Saturday, 11 July 2015

The italian invasion

Hello dear readers, it's Arianna writing here! I'm an ex-exchange student, aspiring artist and Italian representative:

Today I'm taking over Marin's blog, in order to tell you about my visit in Switzerland from my point of view.
First of all, going from Italy to Switzerland it's worth the trip alone... I boarded on a super-modern Swiss train on an early morning in Milano Central Station, ready for a four hour ride, and it was amazing to watch the landscape get more and more beautiful, and the sky clear up from the smog.
I arrived in Zurich HB with half an hour of delay (not bad, for Italian standards :P) and Marin was waiting for me, in order to give me a little tour around the town.
I won't be going in much detail because otherwise this post will turn into a manuscript, but all the places I've seen in Switzerland have really struck me. All the towns, streets, buildings look small, well build, neat: it's like walking inside of one of those beautiful murals you could see on the wall of a mountain chalet, painted with care by a skilled artist. Even the "biggest" cities (mind, there is no such thing as a real big city in this country) emanate the feeling of being man-friendly, with plenty of public transport, decoration and green spaces, biking paths and all those things that I see so rarely in Milano.  
Another thing that should be noted is that most of the Swiss stereotypes have a base of truth: the whole population has a collective attention to detail that left me amazed. I've not seen a thing such as a messy shop, or vandalism, or an ugly house. Marin told that if a bus is five minutes late, the driver is expected to apologise to the people waiting and explain the reason of the delay. I found this to be the funniest thing I've heard in my life.
Yes the chocolate is indeed amazing but there's no point in me writing about it-I won't even attempt. Go and try for yourself.
Well all of this comes with the little downside of things being crazy expensive, this is also true... when paying 3,50 francs for a pack of crisps I am torn between laughing or crying. But I'm no expert on this matter and it works really good for them, so I'm not going into this.
The other negative stereotype I've heard is the one describing Swiss people as cold and distant. I don't know who came up with this but they've been talking to the wrong Swisses! All the ones I've met are pleasing, chatty, curious people, who speak a myriad of languages and have roots all over the world. There's no such thing as a pure Swiss, they come from everywhere: a bit Austrian, a bit German, Italian, Spanish, Albanian... and so on!      
But I've been talking for too long, here are some of the pictures I took with my trusty film camera during my visit:

Some sights of Basel: the city hall, Tinguely's fountains (check him out, he's an amazing artist)  and the banks of river Reine  

 A fountain depicting the basilisk, symbol of the town

A couple of pics we took holding a kaleidoscope in front of the camera lens, surprisingly they came out good!

A rare pic of Marin in action

These and the pic of me at the beginning were taken from the terrace of the Freitag "skyscraper" in Zurich, a very unique building!

And my favourite for final, an ensamble of ladies sitting on a bench and playing a traditional song... what a show!