Saturday, 30 May 2015

Zurich Street Food Festival rocks

So we went along to Zurich Street Food Festival and had a ball - and lots of lovely food. My very favourite was a taco with a hit at Primo Tacos - look out for the blue cat. The guy makes the tacos fresh on the spot, putting in the main filling and you get to add your own toppings from a lovely little row along the front of the counter which includes a coriander plant!

We had some lovely nibbles of amazing meat on the first aisle and the Spanish stall in the middle was very popular with my 8-year-old as one of the very kind ladies was encouraging Poppy to try all sorts. After a two year food 'drought' Poppy has become very adventurous with food recently so I wanted to embrace that with this trip to the food festival. And she loved it. My only grumble would be that there wasn't enough tasters. So we unfortunately spent a fortune on giving her different tasters of our own.

But the buzz was there. With everyone really enjoying themselves. And then there was the absolute cream topping on the trifle that was the food fest - an amazing outdoor badi and its grounds to enjoy for free!! Complete with children's pool with a slide, a little playground and and even a cocktail bar! If you are feeling flash, the Wodka Cooler was incredible (vodka, lemon juice and ginger ale) but it's pricy at CHF 16.

We pretty much had the place to ourselves early on but when the sun came out it soon filled up.

And the best way to get there - the No.6 tram to the Zoo which passes Zurich HB - alight at the Zoo tram stop and its a 15 minute walk from there (where you ogle at the world's press camping like vultures outside the gate of the FIFA HQ in light of its recent scandal)

If you haven't yet been to Zurich Street Food Festival - go tomorrow (11am-7pm) - you will not regret it - even if it's just for a relax at the pool free of charge, inhaling the gorgeous aroma of glorious street food from around the world.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Nibbles galore at Zurich Street Food Festival

Get set for Zurich Street Food Festival throughout the weekend, which luckily coincides with ZVV's free day of transport on Sunday!

The 3rd Zurich Street Food Festival takes place at the Dolder Ice Rink from today until Sunday (29th - 31st May)

More than 100 food stalls will be featuring delicacies from all over the world for visitors to try. All vendors are housed in creative food trucks and market booths.

Take note - there is no parking – so you will have to make your way by public transport, bike or foot (don't you just love the Swiss and their green ways?) And getting there by public transport is of course pretty easy from Zurich central:
  • Take the Dolderbahn from Römerhof
  • Take the No. 6 or No. 30 bus to the zoo
  • Take Tram No. 5 to Kirche Fluntern
  • Take bus No. 751 to Dreiwiesen
Zurich Street Food Festival takes place from 5-11pm today (Friday) 11am-11pm tomorrow (Saturday) and 11am until 7pm on Sunday.

En guete!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Expedition Wunderland arrives in town

I love going to shows. I miss going to shows here. Mainly because my grasp of the language isn't anywhere near sufficient, rather than there being a shortage of shows. In fact, there seems to be lots going on in Winterthur a lot of the time. And I should put aside my own needs and take my daughters to more of them as they too love shows. And of course they speak the language far better than me.

So this is why I have 'booked' two places for Expedition Wunderland, an improvisational comedy show geared towards children taking place at Gaswerks next month (although the piccy of an Indiana Jones look-alike helped!) We found out about this as Poppy's teacher gave the flyers out at school and mentioned that John, who used to help out in Poppy's class, is playing a role in the production.

John was one of those amazing teenagers who the hormonal thing seems to have completely passed by.  He was 16, incredibly polite, always smiling, very bright - just finishing Gymnasium and looking towards an even brighter future. It wasn't just Poppy who was gutted when he left her school as classroon helper last summer to move onto bigger and better things.

So of course we had to show our support. And I've never been to an 'impro-show' - and this particular show seems to be entirely directed by suggestions from the audience!

The reservation process is very strange - I have just booked two places on the website giving my name, number and address and not yet paid a penny! But it definitely registered because when I logged off the website and back on again the total availability - 120 - had gone down to 118. So watch this space...

The show, presented by Redaktion, takes place on Saturday 13th June between 1pm and 3.15pm and the age recommendation is 7-11 years. The address of the location is the Gaswerks Cultural Center, Untere Schöntalstrasse 19, 8401 Winterthur.

Admission is CHF 20, CHF 15 for concessions.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

FamExpo Winterthur 2015 this weekend

The FamExpo 2015 Winterthur celebrates its 10th anniversary as it arrives in town this weekend, bringing exhibitors from Switzerland and abroad to demonstrate and inform about their products.

Dedicated family councillor Barbara Schmid-Federer will open the FamExpo at Winterthur Eulachhallen this Friday (29th) at 9:45am before the exhibitions launch at 10am, featuring:
  • A live broadcast from PowerUp where visitors can submit song requests and see behind the scenes of a live radio station.

  • A stage show from Billy & Benno, with their funny, upbeat children's songs, which the whole family can take part in.

  • Former kindergarten teacher and music teacher Christian Schenker who has written songs for children will be performing together with his band Grüüveli Tüüfeli.

  • Winterthur artist Bruno Hächler will present his new CD featuring Jap, the dog who comes from England and drinks tea all day.

  • Circus Mugg will provide thrills for both young and old with a show followed by an interactive Animation Station where the little ones can get creative with circus props under the expert guidance of the young artists. 

  • The Tierli interactive show features cute little dogs doing tricks.

  • The FamExpo-Lotto featuring funny face cards for young visitors – there will be toys, clothes and accessories up for grabs.

  • Photographer Oscar Brunet will be at the Baby Face booth to capture your little pride of joy for the Baby Face 2015 contest in a picture you can take home for free!
It's all going on at Winterthur Eulachhallen, Wartstrasse 73 - a 15/20min walk down Wartstrasse which runs from behind Winterthur HB. Alternatively you can take the bus No.1 to Toss or the No.2 to Wulflingen for part of the way for a shorter walk there. Going by car is not recommended as there are very few parking places – but there is a special offer on the price of your public transport ticket if you are visiting FamExpo.

Opening times are 10am until 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (29th-31st May)
Admission 15chf for over 18s – under 18s are free.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Newts in our local pool

We had a wonderfully relaxing Bank Holiday weekend enjoying the Eurovision contest with friends and swimming in the outdoor pools - where we came across newts! Yes, newts in the public swimming pool!

Perhaps I should point out that the little dark 'Wassermolch' we saw was in a natural pool at Geiselweid Freibad in Winterthur. But it was so surprising - and very exciting for the girls - to see diddy newts scuttling about on the bottom of the pool.

I think it must have been the Alpine Newt as it is native to central Europe. The adults grow up to 11cm and are usually dark in colour, often with a marbled pattern.  They prefer ponds with vegetated areas which lack fish, which of course would explain the popularity of Geiselweid's natural pool. A blue tinge is often visible, which is what Graham caught sight of when he took the plunge.

It was cold - 16c - so only Daddy bear had the bottle to go for a swim in there, where he dived down to take a closer look, saying they appeared a dark blue colour close up. We jumped about excitedly for a while and laughed at Graham's icy shrieks before we settled for a swim in the much warmer heated outdoor pool nearby (24c)

Switzerland is so full of little surprises like this. I love it.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Afro-Pfingsten in pictures

Stories, song and dance on stage in the Church Square
An amazing array of merchandise at the African market
The most popular stall of the day with the smiliest drummers on Earth
Tales from Madagascar in Winterthur Library's beautiful courtyard 
Camel power: My eldest daughter did not stop grinning for the entire ride.
I felt sorry for these glorious 'ships of the desert' navigating the paving
My daughter took this photo of me (I always wanted dreads)

Friday, 22 May 2015

Winterthur's weekend of Africa

There is nowhere else I would rather be this weekend than at the Afro-Pfingsten Festival 2015 in Winterthur (well, I may find time for a dip in an outdoor pool as the temperature rises on Sunday) But apart from that I will be immersing myself in the colour, food, smells and sounds of Africa.

This year the Afro-Pfingsten festival, which began on Thursday and runs until Sunday, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For a quarter of a century this festival has been connecting people from different backgrounds with the vibe of Africa.

It's all free, with reggae, an African Market and plenty of things to do for all the family – and I'm even told there will be camel rides available! The main focal points are a bounty of wonderful stalls all the way up Marktgasse which begins at Winterthur HB and runs through the old town. The main market takes place throughout the weekend and there will be drummers, dancers, acrobats and singers showing off their skills in the church square. Here, at 11am and 12pm on Saturday, Cafe au Lait will present tales of Good versus evil with song and dance - aimed at children aged 6 and above.

At 1pm and 3pm on Saturday The City Library will be hosting a special event: 'Fairy Tales and Songs from Madagascar' in its beautiful outdoor courtyard.

And also from 10am you can contribute your old bike to the Winterthur Brühlgut Foundation and Bikes for Africa. The two organisations have come together to convert disused bicycles in the foundation's workshop for export to the South. For each donated bicycle there will be a small thank you.

As the sun goes down, on Saturday from 5pm until 8pm a gospel concert will take place on the Church Square stage with Jenny C from Ghana, Nadine Rukatsi of Congo and the Kuziem Singers from Angola.

There will even be camel rides, in collaboration with Ben's camel farm for CHF 5! These will take place on the church square on Saturday between 10am and 5pm and on Sunday at Katharina-Sulzer-Platz until 4pm. Katharina-Sulzer-Platz is a 10 minute walk out of town behind HB to- or disembark at the Loki bus stop - you will find a colorful marketplace with plenty of live music and attractions for the whole family, until the early hours.

There is all this and much, much more. For further details look up the dedicated website:

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Free travel across Zurich on 31st May

Fancy taking a trip to somewhere new? Then do it next Sunday, 31st May, as travel is FREE on any ZVV transport right across Zurich. This amazing event forms part of ZVV's 25 year celebrations.

On May 27, 1990 at 4.58am the very first train of the Zurich S-Bahn left Rapperswil in the direction of Zurich, heralding a new era of public transport in the Zurich area. The Canton of Zurich had invested almost one billion francs in the first commuter train system in Switzerland which included two new underground tunnels from Zurich HB across the city, new double lane routes and almost 80 stations. The new S-Bahn a timetable was tighter, with new trains, more seats and and more efficient with an optimal link to the rest of the transport supply. (And this is what sets the Swiss travel system far apart from many countries – that confidence that you can disembark from a train and step onto a bus going home just 3 minutes later)

So whether it’s the train, the tram, the bus, the boat or even a cable car, you can travel for free on them all within the ZVV Zurich network from midnight on the morning of 31st May until 5am on 1st June. For journeys which go beyond the ZVV perimeters you will need a valid ticket or connection ticket (Anschlussbillet) from the last stop within Zurich.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Vivid poster demonstrates the evils of litter

Although it is kept cleaner and tidier than most countries, Switzerland still has to deal with a percentage of people who carelessly throw their rubbish on the floor. And I was bemused to see quite a graphic poster spring up in our local village recently. Although harrowing, it is actually rather clever, appealing to our love of animals, with the freeze framed Disney-esque poignant moment as a young cow brays for its dead mother above the strap-line 'Rubbish kills animals!' I imagine it must have the required effect!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Happy Birthday Barbapapa!

How lovely to see the Barbapapa family on Google this morning, celebrating 45 years since they were first published on 19th May in 1970.

Barbapapa is huge in Switzerland. He is everywhere. I am a big fan of the main pink 'papa' splodgy character so since I moved here I have slowly been accruing a collection of daddy Barbapapa memorabilia (mainly from Winterthur's bargain flea markets as the new stuff is very expensive) I now have a pencil case, pencils, a big cuddly Barbapapa (which I picked up in the Manor january sale) and a fantastic poster which my local library put to one side for me (I asked them if they would mind giving it to me when they finished displaying it last year) We also often get the dvds out of our library (although each story is preceded by the most annoying song – and because they are only five minutes long it is on annoyingly often) But my 5-year-old loves them so how can I deny her? (the stories are wonderful, promoting universal family, friendly and environmental values)

Barbapapa was created on 19 May 1970 by French architect and writer Annette Tison and her American partner Talus Taylor (who died in February aged 82) The story goes that the pair, who lived in Paris, were walking in the Luxembourg Gardens when Taylor heard a child asking his parents for a 'baa baa baa baa'. Not speaking French, he asked Tison what it was that the child wanted. She explained he was asking for “barbe-à-papa” (daddy’s beard), which is French for candy floss. A while later in a restaurant the couple began to draw the characters on the tablecloth. The drawings were an instant success, later being made into nearly 100 five-minute television cartoons in the 1970s. It has since been translated into 30 languages.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Pick Your Own!

The sun is shining, summer is on its way, apart from swimming in every amazing facility around, my first thoughts are picking lots of super lovely berries. Here is a great interactive website to find your nearest: