Last weekend my wife and I went to the mountains to Stoos (Canton Schwyz) to bring our two small daughters to get ski lessons for the first time!
Nothing special, you would say, apart from a nice family reminder.
Actually we did establish a record, and even a world record!
We reached the top (Stoos village) by the steepest funicular railway of the world!
This amazing “vehicle” had been just inaugurated on the 16th December 2017.
It looks like a futuristic spaceship, like the strangest of the roller coasters. Nevertheless, thanks to the automatic level compensation of the four cabins, even if you drive almost vertically, your feet are always well in contact with the floor.
Here some figures of this terrific engineering masterpiece:
110% incline (World record!);
47° maximum slope;
1500 passengers per direction of travel per hour;
3-5 minutes’ travel time;
744 elevation gain;
1’740 m distance between the valley and the mountain stations;
34 passengers per cabin;
14 years needed to complete this work, from planning to realisation.
This is another surprising example of “Swiss made”, which makes the white crossed Confederates so proud!
Photo from huffingtonpost.it (source: Instagram).
What a shame, little Switzerland!
The embarrassing sign, written by the manager of an apartment hotel in Arosa, inviting the “Jewish” guests to take shower before and after the swimming pool, is travelling with the news all over the world! And it even provoked official complaints from Israel.
The word “Jewish”, the specification of which Jewish persons are meant (really all, no distinction: women, men, children!) and the threatening order really sound discriminating, offensive, scary and racist.
It is too easy and late now, Ms Hotel Manager, to say that you carelessly didn’t choose the right words for your scary sign.
It would have been probably better just to say “sorry” to all the guests: Women, men, children… Jewish and not!
Picture from www.pinterest.de
Last week I had the yearly meeting with the kindergarten teacher of my elder daughter.
Every year, near the end of the year, the teacher gives feedback and scores to the behaviour, activities, progress of the kids.
I was pleased for the nice feedback, but my energies were already all directed towards the… mysterious topic!
And so finally I came to the million dollars’ question: Why (the hell, but this I did not speak out loud) the kids cannot eat bananas during their break in the kindergarten?
The teacher seemed a little surprised for this “nutritional” question, but she immediately understood!
OK, to make it short, a dental specialist sometimes visits the kindergarten to teach the kids how to clean their teeth properly and inform them on other matters somehow related to orthodontics, including “healthy” and tooth-friendly food.
Apparently, as the teacher reported, banana tends to stuck and melt in between the teeth, due to its soft texture. This might increase the risk for caries.
I don’t know whether it was because of the heat of the day or the astonishment for such piece of information, but I remained still, like stunned, for some seconds.
I never heard someone condamn bananas in such a way, being banana still a recognised very healthy fruit!
But this is it!
The mystery is solved by now.
But it probably needs a follow-up!
As far as I know, there are many other fruits which can stick, stuck, glue themselves between small teeth, but they have not been softly “banned” by the kindergarten dental consultant!
Is this just racism against bananas or maybe the dental consultant absolutely hates… minions??
(See also my previous post “The banana mystery in the Kindergarten”: https://geoch1.wordpress.com/2017/05/06/the-banana-mystery-in-the-kindergarten/)
A big question mark has stuck in my head since yesterday.
I’m gonna tell you a real mystery, something which is fully out of any common human comprehension.
Every day my 5 years’ old daughter, when she goes to the Kindergarten, shall bring a small snack for the mid-morning break.
This normally means fruit and something crunchy like bread, crackers, etc.
Quite easy, right?
Yesterday I was in charge of preparing her small box and I gave her some slices of banana…
When she was back home, we found the same untouched banana slices. Strange! My daughter normally likes bananas. Which kid wouldn’t like this fruit?
With curiosity I asked for details and I found out that the teacher does not allow the kids to eat bananas!!!
I could not get the real reason though…
I was quite astonished and even a little upset. Bananas are apparently forbidden, but other kinds of well-known unhealthy food, like sausages, are welcome in the kindergarten or even in the nursery and are often the delicacy of the day!!
I’m still not sure about the background of this “banana ban”.
But I shall go on investigating, because I’m actually going bananas with this banana matter!
… How not to in such case?????
A flyer was spread in front of the school of a neighbouring village by the school director.
Two men driving a white van tried to “invite” a boy on their van and bring him home…
For sure accepting that invitation would have been very dangerous!
Fortunately the boy shouted and run away.
All the parents of the surrounding villages (including us) received somehow the flyer…it started circulating in a very fast way.
Everyone was worried.
Calling the law:
The police was informed by the school of their initiative of distributing such flyer.
Reaction of the police:
As reported by the Aargauer Zeitung (http://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/aargau/zurzach/wollten-zwei-maenner-einen-buben-entfuehren-kantonspolizei-aargau-warnt-vor-hysterie-130589868), the main newspaper of Canton Argovia), the official speaker of the Kantonspolizei Aargau stated that it is important to report such cases to the parents, school and finally to the police, BUT there is no need to become too fearful!
– every year 60-80 similar events occur…
– in the last 20 years no kid was kidnapped in the Canton…
– once a girl simulated a similar event not to go to school…
– often people with mental problems (not necessarily dangerous) are approaching the kids in that way…
“BUT it is not necessary to become too fearful”.
As you see… there is something Swiss… something skeptical in all of this, isn’t it?
How would have the police reacted in your country? What would have the police done in your country?
In this case there should be no BUT!
That sense of confidence that let Swiss think that, just because we are in the Confederation, nothing bad can happen…
This is quite SCARY!
Even if 2015 is already archived and overtaken by its younger colleague 2016, I still have some posts about last year…Please forgive me for my slight delay.
One of the most typical “events” in Switzerland during the period before Christmas!
The arrival of Samichlaus (Swiss German for Nikolaus) with his two faithful Schmutzli (“dirties”), to celebrate St. Nikolaus on the 6th December.
Almost every small village, city or part of organised civilisation in Switzerland has its own “Samichlaus with Schmutzli” event.
The origins of this celebration are not so clear and are to be found many many centuries ago.
Basically, on the 6th December, Samichlaus, dressed more like a bishop than a Santa Claus, arrives with a big sack full of small sweets, chocolates, mandarins and peanuts for the joy of all children. He is always accompanied by two “Schmutzli”, characters wearing brown tunics and having faces covered with black dirty spots.
So this year, organised by the kindergarten, we were in the wood, in the evening, with the kids, with some fires to be able to see something and suddenly Samichlaus and its crew arrived and distributed his “sweet” presents in small bags to each kid.
It was really a delightful event…
…apart from the quite boring (and sometimes seeming endless in the coldness of the evening) speech delivered by Samichlaus before handing over his presents!
Of course: the speech was entirely delivered in the most possible strict Swiss German dialect!
Some weeks ago I was with my family and another friend family in a park in Wettingen.
As in every nice playground in the Confederation, there were a lot of amenities for children: slide, swings, installations allowing kids to climb on wooden structures, nets, and so on.
And then, very common…it! The rocking device where two children shall sit on opposite sides and, helping themselves with their feet, try to go up and down alternatively.
This kind of amusement, when not used, is normally lying with one end touching the floor and the other up. It is quite normal…the device is never so well balance to stay still and perfectly horizontal.
Never? Maybe everywhere else but in Switzerland.
As you can see in the picture, this rocking device was perfectly balanced and totally horizontal without persons on it. Like an aerial mechanical creature! Perfect like a professional spirit level!
Swiss precision? Yes, of course, as expected.
But this precision is often perfect in such…let’s say not so decisive cases.
Unfortunately not always so perfect in many other important cases!