Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day Trip to Geneva

We've been residents of Switzerland over a year and still never been to Geneva. The American Women's Club sponsored a trip to visit the Red Cross Museum and tour the United Nations. I decided to sign up even though it would require an early start. Geneva is about 3 hours away by train.

statue group called "The Petrified"

I like the reflections of the banners

We received head sets and took our own pace through the museum. We learned that what we know as the Red Cross is known as the Red Crescent in the Muslim part of the world. Where the symbol of the cross is offensive, they requested an alternative.

oldest Red Cross flag

the challenges:   natural disasters, asylum seekers, conflicts/war
When prisoners or refugees are in Red Cross shelters, they are very thankful for the help they receive. They make gifts from what materials are at hand to express their gratitude. Many of their creations are on display.


supposedly a symbol of luck - from Turkey


It was impossible to capture the whole wall in a photo. The display went well beyond a normal ceiling height and nearly to the floor. Each is an individual child who'd been traumatized by the violence in their country. Many became non-verbal and the photos were used to try to match the children to family members.

rear of Red Cross building as seen from the United Nations building
I only saw this view of the UN building from the bus so had to buy a postcard. The chair represents solidarity with disabled people.

view of UN courtyard

This statue was made by a Swiss sculptor. Both the mother and child have no facial features to portray that the UN cares for all.
view from UN to Lake Geneva and the Alps - not bad!

At the UN, there are many works of art donated by various countries. Many are behind glass and difficult to capture in a photo. This display of hands was out in the open - and huge!  

ready for a press conference

hall for the conferences regarding civil rights - love the ceiling!
We were told that the colors are cleverly placed on the ceiling. Those in the "audience" see warm colors to help keep them calm. The speakers see brighter colors to inspire them to speak passionately. 

Touring the European headquarters of the UN was very similar to touring the UN in New York City. The gifts presented by member countries are beautiful. It was a long, but fun day. I came home very tired, but having made some new contacts. Next time I go to Geneva, I think I'll stay overnight.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Carrots, carrots and more carrots!

Last year I went to the annual onion market in Bern with the Swiss Festivals group of ZIWA. This year's offering was a chance to go to another fall vegetable market: carrots. Why not? It was certainly something I would never see in the USA. I like to take advantage of these opportunities while I can.  As you might expect, the market stalls were decorated with the theme of the day. 

Look at the lower right of this picture. On top, there is a long squash carved with a heart on the left with "lich" inside followed by the word willkommen. Herzlich Willkommen! It's difficult to read, but the pumpkin is also carved to say Rüblimärt! (carrot market) In other words, we were heartily welcomed to the carrot market!

I like how the u  looks like a smiley face!

5 different color carrots and parsnips

I bought some of every color, but would have bought the ready-made assortments if I'd seen them first. I also bought a bundle of assorted mini carrots. Tom and I did a taste test while they were still raw. There is a subtle difference in flavor. The white is also a little less firm than the others.


The vendors were very creative - so many choices of carrot based products. Most booths had samples to entice customers.

cakes and tarts - not as sweet as American

two kinds of carrot soup
carrot infused cheese
bread in the shape of a carrot!

The carrot cheese tasted like cheese to me - just looked weird. Didn't buy any. I did buy some carrot bread which is not a sweet bread like an American pumpkin bread. It tastes like bread, but has little orange flecks. Mine was just round since I bought it before we saw this clever baker.

Sadly, it was another cold, rainy day in Switzerland, but it didn't stop people from coming to Aarau for their annual event. It was plenty crowded, anyway.

at the edge of the market - umbrellas don't work well in a crowd

a lull in the weather


Even the local shopkeepers jumped on the carrot wagon. These muffins are shown in a shop window. The shop sold liqueurs, olive oil, honey and spices. Why not carrot muffins too? At least the vendor was warm and dry.

fun and creative displays

even the used book booth had a carrot display

minor deduction because hands didn't move
carrot topiary
my first place prize winner for best display  - all carrots except the bunny!

what's a carrot market without Carrotman?
I am not one to go to a market and come home empty-handed. It was a bit heavy to carry the soup home, but easier than eating outside in the rain. Now I have two glass containers leftover too. Maybe the soup wasn't such a great idea. Anybody want the containers? They can be vacuum sealed.

my purchases
Now that I had so many carrots, I looked for some new ways to prepare them. Thanks to the internet, it's easy to find new recipes.

steamed carrots ready for seasonings

finished product - Algerian carrots ready to eat
We were instructed not to cook the dark carrots with the other or they would make everything gray. I agree that gray soup does not sound appetizing. Here I roasted carrots to put on top of a salad. I kept the dark ones separate just in case.


Both new recipes were very tasty. All I have left to cook are the parsnips.

As we move towards the Christmas season, I'll leave you with something you may want to consider in your holiday decorating.

Merry Carrotmas?