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Discovering Zurich

The winter of 2002 was spent getting this new airline, Swiss, airborne, and before long, without time to really even consider my move, I left London, where I had lived for nearly 13 years, and became a Zuricher . Meanwhile, the new carrier was still in turmoil, despite our branding efforts: passenger volume at the airports was dropping and routes were being axed.

I've been a resident of Zurich for going on three years now and have based both my company and some parts of my life here. I continue to carry on my fling with London, have long been doing the same with Stockholm, and added St. Moritz to my list a few years ago, when I rediscovered skiing. Among all these places, I'm not entirely sure where "home" is. My friends are mostly in London, my spiritual home is my summer house in the Stockholm archipelago, and Zurich picks up the slack for everything else. For both visitors and residents, the city makes entertaining incredibly easy. New York, Paris, and London have increasingly become obsessed with guest lists, knowing the doorman, and planning every­thing in advance; Zurich is a place where you can decide to have a night out after you've folded your napkin at 10:30 P.M. All over various districts of the city, bars stay open late, are populated by handsome people, and don't require customers to endure attitude from a jumped-up kid with a clipboard and earpiece.

My favorite Zurich activity is one that could happen only in a city with the best quality of life in the world. On hot, sunny days in July and August, when the air is heavy and the work at the office too much to bear, I have a quiet word with my colleague Andrea and tell her to forward the phones to London. Andrea smiles, knowing exactly what I have in mind. We summon our other colleagues, and all of us make a dash for the wardrobe, dig out our swimsuits, and make our way down to the Limmat River. Leaving our towels at the public bathing pavilion, we dive into the river and swim down along the banks to the lake . They say that in summer Zurichers never leave, because the lake is so perfect and the weather's at its best. I've found it difficult to argue when work and pleasure can be woven together so seamlessly.

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