Monthly Archive for October, 2008

Did you know that…

MOTHERHOOD MAKES WOMEN BRAINIER! Just wanted to share with some of those readers who are mothers and like me, in my last post, find it a little bit tricky at times.  I was sent a link to this article which reckons being a mum makes us brainer.  Woo Hoo, there is a up side!  Haha, ok, being a mum is more up than down – don’t want to put any of you off.  The article also reckons that being a Mum can protect against degenerative diseases.  Nice.

Rest for the weary

Women who choose the profession of motherhood, a profession that is supposed to be more stressful than a top management position (except it is a 24/7 job!), are legends.  I am currently trying out this profession and man, it is tough.  Up until we moved to Switzerland I had always been working, part or full time.  Then we had grandparents, aunties or friends around to babysit when we needed a break.   Now we have none of that, not even preschool (the kids don’t start preschool till they are 5).  I am a wee bit embarrased that I find it so tough at home with two young boys, considering there are heaps of mums with more kids than me doing an amazing job with great love and ease.

Anyway, I was allowed a break – thanks to my wonderful husband and generous Grosi.  My mum, grandmother and I (three generations of women!) spent two wonderful days and nights at a wellness hotel in Sigriswil, overlooking the mountains and the Thunersee.   We soaked in the pools, had massages, went for walks, ate four-course dinners (healthy of course!).  It was great to spend time with my mum who is soon heading back to NZ and my wonderful Grosi.  It snowed too, just a hundred metres up from where we were staying.   A bit of a change from warm days in Tuscany a week earlier!

My top 10 cars update

I’ve re-formatted my top ten cars list. I’ve completed the list, but haven’t finished any more write-ups.

Swiss Football

A couple of weeks ago I went to my first Swiss football game with Michelle’s dad and her cousin.
We watched FC Aarau play FC Vaduz in round 11 of the Axpo Super League.

FC Vaduz

FC Vaduz is actually from Liechtenstein, but they don’t have anyone else to play with in their home country, so they’re allowed to play in the Swiss league. However, since they’re not Swiss, they’re not allowed to win; if they come first, the second-place team will be the official winner. I don’t think there’s much danger of that, though – we (I bought an FC Aarau scarf, so now it’s ‘we’) beat them 4:0, and they’re currently third-from-bottom on the table. We’re third-from top, behind FC Zürich and FC Basel, who are both very strong teams.

The fans

Kiwi’s are passionate about rugby, we all know that. But their degree of passion is nowhere near that of the Swiss. Even the little stadium in Aarau has a demilitarized zone patrolled by riot-police with dogs to separate the fans of the opposing teams. The tiny Vaduz crowd only lit a few flares, but you should see the FC Zürich fans in full song – I’ve only seen photos, but we’re playing FCZ in Zürich on the 25th of October, so I’ll have to go and experience for myself. Here are some photos:

So you can see they really go all-out. There’s just a constant noise from the fans – singing, chanting, banging – that doesn’t stop, but just gets louder in the more tense moments. A lot more intense than at a rugby game.

Hooligans

Sometimes, however, things get out-of-hand; the deployment of riot police is not an unjustified measure. In 2006, FC Basel fans stormed the field in the championship-deciding match against FC Zürich (Wikipedia article). There were fairly heavy fines against both clubs, and restrictions imposed on attendance at subsequent matches:

“FC Basel was punished because of its inability to control its own fans. It received a fine of 80,000 Swiss francs and its first two home games of the 2006-2007 season would have to be held without fans, as so called “ghost matches”. The next three would have to be held with just 3/4 of stadium capacity without the eastern corner (called the “Muttenzer Kurve”) of the stadium being occupied by attendees of the match.
FC Zürich was also punished because of its inability to prevent its fans from also setting foot on the field. It was fined 30,000 Swiss francs.”

Of course this isn’t as serious as some football riots. In Peru in 1964, over 300 people were killed and 500 injured in football riots. (another Wikipedia article)

Rugby fans are kittens.

So, I’ll try and get to the FCA/FCZ game on the 25th and let you know how it goes.

Update: I had a bit more of a look around, and found a YouTube video of the Basel pitch-invasion.
I also heard a story (rumor?) of Zürich playing Basel at home, where the Zürich fans met the train of supporters from Basel at the station and barricaded them inside so that the missed the first half of the match. I’m trying to find a news story or photos to back this up.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Since Pisa was on the way in our trip down the west coast of Italy we thought we would pop in and check out the Leaning Tower from which Galileo conducted his famous gravity experiments! It is a beautifully crooked tower situated next to an amazingly huge cathedral and baptistry. The tower isn’t as crooked as it once was. A few years back they corrected it and brought it back about 45cm and in May 2008 they removed tonnes of earth and announced it stable for another 200 years.

The rest of Pisa isn’t too exciting, a bit dirty and run down.

Lunch in Cinque Terre, Italy

I have heard from countless people about how beautiful Cinque Terre is. It is made up of five colourful villages. Each village seems to be balanced precariously on the edge of cliffs and on rocks with incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. On our way down to Roccette we made a side trip to one of the villages. All the five villages are beautiful and we chose Vernazza (the fourth village along) to go have lunch. Wish we had taken some photos of the gelato and pizza we enjoyed during our stay in italy because the selection is incredible and so so nice! You will just have to go and try it for yourself I guess….

By the way, don’t drive to Cinque Terre, go by boat or train because the roads are crazy narrow and windy, but then you get some pretty good views! At one stage we had to reverse up a steep, narrow road to make way for an ambulance coming the other way. Fun and games!

It would be great to spend a week there checking out all five villages and climbing the crazy hills covered in vineyards. Maybe another day!

Five days in Tuscany

Wow. We just spent five days in Tuscany, Italy, at the beach. What a beautiful place! We travelled over 700 kilometres on the Swiss and Italian ‘autostrada’ and went through 70 tunnels (we counted). Our Fiat Bravo 1.4l turbo, six speed manual was really a great hire-car too.

We staying in a place called Rocchette in a wee bungalow, the most amazing ‘camping ground’ I have ever seen. Check out the picture of the pool below. Incredible. We went with Vineyard Church (Aarau) for their annual Autumn holidays. We would have loved to stay longer (the rest of the church stayed a full week) but had to get back to Aarau for my grandmother’s birthday party and my dad’s arrival from NZ. So of course a very good reason to return home (to cold, rainy and even snowy Switzerland).

We had perfect weather, the Tuscan sun shone for us every day. Went swimming in the clear water of the Mediterranean Sea. Played volleyball, football and of course ate pizza and gelato. The Italians are cool, very relaxed lifestyle, a bit too relaxed when it comes to driving! Very kid-friendly too. I read they don’t have babysitters there because they take their kids everywhere with them, even late at night.

The ancient seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia was just down the road and has an amazing hilltop fortress. We thought it was ‘empty’ like many of the other abandoned buildings and ruins all through Italy. But we discovered it is still very much alive with local people living in the absolutely beautiful houses and castles behind the wall. The town is also famous for its stunning slices of pizza!

If we are still around this side of the world next autumn I reckon we will be heading down that way again. Will post again soon with some pictures from Cinque Terre and Pisa which we visited too.