24 mai 2021
Today is a holiday in Switzerland. For my non-church going friends the holiday is known as Pentecost. The percentages of religious people are very similar in Switzerland to the US. In Switzerland approximately 63% of the population is Christian. Which is almost identical to the US. The difference comes into catholic vs protestant. In the US it is about 42% protestant to 21% catholic. Here the percentage of catholics is slightly higher at about 35% of the population. The real difference comes into play in the number of different protestant denominations. In Switzerland 23% of the population belongs to the Swiss Reformed Church. Where in the US the largest protestant denomination only makes up a little more than 5% of the US population. Anyway, I just find it strange that the whole country celebrates a lot more religious holidays than the US does. I am sure a big part of that is the US having as part of their constitution that the government cannot impose religious practices on their citizens. It is actually quite striking to learn the parallels between the two countries in regards to religion. The percentages that identify with a religion are almost identical. The difference seems to have come into play with the number of people that claim atheism. In Switzerland that number is now around 30% of the population, where in the US that number is about 3 – 4%. So here people have given up on God completely, where in the US people have simply given up on church.
The weekend was supposed to have awful weather so we choose to stay around the apartment. I did not want to spend a lot of money on a hotel or apartment if it was going to rain all weekend. We have had our share of rain, but we have also had some great weather to get out and about.
Saturday, we took a ferry to the other side of the lake, and went for a hike. Earlier in the week, we had watched a ferris wheel go up, and start running. Somehow ( 🙂 ) I managed to ensure that our hike included going by the ferris wheel. I wasn’t sure if it was a local fair or carnival, but I knew we wanted to check it out. It turns out that it is a kind of roaming semi permanent fixture around the lake.
After our 7 mile hike, we decided to take the train downtown for a bit. We strolled down the Bahnhofstrasse and went into our favorite book store. OrrellFüssli is a huge book store. It reminds me of the giant book store that Tom Hanks’ family owned in You’ve Got Mail. It is four stories tall. The top floor is the English Department. So Julie goes to buy books (I prefer my kindle.) and I check out the English Treats Section. I scored! I found pickle relish ( which is completely different over here), malt vinegar, and some Hershey’s Syrup for ice cream. I have been looking for malt vinegar for over a year. Vinegar is a huge thing here, but it is all Balsamic. I was missing the malt vinegar on my french fries. I probably should have bought two bottles so it will last a long time, but I did not want to be greedy; so I will simply use it sparingly!
My Third best swiss purchase
So I have lived here close to 20 months now. If you remember back to 2019. Julie and I sold the house, and got rid of almost everything we owned for the move over here. I never knew that I was attached to a pillow until moving, though. The last thing I did before leaving Greenville, was throw my pillow, and bed sheets into a garbage bag. It turns out, I should have brought the pillow with me. I have missed that thing for almost two years now. Saturday afternoon, as we were roaming around I came across the pillow section in a store. I made a quick decision and bought a pillow. Julie thought that I had lost my mind. Especially when she saw how much it cost. I explained to her, that I have cycled through every single pillow we have in the apartment, and I had found only one that I liked. However, after I discovered it was a My Pillow pillow, I threw it in the garbage. I was afraid the Mike Lindell crazy had been sewn into the stuffing, and it would be like a leech into my brain while I was sleeping!!!!! So a couple of hundred francs later (no exaggeration) I am sleeping like the dead at night! I think the one thing I am worried about, is Julie tried it yesterday to take a nap, and she sleeps with 5 pillows. I am afraid that my one pillow purchase is going to cost us a plane trip back home. Speaking of plane trips.
We are so excited, both kids have made reservations to come see us in August. They won’t be here at the same time, but it is going to be so damn sweet to hug my kids again! Yes, Gabby, you will get a hug, too! Which as everyone knows is a big thing for me, because I am not much of a hugger! I also booked a flight home for November. My good friends the Eierman’s have said I can join them again for the Wisconsin Gun Deer Season. So I am going to be flying home for some deer hunting this year? I wonder if I have to buy an out of state license, or if my Wisconsin license is still proof of residency since I vote there? I guess I should check that out! I will also get to see Mom and Dad, and my Sisters as I will spend Thanksgiving Weekend in Southern Indiana. Which leads me to another rant about travel.
Julie and I figured we would be flying back to the US two or three times per year. That would have been pretty accurate except COVID has played a big role the last 12 months. So I signed up for a couple of the frequent flyer programs. I figured for the first time in my life I might actually fly enough that they would pay off. United Airlines, this rant is directed at you. So I logged into my United account and checked flights home for Christmas. It was going to cost over $4500 per ticket. That seemed really high, so I logged into Kayak and checked. The price was down to about $3700. Then I went back to the United page NOT logged into my account, and the price was $3800. Is there anyone that can explain why and how, the most expensive ticket was quoted to the account that has shown loyalty to the airlines by signing up for frequent flyer miles? That makes zero sense to me. Hopefully, Swiss airlines will soon have their normal flights scheduled, I really like flying Swiss. The food is outstanding.
rants over back to the weekend
So Sunday, the weather lady said the morning was supposed to be cloudy but no rain. We decided to take the bus downtown and go to the Zürich Botanical Garden. What a wonderful place to visit. We had the most calming walk right next to a stream in a very crowded area of Zürkch. It felt like we were out in the country. I found the perfect apartment to rent right next to a bus stop for Julie to get to work, and a waterfall. It would be the perfect little apartment. Of course it is probably less than 1/4 the size of the place we have now; so Julie wasn’t in to making a move. :(. Anyway, we loved the garden, and can’t wait to go back and visit. Unfortunately, the clouds decided to open up soon after our arrival, so we did not spend a lot of time there. We did stop and listen to the most amazing frogs I have ever heard. These are about 1/2 the size of a bull frog from back home, but wow were these things loud!
Once the rain chased us out of the Garden we decided to take a tram back downtown to catch a train home. Julie wanted to swing by and see if our favorite restaurant was open for carry out. It turns out they have put some tables outside so we sat down and had lunch. I had the most fantastic pizza I have ever had. Pizza in Europe is a completely different experience than in the US, but this as the best pizza EVER!!!! It was tomato, buffalo mozzarella, avocado, and red onion jelly. I was like a little boy. Julie says I gushed about that pizza for hours yesterday. She was right. I told the owner of the restaurant that I could die happy now. I have GOT to figure out how to recreate that experience. It is a good thing that LaPasta is not convenient to get to. Otherwise I would now be eating there a couple of times each week, and I would probably gain another 100 pounds…
So that was our holiday weekend in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy the pictures below.
I will talk to you soon.