Place: Zurich, Niederdorfstrasse and Muhlegasse
Time: First night (May 14)
Why: This area, where I was staying with the Twister, is pretty touristy. Tons of restaurants, cafes, bars, stores, and strip clubs. Consequently, it’s pretty noisy. Someone told me that travel professionals (train employees, for instance) stay in the area since it’s near the main train station. This would account for the early morning rumbling of luggage rolling over the cobblestone streets. Also, for the empty beer bottles strewn about.
Place: a beer garden
Time: Saturday afternoon, May 15
Why: It was a beautiful day so the Texas Twister thought she’d take us to a beer garden in Zurich she’d been to. Well, it took much wandering around—”I feel it’s this way”—before we found it. The afternoon was perfect. I was going to upload a pic of myself lying in the grass, but I decided to spare you all the sight of my bare hairy chest.
Place: a fourth floor apartment in the Langstrasse area
Time: noon-ish (Zurich time) Tuesday May 19
Why: The Twister was at work, so my assignment was to check out this apartment for rent (she’s paying an exorbitant amount of money to live in a shoebox). When I arrived there were already two people, nurses, waiting, and four more people showed up. The Zurich rental market is pretty competitive—even for a fourth-floor walk-up with a shower in the kitchen. You can’t tell from the pic, but that’s where this little unit is located. Not a common occurence in Swiss apartments, I was assured.
Time: Wednesday afternoon
Why: I went to visit the Twister in the town where she works, Baden, about a half-hour east of Zurich. After lunch I wondered around the town centre, where there were several of these customized (fibreglass?) hearts. They reminded me of the hippy-dippy painted Orca whales Vancouver invested in a couple of years ago. Before I left Zurich, a whole bunch of oversize plant pots popped up around town, all of them customized by different artists as well.
Time: later that same afternoon
Why: the walk along the river was fantastic—better, it turns out, than my ultimate destination: the thermal baths. Sure, the water was natural (from deep within the earth!?) and warm, but I shared the pool with a bunch of retirees. Speaking in German. Wondering, no doubt, what the hell I was doing there.
Time: early evening, Wednesday, May 20
Why: In Baden, the Twister and I met up with her friend Emma, and we took the train out east to another smallish town, Basel, where we drank wine on the river. It was a real gathering place for the young urban Basel professionals and art crowd; one guy bragged about how his girlfriend’s band had just opened for Depeche Mode. Something I would prefer to keep to myself, but that’s me.
Place: a building near the river, Basel
Time: early evening
Why: While the Twister socialized with Emma and Emma’s boyfriend Simon, I wandered off and heard music, a live band, coming from nearby. I followed my ears into an open doorway and up three flights of stairs to a rooftop party; students from the nearby university were celebrating, uhm, being students, I guess. The band playing, Elephant Anthony, didn’t sound half-bad—basic rock, maybe a little prog-y— and though local, sang in English. I only caught three songs before I realized I should be getting back to the crew—too late, I was already in trouble!
End part I. I’ll get to part II—including the trip by train to Montreux—in the next couple of days.