A Ferry-ride to Rapperswil

Our time settling into life in Switzerland has been stressful–not only have we had to move ourselves to a new city in a new country, but I have also had to settle into a new job, and facilitate our family starting from scratch in so many realms: banking, legal status in this country, learning shops and neighborhoods.  And now that we have finally had time to breathe, we are beginning to look for a more permanent apartment which we will outfit with our own furniture, much of which will be similar or identical to our Ikea furniture from the States.

But despite this frenzy I told my wife I wanted to take a family day.  I had worked the Sunday before, on short notice, and we had a little time to plan something nice.  So yesterday we boarded the Helvetia, and set off to the medieval quarter of Rapperswil. (slideshow included)

Western shore
Lake Zurich’s western shore

In terms of culture Lake Zurich is no different from other lakes.  The tourists mix cautiously with the locals; the sailing yachts steer clear of the water skiers.  What is unique about this place are its views, and villages.  A person can boat to Küsnacht or Meilen and enjoy a modern shopping mall beset by cobblestones and centuries-old post offices.

From the northern shore the ferry takes nearly 2 hours to reach Rapperswil–a tourist spot with medieval monastery and castle.  It also has a Kinderzoo, or children’s zoo, making it an ideal stop for our troupe.  The young man slept only briefly, but had a good time practicing “Wasser” and “water” while looking over the language-practice-provoking lake.

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My wife and I decided to cut the visit to the zoo short, after not even giraffes and circus-tired elephants could arouse excitement in the young man.  We wandered the city for a time, trying to find a way up to the castle that didn’t involve stairs, but we ultimately resigned ourselves to a coffee and cake at the foot of one set of stone steps.

This trip was a bit long for a young family, and the young man will be catching up on missed naps for a day or two.  I must admit it was nice to do something relaxing, as a family.  My wife and I remember often our times rushing to get a coffee or smoothie before a drive in the Phoenix desert, but for many reasons we don’t have that outlet anymore.  We don’t have a car.  We don’t know the country.  We don’t really have a home, yet..just temporary housing.

We never thought moving to Europe would be easy, but I can say for certainty now it is not, especially with a child and a limited support network.  Days like the one to Rapperswil are refreshing though, and perhaps the schedule will allow more of them.  At the end of the Bosch fellowship many fellows heralded a newly discovered “European sense of work-life balance.”

For me, now, any kind of balance would be nice, European or otherwise.

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