Sunday, August 11, 2013

Switzerland

Well I've been back in Switzerland for a few days now with my family. The first day, my in-laws watched the kids for us while Meghan and I accompanied my parents to the airport to see them back to the States. Then Meghan and I saw a little bit of Zurich. I also got a badly-needed haircut, which was by far the most expensive haircut I have or will ever pay for. Always ask the price first. My hairdresser was really nice though, from Kosovo, and we laughed together at the notion of a statue of Bill Clinton in her hometown. Meghan and I found the (a?) red light district in Zurich, totally legal here. Whoops...



Switzerland is indeed a beautiful country. We are here on Swiss "saver" rail passes for the duration, passes that give us unlimited rides on the rails and buses throughout Switzerland (and a discount for a number of other things, free museums, etc.). Their system is as good as advertised. It's a thing of beauty: a railway system that most always runs on time, often, cleanly, and pretty much to everywhere. We are in rural Switzerland, can hop on the bus about 50 yards from our building, get to the station for a train, and be in a world-class city like Zurich in less than an hour.

The preponderance of bicycles here is also of great note (like it was in Portland, OR). I can't be sure, but I would guess that at least two-thirds of travelers use a bike, the public system, or some combination of both. The fact that a whole nation can get it right when it comes to public transportation and a little city like Boston can't get a few subway lines to work properly...it's mind-boggling. There seems to be no social stigma surround the notion of using public transportation here either, though culture and language may be hiding something from me.

A view from the train:


One thing that is the same as Boston though: one just doesn't talk to people on the bus or train. I don't get it. In the US or in Switzerland, the rule is always this: "Just give me my white earbuds and leave me alone."

We visited Lucerne (Luzern). It's a beautiful city, surrounded by the Alps. We went in the Catholic Church and as we were there a wedding was about to begin. It was neat to watch all the guests show up in their best clothes while a bunch of us tourists took pictures. We also got to hear the full range of bells in the towers thanks to the wedding.







We saw the Rhine Falls yesterday, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It is indeed an awesome sight (I rode a boat with my father-in-law in rather close to them, a nice ride), but they are small compared to Niagara. The Rhine Falls are only two short bus rides from where we're staying.




We also visited the Munot, an impressive hill-top fortress in Schaffhausen.










For the first time this whole summer, I will not be worshiping with a different church this morning. Every Sunday since we left I've worshiped with a different church in very different settings, but we will be with Busingen International Church of the Nazarene for the second time today. 

Our prayerful thoughts continue to be with our own North Street Community, who we miss greatly. The kids' requests for home are a bit more frequent now. Soon...


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