Archive for November, 2013

Bern’s Onion Festival

November 29, 2013

Every 4th Monday of November, Bern hosts their annual “Zibelemärit” (Onion Festival) from around 4am to 4pm. There’s onion pie, garlic bread, onion and garlic garlands and wreaths, onion art, and more.

Onion Nurses!

Also, this appears to be a favorite holiday for obnoxious teenagers, as throughout the day, it’s not only allowed, but encouraged to throw confetti. It’s certainly a unique experience to witness the (otherwise) pristine Swiss streets drenched with confetti.  Tip: keep your mouth closed! And watch out for teens with plastic hammers! This one rather annoying teenager hit me repeatedly with his hammer until it broke on him.

Confetti Attack

I was in a friendly mood, so let them do this to me

Now it was a beautiful (yet cold!) day when I went to check out the festival. I went in the afternoon, catching the tail end of things. I’d say 2 hours is plenty of time to check out the festival. Then, I went to catch a train back to Zurich. What happened next is simply unheard of in Switzerland. The trains were completely stopped! Nothing was going because there was an electrical fire and power outage at the Bern station, due to a second-hand clothing fire on a train. I kid you not. So, my friends and I decided to head for dinner because it was estimated the delays would last for a couple of hours. Rightly enough, a couple hours later the trains were functioning again and we were able to hop a train (15 minutes past the departure time) home. All of these delays and cancellations are just unheard of in Switzerland! I was amazed at the trains not running for nearly 2 hours in rush hour traffic time on a festival day, no less!

Train board showing the ridiculous delay times – plus confetti everywhere


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

November 22, 2013

We had the first snow of the season yesterday in Zurich!

Marius loves the snow

View when I woke up this morning

A trip towards Bahnhofstrasse showed that the Christmas season was now in full swing. These holiday huts are EVERYWHERE.

Glühwein on every corner

In the spirit of the season, I was motivated to put up my little tree this week. Classic Rachel fail.

See, I brought my tree from home with the (American) lights on it. I put it up, find an adapter and plug it in. All is good. Then 20 minutes later, I notice a shift in lighting in the room. I look at my tree and suddenly one of the light strings is not working. “Odd” I think. I go over and see if any lights are loose, plug and unplug, that sort of thing. I decide to unplug and try again tomorrow. The next day, I plug in my tree and neither string lights up. Frustrated, I decide to go out and buy lights. I do a quick search on English forum to see where I could get (inexpensive) lights and in the comments I read that even using a transformer, American tree lights nearly always blow out. Ooohh, right…the difference in voltage.Whoops. I didn’t even try it with a transformer! My poor lights didn’t have a chance. Well, I certainly can’t be the only expat who has blown something out. 🙂

Anyway, after re-stringing my new (Swiss) lights, my home looks a little more ready for the season.