A belated 2014 everyone, we hope you had "einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr" – a good slide into the new year as they say auf Deutsch.
We were back on the island for Christmas and New Year and had a great time with family and friends. It was unnervingly normal to be back among Brits for a period of longer than just a few days and, despite now having lived in Zurich for pretty much a year (the 1st of Feb 2013 was when our mini invasion began), it took a little bit of time to get back into the Swiss routine. This was actually a good indication that we are not even close to becoming Swiss. They love routine.
This little break was a good time to work out how living in Switzerland really compares to being a resident of the British isles, not least because it's all people back home seem to ask about. What do you miss? they enquire. And of course, our loved ones come top. But there is something else that makes me occasionally pine for home. You may think it trivial, but the longing for me is real. The longing that is, for bacon.
Wait. Where's the bacon?
Switzerland has over 4 million types of cooked, sliced pork. Ok, this may not be true. But you wouldn't necessarily think it was an exaggeration if you took a look down the refrigerator aisle of a Coop supermarket (pronounced not like co-op but more like where you find chickens. Which is appropriate in a way because they do sell chickens. You'll find them once you've made it past all the ham. Note: You may need a sherpa for this).
Don't get me wrong. I like ham, and smoked ham, and salami. I'd even go as far as to say I'm partial to the stuff. But there's one problem. It just isn't bacon.
You can't fry it up and stick it on a sandwich on a Sunday morning. It doesn't go with a cup of tea, nor with HP.
They do have "speck" here, which is like streaky bacon. But it still doesn't cut the mustard. It probably goes with mustard, but I don't want it to. I want the comforting hug on a plate that only a bacon sarnie can provide.
So yes, there, I've admitted it. I miss is bacon. Lovely back bacon. And at the same time I'll confess to something else I miss – proper greasy spoon cafes. Places to go for a fry up. But I guess that's probably a chicken and egg scenario (they do sell eggs, and we've already discussed chicken) – if you don't have bacon you can't have a fry-up so, in turn, you can't have a "caf". It's a terrible vicious circle of disappointment.
And it makes me wonder, what on earth do van drivers here eat? You can't tell me they go for the continental breakfast. Even in Switzerland, there is only thing that's continental about van drivers. Their tyres.
Mike Stuart moved to Switzerland in 2013 when his better half Zoë landed a job in Zurich.