postcardsfromswitzerland

Switzerland through a bunch of pics

The Teddy Bear Museum in Baden — maggio 14, 2014

The Teddy Bear Museum in Baden

When I was a teen ager I used to go on those organised group travels in UK to learn some English. I don’t know if it worked but I got the chance to see some amazing places.

I remember one time we went to Stratford upon Avon to see Shakespeare House (to be more precise a sort of reconstruction of a house from that period that allegedly was his birth house. At the time I was so much into Shakespeare (Shakespeare in Love had driven me mad!) that I didn’t care that much if the house was true or false. I was just soooooooo thrilled to be there.

In the afternoon some of us went also to see The Teddy Bear Museum, which was one of the largest in the world. At the time- I know it sounds stupid – but it seemed a good idea. Not such as good as the biggest frying pan in the world in Iowa, that by the way I have not yet visited, but anyway a good idea.

A couple of days ago I was in Baden, coming back from a pub, when I saw a small Teddy Bear Museum (Teddybärmuseum Baden): the windows displayed stuffed animals in funny human-like situations. It was nothing, of course, compared to what I had seen in Stratford but anyway it brought back a lot of cool memories from those travels: the first pints of beer, the trips to London, our  gigantic fish & chips, late night onion rings, crazy shopping and much more. I don’t think I will pay a visit to it but I think I will pass through that street more frequently as it brings back so many good memories.

 

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Verdena’s concert at Royal in Baden — maggio 11, 2014

Verdena’s concert at Royal in Baden

When a friend told me that a renown Italian grunge band, the Verdena, was about to have a concert at Royal in Baden I thought it was a awesome idea for a very cool Friday night. I had never been to that place before and I must admit I was quite impressed: the concert was really affordable (the ticket was just 15 CH, and there was nice bar too, very affordable compared to Swiss prices) and the atmosphere was really cool. The decor was simple but trendy with a screen wall just aside the bar. I have been told it is also a cinema and host poetry slams and various events.

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The only weird thing was finding Holy Water from Lourdes in the Ladies Room.

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The night was opened by Yakari, a local band that I didn’t know at all. I didn’t enjoy their music much and the acoustic was really bad. The fact that the basses were too loud was definitely annoying (lucky me there were giving caps at the entrance). Anyway we managed to dance a little and have fun.

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Then when the Verdena arrived we could go just in front of the stage and the real fun began. The band was great and the music was awesome, even if there were some technical problems.

I have never been a fan but seeing them performing live was amazing: the drum player was incredible and really got you into the right mood.

There were also some guys from Bologna who had driven for 5 hours to see the band. I felt quite privileged. This is one of those time that I think how cool is living in Switzerland

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Windischer Mini Zoo by Pro Specie Rara — aprile 26, 2014

Windischer Mini Zoo by Pro Specie Rara

In Argau, just at 5 minutes walk from Brugg’s railway station, there is Windisch, a nice village (in German “dorf”), situated near the Roman legion camp of Vindonissa.

Even if it is very small, the place offers many things to see: the Roman Amphitheater, the Legionärspfad (the Path of the Legionary that links all the Roman archeological sites and includes a museum: a very nice activity for families) and the Königsfelden Monastery, founded in the XIV century by the Habsburgs, famous for its XIV century stained glasses.

Just in front of the Abbey, there is also a small cute Pro Specie Rara mini zoo with a  selection of  rare farm animals, kept in a fenced green area. This kind of activities are part of Pro Specie Rara’s agenda to preserve and promote species of farm plants and animals that are at risk of extinction.

The selection of the animals hosted in this small zoo changes from time to time and it is possible to learn more about those species just reading the panels near the fences. It is amazing how from afar those look like ‘normal’ animals but looking to them closely they are incredibly special: blue goats, hairy pigs etc… Many of those animals look like they were just transported here from a Disney cartoon.

This is how is Switzerland: a place where a small and secret glimpse of paradise is hidden, just around the corner. And when you find, you know you are in love with this country.

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Fasnacht night in Baden — marzo 2, 2014

Fasnacht night in Baden

Carnival is a very old tradition in many countries and takes different names and forms, depending on history, culture and language. In Switzerland it takes the name of”Fasnacht” and differs deeply from town to town. The only common denominator is having fun!

Yesterday night we went to Baden’s Fasnacht Night: the town looked completely changed, with decorations and people dancing and having fun in the streets.

It all started at 7 PM when many different groups of musicians – all  dressed with costumes and with their faces painted – began marching and playing music in the streets. Stages were built everywhere and the music literally invaded the city.

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Every now and then, you could recognize some old classic or famous contemporary tunes:  execution was really good  and we enjoyed ourselves a lot.  The groups continued to move from one stage to the other all night and we continued to follow and dance around.

Some groups had also small colorful cafè and pubs-caravans, with  decorations, which sold refreshments and hot beverages.

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Many people also wore costumes: some had simply strange hats or props, others wore beautifully complicated costumes. Certainly many fully embraced Fasnacht’s spirit scaring the dark and evil ghosts away. Others favored a tender approach (like a group of guys dressed like Care Bears).

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What impressed me the most is that differently from other places where Carnival is just for kinds, in Switzerland people of all ages and social status participated.

Now I look forward to next week’s Basel Fasnacht: they say the city goes completely mad. I can’t wait to see that!

Aare in Winter — gennaio 9, 2014

Aare in Winter

The light is quite peculiar in Switzerland: it is different from every other place in the world. Sometimes it is densely white or inconsistently grey, or incredibly blue and crossed by a billion clouds. It is so inspiring because  it is possible to catch thousand of shades of blue, grey and green of Swiss amazing landscapes.

Today my husband made some very cool pictures of the Aare  that I wanted to share.

(Aare is one of the many rivers that flow in Switzerland. It is more than 290 Km long and crosses Argau.)

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Brugg Weihnachtsmarkt — dicembre 16, 2013

Brugg Weihnachtsmarkt

Finally it arrived: Brugg’s Christmas Market. I dropped by on Sunday afternoon, just to have a look to the usual stands with funny clothes and garden decorations. And of course there were also the traditional carousel players, that don’t miss any event in Brugg.

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In fact, what I like about these events in Switzerland is that you always find the same stands and things and year by year they become a family tradition.

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The funniest stand was the one in which Rosti was cooked in several pans, like in a competition.

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One of the best thing, as usual, were the bonfires and the gluhwein, warmed in a cauldron and full of spices.

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Among the newest thing there was a fire eater, dressed in Swiss colors. Perfect for a chilly afternoon in Aargau.

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Getting ready for 2013 Christmas Markets in Aargau — dicembre 3, 2013

Getting ready for 2013 Christmas Markets in Aargau

Christmas is a huge deal in Switzerland. Huge as the Emmentaler and the chocolate. After baking tons of Christmas cookies (luckly I am learning some German which is super useful to translate the recipes), decorating them (yes, I gave up and bought Dr Oetker’s icing pens and tubes) it is now time to take a little rest and enjoy some good life here. So I thought: what would be better than making a little Weihhnachsmarkt tour (for the “not yet” German speakers: Christmas Market)?

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In fact it is a good occasion to explore new places and …to drink some more gluhwein!

Some poor SBB promoters, dressed like angels (their wings were probably bought during WW1) gave me a nice booklet with a calendar of the events in the Solothurn and Aargau’s area. Here they are:

– on Dec. 4-5  (h. 13-21): Solothurn

– on Dec. 5-6-7-8 : Olten

-on Dec. 6-7  (h. 17-22; 11-22): Wildegg

– on Dec. 6-7-8 : Zofingen

-on Dec. 7 (h. 9-17): Baden

-on Dec. 7 (h.10-20): Safenwil

– on Dec. 14-15: Brugg

-on Dec. 13-14-15: Lagenthal

-on Dec. 14-15: Niederbipp

– on Dec. 18-20-21-22: Schinznach Bad

(Now I would like to point out that this calendar refers ONLY to December 2013 because it happens to me all the times: I check events on blogs but I don’t verify the year when they were posted…this is how you find yourself in the middle of nowhere looking for a concert that was held in 2002…)

Anyway, probably some of you will argue that Christmas Markets look pretty much the same in all Switzerland but come on… who would like tomiss all the fun of little town concerts, home made cookies, wooden sculptures and cotton candy!!!

November Snow! — novembre 21, 2013

November Snow!

This afternoon in Kanton Aargau and in Kanton Zurich it started – for the first time this year – to snow. In Argau it was slow at first but soon in Baden and Brugg everything was covered in white. And tonight it continued so maybe tomorrow everything will be white.

In Zurich it continued to snow tonight too, but the streets were clean and not yet so “Christmassy”. But the sounds were softened and the sky was  thick and grey. The city had a certain romantic charm.

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Anyway this snow took everyone – me included – a little by surprise: that reminds me that two things should always be ready in a Swiss home. An umbrella and footwear to walk on the snow. Preferably a very fashionable one.

Alpacas..divas — novembre 5, 2013

Alpacas..divas

This time I was coming back home and I saw them. They started looking at me and it was just as we were falling in love. I came closer to the fence: they were just few steps from me.

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When they saw my iPad, they started acting like divas, trying to show their “good side”.

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I was really tempted to come closer, to touch them but then I spotted a small piece of paper saying that…that nice yellow fence was electrified…

Let’s face it: sometimes here in Switzerland I feel so secure and safe that I forget that the world is full of dangers (especially for a clumsy romantic girl like me, a little bit inclined to all sort of accidents).

So I have come up with a plan. Next time I think I will try to lure them out of the fence with Toblerone. Or with fondue.

 

Super-Brugg-Market — ottobre 25, 2013

Super-Brugg-Market

A couple of days ago, I was shopping in Brugg and I spotted a poster which promoted the annual city market. And I just learned Brugg is not the only city in Switzerland which holds an annual market: it’s kind of a tradition here.

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The annual market in Brugg, this year,  will be on November 12th: on Tuesday! That looked kind of odd to me: who is going to take a day off just to go to the market? Someone very intelligent and cultivated (namely my husband) explained to me that this is a tradition that comes from the Middle Ages…

So probably Swiss people will take a day off or  it will be attended only by unemployed people, part-timers, non-working moms, retired old people. I know, it doesn’t sound very attractive. And for the singles: it is not probably the best place to find your soul mate (if you are not 80).

Well, I must admit that the poster doesn’t too attractive either: a bunch of pink bags (not even centered in the picture)… Come on, I mean, is this supposed to stimulate my curiosity? They could have displayed some actual magenbrot instead…

Anyway, let’s be positive. This year I don’t want to miss it: I want to try as much magenbrot as I can and whatever else is on sale. That is not super-expensive. So probably nothing. Ok, I will go and have only a look and takes some pictures for you.