Sunday, July 8, 2007
Freitag is becoming somewhat of an obsession with me. When ever I catch sight (of wiff of that tarpaulin scent) I can't help but crane my neck or go and stare at the bags design. I'm compeled to check them out where ever I go. So when we went back to their Zurich shop I spent a heady 45 minutes drinking in the sights, while Hiromi 'Um'ed and 'Ah'ed about the weighty price tag. After an hour and a half and two shops of Freitag she succombed to the devilish works of the Freitag Bros.
She is now the proud owner of a Dexter F14, and what a beauty. While my friends were here more goods were also purchased and only yesterday I found myself back in a couple of shops handling the goods looking for a new wallet, and here she is! What a beauty! For future gift ideas please visit Freitag at:
Go on, you know you want one.
On thursday we had an erasmus excursion to Zurich to see the Artr schools Diploma show. It was held in a magnificent old factory, which is soon to become their new campus. The show featured Industrial design, fine art, product design, graphic design, sculpture photography et al. It was a good show with some interesting pieces.
While there someone discovered this old photobooth, which was part of someones degree show. Aparently all of the film booths are going extinct in favour of the new digital ones, and this was a feature of someones work (I missed that one).
The prints from the booth were black and white with a wonderful silvery quality. Four photos for 1CHF (about 40p!) needless to say we all took more than we needed. Here are the results of our big spending.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Our final group of visitors are also some very close friends of mine. My best friend Mr Damian Griffiths and his lovely girlfriend Jenny, and Mr 'last minute' Peter Wright. Their stay really is a flying visit, arrive saturday early evening back onto the plane monday afternoon/evening, so every second counts. Naturally Peter's plane is delayed by an hour and Damian and Jenny board the wrong train and are heading away from Luzern to Basel, by the time they return to Zurich to get on the right train Peter has caught up with them, they arrive in Luzern 2 hours late but never the less very welcome, its a tonic to see them and I feel lifted just being in their presense. They have arrived on probably the best/worst day. Its an 'Old town' festival, I have never seen Luzern so busy, getting through the streets is like trying to escape from the front row at a music festival. We drop off lugage and immediately sink some rum on the terrace, we have a full house. Hiromi, Damian, Peter, Jenny, Ben, Deborah (Swiss girl) and her brother, plus two of her friends. The streets are full to bursting, we catch some food and wander around watching the festivities. We take root by the river and sit talking, Nuno Pedro and a Swiss guy turn up too. we walk around laughing and drinking, and resettle under the Medieval wall by our house taking in the view. Under the influence Peter and Damian turn into two naughty school kids and are giggling at anything, Jenny takes a capable and stern tone taking them in hand before bed. Better her than me.
Next day we are heading out to Rigi. We take a paddle boat to Weggis and onto the cable car. We pass two cablle car supports and both times the car lurches back and forth a few meters, its like being drunk on a ship at sea, we stagger and laugh nervously to each other, the attendant sits cooly unflinching. The view spreads as we gain height, its as beautiful as ever. We then take a funicular to the top. Despite our hunger our first act upon arrival is to play on a trampolinefive twentysomethings bouncing like idiots in the midday sun, there is much colliding and screaming and fun.
Peter was born to bounce apparently.
The weather is turning dark as we eat lunch and by the time we start to appreciate the views they have disappeared in cloud. The men venture to the very summit and behold a fantastic drop off worthy of bowling balls and aerobies. It rains and we run for the funicular down to the boat. The skies open on us and the funicular is pounded on all sides, its crowded. It chuggs groggily down the mountainside stopping every now and then. Cable cars and funiculars always seem a little risky, but I've grown use to them, until about a kilometer from the bottom after dropping a passenger off the funicular starts up and then slips its gears for about a meter. This is enough to set people catapulting down the train, people pick themselves up and grip rails and glance at each other. There is a tense nervous hilarity in peoples voices for the rest of the journey, and you start to notice the gravity of the funicular fighting its gears. Its fun, the situation matches the crappy weather. The boat ride home brings fresh skies and brisk winds.
Before we know it, its souvenier shopping time and fairwells at the station. We'll see them soon.
Thank you everyone that came out to see us, you were all a breath of fresh air, and a reminder of the good things that wait at home. Perhaps especially Peter for his late decision making, and spontaneous unPeter like attendence, sorry you had to sleep on the floor.
Closely following Junko are two of my oldest friends. Miss Katherine Hoggett and Mr Paul Michael Hanwell, hailing from sunny North London. We rarely get to see one another or for very long or so it seems now that we are living in seperate cities, so their visit offers us some time to catch up. We take in a few Swiss army knife shops comparing tools, so to speak, touring the cheap independent choclate shops and all the other tourist necessities. Its nice to play host to them for once, it always seems that they are putting me up. Its so great to see some familiar faces.
Our first trip out is to Pilatus, as Kate is a little funny with heights (and secretly I don't fancy the big cable car in clear visibility either) we catch a train to Alpnachstad, which is the home of the Pilatus funicular (steepest in Europe (the world?)) Its jolly red paint work belies the life threatening angles that we are about to climb. The journey up is about 40 minutes of solid climbing, no flats just 45 degree angles all the way. We are taken through forrests, past rocky outcrops, sheer drops, musical alpine cows and finally to summit. The temperature is very different from the heat bellow, jumpers and coats are taken out.
Its around lunch time and the top is beseiged with tourists and unexpectedly a congregation enjoying a mountain top sunday mass, you couldn't get much closer to god.
The visibility is patchy, you can glimpse Luzern beneath between breaks in the clouds, the land gradually merges hazily with the horizon, everything seems to have a blue-green filter. It is Toby and my Privellage as pioneers and adventurers to climb the last part of the mountain to the very top, it offers unobstructed 360 degree views, I think I was first to the top though.
Later we head to the lake and rent a pedalow and paddle 10 minutes out into the lake. As the host it is apparently my duty to act as an example to others in all areas, and now it is my duty to test the water for swimming, if its ok then they 'might' come in too. In no time at all we are splashing about, toby blind without glasses and floating in two rings. Infact its so nice that we don't realise the water has pulled us back to the pedalow quay and almost under the main bridge which leads to a a rapid. Its like a predictable cartoon. Hiromi is unable to peddle us out of danger and I have to steer us away from almost certain doom (yeah, I'm a hero), as we leave the bridge a Police boat comes toward us on a lazy rescue mission but are too late. As we swim around we notice another group float under the bridge and are rescued by a little speed boat.
On our last day we induct Kate and Toby into the Gutsch ritual fire. We head out under a patchy sky and get a fire blazing immediately, Kate is apparently quite the woodsman (woman?). The four of us sit arond preparing food and chatting. Toby is testing out his new Swiss army knife, its not big, but it looks like Death. Within the first five minutes I cut myself, Toby will go on to cut himself four times, inadvertant blood brothers. Later the skies open and noah and the ark rain pelts us. We sit under umbrellas around our little inferno simultaneously getting wet and being dried from the fire.
Their trip seems to be over before its even really started and before we know it we are back at the train station waving good bye.
Until next time.