I've kept up my own personal tradition of experiencing as many Swiss festivals as possible. This year I witnessed five.
Zurich hosted a Film Festival in late September through early October. The films are from all over the world and are being premiered.
|tent for private functions|
If you hang around this area of the city during the festival, you may see a familiar actor in town, but I've never bothered. It was fun to do once, but the ZIWA reception seemed very over-priced and not worth doing again. That being said, the film buffs love it.
It was our second time to witness the Räbechilbi, or turnip festival, in Richterswil. It is the biggest and best in all of Switzerland and it's only 15 minutes away from Horgen! The "downtown" area is lit up with lanterns made from turnips, similar to mini jack-o-lanterns.
Street lights are turned off and a parade goes along the main road. These are floats that are pulled by people, not cars or trucks.
|the gears on this float were moving|
Zurich's open air art festival, Aufsehen, was held during the summer.
No matter how long I stay in Switzerland, a highlight will always be the alphorn competition and festival we attended in Nendaz, July 2015.
The icing on the cake was the chance to give an alphorn a try!
Swiss National Day, August 1, isn't really a festival, but we celebrated like the locals with brunch at a farm. (and this year we even had our own edelweiss shirts to wear!)
|indoor seating for a rainy morning|
We haven't had many visitors, only three this year.
|at the abbey in Einsiedeln|
A dear friend, Lynn, came once before and this time she came with her husband, Howard.
To make holiday time more fun, Alicia's friend, Nicole, came to Switzerland and joined us on our jaunt to Malta.
I'm still walking and hiking plenty of miles or kilometers as they say here. I haven't been keeping track of how many, but I go with a few groups on a fairly regular basis. On weekends, Tom and I go for walks starting at our front door or venture further afield. There are so many more trails to explore! When we return stateside and decide where to live in retirement, scenic hiking or walking trails will be on our list of things we want nearby.
|so many stunning views here|
In the fall, I continued at Sprachwelten, a high quality language school. The class was small, only four students which is ideal. The class actually met three days a week, but since I didn't want to give up my Friday tennis, I only attended and paid for two days per week. It was my responsibility to do the classwork I missed and also all the homework. I absolutely loved my teacher, a young woman from Hungary named Zofia. (pronounced like Sophia and we called her the diminutive, Sofi.) She was incredibly patient, encouraging and enthusiastic - definitely the best German teacher I have had here. (My Berlitz teacher from NJ is also one of my favorites.) Sadly, when December came around and it was time to sign up for the next level class, we were told we could not continue with Sofi. The director of the school does not allow anyone to teach at the more advanced levels unless they are a native speaker. Sofi was so great, it was months before I realized she wasn't a native speaker. I also think it can be helpful when the teacher understands problems and pitfalls for language learners because they may have experienced the same themselves. I was also told that they thought the level was going to be too challenging for me to work partially on my own. I would have preferred them let me try and come to that realization myself. Oh well. I joined a drop-in conversation group that met weekly. I was not as committed to this as the class I paid for and got much less out of it, but I felt it was better than nothing. That group has since folded so it's now time to find a new solution. I don't want to go back to the classroom three days a week, but I also don't want to lose what I worked hard to learn.
The number of days I've played tennis definitely increased to nearly double. Once in a tennis group, I met other people who play in multiple groups and other playing opportunities arose. I stayed with my original ZIWA group in Wädenswil on Friday morning (share the spot in a doubles group), but also joined a Thursday group in Horgen. The Thursday group is half doubles play and half drills with a pro, which I love. I can see the clay courts that are part of the Dow Chemical European headquarters complex from our balcony. I've been able to sub with that group on occasion, but I can't be a regular because I am not an employee, employee spouse or retiree. So close, but no.
A new experience for me during this past summer was swimming in Lake Zurich. Temperatures soared early in the summer and the lake was irresistible. I didn't take any pictures myself, but here are a few thanks to the internet. All along the lake, there are places where you can get into the water without going through a "schwimmbad" or swim club. I opted not to do that, but go where there were facilities. There is one such place very close to our apartment. It has limited parking, but we don't need that. I made a point of getting wet right before departure so my wet clothes would keep me cool on the walk back up the hill.
There is quite a bit of shade, but also umbrellas to rent if the shade is all taken.
There is a zip line to ride into the water. I didn't try it, but the kids sure were having fun with it.
It is incredibly peaceful to swim and float in the lake. Only one time was there a current to work against. We'd had storms the night before and the lake was a bit stirred up because of them.
This is the view from the water. Dow Chemical is the orange buildings on the left - that's how close this is to home.
At the other end of Horgen, there is another "schwimmbad" which I went to once with several ZIWA women. Their facilities are quite similar with chairs and umbrellas for rent, restrooms and showers, restaurant with alcoholic beverages (although you are instructed not to drink before swimming). In the water, they both have buoys to swim out to, inflatable equipment to bounce on or jump off, and diving boards. The very non-American piece is the absence of lifeguards. I remember only seeing one at each place. I'm not sure why they bothered.
I've been a regular in the Posaunenchor in the neighboring town of Adliswil for over a year now. Their events do not hold me back from traveling; I support them when I'm home in Horgen. I've played in many venues: in church several Sundays, at local "Altersheims" (nursing homes), at a funeral, at a wedding reception, carol playing outside on Christmas Eve, at evening vesper service and their annual "serenades". The last is a combined effort of two groups. The same program is performed in the home of each group on Friday and Sunday of the same weekend. Here are some pictures from the serenades 2015. The timing was less than ideal for me since I arrived back in Switzerland after five weeks without an instrument to play around noon and the concert was at 7:00 pm! I told the people near me not to worry if I wasn't playing. I wasn't lost, just saving myself for the important parts. I was a little less jet-lagged on Sunday.
|in the Adliswil Methodist church|
|Viktor and Dagi|
|folks of all ages|
What's ahead for year number four? Not sure, but it will definitely include exploring more of Switzerland (there must be a festival I haven't attended!), hiking, tennis, music and excursions further afield. We have no visitors on our schedule........yet. (Alicia is family and we look forward to her coming at the end of the year.) We don't know how long we'll live here, but we will continue to enjoy the many things Switzerland has to offer as long as we do.