Thursday, June 30, 2016

[used to be] Franklin Savings and Trust Company

The Franklin Savings And Trust Company is now a winery.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

[Sunday in Switzerland] A park walk, phones, and apartments

Today it was cooler and a bit cloudy, but finally not raining!  So we took a walk along the lake down to Tiefbrunnen.  I have yet to go swimming in the lake, but we passed several bathhouses providing access to swimming areas for a few Francs.  According to the signs, the water was 20 degrees C!  That was warmer than the air!
Pond in front, lake in back
There was an interesting little pond area with a path of concrete pillars.  I missed taking a picture of a duck splashdown into the pond.
Pond just after duck splashdown
There was an interesting sculpture, called Heurka, that we believe moves.  It was created for the Swiss National Exhibition (the two signs disagreed on the date - one said 1904, the other 1967).

After almost 3 years on Android, I've gone back to an iPhone.  I really like the smaller size of the iPhone SE, enough so that it's worth the pain of switching phones.  Said pain includes losing easy access to my collection of kitty toys in Neko Atsume Kitty Collector and my army in Clash of Clans.  I can still get them, just not on the iPhone.

With luck I'll be too busy moving next week to notice.  I may also be too busy to post a weekly update on our settling in to Switzerland.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

[used to be] United States Post Office East Liberty Station

The old post office building in East Liberty is now a Trader Joe's and other businesses.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

[used to be] South Side Baths

The South Side Baths are now called the Oliver Baths and provide indoor swimming for the city of Pittsburgh residents.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

[Sunday in Switzerland] A short rant about apartments and English

We are still (!) searching for an apartment.  We've had two verbal agreements back out on us.  We have several lined up to apply for if we get rejected again.  The process is excruciating.

My workplace conducts daily work in English.  It was one of the reasons I could transfer here without first having to learn German.  (Ich lerne Deutsch und spreche ein bisschen.)  I had the fun experience of having to explain to one of my coworkers, who is not a native English speaker, that "won't" is a contraction.  He was confused why "will" becomes "wo" in the contraction since "wo" isn't a word.  I had to explain that there isn't a good reason, it just is.

Now, when I learn rules for German like "the verb takes the second position" with no rationale, I have to sigh and accept that almost all languages have some rules that you just have to memorize.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

[used to be] Iron and Glass Dollar Savings Bank

The Iron and Glass Dollar Savings Bank on the South Side of Pittsburgh is now a First National Bank.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

[Sunday in Switzerland] A trip and a walk

I got to spend a few days in Opio, France this past week.  I was supposed to take a train, but the strikes in France cancelled at least one of the trains, so I booked a plane ticket at the last minute.  Although it's not Switzerland, here are some pictures anyway.

I also got to spend a few hours in Antibes, France, which is an ancient city on the Mediterranean, settled by both Greeks and Romans since 4th century BC.  The old town was very picturesque.

There were also some of these unusual shutter holders that I've also seen in Zürich.  Why they have a lady's head is beyond me.
Shutter holder
I did also find this wonderful door knocker.
If she's holding a golden apple that says "for the prettiest", that would be epic.  (Reference and reference.)

Today, we walked around on the top of Ütliberg, the local not-quite mountain.  It's a ridge that has some great views, but isn't really a mountain.  We walked from the train stop along a trail until we got to the Felsenegg Luftseilbahn.

Lake Zürich

Cable car station from the bottom
It was raining and we saw a fair number of snails along the trail.  This was one of the bigger ones.
We also got to see cows, yes with bells.

It was a pleasant walk, but there were no toilets along the way.  Here is where my assumptions about how the world work get me into trouble.  If I was in the US, I would just duck behind some bushes and take care of things.  But, I had no idea how that kind of thing is treated here.

Still, it was a good few days with more adventure than usual for me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

[used to be] Bell Telephone Company

The Bell Telephone Company building in downtown Pittsburgh is now the City Charter High School.  It has some wonderful engravings, including a dusty, tattered paper globe with the slogan "Anywhere Any Time By Telephone".  It also includes an engraving that the Bell Telephone Co. of Pennsylvania was joined with American Telephone & Telegraph Co. into the Bell System.