Saturday, May 30, 2009

Market Day

I took myself on a tour of Saturday markets in the Zurich area.  It's a lovely day, as a storm this week blew out all the humid air.  First stop:  Oerlikon Farmer's market.  It's in the marketplaza of one of the bigger suburb (as suburban as Europe gets anyway).  Lots of flowers.  There was also a lot of lovely produce.  The peaches and nectarines now are quite good.  Also had some bread, cheese, butcher and fish stalls.  I bought 50g of Vacherin cheese, which the guy thought was a strangely small amount.  Maybe I can try bits of all the famous "swiss" cheeses.  They're so pungent.  And oh so good.  The market was pretty crowded and a lot of people bring along cute little baskets to carry their goods in.  

Stop 2:  Fleamarket Kanzlei near the main station.  This one is supposedly the biggest year-round flea market in Switzerland.  Today it was outside, and the diversity of goods was very entertaining.  Bikes, clocks, clothes, antiques, books, records, video games, electronic parts, you name it.  Get it here.  I scored some books for one franc each, including a cookbook for Swiss bread products.  In German.  

Stop 3:  Burkliplatz on the lake.  This market is only in the summer, but was probably bigger and more well-attended.  Perhaps due to the central location.  Again, lots of different things, but a little classier.  There was a lot of jewelry.  Many stalls also had old postcards and stamps from various countries.  There were lots of people speaking lots of languages.  I lunched on a brat mit brot.

After the markets, I wandered through the old town, visiting the two big churches, Fraumunster and Grossmunster.  They are probably the best known Zurich landmarks, and had nice stained glass. They were however, very small compared to their Catholic equivalents in other countries.  Zurich was the home of Zwingli, so the protestant movement was big here.  Having borrowed the Lonely Planet from a friend, I stopped by the most interesting sounding site:  Cafe Schober.  Home of the rich, melty, hot, milky chocolate drink.  The place had four different rooms, some inside and some outside, decorated in different styles.  Settling in the red and gold French Rococo room, I sipped the delicious drink and read for a couple of hours.  

On the way back to the station, I stopped in Globos.  It's a department store, but downstairs they have the Swiss equivalent of Herrod's food halls.  Fancy food in every flavor.  Hoity toity people buying it.  Open floorplan.  Plenty of eye-candy for foodies like me.  It turns out that Switzerland has a yeast extract product similar to marmite and vegemite.  It's called Cenovis and might be the best of the three.  Sweeter and less acrid.  I know own a container of all three, having never actually finished one.  

This week flew by pretty fast.  After getting over a little bottleneck in the lab, there was tons of work to do and things seem to be going well.  That is if we ignore the fact that a lot of our blanks are positive. . . Tuesday and Wednesday I went to frisbee which was fun and tiring.  Two of the women have been with the team for 10 and 15 years.  They were the coaches for a long time when it was open, and also coached the Swiss National team.  Pretty sick.  They're fun to watch.  

Thursday, Silke and Olivier went sailing again and I tagged along.  The wind was quite strong on the way down, but let up a bit as we went out.  The lake is kind of sheltered, so we struggled our way to Zurich lake for better breeze.  They let me steer and tend the mainsail for a while.  I'm pretty bad, but it was great fun.  And on the way back, we had a tailwind and mounted the Spinnaker, a big sail that goes in front of the whole boat.  Set-up and take-down of the boat is a lot of hassle though.

This week was also pizza week at the EMPA restaurant near the lab.  You pay 10 bucks, and can fill a shell with whatever toppings you like.  I get a little overzealous and filled mine so tall that it didn't fit in the conveyer belt over.  Tsk tsks all around.  Those piggish Americans. . . I was just trying to get my money's worth.

The marathon training schedule starts this week at 9 miles, increasing by about a mile each week until a 20-miler at the end of September.  Should be exciting.  It's a good thing to keep me occupied.  Since I've almost run through all the Gilmore Girls episodes I brought.  Sad. . .

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