Friday, 30 November 2012

St.Andrews Cathedral

When I go back to Scotland for visits I always spend a day in St.Andrews, I lived here as a child and again as a young adult so it has lots of memories for me. Also my grandparents lived here too and I often visited them. Since today is St.Andrews Day, the patron saint of Scotland it seemed like a good idea to do a post on St.Andrews Cathedral.

We stopped by the Cathedral ruins as there is lots of space for Alessio to run around, there were quite a number of visitors in spite of the cold day.

St.Andrews Cathedral was the largest in Scotland, the building started around 1160 and in 1318 is was consecrated by Robert the Bruce. The large square tower you see in some of the photos is St.Rule Tower and if you want or able you can climb the 156 stairs and get a great view.

Even now with only ruins it is still impressive so I can only imagine how amazing it looked when it was completed.

Happy St.Andrews Day to you all!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Photo of the Week - Scottish Sun!

The Scottish sun (yes it does exist), this was taken in the town where my parents live, we were walking into the town centre. It was the first Saturday that we were there and it was lovely to see such great weather in October.

We had been having some mild weather here in Switzerland but that has changed quite suddenly and it is raining cats and dogs at the moment!

Monday, 26 November 2012

S is for Shadows

It has been a while since I did a post on the alphabet series, so here is the letter S. The first 3 photos are taken in the forest and the last one was in Holland at the beach resort of Scheveningen, we were there in April this year. At least the last photo brings a bit of colour to the post!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

October Books, Films and Concerts

It is hard to believe that November is nearly over, when it comes to movies in October I only managed to see two. One was The Bourne Legacy which I enjoyed a lot, I am a fan of Jeremy Renner anyway. I love all the Bourne movies and think he did a good job as the new agent. 

Then with Alessio we saw Madagascar 3 really funny for both kids and adults. Not sure Alessio got all the jokes, well he is only 6 years, he liked the music a lot.

I read five books, The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg set in Sweden a series of crime books with the character Erica Falck returning to her home town and finding an old friend dead. I enjoyed this book and now wait to read the next ones.

The last Symbol by Dan Brown having read all his other two books I got this out of a charity shop in Scotland. Again Robert Langdon gets in a bit of trouble when asked to give a lecture in the US Capital. It is all to do with the ancient world and you learn lots of interesting information.

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths, this is her second book about Dr Ruth Galloway set in Norfolk investigating the remains of a child. I have already read another in this series and really like all the characters and good story lines.

The Good Thief`s Guide to Venice by Chris Ewan and another great read from the chartiy shop, lots of humor and some crime set in Venice. 

Finally The Rule of Four by Ian Cadwell and Dustin Thomason, a bit of a strange book for me. It could be a little like a Dan Brown book in that it has to do with a very complex and rare book from 1499 called Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. One person is trying to unravel its mysteries and people seem to be dying.

October was a really good month for concerts first in Dundee I went with my sister to see Spector who were really great. Before they came on there were two other bands Swimm Deep and Splassh.

Then back in Zurich I saw an American band called We Are Ausgustines who I would really recommend to see if you have the chance to catch them. 

Then I saw Archive an English band they also were great, lots of good music and their support band was from Belgium called Abysithe Minded.

Lastly I saw Keane, they were also good, but not as good as the other bands I saw this month. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hiking in Chamonix Area

Back in September we had a long weekend in Chamonix with my parents, on the second day we decided to do a hike. We took the bus to Servoz, had breakfast in a hotel and then started our hike back to Chamonix.

We had really wonderful weather the whole weekend, the path itself was windy and bumpy. We were not the only people with the same idea, also there were lots of bikers on this path.

Dotted along the path there numbers which Alessio enjoyed finding, not sure what they were for though. There were lots of fallen trees and rocks along the path. Now and then we got views of the mountains, but mainly it was trees, plants and rocks.

We suddenly came across at a camp which had kiosk, so we had a coffee, it was really busy and people had brought there own food and were having picnics. Nearby was a stream and kids were playing in that, Alessio run off to investigate a little.

We passed by a golf course and came to the village just before Chamonix where we had our lunch. We were all really hungry but it took ages to get our order taken and then even longer to receive it. Next to the restaurant was this really lovely church. Once our lunch was finished we took the bus back and headed back to the hotel for a rest.

A really nice hike in a beautiful region, certainly would be interesting to see it all covered in snow!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Photo of the Week - A View of Mt. Pilatus

At the beginning of November I went to Luzern for the weekend with a friend, more about that on another post. On the Sunday while walking to the train station from our hotel, we had this great view of the Pilatus mountain. It was a lovely sunny day and the city was full of tourist which is normal for Luzern. I have been up Pilatus with my parents a few summers ago and it was a great trip to do, wonderful views all around.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Räbeliechtli Procession Richterswil

You might be wondering what the heck is that word in the title, it is a Swiss-German word meaning turnip lantern procession. It is a bit of a mouthful to say and it did take me ages to say the word correctly, but finally I can.

Basically around this time of year children make lanterns out of turnips and go on walks in the evening usually organised in each town. You get your turnip and take all the insides out (like with a pumpkin), then on the outside you carve patterns and shapes, so it glows when you put the candle in.

Every year in Richterswil there a big procession with around 10,000 carved turnips, it is the first time I have been and was looking forward to seeing all the sights. I opted to buy a turnip already carved for Alessio, as he was going to make his own at Kindergarten. Many, many people come for this event and it was really busy, along the procession route the houses and shops have to decorate their outdoors.

Some buildings had maybe 50 of these carved turnips on display, such a marvelous sight to see but what a lot of work! There are the usual refreshments and at this time of year one is able to drink Glühwein (mulled wine).

At 1825 all the lights are turned off in the village, ready waiting for the procession to start and then five minutes later it starts. All the floats are made from turnips and they were amazing to see, I only have a few caught on camera.

Once over most people leave, but it is still possible to linger around admiring the carved turnips, eat  and drink a bit more.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Jucker Farm Again!

For the last two years I have gone to Jucker farm to see the pumpkin exhibition with Alessio, but this year I was unable to take Alessio. So I went with the children in my class, usually I have been on a Sunday and a sunny day. This time it was a Wednesday and a cold day, but lots less people than usual which was good with 14 kids around.

Jucker farm is situated in Seegräben(on Lake Pfàffikon) not reachable by train itself but a short (20mins) and pleasant walk from Aathal train station. There is hardly any parking at Jucker farm so most folk park at Aathal station and walk or sometimes there is a shuttle bus.

Each year there is theme for the exhibits and this year was the Olympics, I think the photos are self explanatory as to which sports they represent.

There is a playground, a giant haystack, a petting zoo, a old tractor and some hammocks which all our kids really enjoyed.

We all looked at the different variety of pumpkins, squashes and other strange looking but very colourful veg. As it was nearing Halloween we bought a pumpkin and saw four huge ones which had been entered into the competiton for the heaviest pumpkin.

There is lots of yummy food to eat, in the past I have had the pumpkin soup there is even pumpkin prosecco, have not tasted that yet!

On the 24/25th November it is the Christmas market at the farm, Alessio and I went last year, as predicted it was really busy but nice. Alessio and I will be there again, hopefully it will not rain, see you there!