Month: August 2016

Limmatschwimmen

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On the weekend I participated in the annual Limmatschwimmen. This is where around 4,500 people jump in the Limmat River and float 2 kilometres through central Zurich from the Frauenbad to Flussbad Oberer / Unter Letten. It’s the one day of the year you can do this, the rest of the time there’s boat traffic, not to mention you’re liable for a hefty fine and risk being swept away by the current if you jump in anywhere but the approved spots (eg: Letten). You have to purchase tickets to the Limmatschwim online on the Wednesday beforehand. This year, tickets sold out in 8 minutes. I was lucky enough to get four (the maximum) for myself and three mates.

I was pretty excited before the event. After 2.5 years living in this city, I feel like I know this stretch of the Limmat quite well. I’ve walked alongside it, over it, photographed and looked across it, shown it off to many visitors, even swum in it at Oberer Letten. So the idea of floating the entire “city” length of the river was pretty thrilling to me.

This year’s event, the 52nd Limmatschimmen, was postponed by the organisers by one week and they definitely made the right decision. The previous Saturday was wet and about 19 degrees. This Saturday was gloriously sunny and 31.

Everyone gets given a floatie as part of the ticket. This year they were sting-rays, which my 5yo was very excited about (he loves all sea creatures). In previous years it was a turtle. I rigged up a “waterproof camera” using my old phone and a plastic ziplock bag, so apologies that some pics are a little blurry.

Floating through the city, filled with nervous excitement, grappling with my silly camera, I think I almost forgot to enjoy myself at first. It’s funny, you know. I love water and swimming and I’m a good swimmer, and yet my worst nightmares (as in real, sleeping nightmares) involve tidal waves. Growing up in Australia, my parents taught me to Never Turn Your Back on the Sea. I have a love/fear/healthy respect relationship with water, I guess. Anyway, I finally relaxed about halfway along. The current through the city was not particularly strong and the participants were nicely spaced out. One of the reasons I adore Zurich is for events like this is there’s enough people to feel buzzy but it’s not horribly crowded (I can only imagine how rammed and unsafe-feeling an event like this would be in London!) The river is not particularly cold at this time of year – it flows out of Lake Zurich, which is a balmy 21-25 degrees in summer. Even so, by the end of the nearly-one-hour swim I was a bit chilly, and welcomed the cups of hot, sweet tea they gave out! My friend’s husband and son followed us by road the whole time and took some great pics (in the slideshow) and my husband and kids waited near the end to wave us on (you have to be 12+ to participate in the Limmatschwim). I was on such a high afterwards, I just kept looking at all the photos and couldn’t get to sleep until nearly midnight!

Doing an event like this, such a Swiss/Zurich thing, really makes me feel anchored to this place. I have to take a moment to reflect how far I’ve come from my miserable, lonely first-year in Zurich to rounding off this wonderful third summer here by floating through town on a simply stunning afternoon with friends and family in attendance.

This summer in Zuri has been pretty wonderful in general. We’ve had loads of visitors; from random people passing through town and meeting up for just a few hours to a whole week of my brother and sister-in-law staying right around the corner. We’ve done some great things, which I’d like to note, just to remind myself when I read this back in the months/years to come:

MOUNTAINS CLIMBED: Rigi and Pilatus

FESTIVALS and EVENTS: The once-every-three-years Züri Fäscht, Zurich Street Parade (well sort of, we were in town early in the day swimming at Mythenquai so we caught some of the vibe), August 1/Swiss National Day fireworks (just a local celebration setting of a few poppers with friends), our 5yo’s Indianerfest to celebrate the end of the school year, the Dolder Classic vintage car show and, of course, Limmatschwimmen 2016

SWAM IN: Lake Zurich, Lake Geneva, Evian pool, Thonon-le-Bains pool, the River Töss, the Oeschinensee, Limmat River, Thermalbad Zurich, Novum spa Baden, Baden Freibad, Freibad Allenmoos (our local). I love all the swimming here!

With September fast approaching and the kids back at school /starting nursery, it feels like summer’s just about over now, but it’s certainly finished on a high!

Swimming in the Oeschinensee

Swimming in the Oeschinensee – have you seen enough pics of me in bathers yet?

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The Dolder Classic car show

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Over the weekend, my brother and sister-in-law were in Zurich and since he’s a big car guy (and proud owner of an awesome Valiant Charger) we thought we’d check out the Dolder Classic vintage car show.  I think this is the first vintage car show I’ve attended and I really enjoyed it.

It was a nice scene – people just cruised in with their cars and would stay for a few hours (it seemed) then head off. Some of the vehicles were for sale, others just for show. Afterwards we checked out a few more beauties in the car park as well.

There were lots of muscular Mustangs, curvy Stingrays, a Delorean, some real golden oldies and, of course, many Porsches — I think Porsche must be Zurich’s favourite marque, you see so many on the streets here. My favourite was probably the superb Amilcar Pégase from 1936 – the workmanship and details were exquisite. It was an Amilcar that caused the death of Isadora Duncan (her scarf got caught in the wheels and broke her neck) so that’s an interesting bit of historical trivia.

As well as drooling over all the pretty motors, the people-watching was lots of fun too. I enjoyed seeing a family of six emerge from a two-door Mustang, some elegant old dudes in an elegant, convertible Bentley, a stylish matron driving her zippy, royal blue 60s Porsche and a pair of rockers with face tatts, a vintage jalopy and a baby bump.

Anyway, I haven’t done a photo blog in a while and this really lends itself, so enjoy!

Occupying France

 

Lac Leman

Sometimes feels like

everyone’s saying it’s

Nazi Germany

But in fact we’re in

the Weimar Republic

with the internet

and superfast broadband

and actually no wars

in living memory … almost

nearby.

And I read about

the wartime occupation of France

on holiday in France

And my brain only

forms German words

and I live in that neutral land

between the two countries

and it hasn’t even been 100 years.

And I wonder what it all means

Are we

cursed to live in interesting times?

or are they so dull

we’ve overlaid reality

with Pokémon cartoons

and Trump and Brexit and terrorism and guns and refugees are just…

flotsam of news

jetsam of state control

And politics.

This sordid mess

still looks beautiful

from Lake Geneva

And I just don’t know

what to make of it all