Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dear Frau: This weather sucks!

Welcome to the latest edition of Dear Frau. It's kind of like Dear Abby, except with an international twist. If you have a question about life in Switzerland, be sure to contact the Frau and maybe you're little Frage will be in the next Dear Frau column. And as always, the Frau does not have all the answers and welcomes your solutions to these questions in the comments section.

Dear Frau,

What is up with the weather in Zurich? It rains almost every day. And what the heck is there to do when it’s Sunday or a holiday and all the stores are closed and the weather still sucks?


Soggy in Zurich

Dear Soggy in Zurich,

Look on the bright side. At least you don’t live in Bergen, Norway, where it rains about 235 days a year.

Zurich does get more rain than many European cities and The Frau has a friend that got so depressed by the gray skies that she bought a sun lamp.

It can be frustrating to watch, but the Swiss are so used to bad weather, they don’t even seem to notice it (maybe you’ve seen them sitting outside in cafes when it’s 5 degrees outside). The Frau’s neighbor even goes flowering picking in the rain.

Anyhow, if you’re the type that would like to stay dry, here are some Sunday and holiday suggestions for making all this rain tolerable:

Visit the Frau’s recommended Swiss museums worth your time and money

Read a good book. The Frau has collected a list of especially good reads for expats.

Go to the spa or to your nearest indoor pool.

Go to a movie. Movies listed as E/d/f, for example, are in English with German and French subtitles. Remember that movies here come with an intermission. No, the film is not broken even though they may have cut Tom Cruise off mid-sentence. It’s just time to get a beer.

Read a good blog. Here’s a new arrival to the Swiss Blogging community: Expat CH by Bill Harby. Or check out the latest on swissinfo's Write On blog. They change writers here every two months, so you'll always get a fresh take on things.

Take a cooking class. For example, Hiltl often offers Sunday classes.

Plan your next vacation. Ideally to Dry Valley in Antarctica.

Ok, the Frau is running out of ideas. Anyone else want to chime in to help Soggy in Zurich? What do you do when it rains on Sunday?


Jean-François de Buren said...

I lived for a number of years in Geneva and the winter was especially hard. I didn't mind the snow, nor the rain, it was the constant gray skies that got to me. Most people got away to the mountains for a break, because once you went above the cloud layer it was beautiful and sunny.

Chantal said...

That's a great point. The fog is terrible in Switzerland, so even if it isn't raining, it can still feel dreary. But going up a mountain is a great solution to find some sun if it's not raining.

Kristin said...

I wish the movie theaters in America would have an intermission so we could have a chance to get a beer :D

Chantal said...

But at least movies don't cost $16 to attend in the U.S. Or do they now?

Kristin said...

It's more around $10-12, although I may pay $16 if they had beer

Chantal said...

Hi Kristin

Wow, the U.S. is getting expensive too.

Bill Harby said...

Hey Chantal, thanks for the plug!

Before moving to Neuchatel I lived in a certifiable rain forest in Hawai'i. There, you either learn to embrace the rain or you drown in self-pity. We loved putting on our sturdy rain suits and boots and going hiking. Seems like this would be especially fun in Zurich where you can duck into a café for a nice warming brandy. Let it rain!

Chantal said...

Hi Bill,

That's great. I think attitude is the main thing--I think there's an English saying that's like "there's no such thing as bad weather, only unfortunate clothing choices."

Romy said...

On the spa note - go to a thermal bath on a rainy day! It's amazing to be in the outside sections with most of your body submerged in steaming 40 degree water and just a few cold raindrops landing on your head.

Two of my favorites, both about a 40 minute drive from Zurich:

Rheinfelden - or my blog post about it:

Tamina Therme (Bad Ragaz) -

Chantal said...

Thanks, Romy.

I'll add that the spa in Baden is great too and only 15 minutes from Zurich by train.

Spas are great in the snow or rain!

Greg Christensen said...

Your list of great books for expats omits "A Year in Provance" by Peter Mayle. Pick it up. You'll love it. And not just because it's about a copywriter who moved to France.

Chantal said...

Hi Greg. Yep. Check. I've read A Year in Provence. I guess I just preferred A Year in the Merde. It was more reflective of my reality living abroad :-)

M'dame Jo said...

I second the breaks in the mountains, winter can be quite depressing when it's gray for days. Lausanne isn't as foggy as Geneva, which is not favored by its geography, but it can still be bad.

Plus, again, I'm sorry Chantal, but you picked the wrong side of Switzerland...

Genève et Lausanne se caractérisent toutefois par une durée d’ensoleillement moyenne supérieure à celle de Zurich et de Berne, mettant en évidence la situation climatique favorable de la région lémanique.

In short: we get more sun by the Léman than Zurich or Bern.

(The site seems to have issues right now, I'll link you the numbers some other time)

Chantal said...

Hi M'dame Jo,

You are right. I think Canton Aargau gets possible the most fog in all of Switzerland. Sigh.

And yes, I'd rather speak French too.

C'est la vie...

M'dame Jo said...

Told you!

M'dame Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

Here's an idea for a gloomy day. Take a train to Castle Kyburg near Winterthur. It's open all year and on Sunday, too. We're always looking for things to do with guests on rainy Sundays, and this works. The Torture Chamber is always a big hit. Easy to get to by train or car.

Chantal said...

Great idea! Thanks! Castles can be especially creepy and fun on dark days.

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

Go to the indoor pool or go to the shopping bridge at Wuerenlos, where they have a Marche so we can get dessert and good coffee and a mag down at the kiosk and let the girls play in the restaurant's playground. Boring, but beats staying home. Unless you have a good series on DVD and you can do a mini-marathon ;-)

Chantal said...

That's what I need, a new show to get addicted to. I think Mister Schweiz is coming up, but that is only one night of entertainment and I need more.

Anyone know if they sell DVDs of past seasons of Bauer sucht Frau?

Michelle Buehler said...

we have a couple theaters around here for over 21 that sell beer etc. no intermission though.

Anonymous said...

Do laundry and hide the washroom key.

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