23 May, 2011

The Arrival

Sali (sah-lee) Everyone!

View of Solothurn from the Weissenstein
That's how they say 'hello' in Swiss German! I arrived in this beautiful little country late Monday morning in Zürich last week. My flight took me right past the Swiss Alps, over small country-side farms, ancient looking buildings, tiny villages, and miles upon miles of lush green forests. To say that this place is beautiful is an understatement: it's breath-taking, gorgeous...just downright amazing!
Happy Cows.
The first few days were spent at Aron's house getting adjusted to the time difference. Aron showed me around his town of Solothurn which included cobble-stone streets lining the crystal-clear waters of the Aare river, little shops and cafés along its bank. It's everything one would expect of a small European village-and yes, the cows really do wear bells around their necks!

We also drove to the top of the nearby mountain, the Weissenstein, where Aron went paragliding and I relaxed in the grass, enjoying the view, the cows, and the fresh air. Later that evening, Aron and I cooked pasta from scratch for his dad Urs.

So far, I have made several observations about the Swiss culture:

° Breakfast should always include bread, cheese, and prosciutto. A side of granola and yogurt is also optional.

° Say hello to everyone: This includes of course friends and family, but don't forget the cashier at the supermarket, the concierge at the front desk of the hotel, the stranger walking by in the street, and of course anyone else in your general vicinity.

° When greeting someone, don't forget to kiss them three times, alternating cheeks.

° Lunch and dinner should always be enjoyed with a glass of wine.

° Make sure to say 'bon apetit' before every meal.

° The sun does not set until 10pm. I have been totally confused of the time of day since my arrival because of this. Not really a cultural thing at all...but noteworthy.

°Be punctual: The swiss are all about being on time...seriously. When the departure time on the train ticket says 21:00, you had better be on that train at precisely that time, no questions asked. This can be applied to all other situations as well like leaving for the grocery store, running errands, etc. There is no 'Ok, I'll be ready in a few more minutes.' There is only 'I'm ready and walking out the door right now.'

° Swiss chocolate is the best chocolate. Period.

For a look at all my pictures, see my album 'Swiss Miss' on Facebook.

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