You have lived in Zurich for a while now and everyday life here - buying bread, catching trains and forgetting your umbrella - had become rather comfortable. Perhaps Meike would now comment that you're becoming a boring old man but you know better: you're just pleased that things are settled and life is rather pleasant. Still, you'd be hesitant to call life just 'pleasant' with Switzerland and all its hills surrounding you, perfect for riding your bike through - although it is very pleasant to follow the long winding trails up Utliberg every other weekend (when it's not raining). You even painted a painting about that, which you sent to Japan as a gift. Also, you really like you job but that's not news, is it?
You walk home each day from whichever train station takes your fancy, and on your way you often find new urban art which popped up overnight. You wonder how many people walk past never noticing the tripple-breasted lady on the lamp post on Zuericherstrase, or the array of comical faces drawn on cement parking posts near Stadelhofen. Does anyone notice these things, or is subtle Swiss urban art lost on locals? Hmm... You ponder this for a while, while looking at all the many photos you took just to prove a point. There are so many examples that you need two full scentances to fit in all the links. Subtle Swiss urban art is in.
Dr. Gav recently payed a visit to Stauffacherstrasse 97 (your house) and a jolly good time was had. Dr. Gav is magnificent at making you seem better by association as a roommate; he cooks, he cleans and he entertains more in one day than you have so far. He also does a lot of washing. Mélanie is already asking when more of your friends are coming to visit! Dr. Gav's nightly cooking extravoganza was a marvel to behold and a joy to eat. The effort-hump in cooking a meal of that calibre is way too high for any normal person, but not Dr. Gav! He would go bike riding all day and then come home to cook for you, all the while appologising that it was not ready yet. He'd make a wonderful house-man - a compliment that he smiled at.
Your first weekend adventure with Dr. Gav was walking up Utliberg. It was a nice walk, but Dr. Gav and his energy-legs made you a little short on breath at times. Why, on a warm weekend, were fat ladies wearing make-up and fox-fur scalves on a mountain? Idiots... You and Dr. Gav ran the entire way down the hill - in a way, it felt like skiing: slippery, fast and dangerous. Stein Am Rhein was a poor choice as the next travel destination on a day-off-because-you-feel-like-it Wednesday. The Medievil town turned out to be a senior citizins day-trip town, with the train ride there as the hightlight. The best escape was to the actual Stein on the Rhein in Schaffausen. There was a waterfall, there was a boat, there was a cyclone-power thingy and there was a buy 10 watches, get one free giftshop. Hmm... You did manage to get wet and mostly naked before leaving, maintaining the norm.
Your next advanture was much more successful - hiking into the hills of Glarus to the lake. Until now, all the Swiss 'Get Natural' tourism ads were lost on you; after arriving at Glarus station and seeing the snow-caped 3000 meter high mountains towering above you, 'Get Natural' made a lot more sense: a thousand wow's 'd be too few. The scenery looked just like the huge wallpaper image you had on your first bedroom's wall in Warners Bay. However, just like the wallpapar, every photo looked fake. Before the hike into the mountains you had to go shopping for gloves because Dr. Gav had cold hands - no wonder since the idiot was only wearing a thin shirt. Five minutes in the shop and he already wanted to buy a head-mounted caving light. Oh dear... A few kilometers into the mountains had you noticing a few things: Cow bells are loud, Swiss Autumn leaves are very well behaved, and mountins look even taller up close. You abandoned the windy asphalt roads halfway up the first hill and started into the woods. The red, yelow and orange leaves blanketing the ground made you feel like a prince walking on his royal carpets in his royal castle. You cant remember seeing anything like it in Australia before; it had a deeply natural feeling about it until Dr. Gav started quoting The Castle: Aah, the serenity.... Thanks for that Dr. Gav.
At the top of the hill was a small resturant overlooking Klöntaler Lake. Think of the prettiest and most cliché image of a 'pristine lake' you can imagine - that'd be what you see. The surface of the water was perfectly still like an enormous shining mirror. The hills on both sides banked steeply up to the sky tipped with white snowy peaks. The trees were a mix of deep greens and bright firey colours that rustled with the occational gust of wind, as the leaves fell arround you. This was a moment for you - a moment you knew living here was a good choice. Aah, the serenity... - Damn it Gav, stop ruining it!! You and your best friend had a nice meal at the resturant and a D & M about cold fingers. Dr. Gav wanted to order a glass of milk so you told him the German, which he tried, and the waitress returned a confused look. Who orders milk at the end of a meal, seriously? After lunch you went to investigate a waterfall by the Southern hill. At the base was a sign that looked to say: 'do not touch boob-shaped bombs'. Ignoring it, you walked along the grey stone riverbed, which was lined with red leaves making the colour-contrast even more stark. The water appeared to be seeping underground slowly as it flowed over the stones, because further up-stream the trickle became a decent flow and then eventually a waterfall basin. There was no sediment, no algae, just clear water. The opinion of your personal Wastewater and Odour Environmental Engineering Doctoral Student was that it was safe to drink, so you had a sip. Just then, Dr. Gav made some noises about a grenade pin he found on the ground amongst some bullet casings, and as you looked up at the hill you saw some millitary shooting targets. Moving right along... You and Dr. Gav eventually met the lake but gave up the idea of walking around it - bugger-this! feelings kicked in and you decided to try for the 4:20 pm train.
The rest of Dr. Gav's stay was less adventurous and more homely, with warm home-cooked meals and wine every night. Mélanie joined in every night but never managed to take her turn at cooking while Dr. Gav was in charge of the kitchen. It felt deliciously guilty to take advantage of the situation - a guest that wants to cook, clean and entertain - and just enjoy it. 'Has Gav cancelled his ticket home yet?', Meike asked. You really wish he had!