Monday, July 27, 2015

Going from ... to

Temperatures are back to normal Mitteleuropa temperatures - around 25 - 28 °C! The sun is shining - day in, day out. What a wonderful summer we are having!!
Yesterday, first Sunday in a long time (due to dropping temperatures), I felt like going on a short hiking trip. I don't even know if I really can call it "hiking". I walked from Rapperswil to Stäfa (along the Lake of Zurich) (it's a 2.5 hours walk) and a friend of mine accompanied me. It was a nice walk, one I had already done a couple of years back and one that I had wanted to do again because the view is nice. So, it felt nice ... to be on the road again ... on foot :-)

Rapperswil - isn't it a wonderful?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My World - My Travels: Firenze, Italia

I had been getting tired of hearing everybody saying: WHAT?? You've never been to Firenze? You, the art buff, the history buff?? Oh yes, I had been tired of hearing these words but then, how to explain, I had been ... almost afraid to visit Firenze.
Afraid? Yes, afraid. Afraid that the many tourists would somehow worsen my impression. Afraid that the picture I had in my head of this city would never never match the real thing.
I worried for nothing.
Well, not that there weren't many tourists (I have rarely sooo many of them in such a small place!! incredible! And it wasn't even high season!). The places were crowded and we didn't make it to the Uffizi (queuing for hours is not my thing!). But ... oh my. It was soo worth it.  A wonderful place. Full of beauty and history and art and nice people. The picture in my head? The real thing was much better :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Basel and the Rhine

I am pretty proud of myself. Not because I spent my day yesterday on the Rhine (under the rain first, the hot sun later!) (going from Basel to Rheinfelden) and later walking around the city with a friend, enjoying ourselves by having drinks in a nice place, under the trees, and later having diner along the Rhine.
I am proud of myself because the pictures you see above ... have been taken with my iPhone and were uploaded on this blog ... with my iPhone! Yes, I am getting up to date blog-wise as well SMILE. I have no idea why I never thought about uploading the app of the blog to my phone and therefore being able to update these pages while actually "being on the road". I have to admit, this is pretty cool. Not that I will writing long posts on my phone (oh my, typing long texts with just two fingers??? no thanks!). But I will now be able to upload nice pictures immediately while on the road.

PS: Basel was nice . I wanted to go on this boat trip on the Rhine for a while now and passing through two water locks was quite fascinating! We were upliftet 8 meters! Imagine! That was pretty cool. And Basel is "immer eine Reise wert", i.e. worth a visit!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Walk Man

In Italy, while walking on the beach in the mornings, I saw a young woman who was listening to music with ... a disc man!! Remember those?? Oh my, it seems like a lifetime ago! I had read about younger people discovering "older" gadgets, using them again is kind of hip apparently, and the article had made me smile at the time.
I smiled again that morning walking on the beach but at the same time I thought that, no, thank you, I don't want to listen to my music on a disc man any longer. So totally not handy! So totally not :-) Imagine all the CDs you have to carry in your luggage and then (I remember that bit quite clearly) the sound used to "jump" depeding on how I carried the thing.
Therefore, no thank you. (I am grateful to that young woman though. Seeing the "old gadget" not only made me smile but made me remember what it felt like to own the first disc man -feeling soo cool and up to date- and then what about the first walk man? Oh my, that was beyond cool!!)(does having owned a walk man make me very old? hahahahaha).

I was thinking about this disc man the other day, while standing in an Apple Shop (waiting to get the attention of one of the employees - the shop was crazy, I have rarely seen as many people in one place!! It seemed like all the Asian tourists had found their way into that store in THAT particular moment!! hahahahaha). Well, anyway, I was in the shop because my good old iPod Nano (10 or so years old) had definitively passed away (well, I would simply have needed a new battery but no battery any longer for gadgets THAT old - welcome to our world!). I replaced it with a new one (when the employee finally found his way to me SMILE). Once back home, downloading all my music into it, I thought of the young woman on the beach and her disc man.
Oh my. I am glad someone (we know who, right??) invented this tiny little gadget - it made my life as a music lover sooooo much easier! I might not like all the aspects of modern life (who does??) but some stuff is really awesome and I never ever wanna go back to the so-called good old times!

On Changing

Monday, July 13, 2015

My World - My Travels: Chicago (IL), USA

I fell in love with the city of Chicago almost immediately. I loved everything of the city. Its people. Its museums. The lake. The river. The architecture. EVERYTHING.
What I particularly loved though was ... the Art on the Street. I used to wander around the city and just walk from master piece to the other. The "eye" caught my eyes (hahahahaha) because it was impressive and creepy at the same time. I love some creepy stuff from time to time!

Summer Time

This week starts one of my favorite times of the year: summer school vacations!

Favorite not because I am still going to school and am happy because I get to have free time, no, favorite because ... everybody is off on a vacation and the city ... empties! I love it. I just love it! I can go to whatever place I like and I am sure to find a parking space. No people in the shops (well, besides the tourists but I don't mind them). At the lake. In the restaurants. In the museums.
It feels like 5 weeks a year the city simply ... gets to breathe (and ME AS WELL). And this year, I am sure of that, it will even be better because the weather is so nice!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015


I have been having this kind of conversation quite a lot these last couple of days (due to the heat wave):

ME: Oh my, I can't remember these kind of temperatures round here!

OTHER: You're right. I can remember 2003 though being kind of very hot as well.

ME: 2003? Right. I can't remember much of 2003 as I was studying for my final exams and doing research for my final thesis.

OTHER: What a shame. Then you certainly remember 2006 - there we had quite a few very hot summer days as well.

ME: 2006? Can't remember that one either ... because I spent the whole summer in Italy (where summer is usually hot).

OTHER: Well, you will remember 2015 then!

ME: Yes, I will :-)

Monday, July 6, 2015

My World - My Travels: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, MI, USA

These last couple of days have been ... hot. Very hot. Oh my. We've had temperatures up to 38 °C (that's about 100 °F!!). Imagine! The heat made me think of all the places I have visited where high temperatures made traveling difficult.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore came to my mind. No idea why. I have visited other "hot" places but this one came to my mind first :-)
The park was my first stop of my road trip all around Lake Michigan (USA). I had read about these Dunes and that one could actually "walk on them" (see picture). I was very much looking forward to visit the place! What I hadn't expected though were the high temperatures!
It was a late August day and at some point, walking up and down these wooden stairs, I had to actually sit down, grab some water and just rest. There was not a bit of shade and I was the only (stupid European!! hahahaha) walking the trail (which was luckily not that long!). I can't remember much of my walk. I found it difficult to concentrate on the beauty all around me. All I was focused on was ... the heat!! Such a pity, actually. Looking at the pictures I took afterwards, made me realize that the place was wonderful. I was just a bit distracted.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Looking for a Better Life

While traveling from Italy to Switzerland, I took the regional train from Milano to Bellinzona and had an eye opening moment. It touched my heart and made me think.

At the Swiss border the train stopped, the border police doing their usual random checks.Three guys were sitting in front of me. They looked to be Ethiopian. I imagined they were traveling together. None of them spoke during the ride from Milano to Chiasso. They just sat there, looking kind of sad (and frail, I have to admit).
The two police officers abruptly stopped when they saw the three guys.
One police officer asked for their passports.
The guys just silently looked at the police man.
The police officer asked again.
No answer.
Then the officer asked them to leave the train. They did so. Saying nothing. Looking at nobody. Frail bodies and lost eyes. Dead eyes.
These were no "normal" passengers, I realized. These were the "immigrants" I had been reading about. Immigrants that try to get to Northern Europe (via Italy or Greece).
I had READ about it. The pros. The cons. The polemics. The politics. The whole thing.
But then, sitting there, in the train from Milano to Bellinzona, looking (really looking) at these frail guys and their dead eyes ... it hit me.
I am NOT talking politics here. I am not talking about the wrongs and rights. I am not into polemics.
It's just that, seeing the guys leave the train, followed by the police officers, I realized (and it hit me really hard and made me immensely sad) that the whole talking and writing and reading about the topic, was what it was: words.
Words to describe a "situation". The pros and cons.
Words. Description. Not reality.
The reality is that we are talking about actual human beings. Thousands of human beings. Human beings that look for a better life. Who go on THE trip of their life (like my parents did, 60 years back, but the world was different back then - luckily for them ... and me!). Who have hopes. And fears. They love. They hate. Some of them are certainly crooks. Others are good. Some are hard working people, others are lazy.
Just like everywhere in this world.
They are not words though but human beings.
You now may think that I am naive. I may be, I agree with you.
It's just that this (silent and sad) scene in the regional train from Milano to Bellinzona shocked me. It touched something deep inside of me. I obviously don't know the solution to this mass immigration. As I said this is not about politics. And polemics. It's just that suddenly all the words in the various articles now remind me of the sad, "dead" eyes of these three Ethiopians.
It's in my head.
I feel sad. And helpless.

Ecology and spirituality