Friday, June 22, 2018

Safety First...and Second...and Third...

Building on Tuesday's post about bicycles, today we talk safety.

Bike safety.

Swiss bike safety.

The Swiss don't take it for granted that parents will teach bike safety, so they teach it in the local schools with the help of the police.
Red arrow points to the officer in charge of this group.
















During one of our jaunts with Smidgey this week, we stumbled upon a bike safety class in action. The first part of the class involved chalk drawings and toy cars illustrating various traffic scenerios:
Learning to navigate a roundabout on bike.










There were about 10-12 kids (they looked to be in 3rd or 4th grade) and one police officer. All the kids had helmets with earpieces on. The officer spoke quietly into a small microphone on his helmet, then all the kids, presumably hearing it in their helmets, would wheel into action.








They practiced in the roundabout with cars. They practiced staying in the bike lanes as cars whizzed past. And they practiced exiting the bike lane to make a left turn at small side street that leads back to their school. I was impressed with the kids' confidence and skills, even with traffic bustling around them. Interestingly, there was no signage warning drivers that this training was taking place.

Today's poem is safe for all road conditions:
hand signals
a roundabout way
to learn 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I Want to Ride My...

...Bicycle! 🎵🎶 (One of Mo's favorite songs!)

The Swiss love their wheels! The infrastructure of Zug is set up perfectly for bike riding - lots of paths, parking, and places to buy/rent bikes. Pretty much at every public building and public transport hub, there are oodles and oodles of bikes:
At the Zug Bahnhof.















Double-decker bike parking system.











 
As with all things, the Swiss have their own personal style in bikes:
Flowered...












...fLoWeReD...



...and FLOWERED!












Fancy tires...


















...chrome...












...even zebra striped!












My favorite, of course, pays homage to chocolate:
Toblerone!
Joe is a fan of the e-bikes:
Baskets are popular, too.

Being the engineer, Joe has seen some bikes that just deserve closer inspection:
A Swiss made "trekking" bike...
...with a transmission...

...and a belt drive...
...and disc brakes, of course.

Today I have a 10-speed poem (or 16-line poem, depending how you look at it).
pedal, pedal
coast
fastest rider 
boast

uphill
climb
bike bell
chime 

gear shift
click
downhill 
quick

competition 
toast
pedal, pedal
coast 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Fussball Fever

Hopp Schwiiz!! (meaning:Go Switzerland!)








The World Cup just 'kicked' off (see what I did there?) and the Swiss are excited.  

From what I have observed, there are two sports in Switzerland: ice hockey (which I have blogged about here, here, and here) in winter and fussball (soccer) in summer. 

We are currently in high gear for soccer.

In Zug, the local mall has World Cup fever:
In the middle of the mall...














   

...with foosball tables available!















Naturally, the Swiss are rooting for the home team. They have their first match on Sunday against Brazil.













But just in case the Swiss get too carried away with their excitement and celebrate too loudly, the Zug police have issued this warning, "...the celebration of a particular team's victory is no excuse for the excessive use of car horns." They are really outlining how residents can celebrate.

Here's the article from yesterday's local newspaper:


































But in the canton of Vaud they are bit more lenient...for an hour or so:


































I love that authorities have already thought ahead on how to manage Swiss emotions. 

Today's poem is short and sweet, just like the Swiss celebratory excitement is supposed to be:

kick
pass
run
fast

dribble
roll
punt
goal 


Hopp Schwiiz!
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mountain Hamster Wheel

That's what the round cars of the Stoos Bahn look like:














This is the world's steepest funicular (cliff) railway. It is 1,720 meters long (just over a mile), it gets as high as 2,437 feet up and moves along gradients as steep as 110%, which no funicular car has ever done before.













Even at the steep gradients, the funicular moves at a steady pace with a maximum speed of 22 mph (10 meters per second).

















We rode the Stoos Bahn from Schwyz (next canton over from Zug) to the tiny village of Stoos (about 100 residents).
Entering Stoos.















Each car can hold up to 34 people.
We were the first ones on...















Each car or 'hamster wheel' is a rotating drum that keeps passengers level as the gradient changes. The cars are big enough to accommodate people and all their ski equipment because in winter Stoos is a popular ski resort area.
The views on the way up...
...and on the way down...

















...are SPECTACULAR!
Even the view into the other car:













Or from another angle within the car:









Joe was in 7th heaven with the Swiss engineering and mechanics:













In Stoos itself, the most friendly resident we met was this gal:













All in all it was a beautiful day in the Alps.
Alpine MagLicks.















When you visit us we will take you to Stoos via the Stoos Bahn. Until you can get here, the Swiss government has set up webcams so you can share the view.

Today's poem has its ups and downs, depending on how you look at it:
we roll up 
and down
the mountain range

we stay level
despite 
the elevation change 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 8, 2018

High Signs

Being immigrants in a new country where we don't speak the language has been challenging exhausting exciting. German is new to all of three of us. We've been here for 10 months and we can definitely say we are learning. But for Joe and I, language acquisition when you are of  a certain age (uh-hum) is slow going, to say the least. Every day is a constant barrage of new words, new sounds, new culture...all new, all the time.

Occasionally we do stumble upon English. Our ears perk when we overhear an English conversation on the train. Or we're flooded with relief when the transaction with the salesclerk ventures beyond our German knowledge and she suddenly switches to English. But best of all, is when we find signs in English.
Here are some of the funniest ones we've seen lately:





































































Can you tell where these signs were placed? Yep, outside of various bars.

Is it a coincidence that signs written in English are placed outside of Swiss drinking establishments or is it savvy marketing, as in a 'high sign' for English speakers struggling with German.

Whatever the reason, we are grateful for snippets of English when we can find them, because pulling out your phone to translate 100's of many times a day is tedious fun. 😉
Today's poem is about how occasionally you need to 'drink' in your native language:
though we don't drink
these signs make us smile
need a 'shot' of English
once in a while  
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cheesy Machine

Q: What do the Swiss call Swiss cheese?

A: Cheese.

And guess where you can buy it?

In a vending machine:

















Well, at least one.

Outside the Lustenberger + Dürst SA Cheese Factory in Hünenberg See, a small village in Canton Zug, there is a Käseautomat.

















It has quite an assortment of cheeses (and sausages and crackers) to choose from:
Reflective of our choice reflection.
 Decisions, decisions, decisions...

















A chunk of cheese?










Parmesan cheese with a grater?
Great price!



















Or fondue?

















We went with the chunk, the Parmesan/grater combo, and then Mo got a hankering for sausages and crackers. But the crackers proved to be too much for the machine because it went kaput! After eating 7CHF of our money.

Joe called the customer service number on the machine, but unfortunately it was a bank holiday (last Thursday) so no one answered. When we got home, Joe emailed. Within a day, Joe got a response from a cheese representative. In the email he thanked Joe for his feedback on our experience, then he wrote this:





















How's that for customer service? I love that the guy refers to the vending machine as a "very busy colleague". So cute!

Joe opted for cheese-by-mail and we look forward to a dairy surprise any day now.

Today's poem is a wee bit cheesy (and perhaps a little stinky, too):
stare at machine
decide which treat
coins drop *plunk*
can't wait to eat

wire spins round
cheese choice drops
repeat these steps
machine abruptly stops

email is sent
rectifying talks
one day soon
cheesy mail box 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.