We're still getting to know the local way of life but it's fair to say that the Swiss have a reputation for being sticklers for the rules. Going back to our very first day, this became apparent after being here for only 5 minutes. Having literally just got through the door to the new flat where Zoe, having already arrived a couple of days prior, was directing the removal men's activities, the doorbell rang.
Now, my German is a bit rusty, and the Swiss accent is likely to baffle me forever, but when I picked out the word 'Polizei' among the garbled speech that came through the intercom I realised we had better open the door.
Fearing I'd made an immigration related admin error that was about to see me sent back to Blighty, I was relieved when the two stern officers at the door asked if I owned a truck. Filled with relief I declared that I do not own a truck, nor any vehicle for that matter, and explained as best I could 'auf Deutsch' that I'd literally just arrived and that we were only now moving in.
Putting two and two together more quickly than I did (I did have a 4:30am start that day to be fair) the policeman asked whether moving in required a giant truck. Yes, I replied, pondering for a moment - I supposed it probably did.
So, as you've probably already got there quicker than I did that morning, I can confirm the removal men had a giant van that had brought all of our possessions to the continent and that they had parked it where they shouldn't. Big no-no in der Schweiz.
So the police told the driver where to move his van and he did just that. But we weren't finished there, unfortunately, oh no. As I began to commence some bleary eyed unpacking my attention was drawn to some squawking from outside. Some local birdlife, I presumed, making a mental note to get a bird feeder for the balcony I'm so excited about.
Unfortunately it turned out to be a gaggle of elderly Swiss ladies who were up in arms and pointing at a parked car. It looked like this was the most excitement they'd seen in Oerlikon in some time. Just a few minutes later, as the removal men were saying their goodbyes, the Police arrived again, this time stating that a parked car had been knocked by their juggernaut.
What unfurled then was like something from an epidsode of CSI. Two riot vans arrived on scene in addition to the car that was already there. One young officer then began taking pictures of the car that had been bumped and the removal chaps were taken away for questioning. As they had done all their work in the flat we never actually saw them again, though as the truck was gone the next day I assume they were released and made it on their way (I don't want to ask too many questions until my visa has been processed).
So, a bit of excitement on day one that probably demonstrates the serious approach of the Swiss. They don't seem to do things by halves and I reckon that's a good thing. It certainly bodes well if we are ever in need of Police support here I suppose - I'm not sure you'd get that sort of attention for a murder in the UK, never mind a dented bumper.
Mike Stuart moved to Switzerland in 2013 when his better half Zoë landed a job in Zurich.