Amid coronavirus turmoil: Staycation in Zurich

Fresh spring gardens and unexpected quiet make our impromptu staycation just the tonic we need.

It looks like snow has fallen, but that is impossible, because it is one of the warmest days of the year so far. No, it's not snow. Instead, the forest floor is scattered with wood anemones. In gardens, daffodils and primroses flutter yellow and pink, and laburnum glows gold. Throughout the lakeside meadow, ducks and coots squabble and quack.

The lockdown resulting from the coronavirus outbreak in Switzerland has put paid to our travel plans for the foreseeable future, but we are enjoying the ease that comes with knowing we will be home for many weekends to come. And there is plenty to be grateful for. With reduced aeroplane and traffic noise, we can hear the birds singing and the leaves rustling. The air feels clean, and thanks to the spell of warm weather, we have been able to enjoy the garden.

I've had time to tick off items on my To Do list that I thought would never be completed, and I am practising daily yin yoga to soothe my shoulders in place of being able to go for a massage. On days I have had to commute to work, I have relished experiencing Bahnhofstrasse in central Zurich empty: such a rare opportunity to admire the intricacy of the historic townhouses. The mood was eerie too, though, the city forlorn without its buzz of workers and tourists.

As we settle into home office routine, I'm practising gratitude for the trees billowing outside the window, the horses frolicking in the field opposite and the sunshine beaming into my temporary office in the kitchen. For the space this surreal time gives me to take stock. And for the freedom from packing for travels. How much more we will enjoy our next holiday for the months of staying put that are to come.

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