Sunday, 12 April 2015

Holidi adorned with primroses

The beautiful city of Winterthur recently featured thousands of primroses which lined the  mediterranean style boulevard of Oberer Graben, one of my very favourite spots in the city. It really was beautiful. Of course, my girls were fed up that they couldn't climb on their wooden play thing Holidi for once. Just goes to show you can't please everyone all the time.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Winterthur's Easter bunnies

A bit late this but just had a need for a bunny post. I love how the Swiss really embrace the different festivals as well as the seasons and Easter is no exception. As we proceed through March, bunnies, chicks, more bunnies and a host of chocolate bunnies and chicks literally pop up everywhere. I especially loved the floral displays outside the shopping mall across the road from HB. See below.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Graffiti spotting around Winterthur Töss

The old industrial area as you enter Töss from Winterthur has been sensitively updated and made useful in a very funky way. Old industrial buildings have become car parks and bars, much of it is pedestrianised, with old tram lines for the kiddies to run around and incredible art work around every corner. The atmosphere conveys that wonderful arty industrial atmosphere of Hardbrücke (one of my favourite places to while away a weekend) We took the girls with their bikes on Sunday as it's a perfect traffic-free place to pedal pell-mell. I've posted a few pictures below of the amazing artwork.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Boar?

The sun was shining, my heart was pumping excitedly and I was smiling as I took off for an early morning run today. And then as I reached the edge of the forest I heard it. The loud and unmistakeable screech of something large and tusked. Not the sound of a big bad wolf – but even worse (in my mind anyway) a big bad boar (as a Studio Ghibli fan I cannot ever forget the terror I felt of watching the boar god Nago as he terrorises a village in Princess Mononoke)

My legs turned to jelly and I faltered in my stride, wondering whether to turn right round and run back the way I had come. But I soldiered on, hopeful that it was coming from my left rather than my right which was the way I was intending to go.

Taking a deep breath I entered the shadows of the wood, the sunlight reduced to a magical dapple of sunbeam in the distant trees here and there. My breathing grew a little more rapid and my pace quickened. And as I ran into a patch of sunlight along the path, I saw – not the feared boar but two tiny deer which made my heart sing. They eyed me steadily before flicking their Bambi tails and disappearing in an instant into the trees.

And that’s why I love to run. Apart from the fitness, the blast of fresh spring air, the inevitable step (albeit tiny) to my summer bikini body, and that damn good feeling of incredibleness that lasts the entire day, it’s that feeling of being immersed in nature that calls to me.

Yes, I have got a lot more skittish about wild (and not so wild) animals as I’ve grown older – and not without reason as I’ve had a few episodes with people who can’t control their dogs and fields of cows in my running past. But it cannot halt the urge to take off to the great outdoors and do what I was born to do – run. Happy Easter and happy running!

The boar I thought would assault me from Princess Mononoke, photo credit here.
The not so fearful boar of reality - photo credit here.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Swiss National Circus Knie

My 8-year-old daughter Poppy went on a class trip last Monday to see the famous national circus Knie setting up as her theme is The Circus this term and I thought it would be nice to continue her class studies by taking her to see a performance this weekend. I was amazed to find very affordable tickets online.

There are various sections, with the peak seats going for around 80CHF but in Section E (at the back) I found adult admission for 20CHF and children are half price on the matinees. So the sum for me and my two daughters to see the best circus in Switzerland (as Poppy's teacher proudly told her) was 40CHF. And for a car-less family as we are, it was located at Teuchelweiher - extremely easy to walk to at around 15/20 minutes from Winterthur HB.

So yesterday we set out for our first Swiss circus experience. And Wow. There are circuses and then there are Swiss circuses.

The tent itself is impressive, popping up with lights twinkling as you walk along Zeughausstrasse and it was very easy to enter and find our seats. An exciting atmosphere was evoked immediately with smoke and lots of laser lighting and the famous Knie logo projected onto the roof.

And then the lights went off and the show began with 'flying cats' as my 5-year-old coined them - acrobats in glittering feline costumes enacting astonishing feats of suppleness, strength and 'daring-do' My girls especially enjoyed the acrobats on the poles, suddenly plunging to the ground and pulling up at the last minute by using their legs and feet as brakes.

And then there was the brilliant clown whose interaction with the audience won over our hearts, the amazing neon horses galloping in the dark and the elephants!

But the Grand Finale using a Mozart inspired theme was the ultimate show-stopper - and at times, literally a heart-stopper!

Visually stunning, packed with drama and highly recommended.

The citcus will perform one last time in Winterthur tomorrow at 2.30pm and 8pm - and it looks like you can buy tickets at the door - before moving onto Wetzikon and various other locations before arriving in Zurich on 8th May where it will remain until 7th June.

The family-owned circus dynasty Knie was founded in 1803 by Friedrich knee and for over 200 years has been one of the oldest and leading circus companies in Europe. The family had a close friendship with the Swiss painter and sculptor Hans Erni who sadly died last month at 106 years (see my blog piece celebrating his birthday) Hans was a loyal and frequent guest to the Knie Circus and the family have paid tribute to him on their website:  

"Fascinated by the artists and the animals, Hans Erni was closely associated with the Circus Knie which he experienced in his early childhood. As he told us he admired in Lucerne the performances of the 4th generation Knies in the open air with their skills on the high rope and he has met a total of five generations of our family in his long life. The magic of the circus ring inspired his creative work. Between 1966 and 2009, Hans Erni created nine poster subjects for our company as a creator of these works he always felt a part of the circus family. For hours he would discuss the ideas with us, the artists and employees and talk about his fascination of the circus. With Hans Erni we lose a dear friend, and Switzerland loses an outstanding personality, a century-artist and the world, a creative spirit."