Today I observed it again… it is always surprising!
In Wettingen, at the roundabout Landstrasse-Staffelstrasse, four ravens are watching the traffic from their nest in a curious and a little scared way.
This is an interesting wooden work made by the artist Alex Schaufelbühl. According to the newspaper Aargauer Zeitung (online article from 16.8.2012), the sculptor was inspired by the hundreds of ravens which are spending the night on the trees near the artificial lake of Wettingen.
The masterpiece is made of driftwood and the birds are not painted black, but their dark colour is the result of a flame-thrower. The sculpture was installed at the end of 2009.
This is one of the street with the highest traffic. The big wooden baby birds of the roundabout are probably reminding us that nature, even if dark, even if sometimes hidden on top of some trees, is always to be preserved and shall not be disturbed too much…
When in Switzerland, you should know how many cantons constitute the Confederation (26!) and which are their flags (Because flags are very important in Switzerland!)
You can check, study and try to memorise these details on books or in Internet.
Or, in a better way, just walk around in Zurich on a warm sunny Saturday, precisely in Rennweg, a nice street next to the famous Bahnhofstrasse.
You will find a great “exhibition” of the flags of the Swiss cantons, which are permanently and proudly flying in the wind there…
On these photos, some anticipations.
On the 1st: Solothurn, Graubünden, Ticino, Neuchatel, Schwyz, Schaffhausen, Zug.
On the 2nd: Geneva, Thurgau, Basel-Stadt.
Finally it’s done! My tax declaration 2018 is completed.
I just brought it to the finance department of my village today, tightly complying with the usual due date of the 31st of March!
In Switzerland the fiscal federalism is an actual reality! As calculated in the declaration, 85% of my taxes will be used in the Canton and the village and just 15% for the state.
Therefore the money will be mainly used “locally” to cover the needs of the population.
As a motivation for the tax declaration, together with the instructions, we, in Canton Argovia, received an interesting letter explaining some facts about our Canton and the use of the tax money in the last five years.
The population increased by 5.4% from 636’000 to 670’000.
The number of children in the primary school and kindergarten increased by 5.2% from 73’500 to 77’400.
The jobs in the Canton for every 1’000 inhabitants decreased from 6.1 to 5.6 since 2013.
In 2017, Canton Argovia could reduce its debts by 67.5 million CHF.
The “Programm Hightech Aargau” promotes innovation with 26.5 million CHF.
Canton Argovia supports companies which are developing innovative products or applying efficient processes.
The offer of digital services of Canton Argovia is continuously increasing with 5G-E-Government projects. For example, now it is possible to register an address change just electronically.
These facts show that the money paid with the taxes is operationally used near us, for us!
In Switzerland it’s happening… in many other countries not really!
Last Saturday the sun was shining really strong and we decided to drive down to Canton Graubünden, very famous mainly for its ski resorts.
We actually aimed at the Fashion Outlet in Landquart. A nice place, just besides the mountains, where you can walk among various buildings with many shops.
Inside the outlet you feel like everywhere or nowhere… it’s like an international location: when you are here you might be in many other places which all look similar.
But still the landscape reminds you that you are in the nice Confederation.
We spent a good time, we spent some money and we took a warm sun (for free)!
By the way, very near this fashion resort, you can find the so-called “Heidi village” (Heididorf): Meienfeld!
Unfortunately we could not visit the place, but keep in mind: Meienfeld is the location which gave the inspiration to the writer Johanna Spyri for her Heidi “epic”!
Fortunately at that time there was no outlet in these surroundings, otherwise maybe “The Devil wears Prada” would have been created, instead of the cute story of the little girl who is friend with the sheep and the mountains!
Photo from Wikipedia “Rail transport in Switzerland”.
In a series of posts, I will tell you now the various steps, hurdles or (as the Led Zeppelin would say) the Starway to Heaven, which I needed to overcome and climb to reach the treasured Swiss nationality.
According to the instructions given on the relevant website (“Ordinary naturalisation of foreigners in Argovia” – “Ordentliche Einbürgerung von Ausländer/-innen im Aargau”), I started the online procedure for the Swiss nationality (Naturalisation) for myself on the 22nd April 2017.
After two days, the “Inhabitants control” department (Einwohnerkontrolle) of my village already gave me some very good news. Even if it was not so clearly mentioned on the internet instructions, they confirmed that I could have applied for my whole family!
Of course I proceeded in this way straight away! One day after this important detail, I quickly got the forms and explanations for the application by mail in a precious fat envelope.
The next step consisted on the collection of all the papers needed to complete the application form…
Picture from Amazon.com
My blog is titled “Real Swiss – A Foreigner in Switzerland”.
Today I received a quite important letter. It announced that, after nearly two years from the official application, together with my family, I have become Swiss!
“Der Grosse Rat” of Canton Argovia took the topic decision!
And in one month, after all the administrative procedures are complete, we will be able to apply for the ID and the passport of the Confederation!
We will be pleased, as the letter encourages, to participate in the Swiss political life!
From now on: Absolutely Real Swiss and no longer (or not too much) foreigner in Switzerland!
The Carnival closed its curtain on Tuesday, as usual (even if in some cantons and cities it will last some days more).
During the Carnival, people normally have fun, get masked with funny costumes, make jokes and go to parties.
In the small village where I live, as every year, during this “amusement” period, some weird, dreadful and scary characters suddenly appeared in the weirdest places…
Quite creepy, isn’t it?
This is just Carnival, but maybe in Switzerland they mistake it for a horror movie?!