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Old 27.08.2011, 09:02
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One weekend to decide - so, do what?

I have one weekend to collect more data on whether or not I should drag my family to Switzerland (Pfaffikon SZ). I've spend all week looking at towns to live in, schools to attend, and of course the company office...

Now I have one free weekend, which I guess means one Saturday, to get a sense of things. My plan was/is to go to Zurich for the afternoon/evening, and spend Sunday riding a bike around SZ.

What would YOU do, which data would you collect, and - most importantly - if you had one meal in Zurich, where would it be?
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Old 27.08.2011, 23:15
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

I moved here last year, and like you, spent a weekend to check the place out. I love it here - definitely no regrets! Where are you moving from? On my weekend I wondered around the old city, went up the Uetliberg mountain, took a boat ride on the lake - all the normal stuff. There's lots and lots of great restaurants - I'd struggle to pick just one to recommend. Hopefully there's some other forums posts on here that detail the best! Good luck with your decision!
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Old 27.08.2011, 23:28
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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spend Sunday riding a bike around SZ.
Most of it is uphill, you know...

However, the good news is that the low parts of the canton are dead flat, like Holland (they're reclaimed swamp), and ideal for cycling. Forget Pfaffikon itself - it's a nasty, depressing wasteland full of braying investment bankers and resentful locals - but the town of Lachen (by the lakeside - lovely!), and some of the villages nearby aren't bad at all (although I wouldn't recommend Siebnen: we once looked at some apartments there and couldn't get out quickly enough!).

If you're travelling by public transport, try to find somewhere on the S2 railway line which goes from Zurich to Ziegelbruecke. The areas close to Pfaffikon are also well served by buses.

And here's a bit of insider advice: a mere 20 minutes or so by train from Pfaffikon (14 minutes if you get the fast train) is Ziegelbruecke station. This is your gateway to the canton of Glarus, where rents are cheaper than SZ and taxes aren't much worse. It's a gorgeous part of the country, a flat valley surrounded by impressive, imposing mountains, and the locals are lovely.

Don't tell anyone I told you, though. We don't want them all to come and live here...

Good luck! and feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the area. Meloncollie will be along shortly, I'm sure, with advice about the interior of the Congo canton Schwyz.
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Old 28.08.2011, 09:18
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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Meloncollie will be along shortly, I'm sure, with advice about the interior of the Congo canton Schwyz.
And my husband, the Schwyz-based cycling fanatic, says: Head to Glarus!

He recommends Pfaffikon to Altendorf, Lachen, Tuggen down the valley (flat) to Weesen on the Walensee - where the fun begins. Weesen to Mollis and up the Kerenzerberg. (Not flat. Very much not flat.)

He also recommends the Schwzy-Elm ride:

http://www.veloland.ch/de/routen_det...r=etappe_route

Another good ride is around the Pfaffikon to Einsiedeln to Neiderurnen:

http://www.veloland.ch/de/routen_etappen.cfm?id=316496

Or Einsiedeln to Aegri:

http://www.bikemap.net/route/816351

Or Einsiedeln-Brunni-Alpthal:

http://www.brunnialpthal.ch/Biken.aspx

The eastern part of Switzerland (Schwyz, Glarus, Zug, St. Gallen) is a cyclist's dream. Just hop on your bike and head off in pretty much any random direction - you'll find great rides through gorgeous scenery.


For more ideas, browse through the Veloland site - it's chock full of suggestions throughout Switzerland:

http://www.veloland.ch/de/welcome.cfm

It's a gorgeous day today - enjoy!
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Old 28.08.2011, 10:22
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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And my husband, the Schwyz-based cycling fanatic, says: Head to Glarus!


It's a gorgeous day today - enjoy!
1. Thanks - THANKS - to you and hubby for the cycling routes. And as a 'fanatic' he will agree, the hills are the GOOD part!

2. Gorgeous, OR WHAT? It's like a postcard advertisment for itself. Except for the appalling 80s architecture and lack of planning in development, at least here in SZ by the Zurichsee... but that is obviously not news to you.
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Old 28.08.2011, 10:25
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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Most of it is uphill, you know...

Good luck! and feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the area. Meloncollie will be along shortly, I'm sure, with advice about the interior of the Congo canton Schwyz.
Hey - thanks - may just do that. Super helpful, really, and appreciated. Except the fear mongering about canton SZ! Kidding - helpful too - albeit disturbing, as the offices and school we will use are here in Pfaeffikon SZ, and we put an enormous premium on commute time and such things, so fairly well locked in to the villages w/in quick rail distance...
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:03
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

RRK, just in case one of the factors driving SZ as a choice is the tax advantage:

Given that you are Americans (I'm assuming that, since you are in the US, apologies if I am wrong), have you looked at the total picture, your US taxes plus your Swiss taxes?

For us, SZ still remains the optimal choice even though we do not realize the huge savings that our non-US neighbors do. But play around with the various tax calculators - you may find that you have wider options (especially as you have children).

For Americans, it's important to look at the total picture, how your CH taxes affect your US liability - there can be some surprises. If you haven't done so, speak to a professional.

Good luck!
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:37
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

Don't worry too much about Schwyz: it's not really as bad as it's painted. It's just a running joke on the forum to refer to it as 'the Congo'.

Schwyz consists of two main parts - the part you'll be living in (or near), and the part you'll likely never visit.

The part you'll be living in is, essentially, a suburb of Zurich colonised by people who like the low taxes offered in SZ. There are some nice villages, but, as you have observed, an awful lot of bad 1980s architecture, a growing feeling of urban sprawl, and, consequently, a certain degree of resentment from the locals. The fact that you are Jewish is less relevant than the fact that you are another bloody rich foreigner come to put the rents up. People aren't so much racist round there as sullen. Having said that, you aren't likely to get your windows bricked, or get mugged or anything like that. If you can handle living opposite a bright blue apartment block and dealing with grumpy shop assistants, then outer Schwyz is pretty close to paradise.

Inner Schwyz, on the other hand, is lovely, but profoundly conservative in a way that might be shocking to a Californian. People are very genuine, very warm (in my experience, although one's mileage may vary), but very old fashioned, and not particularly fond of foreigners in many cases. This won't manifest itself in any violent way, of course, but many of my friends have found life in inner Schwyz to be very different from that they'd left behind - sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

It all depends on what you prefer: a rural idyll with the attitudes that come with that, then choose inner Schwyz (Einsiedeln, Trachslau and beyond); a sprawling suburb with easy access to Zurich, then choose outer Schwyz (Pfaffikon, Freienbach, Lachen and so on).

Or, of course, forget Schwyz completely and look for an apartment in Glarus...
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:41
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

A new ruling has been put in place in the corridors of power in Bern: passing the correct tests and giving fingerprints and dental impressions....you might be allowed to live in Kanton Zurich and commute to darkest Schwyz (they're changing the official name to Darkest Schwyz shortly). Go to Zurich city and have a walk around. You could live in Meilen and it'd be half an hour to work on a great train with a great view and it'd be half an hour too to dead central Zurich. Best of both if you ask me.

In Zurich you can rent a bike for free and cycle up the Limmat or down the lake to Meilen. Beautiful.
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:44
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

Hmmm... Meilen to Pfaffikon isn't the easiest - or quickest - of commutes...

Best to stick to the Dark Side of the lake (or beyond).
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:48
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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Hmmm... Meilen to Pfaffikon isn't the easiest - or quickest - of commutes...

Best to stick to the Dark Side of the lake (or beyond).
25 minutes to Rapperswil and then 5 to Pfaffikon? Worth it to live in KZ IMO. Remember this is a brand new, fresh off the boat expat - you can't throw him to the wolves right yet

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Old 28.08.2011, 11:53
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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RRK, just in case one of the factors driving SZ as a choice is the tax advantage:


Good luck!
MC - thanks for the thoughts. In a nutshell, no, taxes have nothing to do with the decision, literally nothing, because I'll get grossed up by the US authorities to the (inevitably) higher equivalent US rate regardless of what I pay here, at least to a very close approximation.

The driving factor(s) are, first second and third, that we hate hate hate commute time and hassle. I currently work out of a home office and my wife drives 5 minutes on a country road to our kids' school. We've pretty much decided that if we move, we're putting the kids in the Obersee Bilingual School in Pfaeffikon SZ and my office is non negotiable and in the same town. So that narrows down the relevant property search PDQ! After that, the other relevant priorities all relate to the fact that we do NOT want to live in a city - we've been there, done that, and if I wanted to do it again, I could go to NYC or London or wherever, but we are raising our kids in a countrified environment and refuse to give that up - so again, pretty short list of options.

OK, I've gone on for way to long and probably downloaded waaaaay TMI for a public forum. But I really really appreciate the thoughts. Pretty radical move, if we decide to make it, so this all means quite a bit.

Now about the fact that I'm on the computer on a day like this! WTF! I better get the bike out...
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:56
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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25 minutes to Rapperswil and then 5 to Pfaffikon? Worth it to live in KZ IMO. Remember this is a brand new, fresh off the boat expat - you can't throw him to the wolves right yet

LMFAO

If I were some combination of younger, single, and/or less persnickety about not wasting one damn minute of my time more than I have to getting to and from work... But the 'inner SZ' stuff is seriously a big deal. Total non-starter, in fact.

Now about that 80s architecture all the idiots like me who created the market incentive to build an entire suburban infrastructure like that of outer SZ...
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Old 28.08.2011, 11:59
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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25 minutes to Rapperswil and then 5 to Pfaffikon? Worth it to live in KZ IMO. Remember this is a brand new, fresh off the boat expat - you can't throw him to the wolves right yet

On a closely related note, I'm sure there are threads on this, but why not Rapperswil itself? Super easy commute, and still striking distance to civilization? Am I missing something obvious, as in, Only Idiots From the US Would Think of Rapperswil Because of XXX?
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:03
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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On a closely related note, I'm sure there are threads on this, but why not Rapperswil itself? Super easy commute, and still striking distance to civilization? Am I missing something obvious, as in, Only Idiots From the US Would Think of Rapperswil Because of XXX?
Rapperswil-Jona has its advantages, but isn't the prettiest of towns (once you leave the charming medieval centre), and, if I recall correctly, the rent is quite expensive there.

However, there is an excellent microbrewery in the town, which might be the deciding factor...

A small tip, when looking for apartments. Ditch the map, and work by connections and commuting time provided here. You'll be amazed at how a couple of miles can earn you an extra half hour in bed!
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:08
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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Rapperswil-Jona has its advantages, but isn't the prettiest of towns (once you leave the charming medieval centre), and, if I recall correctly, the rent is quite expensive there.

However, there is an excellent microbrewery in the town, which might be the deciding factor...

A small tip, when looking for apartments. Ditch the map, and work by connections and commuting time provided here. You'll be amazed at how a couple of miles can earn you an extra half hour in bed!
+1. Rapperswil has the Rappi Beer Factory and that's a major pull! Also, isn't the Jona bit meant to be prettier?
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:13
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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Also, isn't the Jona bit meant to be prettier?
Rappi is the old centre - it isn't very big at all, but it's very nice.

Jona is everything else, from the eighties apartment blocks to the leafy lakeside suburbs on the Obersee.

That's my understanding, at least, but I don't think the difference is very meaningful since they merged the towns (although I'm sure one of the locals would put me right there).
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:15
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

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On a closely related note, I'm sure there are threads on this, but why not Rapperswil itself? Super easy commute, and still striking distance to civilization? Am I missing something obvious, as in, Only Idiots From the US Would Think of Rapperswil Because of XXX?

I haven't been here long enough to know for sure - but I think if driving is the method of transport, the Seedam can be a major traffic hassle (if you need to get to Pfäffikon for school/work). I guess if you are going by train it shouldn't matter - right? We have had times where there was no trouble getting over the Seedam, but more often have seen backed up traffic with too much of a delay for my patience!

We have chosen to buy a house in St. Gallenkappel because 1) we could "afford" it and 2) we fell in love with the views/feel/small town-ness of it. House isn't near ready yet, hopefully will be by the end of October, but the kids are in school and all is going great. The people are SUPER friendly and I can't wait until we can move into our house. Of course, we are sacrificing being 5 minutes from work for a gorgeous house location. But the calm we feel being there more than makes up for it - hard to explain really. Some of the towns at the lake level give me serious heebie-jeebies, but maybe I am just a country girl at heart
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:22
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

If you are not from Zurich, don't have ZH number plates, and pretend to hate Zurich, you will do fine in SZ.

I lived above Schwyz for a few years and loved it. Once I had lived there a few months, got to know a few people, they came out from behind their for-foreigner-faces and radiated warmth and friendliness like the sun. I loved their innocence and willingness once they opened up. If you play the superficial game, that's what you'll get, but if you light up with a genuine smile, have a good humor, they will join you.
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Old 01.09.2011, 22:05
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Re: One weekend to decide - so, do what?

We have been living in Kinshasa Schwyz (town) for a year, and cannot say anything but well of it. Conservative they may be, but for a family with young kids it is a lovely place to stay.
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