Our last days living in Switzerland

This is it! Our last days living and working in the beautiful country of Switzerland!

Andrew and I have been on a roller coaster over these last weeks. Long days at work, trying to sell furniture, packing, trips to the déchetterie (recycling center + dump), planning logistics to move internationally again aaaaaand wrap up planning 2 months of travelling in Europe and the U.S.. Also sneaking in some Sunday hikes to train for our Dolomites trek. Sit down and let’s have a recap about what’s been going on for us… warning – this will be a long one

Moving out – how is it going? 

We put up all of our furniture for sale on a Swiss website similar to Craigslist called Anibis. The process went well for some things, but some big ticket items proved very difficult to get rid of. Primarily our bed, couch, wardrobe and dresser. In the end, we put up several items for free and STILL had trouble getting rid of the bed and couch. We think most people didn’t want them because no one has a car to transport such big items. Otherwise, we find that the Swiss like NEW things, not used. In the end, we couldn’t sell with a focus to get money back – we just wanted someone to come and move all this stuff out of our apartment for us so that we wouldn’t have to do it ourselves. We finally found a home for everything and it all worked out just fine. But we narrowly made it work before our move-out day of 30 June.

We were pleasantly surprised with how organized the déchetterie was. They had staff to help you sort your items to the appropriate locations for recycling/trash.

It is amazing how much stuff you can acquire in just two years! Here is a pile of stuff we took to the déchetterie on just one of three of our trips. I wish we could keep more, but it simply is not worth the cost or effort to transport back to the U.S.
Massive cardboard recycling pile at the center
Different areas for different products. Far right is couches to dump, far left is a place for household objects containing metal, center is for chairs.

We rented a storage unit in Lausanne, which we are using to keep our belongings while we are traveling in July before we fly back to SF on 27 July. We will fly back to the U.S. with all of our belongings: 13 pieces of luggage (including a ski bag!).

In the midst of packing – we used the guest room as our staging area. That scale was KEY for distributing the weight among all our bags to ensure that we won’t get over-charged by the airlines for overweight bags. Instead of shipping we are flying with all of our stuff. We did the same on our way over to Switzerland and it worked very well. 

As we no longer had a dining room table, coffee table or balcony furniture any longer, we found ourselves sitting on the floor to eat our dinner in the living room.

We had our last day of work on Friday 30 June, where we said goodbye to all our co-workers and our job here in Lausanne. Afterwards we got drinks at a rooftop bar to celebrate the beginning of our summer adventure.

leaving work
All smiles moments after we walked out the door from our last day of work. Not necessarily a reflection of the job but definitely of the feeling of freedom for the next 2 months!
drinks at savoy
The view from the rooftop Sky Lounge bar of the Hotel Savoy in Lausanne

At 4 on Friday we met with an agent from our property management company to do our final apartment inspection and hand in the keys. We had been super nervous about this inspection as the Swiss have a reputation for being very strict with the apartment inspection. We spent HOURS cleaning and trying to get the apartment ready. Some people even pay a cleaning service, but we elected to do it ourselves. Amazingly, the time and effort paid off as our agent had no issue and gave us a clean bill to move out. We will get all of our deposit back and won’t get charged anything for moving out! We couldn’t be happier!

How was our apéro de départ? 

We shared our going away happy hour with three other seniors and assistants. It was a great time to get to have an official goodbye with KPMG and to see some people before we depart. KPMG was very kind and gave us a going away gift of a massage at the spa of the Beau Rivage Palace. Andrew and I have scheduled to use the gift when we are back in Switzerland later this month.

KPMG Lausanne was generous to let us have our party in the office. There’s a nice courtyard in the center of our office building and the night was warm – perfect for the party.

What else have you been doing? 

Training for our Dolomites trek! Every Sunday we have managed to take a hike to train, with enough time to return in the evenings to pack/clean/prepare for moving. Here are some snapshots from our last weekends getting to drive up into the Alps for a day trip (which we will sorely miss!):

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Here we are at Lac Louvie, above Val de Bagnes
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We happened upon this herd of ibex during our hike to Lac Louvie. It was a hot day so they were relaxing in the shade. We were in a protected area, so they were clearly used to having humans around. Check out those horns!! If you look closely there are at least 8 of them. 
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We took a hike up to Croix de Fer, above Trient. This is a view of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe. It’s a beautiful mountain! This hike was special for us as we had originally done this hike during our first few months living in Switzerland. It only felt appropriate to return to hike it once more

Our second to last weekend, we took off work on Monday and spent Sunday night in the village of Zinal at the wonderful Hôtel Le Besso. We got an awesome room with a huge terrace overlooking a view of the mountains. It was such a treat! The village of Zinal is down in the valley of Val d’Anniviers, which you may recall from our trip to St. Luc this winter for skiing (see post) or from Grimentz when my Mom visited in December 2016 (see post). This is one of our favorite valleys in the Swiss Alps and one we will likely stay in when we come back to Switzerland in the future.

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View from our hotel terrace. 

This weekend was special because Monday 26 June was the 2nd anniversary of my father’s death. I wanted to do something on that day that he would have liked, which is why we did this trip in the first place. We rented a convertible for the drive through our Mobility car sharing service, and took the scenic route to drive along the lake while blasting rock’n’roll. It was a really fun time.

Andrew in our convertible. It’s considered a more “top tier” rental, but so awesome to have this available through our mobility membership!

We hiked up to the Cabane Tracuit, with an early start at 7am, and returned to the car at 3:30pm, it was a long and pretty tough hike of 10 miles roundtrip and over 5,000 ft elevation. We reached the highest elevation of any of our Swiss trips as the cabane sits at 3,256 meters elevation (10,682 ft). We had our last rösti of our time in Switzerland and enjoyed watching helicopters arrive to drop off the week’s groceries for the cabane and also transport some equipment for some high alpine construction workers.

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Our arrival at the cabane timed with the helicopter delivery of the day. It was super cool to watch the helicopter teams receiving the goods of the delivery. It’s thanks to these guys that the cabane is able to operate with so many amenities.
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The view from the cabane dining room. Andrew and I ordered our last rosti with egg – so delicious
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The Cabane Tracuit. Looks pretty spacey but it is surprisingly snug and nice inside!
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View of the glaciers and the mountain peaks from the cabane
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The wildflowers in the Alps are incredible this time of year. These are some special blooms that are teeny but vibrant!

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This is the beginning of the end… 

 

This past weekend, our last weekend in Switzerland, we moved into a guesthouse in the village of Morges, where we have rented a room and we’re 10 km from Lausanne. We had some last minute errands, including putting our last belongings in storage and to set up a new phone plan since our phones had been with KPMG this whole time and now we needed a new service.

Starting on Monday morning we begin our big trip! So, here’s the plan in short (well, as short as I could make it):

  • Monday 3 July we take the train down to Venice, Italy. We meet up with our friends Dani and Maddy (who just flew in from Vermont and NYC respectively) and take a bus to Cortina d’Ampezzo. We are embarking on a 5 night/6 day trek through the Dolomites and staying in high alpine refugios every night.
  • After the Dolomites trek, Andrew and I are taking the bus to Bologna, Italy, where we stay for one night and the following morning catch a flight to Bucharest, Romania. Dani will see Bucharest with us before she moves on in her own travels while Maddy goes back to the States.
  • From Bucharest, we will spent the next 2.5 weeks hopping from Bucharest, over the border into Bulgaria and staying in historic Veliko Tarnovo, Sozopol on the Black Sea, Bansko on the edge of the Pirin Mountains national park, then finally the capital city of Sofia.
  • On 25 July we fly back to Switzerland to collect our belongings at the storage facility and do some last minute things in town (such as that massage…) before we fly back to San Francisco on 27 July.
  • The goal is to return to SF for a week to take time to look for an apartment, get a U.S. phone, Andrew to buy a car, and say hello to our friends and family that have stuck around since we left.
  • After SF, we have some U.S. travel on the agenda.
  • From August 3 – 11 we are doing a road trip in Oregon. We’ll spend time in Portland, the Willamette valley for wine tasting, Sisters to see the Cascade mountains and finally Hood River to see the historic Colombia River Gorge.
  • After Oregon we are hopping on a flight to Spokane, Washington, where we meet up with our friends Cody and Kim from the Bay Area. We’re going to spend some time with them at Cody’s family’s house on the lake in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
  • From Idaho, I am flying to Virginia on 16 August to see my family and go to a friend’s wedding in Richmond. Andrew is going back to San Diego to see his family.
  • Last but not least, Andrew and I will meet again after we fly to Kaua’i where we will spend from the 21-30 hanging out on the island, with our time split staying at two different sides of the island.
  • Andrew starts work with KPMG SF on 5 September and I start on 11 September. Hopefully by then we have found an apartment but we’ll see how it goes.

So, that’s it! That’s our crazy plan! This summer has taken countless hours of planning and preparation, and I am so excited for it to get started tomorrow. Switzerland has been a wonderful home for the past two years, but I won’t lie to say that I am very happy to be returning to live in SF again. But before then, it’s time to travel and live up the next 2+ months of summer!

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