Catching Up

Whew! The last week has absolutely FLOWN by. Where do I begin? I think when we left off last weekend ….

Last Saturday we took the train to the town of St-Saphorin and walked along the Grande traversée to the town of Epesses through the Lavaux wine terraces. These vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 11th century when monks dug the terraces above Lac Léman to grow grapes and now modern wine makers have continued the practice. Andrew and I had been surprised when we got here to learn of the extent of the wine culture here in Switzerland. Before we came here, we tried so hard to find Swiss wine, to no avail. Now that we are here, we have learned the simple answer: The Swiss do not export their wine. They drink it all here themselves! Not bad!

We walked for a few hours, it was very quiet but so beautiful to see vineyards cascading down to the lake, studded by little villages here and there. Along the way we happened upon many Caveaus, or wine caves, with a door and hours posted, or a little shed that appeared to be a tasting room. We learned that most of the tasting rooms and Caveaus are only open for a few hours a day (to one server’s explanation, because, why would they work during lunch time?) and we missed most of them due to being closed, but managed to find a couple rooms open along the way to stop for a glass of the local white wine, Chasselas.

Walking through the cobblestone streets of St-Saphorin
Walking through the wine terraces
Walking through the terraces. The views were stunning, I cannot wait to go back and explore more and visit a wine cave or two along the way! come visit and we will absolutely go here 🙂

On Sunday we went to the Piscine de Bellerive-Plage, which is the community lakeside park with beaches, pools, diving boards, mini golf, playgrounds, soccer fields, restaurants, even floating trampolines – everything you need for a day of outside enjoyment – for only CHF 6! As I said before, It had been very hot, so a day by the water is just what the doctor ordered. It was a great way to spend a few hours and it was clear that all the other Lausanne residents felt the same way, with everything closed on Sunday’s and rules against working on Sunday (I KNOW, crazy, right?), it seemed that a majority of the city had relocated to hang at the park.

By the beach at the park
Looking towards the rest of the park, with two massive swimming pools, high diving boards and plenty of space to spread out and hang out for the day

Last Sunday was the closing of our settle in time before starting work, as Monday morning I boarded a train headed for Schaffhausen for the week and Andrew commuted each day to Nyon. It was good to get back to work, and I was pleased with how relatively easily I settled back in to the audit profession after 1.5 years away. I think my initial observation of working in Switzerland versus the US is that it was impressive to work in an environment where I heard all of English, German and French spoken interchangeably between my team and the client. Soon I will devote a posting to the differences Andrew and I have observed so far between the working culture and life in the U.S. and Switzerland.

A view of the Rhine Falls, a local attraction in the town of Schaffhausen. They kind of look like a mini version of Great Falls from VA/MD 🙂

This past week A LOT of things came in the mail and we have some exciting developments associated with our move.

1) We got nearly everything for our Swiss bank accounts with UBS in the mail, including all our debit cards, credit cards and we are only missing one more PIN until we can access everything and start to use our Swiss Francs and wire money over from the US. Until then, we continue to use our US credit cards and bank accounts, which we look forward to stopping since we are getting hit by the USD/CHF exchange rate. It is incredible how seriously they take security here as we have {what feels like} a million different logins, passwords, PINs, and even a card reader to access our online banking account similar to a SecureID that you may use at work to access a VPN.

2) We got our Swiss mobile phones and we are back on the grid!!! This is SUCH a relief after going two weeks without a phone. I know, I know, it’s refreshing to be unattached to a phone, but honestly we are used to having smart phones (if for anything google translate) so we are happy to have them once more. Also, while there is WiFi widely available at most public places and on public transit, almost all of them require you to log on … with a European mobile number. Of. Course. haha. So until now we had been tied to using WiFi only at our apartment.

3) We received our 1/2 Fare cards for the Swiss public transit, which is CHF 175 and entitles you to half fare on first and second class transit for one year. Absolutely necessary purchase and very exciting to have this!

4) We received our “L” Swiss Residence permits, which came WAY faster than the 6-8 weeks we were quoted (and now we have been told that those government agencies will be super conservative whenever they tell you a wait time). This means that we have legal documentation to live here, aaaaaand, even better, means we can come and go from Switzerland as we please! International travel HERE WE COME!

5) Saving the BEST for last …. we signed our lease on our permanent apartment!!!! It is a two bedroom, with a balcony view of the lake and mountains, less than 10 min walk to the train station, in the center of the city, and within walking distance to the lake. We are so excited to move in and make it our nice little Swiss home 🙂

Until we move in to our permanent place, we moved in to a bigger temporary apartment. This one is nice because it has a little sitting room area and a downstairs level with a laundry room, walk-in closet and a bigger bathroom. Much more manageable for two people to share than our little shoe box upstairs. We are happy!

This weekend the weather finally cooled off and dipped down to the 70s and upper 50s at night. Such a relief! While it wasn’t swimming weather, we met up with a friend that we made at the InterNations event last week, his wife, and another couple at a park by the lake and had a picnic. It was a really nice afternoon and fun to get to be social with new friends in Switzerland 🙂 Overall, a great end to our week and I hope you had a good week too!!

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