below is a quick photo tour of my time in zurich. it’s a cool place.
when we were walking around zurich i kept seeing these neatly stacked and wrapped piles of paper outside people’s doors. i couldn’t believe how perfectly some of them were assembled. i’ve been recycling paper for a long time and it never looks this organized, and let’s just say that lisbon’s style of recycling is haphazard… at best (things are supposed to be separated into 3 different bags w/ colored ribbons to identify plastic, glass, and paper, but in practice, people just take stuff outside and make piles in certain corners that get cleaned up daily).
so i did a little research and zurich has a pretty strict trash/recycling program where once every 2 weeks paper is picked up for a 3 hour time period in the morning and for trash they have to buy government bags for $5 each and they’re picked up once a week. Apparently they enforce the rules too.
The Zurich trash program employs teams of inspectors who sift through sacks of illegal household garbage, looking for clues as to the culprit. Fines are as much as 260 Swiss francs – and that for a first offense.
since i can’t race bikes here, or more accurately, since i don’t even have a bike here, i’ve started to run. i only run 3 times a week maximum and on average 4-5 miles…7 miles had been my longest run. I didn’t know about the half marathon until a week before the race. i saw an ad for it in the metro, checked the weather to make sure rain wasn’t forecasted, and signed up.
the run itself got a little boring at times so i took some photos, the photo below is about halfway through. but the big highlight (other than not having to run anymore once i crossed the finish line) was running over the april 25th bridge. it was completely closed to traffic and there were at least 10,000 people running across it (there was a 7k run that started with us).
the funny parts of the experience were the pre- and post- portions of the race. to get to the race everyone takes a train and then they have to walk 10 min to the start on the freeway, which sounds easy. the train ride was 100% tokyo-style shove everyone into the train like sardines. good thing it was only an 8 min ride. then on the walk to the start, everyone, and i mean thousands of people, have to funnel onto these 2 sidewalks that access the freeway. and it’s not all runners, there are families with strollers doing the 7k run/walk over the bridge. so there is a giant bottleneck with a massive pile of people all trying to get to the sidewalk. and after the sidewalk herding, there is another huge swarm of people by the toll booths and it turns out that the 21k people get to go through the toll booths to the left and the 7k people have to go through on the right. but there is no sign or any information, so there is just another huge mass of people inching forward trying to get somewhere. and when you get to the front, a police officer looks at your number and lets you go through the toll to the half marathon side. it was all awesome portuguese style, because it all works out, but with massive confusion up until the end.
the other weird aspect was the finish. you cross the line, they give you a radical medal that you obviously wear around your neck for the rest of the day, and then you find out that you are fenced in and to leave you have to sardine yourself with people again because they have set up a 7 foot wide corridor for everyone to funnel through. and guess what was right before the exit… ice cream. everyone wanted ice cream, and i mean everyone, all of the people that did the run/walk, the grandmas, the kids, and the runners… finally i made it out, and ate my ice cream.
2 weeks ago we went to zurich switzerland. zurich is the opposite of lisbon. it’s extremely clean, people park only in giant designated parking spaces, there are these decorative fountains everywhere that have drinking water coming out of them, and you get the idea that things generally work as published. zurich is also the most expensive place i’ve ever been to. i guess it’s all of the secret bank accounts leaking into everyone’s pockets. i had a glass of tap water that cost $4.50.
Anyway, zurich is a really cool place, with a lake right in the middle of the city, huge parks that border the city that are accessible by train and tram, and in the parks they have mtn bike trails, hiking trails, hot chocolate huts, and we even found ourselves walking up a sledding run (it had just snowed). when we got to the top we saw the sign, and it said that it was a 3.1km sledding run! 3kms of sledding? that’s pro sledding, and to get to the top you just take a train.
switzerland also has chocolate. really good chocolate. really good hot chocolate, chocolate truffles, chocolate bars, chocolate wedges, and chocolate easter bunnies.
we were there for the last weekend of ice skating in one of their parks, so we went to 80′s night at the ice rink and skated around w/ the swiss.
the whole reason we were in switzerland was because e had a brief pause in her crazy baltic tour. she had been to rome, montenegro, albania, and was getting ready to go to athens. needless to say, it was quite a trip for her. albania? montenegro???
i have a lot of zurich photos that i’ll post later.