The BB (big bloke) and I laughed ourselves silly when we paced out the advertised size of our Zurich apartment in our own home.
For a start, how is an apartment one and a half rooms?
Are the kitchen and bedroom combined, with an intriguingly post-modern set-up where the shower partakes of that space and a very small lavatory lies off to the side, perhaps without a door?
And how the deuce would you fit all this into an area the size of my office? I wanted to rush off and cut out paper shapes to represent a bed, a table (I admit a certain covetousness for a table), a stove, a fridge, a kitchen bench, a shower and a lav and arrange them on a larger shape representing ‘one and a half rooms’ of 25 square metres.
So we joked about our cupboard, became fond in advance of our shoebox and had misty-eyed recollections of our son eyeing off the cupboard under the stairs at home for his bedroom (now called The Harry Potter Cupboard). How he would have envied the American girl I met a couple of days ago. She is sleeping in a low cabinet in her parents’ rental apartment here in Zurich. Not even a cupboard. To enter, she slides the door along and inserts herself, feet first, to lie on the bottom shelf. She’s obviously not claustrophobic.
Our first challenge at the unit was getting into the underground carpark. We eventually found a slot for the key in the wall at the top of the ramp. Once the key is turned, the little traffic light turns green and one descends to the opening garage door.
We laughed at the lift, so small only one of us could fit with luggage; a thoughtful inclusion on the part of the architects to prepare us for our impending downsize.
So I was quite unprepared for the apartment. It was large and spacious. It turns out that, in the world of Zurich rentals, quoted square meterage refers to the sitting/bedroom area. The bathroom and kitchen were additions, not inclusions. The walkway to the door looks over a garden area and the narrow balcony has a fabulous view of the Oerlikon railroad and a long, drab block of offices which encouragingly labels itself Swiss Prime Site in large capital letters on the roof.
The apartment even sports a dishwasher. I thought we would not use it for our limited cutlery: three knives, forks, spoons, dinner plates, bread and butter plates and bowls but have in fact found that it is small enough to do so. (My water-scarce upbringing on an Australian farm means I am constitutionally unable to waste water and engage in such frivolities / petty crimes as running a partly-filled dishwasher, even in rain-drenchedEurope).
Also in the kitchen, as one would expect: a fridge. Last night, the BB, looking for the champagne asked, “Where is it?” At home one needs a GPS attached to each vegetable, for location in a fridge stuffed full of growers’ market produce but here, with a fridge that barely reaches my lower-than-average waist, it’s not such an issue. I reckon even he, having his worst ‘man look’ ever could find what he was searching for. (And that is my last ever snide remark about men because I love ‘em).
We have nice light fixtures, an attractive mirror with matching hall bench and simple artwork strategically placed. Half of a picture is obscured behind the wardrobe but no worries there because an identical picture is on uninterrupted display in the kitchen. Speaking of wardrobes – heaps of storage space in the main area and the passageway with lots of lovely drawers and shelves of varying sizes. The suitcases are out from underfoot on the enclosed balcony.
And clean! Not a speck or a hair in sight. The apartments are serviced weekly so we can look forward to this for our entire stay. As it starts to get too much like home, in will come our cheerful ladies to restore respectable Swissfulness.
All this, and room to swing a number of cats.