second, because I don't really know anyone that I thought I could ask for a referral for a good doctor (that would also have the same insurance as we do). And Third, because the whole International Insurance thing has me a bit boggled.
Well I was right - it was a pain in the ass. BUT our International Insurance provider was very helpful in trying to find me a doctor. AFTER they told me they only had referral doctors in Geneva and asked if it would be a "problem" to go there (obviously the girl I was talking to didn't know much about Switzerland). (I also thought it a bit odd they didn't have anything in Zurich since Nathan's company is headquartered in Zurich and our insurance is through the company but details -right?) So after I politely told her that, yes, traveling on a train for 3 hours to Geneva with a fever and a cough would be a bit of problem for me, she actually got a doctor on the phone to talk to me and he said I could either go to the hospital or wait a very short 24 hours to find a referral in Zurich. 24 HOURS!!!! What?!?! BUT then the very nice girl came back on the line and said since I was so sick she would try to speed up the process. THANK YOU very nice girl - I appreciate it! I really didn't want to go to the hospital - there are sick people there:).
So the insurance company called me back around 5 pm (my original call to them was at about 11 am) and said that they couldn't find a doctor with an opening (yes - THEY called around trying to make an appointment - me likey) and they suggested I go to Permanence Hauptbahnhof a walk in clinic in the main train station in Zurich. I called ahead just to see what the wait time in the Walk-in Clinic was this time of night and they said 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Oh HELL NO. I am not sitting around a bunch of sick people for 2 hours - you never know what you could get.:) So I decided to get up early and be the first patient at 7 am!
First off - of course I felt better when I woke up this morning and was debating on not going but Nathan "forced" me to. When I arrived at Permanence - my first impression was that of a very nice clinic - thank goodness (but honestly I didn't expect much less - we do live in Switzerland). I was patient number 4 and the whole thing from signing in, to seeing the doctor, to taking blood, to getting my diagnosis only took about an hour. A little info about Permanence - it is "the first private medical station in Zurich which provides urgent out patient care for local residents of the Zurich area and for tourists without prior appointments". I thought it was well run, clean, and the doctors and nurses were very nice. So if are in Zurich (for vacation or as an resident) and have a non hospital condition and can't get into your doctor- I would recommend it!
So what was the diagnosis you ask? WELL.... the doctor said that I had a VERY aggressive viral disease (some number he showed me was supposed to be around 8 and mine was 59.) And that my white blood cell count was down quite a bit - but since I DIDN'T have a fever this morning he COULDN'T diagnosis me with the SWINE. YEAH - I didn't become a statistic this morning!:) He said I probably DID have it though, and that I fought it off by myself. Yeah ME! He said this was better than getting the vaccination, so good job on my part for fighting it off. He then told me to still stay away from pregnant women and little people (not sure if he meant midgets or children so I'll be safe and avoid both) for another three weeks. He gave me a prescription for some cough stuff and that was it.
So there you have it - the SWINE (that I probably had) really wasn't that bad (for me anyway)!
Here's to good health for the rest of the season!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Here are the details -
- Train Zürich HB to Stöckalp
- Gondola Stöckalp to Melchsee Frutt
- Hike from Melchsee Frutt to Jochpass
- Gondola from Jochpass to Trübsee
- Gondola Trübsee to Engelberg
- Train Engelberg to Zürich HB
This was supposed to be a 4 hour hike and we knew that the last gondola down from Jochpass was at 17:15 so we had a goal. But this was a Swiss 4 hours so we thought it would be more like 5 with lunch. Miriam, Nathan and I had gone together, but the Meet Up group we were with consisted of about 30 people. And of course with that many people you have some folks that aren't as fit as others, so they take longer. We got a little annoyed with this early on in the hike, so a group of about 7 of us took off ahead of everyone else.
The scenery was so beautiful filled with mountains and lakes (like all Swiss hikes I guess:))! You could even see the glacier Titlus from the trail once we got closer to Jochpass.
I remember this being a pretty difficult hike (however I did get the flu the next day so maybe I was just sick), and it took our group a little over 5 hours to complete it. Thank goodness we went on in front of everyone, because we got to the gondola right at 5:15 p.m.. And thank goodness Miriam speaks German because she had to tell the gondola operators that we had about 25 people still hiking in this direction! They waited for everyone (about another 45 minutes) but they weren't happy!
However, even with the drama - this hike was one of the most picturesque we have seen - loved it!
Here is a link to the rest of the pics!