I also have a cell phone with orangeclick.ch - which is not the cheapest for domestic calls, but provides a discount for receiving calls in neighboring countries and for making calls to foreign numbers from Switzerland on the cell phone, which is a decent option if you have friends in the neighboring countries and intend to meet them. In any case, you can all find my updated cell, fixed line, and Skype numbers at my contact page. Feel free to contact me about anything at all.
So after getting set up, I set off wandering around with the trains on Sunday, trying to escape the clouds and rain that were threatening parts of the region. I stopped at the quaint, walled medieval town of Murten, a little while away from Bern and reachable with an hourly train from Bern.
Then, I looked at a physical map marked with the train lines and decided to go to Kandersteg, a valley surrounded by alpine mountains in the Berner Oberland. It's definitely very quiet and peaceful there. A 15-minute walk from the Kandersteg train station gets you to a Sesselbahn (chairlift) which takes you straight up to Oeschinen, from where you can take a small 25-minute hike to the Oeschinensee, a beautiful tiny lake 1500 metres above sea level at the base of the snow-covered mountains. After leaving the region, I continued back via Spiez and Interlaken, and then hopped onto the Zentralbahn, a regional train system which follows the same tracks as the highly-touristed Golden Pass, so you can enjoy the same view for just being on a standard local train. Brienz looks like a nice spot to return to for watching sunsets since it is east of the lake and many mountains. I'll have to come back to this region later to explore more for sure.
Then on Monday, I went to work. ETH Zurich seems like a great place and my co-workers are nice. I'm most likely going to work on trying to do NMR with single quantum dots. It's interesting, though the project will be a little better defined over the next few days, after which I'll write a lot more about it.
Pictures of Kandersteg are here, more pictures and more about my research to come in the next post.