Monday, October 30, 2006


Today I had some free time and so I hiked along a wanderweg from Baden to Wettington. This one is one of my favorites because of the vineyards and the view of the valley.

Later after German class I took the train to Zurich and climbed the bell tower in Grossmunster.

Below are a couple of pics.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Won't You Be My Gardener?

Our Swiss neighbor has been chomping at the bit to come over and trim our plants. She can't even see them from her section of the terrace, so we're not sure why she's so interested in doing our gardening for us, but we can't say that we mind. So finally this afternoon, she came over carrying a ladder, pot, two trimmers, a saw, and black garbage bags.

For two hours we tried to assist her as she trimmed, sawed, pulled out weeds, and swept mud out of the gutter. But mainly we watched, incredulous that someone would actually want to do our dirty work.

When we first moved in, our renting office told us it would be up to us to take care of the plants on our terrace. The gardener they used to employ for the building they had decided was too expensive at 1600 CHF a month, and thus, we were somehow supposed to know how to keep these strange Swiss plants alive ourselves, despite my sad record of killing the hardest thing on earth to kill, a cockroach.

Luckily, it turns out we had nothing to worry about. Except, apparently, for the well being of our gardening neighbor. As she stood on two of our pots teetering on the edge of our fifth floor balcony, I closed my eyes and tried not to image what would happen if she lost her balance. Instead I dutifully took all the trimmings she handed me and put them in one black garbage bag after another.

Black garbage bags are key. In Switzerland, you are supposed to sort garbage (see Bag Lady of Baden). If you do this incorrectly, you have the possibility of being fined. Technically we are not supposed to throw out plant/garden trimmings into the regular trash, but with a black garbage bag you have less chance of getting caught.

Apparently, however, just putting the garden remains into black bags wasn't good enough for our neighbor. After she worked on all of our plants and swept the entire porch, she decided my organization of the garbage bags was horribly inferior.

Eyeing the eight bags I had tied up, she said eight was too many and we would need to combine them as to not be too suspicious. "You understand," she said in her broken English as she attempted to combine three 35 liter garbage bags into one 60 liter, as if this would somehow stop the garbage police. Brian and I just stood there trying not to laugh as there were still branches poking out of the bag. But our neighbor, now triumphant at her success at combining three garbage bags into one took her ladder and supplies and headed back to her flat leaving Brian and I wondering how on earth we were ever going to carry these overstuffed garbage bags downstairs.

"We'll throw them out when it gets dark," Brian said, "when no one can see us."

By the way we were acting, you'd think we were discarding some kind very of illegal substance. Which I guess wasn't far from the truth in this country.


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