This week, the 18th Mercer Quality of Life study was released, and - no surprise - German-speaking cities took half of the top ten. That Teutonic approach to efficiency, maintenance and work-life balance is pretty much perfection. Vienna topped the list and Zurich came in at number two, followed by Auckland, Munich, Vancouver, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Sydney. If you've never been to, or lived in Vienna, just watch the time lapse video below and you'll be searching airfares! (You're welcome:)
"Quality of life" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but I have to say that until living in Zurich and actually experiencing top notch quality of life, I didn't really know what the phrase meant. Now I can say that to me it's many things, including easy access to the outdoors, safety and security, reliable public transportation, cleanliness, parks and public spaces, access to high-quality, nutritious food, and cosmopolitan urbanism. But don't take my word for it, check out this video from Monocle.
Killing it on all fronts, Zurich! Did you hear that? I think it was my heart breaking.
I am writing this blog post from the car parked in front of our house. This has become my defacto office because when Theo falls asleep in the car on the way home from dropping Coco off at school, I have postpone my errands and leave him until he wakes up. It's a bummer, but that child will not transfer from the car seat to his bed, or to our bed, or to the couch, or even to the stroller. Sometimes, dependent on some elusive combination of the alignment of the planets and what he ate for dinner three days ago, he will transfer to the stroller, but only once. So if I do a quick errand and then put him back in his car seat, it's nap over. Ugh. This was simply never a problem with Coco. It was perfect if she fell asleep while out and about. She was in her Bugaboo and I was free to run all the errands while she slept. We went from the sidewalk to the tram, to shops, through lines, to the post office, back onto the tram or bus, even onto a boat and I didn't have to disturb her through all of it! How I miss that. Sigh.
Here in the Northwest, we have the great outdoors, but we do not have easy access to the outdoors. When I say easy, I mean without a car. Driving for 20 minutes, an hour, two hours to get to a trailhead is not easy, in my humble opinion. From our apartments in Neuchâtel, Adliswil and Zurich, we were able to walk right out our front door and to a trail head. No train, no tram, no car - no joke. Even in Seefeld, right in the middle of the city. Is that not rad?!
The ol' cliché that you don't know what you have until it's gone comes to mind. But it could always be worse! Baghdad was the very last city on the list (even after Damascus!) And New York, Paris, San Francisco and London didn't even make the top 25. You can see the full list and read about the study here.
Have you lived in one of the top eleven cities? (Beautiful Amsterdam is number 11:) What is wonderful or dreadful about where you live? What matters most to you when it comes to quality of life?