The modern scrapbook: Follow the adventures of an American girl, living in Switzerland for almost three years, and her wild Swiss friends in her quest for the quintessential Swiss experience (and a few American ones).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

in which Whittner's bus is hit by a car

At approximately 01:07 on the morning of September 15, the night bus in which Whittner was riding home was struck by a small automobile. Whittner, coming home from the concert of a friend of L's (Strange Shape - "60s 70s freaky & psychedelic sounds") was taking the N17 night bus home to the 'Kon when the bus driver suddenly braked and sounded the horn. Nonetheless, the N17 was hit near the front door by a small passenger car. Apparently, the driver of said car was attempting to occupy the bus/tram lane.

As the driver of said car moved his car out of the way, and the bus driver radioed in the accident (after checking that no one was injured) and surveyed the damage. The ZVV arrived on the scene even before the police, took photos, exchanged bus drivers, and the bus resumed its route in 15 minutes or less. Praise Swiss efficiency--on time, rain or shine or bus accident.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tour guide Whitter

Had a nice visit of my sister A and her friend B. They were in Züri for a couple of days and then we flew to Greece.

I would have to say one of the highlights was our day in Appenzellerland. We'd taken the train from Züri to Appenzell, where we had to get around by PubliCar, a kind of taxi service run by the PostBus service (there are, by the way, two 16-seat vans to service the whole area) since there is no bus connection from Appenzell town to the Appenzeller Schaukäserei, the cheese dairy where they make the famously tasty Appenzeller cheese. I can only recommend a PubliCar ride through the winding roads and hills of Appenzell--it's so green and beautiful!

Of course, Greece was great, but too short. The photos speak fro themselves.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Music, religious experiences, and wine near Heidi's valley

My friend D's boyfriend M comes from a small village in the canton of Graubünden, just a couple of villages away from where Heidi comes from. It's wine country there--his mother owns vineyards, and his brother is a vintner/winemaker. So, I was invited to the annual Malans Weinfest.

As we got there, the Salsizartchestra (a play on words--Salsiz is a salami-like sausage from the area, and the band played Latin/Salsa music) was in full swing. After checking them out along with a couple glasses of Malan's best, we went over to the bar that M's gymnastics club had organized. We stood around and D. explained to me all the local gossip (Malans is small enough that I knew it all after about a half an hour). But after a couple of glasses of wine, we were ready to sleep in M's mother's house.

In the morning, I met M's mother, who, in addition to owning vineyards, is a music therapist. She showed us her gardens, vineyards, and fruit trees (it reminded me of the tours my own mother gives me of her gardens). Afterwards, she showed us all her musical instruments she uses for therapy. She'd built a monotone herself--it's a wooden box with a couple dozen strings on one side, all tuned to the same pitch, producing overtones when played--it's very soothing. Since she'd been to Tibet, she had Tibetan gongs of several sizes so we all sat around and played these gongs.

Afterwards, we went to the official wine tasting. They were all very nice--it was difficult not to drink too much--although I like the white wines from that area much better.

Well, if you're ever in Heidi's neighborhood in September, I would definitely stop by....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Whittner Rafts

This weekend I got to do something I've been wanting to do my whole life--whitewater rafting!

I was invited by AH, an American girl that I know here in ZH, who was organizing a rafting trip to Lingenau with High5, an adventure sport company. AH, accompanied by her American boyfriend SP, T, L (from Finland), M (from Germany), F (from Switzerland), and
B (from Denmark), and I drove round Lake Constance to cross the border at Bregenz (complete with a McD stop, as per American custom). After the border crossing, we stopped at the Rappenlochschlucht for a short walk thru a tiny gorge (see pics here). We then headed to Lingenau and High5, where a "Mundart" (literally, mouth type, meaning dialect) music festival was taking place (in Austria, as in Switzerland, every valley is extremely proud of their own dialect). After listening to some weird stuff and watching a few drunken guys strip to their underwear v e r y s l o w l y, we went to sleep in a cozy (yet slightly moldy) teepee warmed by a fire.

The next day, we got up bright and early to hit the river. We stretched on our neoprene suits and paired off into two-person canoes. After a quick introduction, we were off down the river. The first couple of hours were pretty tough--we got stuck in lots of rocks, and the canoes weren't all that easy to steer. We capsized a couple of times, and we had to jump out and pull the boat a couple of times, but mostly, it was pure excitement!

We took a break, where some people jumped into the water off a bridge about 25 feet/ 8 meters high. After the break, the water was a lot calmer, but the antics began. We sent one of the guides and another canoer after SP and M--they hadn't fallen out of their boat once. So they took revenge by storming our boat and throwing us out of it. By then I was super tired and ended up swimming in circles (due to the current in a bend in the river) for about 10 minutes until I was rescued. I got in the boat with M, but he's a bit stronger than I am so we ended up going in circles for about 10 minutes until we switched so I was paired with AH, and we could make it down the river. We managed the rest of the way pretty smoothly.

Afterwards, High5 fed us and showed us the photos that they took of us, and made it back to Züri. It was a great weekend, worth all the sore muscles!


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