Monday, March 30, 2009

Zurich Spring is in the air!

As said in the last post, I had hoped to make an appearance at the Arboretum in April - and well, I was so inspired by the beauty in my own photos from last year, as well as the tip from Tanya's Blog, Been Lost Once, that I had to high-tail it to the Spring spectacle early, and I am glad I did.

Although the weather was icky - overcast and muddy, but at least not raining - I had a really great time taking shots of the first sprouts of spring. Or perhaps the first Spring Sprung... or maybe I will call it the Early Birds of Spring. Whatever you prefer, you get the idea - these irises and blue bells and crocuses (please correct me if I am wrong here) are the only things on show at the moment. The magnolias and the cherry blossoms and other blossoming trees are still to come... and you can bet I will be back in April when they arrive - because let's face it, with such a long winter behind us, who isn't freaking excited about Spring?!? Woo hoo! Bring it on....

Until then, I wish you a fine Spring day and hope you enjoy these shots brought to you from the Zurich Arboretum.

(Just wait until these magnolias open... gorgeous!)

A little wet and soggy out there, but still nice and green.

Swiss Blogger Meet-Up!!! Would you be interested in partaking in a Blogger Meetup in Zürich on April 26th? Amanda of Queso Suizo and I are organizing the shin-dig... It is not too late to register your interest.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

5 Things I am definitely doing this April...

1. Visiting the Zurich Arboretum

Last year we just happened upon the Arboretum as the flowers were blooming all over the place. This magical spot on the river is amazing - there are flowers everywhere. It was great. I cannot wait to just have a lazy Saturday or Sunday in the city and take some shots of whatever is blossoming. These photos are from last year, taken at the end of March actually, so don't wait too long! Start stalking now!

2. Stuffing my gills full of rhubarb

I love rhubarb. It is just coming into the shops now with other great produce like asparagus, fresh strawberries from Spain and raspberries from who knows where... It is down to 8.95 CHF per kilo now. That is pretty good. Perhaps I will be cooking up some rhubarb compote in March even! (Ps. Want to know more about what produce is in season when in Switzerland? Check out this blog)

3. Setting up a flower box (or most likely boxes) on my balcony

That's right. I have had balcony boxes like these since last year, but I wasn't confident enough to join the universal gardening society that is Switzerland so hastily. But there is no fear this year... This year there will be lots of gardening going on here at Swisstory. Get ready to see green. Green thumbs, green flowers, greeneries... Oh will there ever be green. Lots of surprises here. Stay tuned.

4. Attending Sechseläuten and the burning of the Böögg - Monday, April 20th.

Last year, I was back in Boston for a mini-work trip, training my successor during the Sechselauten (pronounced, no joke, in Swiss German as "Sexy Leute"... which means "Sexy People..." oh yes. Coincidence?). This year, it is all about the burning snowman baby. Save a match for me.

photos from Flickr user MuntyPix /before & after


Have I missed anything?

5. Oh yeah, don't forget the Blogger Meet-up on April 26th.

It is not too late to say you want to come, too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Being sick in Switzerland...

So I struggled into work yesterday, although in hindsight I think I should not have, being the germ factory that I still am. It gave me some solace to find out that I am not the only one sick, the lone sniffle and coughs from colleagues in the corner were strangely comforting.

Sitting on the couch this evening, blowing my brains out into little packages of tissues because we have long run out of the boxed variety, I realized that this must be the time of year to get sick, as I was sick just after we arrived in Switzerland, sick like a dog.... ah yeah, I remember those days...

(Queue the flashback sequence with clouds and music and bubbly sounds...)

I had just arrived, and instead of running through the hills of Switzerland with braids in my hair, I was stuck on the tiny faux leather maroon couch in the temporary apartment, coughing up a lung while trying to get some air, disappointingly finding my lungs full of the cigar smoke that wafted through the drafty mid-century floorboards. After struggling for a few days, I begged Jace to drag me down to the Chemist so that I could get some Cold and Flu tablets.

Low and behold, it's not that easy here in Switzerland.

What one pill handles in the US, you need at least 4 boxes full of remedies for here in Switzerland. I had a spray to stop the sniffles, a powder to reduce the fever, (natural/herbal) sinus capsules to reduce the sinus pressure and congestion and I believe a stuffed rabbit that I had to swing around my head while chanting "Gesundheit" 12 times. No, just kidding, it was some kind of super vitamin, herbal remedy thing that in hindsight probably worked as well as the rabbit would have. For some reason there is no such thing as a 12 hour pill here either - everything has to be taken 4 times a day with water and a magic rabbit - oh, so that's what it was for. Thank goodness I didn't have to work then or else I still might be sick for lack of time.

Thank goodness it is not nearly that bad this time - but then again, I still have some of the magic potions and they have gone to good use throughout the last 12 months ... now if only I kept all the package inserts (in 5 languages, not including English) so that I could recall what all those pills are for.... hmm... where's that magic rabbit now?

(Ps. A few weeks ago my Mom sent me some Advil Cold & Sinus, yes the stuff you need a driver's license to buy now at Walgreens - the good stuff, so I will survive!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

One Year Ago Today...

That's right - one year ago today we arrived in Switzerland for the adventure of a life-time. It was a Sunday and we stayed in a hotel for a week while our temporary apartment was being prepared - Jace always refers to it as our vacation in Zurich, and that is sort of what it was. It was a great week to get used to our new city and home, my first trip to Zurich, believe it or not, and it was also an Easter weekend and boy were the streets abandoned - it was our Zurich and ours alone.

One year in and we are still as fond of Zurich as ever, and we are looking forward to this next year - so many things to see and do!

I had big plans to do a year wrap-up, but I have been sick so therefore this photo from that first day in Zurich back in 2008 will have to do for now! So thanks for following this blog, and thanks for an amazing year!

Swiss Blogger Meet-Up!!! Would you be interested in partaking in a Blogger Meetup in Zürich on April 26th? Amanda of Queso Suizo and I are organizing the shin-dig... It is not too late to register your interest.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Crepes before the train...

Sometimes, I have to remind myself (or rather Jace does...) that the whole reason I studied international business in the first place was the travel the world and do business... internationally. And while I am not knocking the job, oh no, especially not in this economic climate, at times the travel is really tiring and after you have seen the inside of the ICE train a few dozen times as well as the Frankfurt Bahnhof, the allure is lost. But I will tell you one thing that keeps me motivated... crepes.

That is right. It is totally pathetic, but I cannot get back on the train to come back to Zurich without shelling out a few Euros for an obligatory nutella crepe in the Frankfurt HBF. It takes them a mere minute to make these thin pancake packages filled with nutella, and I mean chocked full, all warm and melty and heavenly. I am convinced a crepe is the best incentive for most things...

Now, I know that I could be adventurous and make my own crepes, but I don't have a crepe pan, and hell, what else would get me on the train after I figured out the magic and ate crepes everyday? Please, do me a favor, and eat a crepe sometime in the near future and tell me if it doesn't inspire you, too... now let me just check my diary to see when that next business trip is... ;)

Latest story on Expatica...

This is an oldie but a goodie - Recycling highlights in Switzerland over at Expatica.

Swiss Blogger Meet-Up!!! Would you be interested in partaking in a Blogger Meetup in Zürich on April 26th? Amanda of Queso Suizo and I are organizing the shin-dig... It is not too late to register your interest.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

American Socialite spotted at Lollipop Party

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a Lollipop Party in Zurich with some work colleagues, and it was really a lot of fun. In case you, like me, have no idea what a Lollipop Party is, I recommend you go and check it out for yourself, as it is truly something to experience, but as an introduction, let me just say that it is a party, at a club, in which the DJ plays ONLY SCHLAEGER MUSIC all night long, and that to my own shock and awe people from the age of 18 upwards are there, singing and dancing along, the whole night long, to German oldies. Oh, and there are lollipops, too.

After paying CHF 20 for the cover and about CHF 50 for a whole bunch of (read 4) drinks, I was in the right frame of mind to bob my head to a few dozen German songs that were before my time and definately not engrained into my cultural DNA. But regardless, it was an awesome night - I mean, what says more fun than a bunch of pfallic, blown up lollipops hanging from the ceiling and a half-dozen single (present blogging company excluded) girls out on the prowl amongst Zurich's oldies loving youth clubbing crowd... that's right. Nothing. ;) Thanks again to the girls for a great night out!

Almost famous: Oh and yes, that is me caught in a group shot above, taken from the top Zurich going out web portal, That is not a US gang site - I promise.

Have a great Friday everyone! Let me know if you visit any clubs of interest. ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Update: Swiss Laundry Nightmare

First of all, thanks to everyone for the love and support regarding my special Swiss living trauma. To save myself the typing, here is a summary... The neighbor was not upset with us, but rather the whole building as she is the only one, she feels, that cleans up in the laundry.

All in all.... I can't believe I am saying this, but I feel for her - I really do. I understand - and hence I told her that we will do better to do our part to clean up the floor.

I think, I hope, we have heard the last of this. We are taking further precautions... will keep you posted. Thanks, Laundry Support Group. I couldn't have done it without you! ;)

It has happened - our own Swiss Laundry Nightmare

I returned home last night from an awesome night out in Zurich to find a letter from one of our neighbors regarding the state in which we supposedly left the laundry room.

I read about the dreaded laundry issues of many other expats and was hoping this day would never come, but alas, we have screwed up in the eyes of our neighbors and they are threatening to go to management if we don't get our act in gear.

While I got the letter at 10 pm last night and didn't want to wake anyone, I kindly wrote back a letter and pasted it to their door at 11 pm, saying that we did not mean to cause them any upset and that I will come by tonight to discuss the situation and ways in which we can do better to keep the laundry room clean. I am hoping to avoid any further confrontations with the neighbor, as although we are not sure whether we actually dirtied the place or not, we don't need or want any neighborly strite...

Ahh, the joys of a shared laundry room in the immaculately clean Switzerland.

Stay tuned... I hope that the rest of this story is rather uneventful, but you never know, do you, when it comes to the Swiss and their laundry.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beyond obsession... Apfelstrudel


Hello!? Hi, uh, just a quick word if that is ok.... um... Is anyone tired of me writing about my love of apple strudel?


Oh, no one?

Oh. Ok... well then here is another spotting of the infamous apple pastry, this time in Germany.

During a recent trip to Frankfurt for work, we had a team dinner at a really traditional and delicious restaurant called the Schwarzer Stern in the Roemer (main touristy area) district of Frankfurt. After a delicious appetizer of pumpkin soup, with the slightest hint of cinnamon, and a delectable main of veal steak with spaetzli, I was overwhelmed when I saw the dessert come out and my old friend had surfaced again. The light as air pastry and the vanilla sauce with plum reduction really made this high class version a crowd pleaser.

I have not been privy to having apple strudel with BOTH vanilla sauce and ice cream before, but this high class version indeed warranted a bit of famboyance... pehraps hence the additional surprise inclusion of a passionfruit garnish.

TIP: Just remember, if you have the pleasure of eating this apple strudel with said passionfruit garnish with your boss' boss, and your boss' boss' boss... don't tell that boss' boss' boss to try the delicious passionfruit that she has never eaten before, because after a few glasses of wine, the next thing you know -you and the boss' boss' boss will be stealing all the leftover, unappreciated passionfruits from the table, and while savoring this unique and unexpected moment, filling yourself with the unseasonal fruit, you might just tell the boss' boss' boss that you really enjoy the taste and mention that you are amazed at the fruit, and that it is really "boogery..." and then the boss' boss' boss will drop her spoon and say she is done... and you will know that despite all attempts at impressing one's boss' boss' boss, you have just said something that one might consider a 'career limiting move.' Just a tip. You can thank me later.

But, hell... that's what I am here for on the Swisstory - highlighting all of life's deliciousness. Even if some of it is a bit boogery... don't worry though - the strudel was, despite all bittersweet moments, a divine highlight... just skip the passionfruit, ok? ;)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Great Deal - 2 for 1 flights with

They offered this same deal around Christmas-time on a varitey of trips... and it must have generated some good business because they are at it again - this time it is limited to certain destinations during certain weeks - but it is still a BARGAIN if, and here is the but/if statement, you can go when they are offering the 2 for ones - generally on a Tuesday or Wednesday... anyone want to go to Helsinki? ;) - Angebote

The cost of beauty in Switzerland...

Perhaps I am just nuts, but who spends 180 CHF to get a full set of nails? I mean, perhaps I am just the clumsiest girl in the world (Jace, no anonymous comments here, please...) but I would chip these babies up during the first dishwashing and the curses that would ensure would be heard in Basel, especially if I had just paid the equivalent of a week's worth of groceries for those babies... moreover, who pays CHF 220 when these are not on sale!!!?!

I remember, back in the day when I lived in a place where the prices were more to my cheap charlie liking (and please, I know that everything is relative and that wages here are better and so is the quality of life, but there is such a thing as sticker shock in every country). I remember when I used to get a manicure for $12 including tip and a bikini wax for $40. These days, you pay CHF 40 for a manicure and a small fortune to have someone delve into your nether region in Switzerland, and let me just say, they don't do it like the Helga's in Boston.

Speaking of the cost of beauty, I spent some time the other day in the Globus cosmetic section and the place was completely empty... as in, I could hear a make-up brush drop from the ground floor empty, and I couldn't help but think that the meticulously well groomed Swiss just might be saving some dough at the moment, using drug store cosmetics and DIY hair dye kits... then again, have you seen the selection at the grocery store? Pitiful. And don't get me started about drug store beauty product prices in Switzerland...

One thing they do get right here is the hair salon. Michelle from The Adventures of Swiss Family Willis got it right when she wrote about how there is a hair salon on every corner in Switzerland (true!) and that while you pay a premium (like everything else) for a wash and a cut, you do get excellent service (true, true!). My girl in Urdorf is fantastic, not at all what I expected from a small local salon. Just as Michelle explained, they take your coat, offer you a diet coke, and spend the time to give you a consultation and discuss the 'procedure' all before taking you to the sinks. And for all that excellent service, I do not mind paying around CHF 60 - 80 for a haircut, treatment and head massage... I should probably pay more considering the going rate for a set of nails!

What is your biggest beauty splurge in Switzerland? Got any deals to share?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some of me favorite Swiss blog-chens

I will be in Frankfurt today, sailing down the Rhine in a small pleasure boat, sipping a sparkling and refreshing Riesling while watching the sun set over the financial metropolis of Europe... woops, wait, that is what I wish I were doing in Frankfurt today. Instead, I will be, um, working... yeah... So instead of me going on an on about what it is that I am doing at the moment, with work and all, because I can hear the collective yawns now, I thought I would feature a few Swiss blogs that I am really into at the moment. Enjoy!

Towe and Anders
Great blog with amazing photos of this family's adventures in Lucerne and all around Switzerland and Europe. My mouth waters with every new haute cuisine photo, that they prepare and eat themselves! (Please have me to dinner, please?!) ;) This couple seems like they would be the life of the party, and they throw a few of them as well... visitors are always order of the day over at this blog that shows up as '.' in my feedreader. Besides that small gliche, I love this little blog.

Queso Suizo
Besides the fact that Amanda totally came to me with the idea to have a blogger meetup (it's not too late to sign up to come - we're meeting on the 26th of April!!!), and for that she is completely the bomb, I really enjoy her style of writing and she and her hubby are always out and about. It is completely inspiring to see what a newly arrived expat couple gets up to in the winters of Switzerland. My favorite post thus far is the one about the water park (I am so there as soon as it warms up and I can imagine going swimming), and did you read about their dangerous run in with an avalache?!?! Oh yeah, read it. It's good. Oh and she writes me emails... I love emails. ;)

I have written about Kerrin's blog recently, but I figured I would mention it again. I am in love with the photography, the food, and the fantasy. I want to be a media relations person for the New York chocolate show... I want to be nominated for the best travel blog (vote for Kerrin here)... I want to make crepes! Aw... well, life is too short to be so envious. ;) I guess I will just have to stalk her daily on her blog and live vicariously like many others through her well written and colorful blog posts.

One's to watch:
  • Swiss Watching - Read about Jackie and Seth living just outside Lausanne... great photos (can you tell I am a sucker for photo blogs?), and a clever little site keep me coming back (and lurking) on their blog.

  • Phil and Allison's blog - something about the fact that this couple is getting married soon and writing about their adventures draws me in... I remember those days before Jace and I were married... oh the love. I also love seeing what their up to through the photos.

  • Tales of a Young Traveler - a thought provoking blog that talks about love and loss... although I don't read it as often as I should - darm blogs that start with letters at the end of the alphabet, showing up at the bottom of my feed reader - something is always drawing me to the end of the list, checking up on this blog and Young Traveler's progress in overcoming life's obstacles.
Want more?
There is an entire list on the right hand side of this blog. I am also pretty tough when it comes to who is posted there. I generally only post blogs I actually read and enjoy. Also, I have started to use Bloglines just recently. You can see a list of some of the blogs I read here. (Ps. Not all blogs I read are here as I mostly use Sage Feedreader on Firefox at home... so if you don't see your blog here, don't stress... just send me a comment and I will add you to my public bloglines.)

Enjoy! Next time, non-Swiss blogs I love!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Zurich by Mike

I really liked this cartoon, founds on yesterday - pity I found out about this because the cartoonist passed away at age 52. The cartoonist, Mike van Audenhove, was an American expat that chronicled his life in Zurich through his unique cartoons. Here is an interesting profile of the cartoonist and author. I have seen the "Zürich by Mike" children's books around town actually and always wondered what they were I will definately be picking one up for a read.

Full size cartoon here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One way to burn off all that chocolate...

Now get your mind out of the gutters in regards to my title -
I mean marathon running of course. Geez. ;)

Jace ran his first marathon over the weekend, and he did great. The race was in Wintertur, 11 km, UPHILL. That is right, the first 8 km were uphill, the 9th through the snow, and the state of the back of his pants makes me think that somewhere in between he and the other participants had a mud fight.

It was really inspiring to see everyone on the finish line, too - especially all the senior citizens, fresh off the run with rosy checks and legs of steel - boy does Switzerland have some fit old men and women in their ranks.

Does it make me want to get out there and run? Um, no, not really. But perhaps it does make me keen for Spring, when the warm weather will beckon me outside again to my own form of fresh air fitness. More than anything, it makes me proud - because Jace had a goal and he achieved it. I think that is wonderful... perhaps it won't get me off my big bum, but it might just inspire me to take on that next hurdle myself - not physically, it's all metaphorically over here...

But one thing is for sure - the more he runs around in those tight pants, the more ideas I get when it comes to ways to burn off all that chocolate, thank you very much. ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Put it in your belly: Magenbrot

While at the Fasnacht in Zurich last weekend, I ran across a confectionery that is from Urdorf, and when I saw the familiar pink bag, I just had to stop and grab a treat for the train ride home. Alas, let me introduce you to a delicious street vendor treat, available at almost every chilbi, holiday, or outdoor event - please say hello to the humble Magenbrot.

Now, prior to looking this gem up on Wiki, I could not understand the name because this is not Brot (bread) nor does it have anything to do with your Magen (stomach) - besides perhaps expanding it, as a fine colleague of mine said. So I had no idea why it was called Magenbrot.

Then comes the Wiki definition and it is all intreagingly clear. Translated from the Wiki entry for Magenbrot:

"Magenbrot contains 'stomach friendly' (hence the name) spices such as Cinnamon, Star Annis, Muskat and something called Gewürznelken in German. The dark brown color is due to cocoa and the sweetness was previously from honey but today sugar is used. Magenbrot is a specialty from Switzerland, where it was earlier called "Kräuterbrot" (herb bread), before it was jazzed up with chocolate."
These little nuggets of dense, chocolaty, gingerbread like cake are absolutely delicious. I highly recommend that you buy a bag, go for the 500 grams you risk taker you, you only live once, and enjoy them thoroughly. I know I do and will for some time to come.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fasnacht Zürich 2009

As promised, here are the faces of the Zürich Fasnacht. To be honest, I literally bumped into the Fasnacht and decided to stay for the show on Sunday afternoon. The parade was really good - less about the floats in comparison to Urdorf and more about the masks and the bands. And shockingly, it was way smaller than the Urdorf Fasnacht- Urdorf had over 50 entrants, whereas Zurich had a meager 21.

To start, the similarities with Urdorf: the parade started with a group of men carrying big bells (where do I sign up, or rather pump up, for that for next year?!), followed by awesome masks, great Gugge bands and confetti. Lots and lots of confetti. The difference: Zurich's Umzug featured the cultural mix of the big city. Lots of entries from Southern American countries were present, and boy could they dance, in heels, all day long. It was something to see those booties shaking. I am still green with envy. Take me to the Salsa Boat...

I felt like the masked crusaders in Zurich were a little darker, a little more braven, a lot more cheeky than Urdorf - but perhaps the hassling I got had more to do with me being alone on the street, pointing my camera in everyone's direction and asking for attention myself - so it is probably my own fault.

Regardless, it was great to get a double dose of the parade, giving me even greater reason to ask for Fasnacht Monday off next year to make the midnight pilgrimage to Basel... 2010 Basel here I come.

Want more? Here is another, even better write-up from Kerrin on my new favorite Swiss (awarding winning travel!) blog, MyKugelhopf. Enjoy!

Tomorrow - a favorite Swiss treat found on the streets during Fasnacht - and no, it doesn't include confetti.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Urdorf Fasnacht 2009

Saturday was awesome. Not only was the weather delightful - sunny and warm (um, yes, 45F is now officially warm) but it was also the perfect day to celebrate Fasnacht in our little dorf. I have been looking forward to checking out the festivities in Switzerland after celebrating in Cologne, Germany more than 10 years go (jeez, I am old...), and they did not disappoint one bit. I will preface my comments on the Urdof Fasnacht by saying that in the end I did not make it to Basel - not out of lack of desire of laziness, then again, a girl does need her beauty rest - but rather because after having seen the Urdorf AND Zurich parades, I was officially Fasnacht'd out. More on Zurich tomorrow. So while I didn't see the most famous Fasnacht of them all, I nevertheless feel that I got a taste of the celebration right here at home - and Urdof was better than Zurich... that's all I'll say for now, more throughout the week.

There are a few guarantees, I have learned, when it comes to Fasnacht.

1) People really love it.
Everyone gets all dressed up and puts the face paint on (or chicken hats), and the Halloween costumes come out of hiding for the kids. Adults have been working on their costumes all year, the Gugge bands have been rehearsing to perfection, adults take the Monday off to recover, and everyone is pumped for the big day! It is an awesome atmosphere.

2) The first, and my favorite, is all the amazing masks. There is a man, with a little hut, and a few carving tools, and a great sense of humor, of course, somewhere high up in the Alps (I imagine) chiseling away at block after block of delicate wood, he probably only had one leg, but that doesn't stop him from creating some of the most charming and/or alarming characters imaginable. And they all make their appearances at Fasnacht, but he doesn't want any credit. The laughter of the children is all he needs. Oh, if only I could meet that man.

Perhaps it is just me, but it is hard, after awhile, to remember that these are masks and that the big shiny, happy face smiling at you is not real. They are just such lovable creatures. I am pinching their cheeks in my mind. If I could, I would like to have a small hoarde of these in my closet and wear them around when I am not in the mood to put on a smile. Just 'put on a happy face' and it can be Fasnacht everyday. Ooh you are just so cute.

3) With the masks, or perhaps with a bit too much drinky drink, these characters are cheeky bastards... ok, let me back up. My research shows that the role of these masked demons is primarily to go around and pass out candy and interact with the parade goers. While some are kind and happily hand out candy to the little ones, some are just darn right mean. They taunt and tease the kids, throwing handfulls of newspaper that scatter when they hit the ground, sending the kids running into the street for candy, only to be greeted by a puddle of confetti... mean.... and moreover, some grown men will come and throw confetti down your shirt and rub handfuls of confetti through your hair. There are no boundries on Fasnacht day. Be prepared... and don't stand next to a group of pretty young thangs because they are just easy targets.

4) There is confetti everywhere... floats are launching it using pressurized guns, kids are throwing it (...and then scooping it back up and throwing it again), masked creatures are propelling it... and just when you think that it is NOT HUMANLY POSSIBLE to create any more confetti because all of the world's supply MUST be in YOUR HAIR and down YOUR SHIRT and in crevises not generally reachable by one's self... more confetti appears and threatens to choke you out. FASNACHT = CONFETTI. It is EVERYWHERE... and still is days later.

5) The floats are pretty darn creative. I have heard that the bigger cities are more politically oriented when it comes to the floats, I know Cologne was. But Urdorf and Zurich were pretty low key - more culturally focused than politically. It was really inspring to see some of the clever designs they had. This one below was a medieval float with rock bean bags that they catapulted overboard.

This was also a favorite, the Gugge Elivs Squad. Clever, clever. And one of the most popular reality shows in Switzerland, Bauer ledig, sucht..., sponsored a few floats. And lordy, one can only guess why some of those tractor driving hotties have trouble finding a wife. Lordy, lordy... ;)
Some floats gave away drinks, some candy, some propoganda, but it all had such a community focus and feel. It was really wholesome. I went home and baked 14 apple pies just to spread a bit of the love around. Ok, so I did not really bake any pies, but I did make a cake today, does that count?

5) The Gugge music is really jamming. I got into it in a big way. The head was bobbing, I was showing off my German music knowledge, and I couldn't get enough of the bands. Some people cannot stand the Gugge, but I think it is a gem of Swiss culture. Give me Gugge.

Oh, and finally, it would seem that it wouldn't be a Swiss Fasnacht if the event did not start with a big cow bell - or better yet a dozen heavy cow bells - laboriously shuffled through the streets. The klang is both deafening and jarring. I loved it.

Obviously, 10 Punkte for Urdorf's Fasnacht... I loved all the elements, and especially the fact that it all took place in my backyard. I am in for next year... perhaps I can volunteer to wear the bells... ;) Zurich Fasnacht's up next...
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