Sunday, June 19, 2016

[Sunday in Switzerland] Ikea, beer, and Deutsch lernen

It has been a terribly rainy summer so far in Zürich.  Most days there is at least some rain and it's still quite cool with highs barely over 20.  That's supposed to change this week for a few days, but we'll see.

Rain-soaked roses in a park
Because it was supposed to rain most of yesterday, we went to the nearest Ikea.  It was a quick 7 minute train ride (followed by a 15 minute walk) from our current apartment.  Ikea here is at once different and the same as Ikea in Pittsburgh.  It's got a lot of the same stuff (Billy bookcases, for example), but there are a lot more sofa beds, since apartments tend to be smaller and don't have a guest room.  There is also a larger focus on outdoor seating and decoration.  It makes sense with the nearly ubiquitous balconies, gardens, and loggia.  But let's be honest, the summer doesn't last that long in Switzerland.

One thing the local Ikea had that would never happen in the United States: beer in the restaurant to go with your Swedish meatballs.  Not only beer, but Ikea branded beer.  It was actually pretty good for a lager.
Ikea beer.  Why not?
On Friday night, we tried a restaurant that my coworkers told me about, the Fork and Bottle.  It has a great selection of beers from around the world.  And I don't mean "this beer is famous, like Budweiser" kind of beer, but good beers from around the world.  I had a beer from the Netherlands and one from Norway, both of which were quite good IPAs.  We will definitely be going back there to try some more.
Very tasty Netherlands beer.
I am taking German language classes.  Since I'm surrounded by the language, I want to understand what I'm reading and hearing.  This past week it became clear that my half-assed "look at the homework the night before class for 10 minutes" wasn't cutting it.  So today I spent a good hour and a half doing some remedial memorization, making flash cards, and actually translating text rather than just skipping past words I don't know in the course book.  With luck (and stubborn determination), I can keep up a habit of 30 minutes of German each night.  I pretty much need to make it my hobby if I'm going to learn in any reasonable time.

Finally, here is a picture of an art flower near the Enge Bahnhof for your enjoyment.
Art flower

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