Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ssswwweeet Part 3

As a service to you, dear readers, we are continually enjoying sacrificing ourselves in order to keep you entertained informed about our Swiss experience. Our latest bit of awesomeness hardship was yet another visit to a chocolate factory...I know, oh darn.

This time around we visited Aeschbach Chocolatier in Luzern.

Joe wanted to get down to the business of eating chocolate as we went up the stairs to start our tour:
Stairway to heaven...

...and at the top, we got a nutty welcome.
The Chocolate World was full of interesting facts about cocoa:
You could actually touch the beans at each stage.












And amazing chocolate sculpture displays:
Chocolate aquarium!
Mo's favorite...mice!
And little chocolate maker dudes.

















Of course there were sampling stations:
The caramel chocolate was to die for!
Mo is our dark chocolate girl.

Milk and dark chocolate fountains with toppings! Ammmmazing!












There was even an interactive display that Joe is demonstrating here:
But the most exciting part of this chocolate experience was the fact that this is a working factory. We got to watch the employees box chocolates:
All that chocolate goodness...
...boxed up and ready to send.
We watched employees hand-tie bows around chocolate Easter bunnies:
The Easter Bunny has helpers.



















Joe loved the manufacturing aspect of the factory. He felt it was a 'job shop' type of factory instead of a high production operation.
This is the machine that put the gold foil on the chocolate coins. So cool!
Here, employees push filling wafers into the chocolate on the conveyor belt. I thought of Lucy and Ethel...



















Overall, I highly recommend a visit to Aeschbach Chocolatier. It is a gold medal experience:
Americans win gold...
...in Switzerland.

When you come to visit us, we'll be happy to sacrifice ourselves once again and take you there. It's the least we can do. 😉

Here is yet another poem about chocolate:
In Switzerland,
chocolate is brown gold.
Putting it in our faces,
never gets old.
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Writing is on the Wall

Switzerland in general is a pretty clean place, but it is not immune to people publicly expressing themselves with a can of paint, ie. graffiti.
Some graffiti is pretty:
On the wall at the Zug train station where people park their bikes.












Some graffiti is ugly:
On a building in Zurich.












Some graffiti is weird:
On an underpass in Luzern.



















Some graffiti is political:
Seems like they started to erase their spelling mistake then gave up.












And some graffiti is down right profound:
On a wall in Zug.












Again, on a wall in Zug.












On the side of the Siemens building across the street from our flat.



















My poem today is not profound and can barely qualify as art, but some days are like that. Enjoy?

spray
splat
public art
is where it's at
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Schneeschuhe

We are doing our best to embrace all things Swiss. We love the chocolate, the cheese, and the watches. The weather has taken some getting used to (but in a good way). One aspect of a Swiss winter is snow...obviously. And over the weekend we tried out Schneeschuhe (snowshoes). It was fun...at least Joe and I thought so.
 Joe carried the equipment to the bus stop:










Then we took the bus up to the top of a mountain:
Someone was less than excited about this idea.



















Then we got out on the snow and shoed:













Actually Joe and I snowshoed, but Mo decided she didn't want to do it despite renting her a pair of Schneeshuhe. When it came down to actually putting them on, she said, "They're like skis, but lamer." And promptly turned her attention to making a snowman:
Beginning the process...
...sitting on the base.

Then when we returned from our tromping, Joe and I helped her finish Bert the Snowman:
Bert stole my hat!



















Solo Bert...with a snowstack "hat".



















We are going to look for used Schneeshuhe for Joe and I at the Brockenhaus (thrift store) for future adventures. Mo, on the other hand, wants a Schlitten (sled). We'll look for a couple of those, too.

Today's poem is inspired by our teenager's insight:

"They're like skis,
but lamer."
snowshoe disclaimer
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Egg-ceptionally Colorful

Now that we are officially into the season of Lent, Easter is just around the corner. And one of the many symbols of Easter is the egg. Specifically the colored egg. But if you lived in Switzerland you wouldn't have to wait until Easter to have colored eggs. They sell them in the grocery store. Every. Day. Of. The.Year.
We noticed these in August.














The colored eggs are called "Schwiezer Pic-Nic Eier" or Swiss Picnic Eggs.






















Guess why they are colored? Because they are hard boiled! Nothing worse than cracking an egg to make an omelette only to find it hard boiled instead of raw. But both the raw eggs and the "Pic-Nic" eggs are sold on the regular grocery aisle shelves, not in the refrigerated section. We're not sure if it's necessary, but we do refrigerate our eggs when we get them home.

Nice to know that come Easter (or any day of the year) we can have lovely hard boiled eggs without the house smelling like vinegar and Paas color tabs staining our table. The Swiss are so thoughtful.

Today's poem is not exactly colorful, but hopefully you will enjoy the yolk:

 eggs over difficult
scrambled  

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Joe Fun Fact #4286

Joe and I have been together a looooooong time. (1985!) 
I know most things about the man - and maybe a few things I don't want to. 😉 
But recently I learned something new. Fun Fact #4286:
Joe has OPD (Obsessive Puzzle Disorder)
It all started when we visited our local Brockenhaus (thrift store). There was a huge selection of puzzles at a reasonable price. Innocently enough, I suggested we buy a puzzle to do together AS A FAMILY.













I had no idea what I was in for...and I think neither did Joe. For the next month or so Joe went into full Obsessive Puzzling Mode, which ultimately included elbowing Mo and I out gently taking over the completion of the puzzle. In the end, he did a very good job...but at what expense?

















Then Christmas came and Colleeny got her dad, you guessed it, another puzzle! Even though it was his present, Joe invited Mo and I to help. Mo has learned that she is not a puzzler, but I gave it a go. I worked on the edges, but then Joe's OPD kicked into high gear and I was elbowed out again and he decided to finish it on his own. He was in control and on a roll:
After a couple of days.












At the one week mark.



















And finished in just 2 weeks!












OPD under control because he is done.
He has decided he needs a break from puzzles for the time being, but we'll see how he feels when he opens his birthday present. (wink-wink)

Which brings us to Joe Fun Fact #4287: Today is Joe's 52nd Birthday! It's not puzzling to see that he gets better with age:

Birthdays are good for you...the more you have the longer you live.
~Random Internet Quote

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{~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~}
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{*~*~*~*~*~*~HAPPY~*~*~*~*~*~*}
{*~*~*~*~*~*~BIRTHDAY~*~*~*~*~*}
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jigsaw puzzling
coffee guzzling
excellent dad
farts smell bad

We LOVE Joe!
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fasnacht: Dirty Thursday

If you had been standing on the street in Zug yesterday you might have thought it was Halloween:







or Día de los Muertos:







Nope, it was just a freezing day in February when the Swiss go nuts. Fasnacht is Carnival in the German-speaking areas of Switzerland. And Dirty Thursday (Schmutziger Donnerstag) the Thursday before Lent, is the Carnival kick-off. Most cities have parades, and Zug was no exception.
Young:
Could she BEE any cuter?
Teens:
Dressed up and drinking. (Drinking age is 16)
 Families:


And everyone in between lined the streets in costumes to watch the parade.

There were a lot of bands:
Blowing horns...
 
...playing drums...

 
...and don't forget the (fur trimmed) tubas!








Listen to these guys:



But the littlest among us used ear protection:
Whether they were in the parade...
...or watching (not the parade.)
There was "royalty", too. This is the 'Prince' of this year's Fasnacht:
He is a local farmer.












 
with his 'Princesses':
I think they were his wife...
...and daughter.

Plus some fancy guys with furry hats handing out flowers:
I scored three blooms just standing on the sidewalk!
 















There were a few floats:
Birthday cake...
...followed by little cupcakes.


An Indigenous People float... 
...with a native American band? See the guy with the full headdress?
My favorite was the 'school' of jellyfish:
Luckily they didn't look like they would sting.
I think the favorite part for the kids watching on the street was the massive amount of confetti they got to throw and have thrown at them. I've never seen the streets of Zug so littered!
Throwing it at an adult (clown) is fun!
Scraping it off the street to throw again.





At one point I got caught taking a picture of a Viking...
Busted!
And was forced to take a selfie with a stranger.




Joe was at work and Mo was at school (the local schools are on holiday, but the International school is in session until next week) so I went to the parade alone. Nothing like being surrounded by several hundred people to make you feel lonely. But alas, I had protection:
This little guy stood by my side.













Here's my poem about venturing out alone:
Snippets of conversations
in words I can not 
yet understand
mingle with the confetti
to swirl around me
but never land
on me.

I stand solo 
among the
mirth.

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.