Much of my (Aimee’s) third week in Zürich was spent in an intensive German class. We found a great language school that offered a one-week full-intensive course and the people were very friendly and flexible. So, off to school I went…German lessons from 9 to 5 each day. It turned out to be 6 hours of instruction each day, with a break and an hour for doing written exercises, but then there was homework every night too. Eeeks … German is really hard! But for now, I’m going to keep believing it’ll be possible to learn. [understanding Swiss German is another story…but maybe my previous exposure to westvlaams will come in handy?]
So, by taking a week of private, intensive classes, I was able to get through the same amount of material that would otherwise take 10 weeks to cover in a weekly group class. The problem is, it felt impossible to keep track of everything we learned from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next! All in all, it makes me feel a little less stupid now that I can understand a bunch of words and can form some baby-like sentences when I concentrate. I’m looking forward to continuing with the lessons at a less intensive pace in the coming weeks.
Mercedes-CSI Horse Show in Zürich!
After the 5 days of classes, we went to the big jumper show – the one we saw the ads for, plastered all over the city. We brought our friends’ daughter who is the lone horse admirer in her family. It was her first time to anything like this and we got to watch the 1.50 m class up close from the rail. Big, beautiful horses and great riders, what a treat! Children under 16 got free entrance to the show, which is just one of many examples of family friendly policies and practices that we keep noticing.
As it turns out, the horse show turned out to be a great place to go and test my new German skills. I got to hear the announcers call lots of numbers that I’d just learned, order food and tickets, and listen to a lot of High German (as opposed to the local Swiss German dialect) describing the horses, the riders, and the events. All the while learning some important vocabulary! [eventually I will have to take riding lessons in German after all]
Like any big horse show, there was a shopping Expo with lots of beautiful tack and horse-related gear for sale. The last time I was at a big jumper show (last winter in Belgium) I came home with a cute show jacket from the Italian company, Animo. This time, I discovered Casco helmets from Germany. They are beautiful and just so happen to fit me like a glove. Since it feels like we are hemorrhaging money these days, and I don’t actually need a helmet at the moment, I didn’t buy it [for now]. Plus, this helmet might make me start dreaming of some of the beautiful brown tall boots that I saw some people sporting at the show.
Wrapping up our third busy week in Switzerland was an overnight trip to Pizol a ski area in the St. Gallen canton close to the Austrian border. It was super easy to get there with the train and a bus, which dropped us at the entrance to a gondola that took us up to the little hotel that was smack in the middle of the ski area. Jo will probably have a lot more to say about the skiing, since he has been up a few times already. For me, it was my first time skiing in almost ten years so I was pretty rusty, but the snow was great and the skiing was fun.