As we continue to settle in, we have noticed many unexpected nuances of our city. One being that everyone seems to be very connected here, and by connected, I mean not afraid to shut down the city once a week and unplug from whatever electronics we are on every other day. Sunday is “family day”, similar to life in the States just a little more extreme. Firstly, all grocery stores are closed all day. Making sure we’ve planned a meal for Sunday is important. And if you think you’ll just eat out, think again because most restaurants are either closed all day or closed after 2 pm. We did find one “store” that was open, comparable to a gas station. It was ridiculously packed with people so we’d rather avoid that.
Our first family day was beautiful and sunny. The weather here is strange in that it’s mostly cloudy all day and rains every few hours. We’ve been told this is abnormal but for now, we make sure we enjoy the sun when we can. We spent most of the day at a park we stumbled upon. First impression: its huge! Second impression: they have ping pong? After noticing the park was filled with options from table tennis and basketball to giant chess and soccer, we noticed the people. I only saw one person staring into their phone. Everyone else was playing, eating, laughing, kissing (public display of affection is prevalent here) or just basking in the sun.
The next unexpected nuance? The hills here are no joke. Not having a car, we’ve walked all over. We average 8-9 miles per day and those miles are certainly not flat. One hill in particular we’ve dubbed a name for, and it’s not a pleasant one. It feels like we’re constantly going uphill until we get to a giant downhill which is just as difficult. We laughed on our way up as people came running down the cobblestone street, wondering if everyone’s just in a hurry around here. Mostly everyone was trying to catch their train on time; however we had to wonder if sometimes it’s just easier to let gravity take control.
We don’t mind the hills or the miles, we like how we can stay moving the entire day on top of our other activities. We’ve really enjoyed not having a car. It allows us to pop over and do things spur of the moment without being restricted to a road or parking. Taking that little trail here or seeing what the commotion is about there has been fun to explore.
One restriction walking does have is distance. Accompanied by friends, we went to the neighboring region of Lavaux to visit the vineyards and spent time down by the lake in Vevay. It was literally breathtaking up there. But also, breathgiving, the air was so clean and crisp. We quickly realized there is so much our area has to offer that we have yet to explore. So instead of walking, we’ll begin running, in all directions. We’re discovering the characteristics of our new location and what life has to offer us slowly, letting us absorb it in its entirety, which I think is the best way to do it.