Jan: Leaving London Party
Feb: Fastnacht in Berne
Mar: New flat in Stauffacher
April: First Guests
May: Annecy visit
May: Wedding Kim & Phil
June: Wedding Rachel & Andrew
July: Witchy visit
Sept: Ottawa, Michael's funeral
Sept: Pat and Andrew's wedding, Rome
Sept: Mum and Dad's visit
Oct: Irene and Mags
Dec: Christmas in Bristol
Zurich really knows how to prepare for Christmas, the "Adventszeit" is a really busy time of year, and the city looks even more beautiful than ever! The temperature is close to freezing, but the snow hasn't yet arrived. Bahnhofstrasse, as well as the old town, are bedecked in thousands of tiny white lights (very classy!) and every second market stall sells either Gluehwein (mulled wine) or roasted chesnuts! The railway station has been taken over by the Christkindlimarkt (hundreds of stalls all selling candles and decorations!) and just next door, the courtyard of the Swiss National Museum has become an ice-rink. It certainly rivals Somerset House forits location and surroundings. The Museum itself looks like a Grimm fairytale castle and the courtyard nestles between the turrets and towers. There are christmas trees around the edge, as well as restaurants, several bars and of course Gluehwein stalls! We ventured onto the ice last week, but were terrorised by legions of swiss toddlers and teenagers, who all skated as fast and as unpredictably as each other! Photos below...
Father Christmas here is called Samichlaus, with his helper Schmutzli. Zurich has a Samichlaus tram, driven by himself and full of children and presents. Also, Samichlaus and helpers traditionally swim across the river for "fun" on the first Sunday of Advent! The Samichlausschwimmen took place last Sunday, from one bank of the river Limmat to the other, a distance of 111m with a water temperature of 3 degrees and 265 swimmers....of course I had to take part! In my defence, it was fun, very cold and I don't think I've ever swum so fast in my life!
More photos on the official Samichlausschwimmen website
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19.12.2004 @ 15.33 Zurich: It has just started to snow!
That was 2004....
Thanks to everyone who's been reading these pages and emailing us during the year. It's hard to believe that we've been here almost a year now! We've certainly settled in well, although the Swiss German needs practice! Highlights of the year? Well, we got our flat and moved to Stauffacher in March, and we're certainly very pleased with the location of Hotel Werdstrasse! Close to the city centre and lake, and very handy for the airport. Guests are always welcome... We love Zurich, it's really clean and beautiful and full of interesting areas such as the Uetliberg, Zurich's "house mountain". My personal achievement of the year was swimming across Zurich lake. My challenge for the closing stages of 2004 is to finally put the dissertation to bed and to start job hunting in the New Year. Our challenge for 2005 is to survive the snowboarding lessons that we've signed up for.