Sunday, 30 August 2015

Zurich's big events and enochlophobia

I suffer from enochlophobia. What the hell is enochlophobia you ask? Well, I’ve only just found out myself  and I quite like it. Especially as it applies to me – and labels my irrational fear of large crowds.

Funnily enough, it is only since I moved to Zurich that I have realised this fear. It began when I first attended Sechseläuten. This very exciting event is held in April and involves the burning of a giant Snowman (the Böögg) whose head explodes in the centre of the city, letting people know what kind of summer is in store (depending on how long it takes – the quicker, the better - for the head to go BOOM)

A giant snowman’s head exploding, surrounding by galloping horses – this I must see, I thought. Except - despite being in the right place at the right time with my 6-year-old and 8-year-old daughters, I didn’t. That was because literally thousands of people were standing in front of me (and around me) to see the same spectacle.

We had actually got there half an hour before the event to bag a great view of the Böögg. But as the minutes ticked by, more and more and more – and more - people arrived around us. And then it began. Not the burning of the Böögg, but an extreme fear I have not experienced before. With 5 minutes to go, I was suddenly aware that we were tightly packed in among hundreds of other people and I panicked. Big time.  As thoughts of ‘I can’t move,’  ‘we can’t possibly get out of here’ and My daughters will be trampled to death,’ I started to sweat, my breath got short and I began palpitating. I grabbed the hands of my daughters and just managed to say’ ‘we’re going’ before charging head long through the crowds, quite rudely at times I’m ashamed to say - and kept my head down until I could breathe again. It actually took the entire time for the Böögg’s head burning and exploding – and the sound almost finished me off – to escape the crowd (about 20 minutes I think but to be honest I really didn’t care by then)

But face your fears, I have been told many times. And face my fears I did yesterday, heading into Zurich for the Street Parade. We arrived at Zurich HB just before the parade was due to start. It was so hot – Zurich HB was enschrouded with a blanket of oppressive heat. And bodies. Were. Eveywhere 'Oooo, why is the train station so busy mummy?' asked my 8-year-old.

'Because of Street Parade! Let's go!' I lisped through gritted teeth, fixing my face in a phoney smile and ploughing through the very loud, and in some cases, very drunk (it was lunchtime!) groups of youths and heading up Bahnhofstrasse. It was very exciting. My girls loved the outfits they saw. There was a lot of flesh on show – boobs, bums, giant inflatable willies... The buzz was tremendous. 

But with every yell from the tidal wave of people we were swept along with, I flinched. As we passed Globus (yes, I had already started to lose my nerve and sidestepped into a parallel street) there was a humungous crash at the doorway as the glass protection to the gold feather sculpture smashed (I don’t know how but a sheepish looking group moved quickly away) Then there was another crash. Then a firework. And my nerves had had it.

We reached Manor , bought wigs at the street stall outside…and went home. Mega fail. But we were there! And my poor children you ask? Disappointed again? Well, nothing that a little pack of fizzy sweets and a cool off in our local amazing outdoor pool couldn't dissolve. 

Next year I will try again. At least until Coop anyway.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Musikfestwochen is launched!

As the summer is coming to an end, Winterthur turns up the heat once more as the Old Town vibrates to the rhythm of Musikfestwochen which launches today (12th - 23rd August) Over the course of twelve days contemporary music and cabaret are celebrated in and around the alleys and plazas of the old town.

The heart of Musikfestwochen (this year celebrating its 40th birthday) beats in Steinberggasse where the main stage is set up and the majority of the concerts take place. Most gigs are free - tickets are only sold for the major concerts - and the three day weekend music pass is already sold out!

Sunday, 16th August is the family orientated day, taking place in the church square from 2pm until 4pm, with lots of drawing and refreshments. While in Untere Steinberggasse, there will be a Playbus, juggling, a tattoo show and general circus antics, including animation, taking place between 3pm and 6pm.

There will also be children's concerts taking place at the Kindertheater 'Roulette' on Graben between 2pm and 3pm at the weekend (Sat & Sun 2-3pm)

The children's theme continues into next week with Winterthur Library celebrating its Summer Stark Lesen challenge on Wednesday (19th) afternoon (2.30pm – 5.30pm) with other events taking place on the Church Square.

The children will also enjoy the overall buzz of the city during the week with lots of free concerts taking place all over – but perhaps bring along the ear defenders incase it gets too loud for tiny ears!

Sunday, 9 August 2015