NB - I wrote the below first impressions of our new flat on April 1st but we didn't get our internet connection sorted until mid April, and then I got a bit distracted by various things and neglected the blog for a bit...
Today is April 1st, which as far as I can tell (and much to my relief given my limited German) is not a day of pranks and nonsense here in Switzerland, or at least I have so far avoided being the butt of any jokes. We are still in Lent after all. But it is very sunny and warm and extremely spring-like. The city has been coming alive in the last fortnight, and getting itself spruced up for the summer. Verdant swathes of colourful patio furniture have been springing up outside cafes like daffodils and crocuses. What I took to be storage sheds along the riverbanks have suddenly unfolded into bars and riverside swimming pools, with their attendants seemingly emerging from hibernation within, and blinking at the sunshine. And as in spring the first flies and insects start to appear, so the first coach loads of tourists are beginning to roll in.
Today is also our first full day in our new apartment, which we took possession of yesterday, a much anticipated and exciting event. Spending 3 months together in one room of less than 20m2 has been a true test of our sapling marriage, but I am pleased to report that a divorce is not on the cards. Our new flat is nearly 4 times that size, and we have been rattling about in it not knowing what to do with all the space, and getting separation anxiety when we can’t see each other. It’s in a quiet and pretty spot near to the University, far enough up on the hill to the west of the city to be scenic, and not far enough round towards the lake to have a lake view or to be pricey. It does however have a mountain view, in that if I lean right out over the balcony railing and twist my head back around I can see a tiny sliver of tree tops and the tip of the radio antennae on the Zürichberg.
The flat has been extremely well kept and is (currently) unbelievably clean. I think it was professionally cleaned before we moved in, but the previous tenants must also have taken very good care of it, because there are none of the usual signs of long-term occupation. No hint of limescale in the kitchen sink, no spot of mildew on the bathroom grout, not a single mucky mark on the skirting boards or definitely no smudges on the flooring. There is also no dust down the back of any of the radiators – something that I didn’t know was physically possible until now. Those of you who are reading this who are prone to cleanliness will probably be reeling with horror, but the flats that we lived in in London have ranged from generally-a-bit grubby to downright biohazard when we have moved into them.