Sunday, May 17, 2009


I ran in a relay race this Saturday.  It's called SOLA and it's put on by ETH, one of the big universities in town.  A certain number of people on each team have to be affiliated (students, alums, faculty, staff, etc.), so you basically get a bunch of academic types running around Zurich for 12 hours.  It was 114 km in total, and our team finished in 10.5 hours.  And there were about 700 teams.  Talk about a massive event.  It was weird showing up at your specific start point and waiting around for your teammate to arrive with hundreds of other people.  (I had more trouble than most because I couldn't understand the numbers shouted out) The run was really nice, and the scenery was great.  Afterwards we went out for pizza (restaurants are so expensive here).  I forget that Europe isn't big on tap water.  So you can pay 5 bucks for mineral water or pay 5 bucks for something else.  Or beg and beg for them to fill you glass from the sink.

Today I went for a wander in town.  I hadn't really been to the old town before, so I walked around the deserted (Sunday, shops closed) pedestrian streets surrounded by super cute swiss buildings.  It was very scenic, and the only things open were a couple of kebap shops.  Eventually, I made it to the lake, which is curiously banana-shaped, and walked along the shore.  There were so many people out.  It was worth the walk just for the people-watching potential.  There were a lot of dogs playing in the water, ladies sun-bathing in their swimsuits, and happy people eating Movenpick ice cream.  One guy was stacking up rocks by the lakeside.  And these were probably 5-10 kg rocks of random roundish shapes stacked in a vertical stack of up to 6.  I was impressed.  Somehow, I made it to the botanical gardens.  They were really pleasant, and had three domes with various other climates.  And I had a pretzel from bretzelkonig! All in all a good day.

Next week, my grad student is gone for the first couple of days, so work will be slow, but I plan to figure out how to do laundry at my apartment and take a trip to the facility in Luzern to learn about a project.  And Thursday is a holiday.  Plans to be determined, but may involve sailing in Rapposwil on Silke and Olivier's boat.  

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