Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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The sophisticated and cosmopolitan city of Zurich was the scene of a terrorist shooting at a mosque yesterday. I always admire Swiss tolerance, but know that recently they have been concerned about the immigration problems plaguing all of Europe. Zurich is my favorite city on earth, and Switzerland my favorite country. The form of government just thrills me because they leave decision making and almost all the taxes in the hands of local cantons. The arrangement is called a confederation. It was formed for the sole purpose of self defense back in feudal times. They speak 4 official languages, and typically don’t bother to learn the other three that are not their mother tongue. The exception to this rule is Romansh, a language that much resembles Latin, spoken by a few Alpine hillbillies. The Romansh speakers have to learn Swiss German to communicate with the outside world. I heard Romansh a lot when I first went to Gruadbunden in 1985. I found it easier than German because I studied Latin. It is now slipping into history, but a few pockets of speakers still use it, mostly in isolated villages. Localism is the theme and the heart of governance for the Swiss. They may have been thrust just a little too quickly into their own version of globalism.
I had some visitors last winter who teach school in Zurich. They teach German language, and speech pathology respectively. We talked about the changing attitudes toward foreign workers inside the country. The tensions they described did not exist when I spent time there. They took as many refugees as they possibly could and put them all to work. They created special businesses just to give them jobs. They are trained in language and job skills. Now the system has been strained to the maximum, and the population is changing. The strength of their currency and economy continues to be a magnet for immigrants from everywhere. My friends reported a large number of kids in school who don’t speak the language and become disruptive. They never had this kind of thing in classrooms in the past. It is a sign of some kind of breakdown.
The city of Zurich is the economic, but not the political, capitol. The nickname of the city is Downtown Switzerland because of the undeniable sophistication it has. These terror incidents can happen anywhere now, but I am shocked and dismayed to learn that a mosque was attacked near the main train station. It makes me very sad to know that even the Swiss are now living with this threat.
Because we are meeting for a Valentine’s Day coffee today, a special chocolate destination has been chosen for our visit. Transporter cloaks will not only situate us in the supreme location for chocolate shopping, but also provide us each with hundreds of digital Swiss francs to spend. Prepare yourself and your Valentine for an extravagant and elegant new level of confectionary excellence. We are meeting at Conditorei Cafe Schober, in the old town (niederdorf) Zurich. The building, the decor, the coffee and the treats will be out of this world, and completely digital, so feel free to order anything you fancy. I noticed that some of the weekend coffee group is very partial to chocolate, so this should ring your culinary bell.
The niederdorf is worth exploration. I love this part of the city on a steep incline above the river. These buildings are ancient and have housed millions of coffee meetings just like ours. If you stroll in this area you will find other equally interesting cafes, bars, and small individual retailers. There is a specialty button store that I adore. For me this is a very romantic place. It is not the chocolate that attracts my interest. It is the history and the culture that have been passing through here for centuries. The Swiss are not only masters of chocolate. They are the masters of preservation, privacy, and peace. They are pretty good at timekeeping and banking too. I admire them for keeping their environment clean and their people employed. They own the last clean water in Europe, since they own the sources of the Rhone as well as the Rhine.
After our time together here in the old town I urge you to walk to the lake, then shop your way up the Bahnhofstrasse to the main station. There are so many choices for wonderful coffee and chocolate here, as you might imagine. What you cannot imagine until you see and taste it firsthand is how wild these people get about candy, pastries and all things chocolate. They do not slouch in the coffee department, either. In fact one of my favorite museums on earth is the Museum of Coffee right down the hill in Seefeld. You will learn a lot about the history of coffee around the world and see some stunning antique coffee service sets. This museum is housed in a mansion next to the lake, which itself is worth seeing. I hope you will enjoy your tour of my favorite city in the world. It has the most dense public transportation service on earth, so you can hop on a tram and zip all over town with ease…or you could just use your cloak.
I look forward to hearing the stories from your week. Mine has been sad because our hound has end of life issues. We have faced this fact for months, but the end only gets nearer. It is good to have the chance to get out for a treat and a visit with you. It distracts me from the gloomy reality of what comes next. I am over-ordering all kinds of sweet digital treats, and advise you to do the same. I plan to drown a little doggy sorrow in these over the top pastries. A little imaginary whipped cream never hurt anyone. Happy Valentine’s Day, gentle reader. May your overindulgence be purely digital.