First week in Zurich

I arrived in Zurich with high expectations, no one, not a single person, had anything bad to say about the city.

It rained incessantly during the first week, which severely hampered my attempt for sightseeing. But I did manage to see a good eastern part of the city. Zurich abuts Lake Zurich and hugs the Limmat River. Yes, that massive nerve-bundle like structure is the famous city rail way, will update on that later.

Most of the city center is built along the hills so much so that it is not easy to find a perfectly flat street. I have to climb over 2 hills to work every day on my 15 minute walk.


I feel so out of place here that I don’t know how to describe it properly. It is like you walk into a party that you weren’t invited and can’t really fit in. I have never wished to speak another foreign language so badly, not since my first year in college while I was struggling with my colloquial English. Die Zurcher do speak English, somewhat, but far worse than the Montrealers. I kept running into problems at supermarkets and in the streets.


If I have to find one word to describe my first impression, well we all know the Swiss are efficient, I would say “orderly”. I arrived at a sparkling clean airport, streets are old but in good shape, very little litter around, trams run on schedule, most people follow the “walk” signs. It is just damn difficult to find something wrong with the city.  You know, in high school, there is that perfect person everyone loved yet secretly hated? staight As, good looking, teachers’ favorite, popular with other kids, plays sports, may even play first violin in the school symphony, that’s how I would describe Zurich. It is picture perfect, everyone other building downtown is photo-worthy. It is also as exciting/sleepy as a picture. Nothing, well, almost nothing is open after 8pm, except one grocery store and bars. There is so little clamor, even the city center sounds quieter than Northampton on a week night. I know, I sound like the “sour grape” syndrome in full display. It is hard not to like this city. I am very sure there are parts of the city that are more “exciting” and less glamorous than what I have seen, I’ll just have to find them.

These are just random buildings during my daily walk. The first one is actually Univ. of Zurich center campus.




1 thought on “First week in Zurich

  1. Just found your blog, Xiang. – I love your writing and will definitely keep up with your adventures. Though we miss you terribly and are hoping on your return to MD very soon.


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