So it’s back to school for us this week, after 2 weeks of Spring holidays.
We didn’t do very much this holiday. Our big thing was building a garden seat out of 2 pallets which we saved off the sidewalk last year.
Then there was the Ferienpass (holiday programs from the parent association in our village) in the first week. Tobias visited a bus factory and made a model bus out of metal. He got to spray-paint it and it is a useful pencil-holder. There were other programs he was interested in but they were full. I helped out again at the playgroup Ferienpass program, where we made bunny bags and sang bunny songs (the theme was bunnies because of Easter).
During the second week, we went over to a friend’s and played games for an afternoon, which was great fun. On another day, Tobias went for a movie with his friend, by themselves. i dropped them off and picked them up. They loved it! We got in some squash practice. And of course, Tobias cooked 2 lovely dinners as he always does during holidays.
So although it has been a rather quiet-type holiday, compared to our usual, we enjoyed it. Now onto finishing the school year in style 😉
i have lived in Europe for 13 years and we finally got to Paris!! This winter holidays we were unable to go skiing because Tobias was still recovering from his broken arms (see here if you would like to know details of what happened), so we opted to do a city trip and my beloved husband decided on Paris 😀
We were only there for 3 days, leaving on the first flight from Zurich to Paris and returning on the late evening flight. But we made use of the 3 days fully and saw quite a bit of Paris. i will just give you a picture summary here. Click on each photo to read captions and find out more about our trip.
Left: The interior of Charles de Gaulle Airport is so retro-space-like with its plastic covered escalators criss-crossing each other. Right: What a beautiful building Gare du Lyon is.
One last shot of the Louvre before we leave this fascinating city.
Left: The square, Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antionette were executed during the French Revolution. Right: The obelisk given to France by Egypt.
Left: Walking down Champs-Élysées. Right: The Grand Palace.
Top: Arc de Triomphe, Bottom: Watching the traffic negotiations around the circle which the Arc stands on is frightening and amusing at the same time.
Left: Going up the Eiffel Tower, Right: It was fogging that morning so this was our view from the top.
The famous Eiffel Tower on a foggy Parisian morning.
Left: If this is the size of the crowd during low season, i don’t want to be here at high season. Middle: This is as close as i got to the Mona Lisa, Right: View of the glass pyramid from below.
This is one of my favourite buildings and it houses a lovely tropical aquarium.
There are lots of monuments around the whole city.
We enjoyed riding the Metro. It’s a great system once you get to know the lines.
Our first sit-down meal in Paris, dinner at a small local cafe on St Michel at the Latin Quarter. It was lovely! And they have a drink i love but i don’t know any place which serves it besides here; it’s a cup of warm milk with honey – YUM!
View of the Eiffel Tower from the River Seine, during our evening river cruise.
All the lovely views from our evening river cruise.
Of course, we could not go to Paris and not see a platform near the River Seine which is covered in locks.
Left: See that double height glass? That’s the apartment i want if i could afford it. Right: Love the houseboats too!
The Notre Dame! It is huge and i would recommend getting the audio guide. We didn’t do that because we were limited by time.
Images from our very first walk around the city, we crossed the River Seine and walked around Jardin des Plantes. Paris has quite a number of these big parks.
Of course, we also did other things (such as cleaning the house, visiting friends, watching a movie and going to the Glacier Garden in Lucerne) during those 2 weeks but Paris was the highlight 😉
A few months ago, it was the autumn school holidays and we did a couple of outings to places of interest in and around Switzerland. And seeing that there will be another school holiday in just 2 weeks, i thought it would be good to introduce people to one of the places we went to, which i found to be most interesting and would definitely be visiting again – the Technorama, Swiss Science Center.
Right from the word go, it was all hands-on, which is absolutely great for the kids & for me too (i am a tactile person, i love to be able to touch, do, experience it for myself.).
Here Tobias is having fun with the hands-on water fountain outside the centre as we waited for our friends to arrive:
Tobias is turning a hand wheel which then moves a gear which works a pump which brings the water up the pipe and then it pours down a water wheel. He learnt that a small action can do big things when the right gears and pumps are in place.
The center covers so much – almost every area of science is covered. There are rooms for sound, light/vision, magnetism/electricity, mathemagic, mechanics, perception, water/nature/chaos, toy trains, and even a Youth Laboratory.
We tried to cover as much as we could – we stayed the whole day, from about 11am till closing at 5pm (they open at 10am) and i think we only covered maybe half or a little over half of all the exhibits. It was also quite slow moving as the kids wanted to try their favourites again and again. But we had so much fun.
Here we are trying out the special light effects room:
We stood in front of some different coloured lights being projected from the ground and saw the effects on the wall opposite. i think they were not ordinary lights – not sure what they are – definitely need to go back and find out more.
Here we are at another light effects section:
This time it was ordinary light. This one showed how different coloured lights combined to form another colour. Sort of like the colour wheel.
There was also displays which allowed you to understand about static electricity, try out different mechanical setups, play with the pendulum effect, view the earth from space, learn about the effects of water.
Here we see the effects of water on dry ice:
We spent a whole lot of time here. Little bits of dry ice were transported on a little conveyor belt onto a slide which brings them gently in contact with the pool of water. Then they started to spin around wildly, like mini speed boats as the carbon dioxide inside them is released. Tobias kept wanting to watch this. He wasn’t the only one. There were a fair number of adults also mesmerised by this hypnotising experiment.
Of course there had to be a train room which house lovely toy trains. There were several large landscapes setup for the trains to run around in. The other fun thing was the bubble section where you could make, or at least try to make, giant bubbles 😉 We also got to make smoke signals and watch sand fall in lovely patterns.
My favourite section would be the puzzle section. They had set up tables with all sort of brain teaser puzzles. i was in puzzle heaven 😀
The Youth Laboratory was also a fascinating room. They had a couple of staff members who wondered around helping you understand what the experiment was about. There were experiments showing light refraction, comparing amount of light each material let in. We did not do all of them, some were just too hard for Tobias to understand or be interested in. The one which Tobias loved was the one which recorded an explosion and allowed you to play it back frame by frame and watch exactly what and how it happened.
As i said before, we only did a little over half the experiments, so we would definitely be going back. It is a most wonderful place to spend a rainy, gloomy day or any day for that matter. So if you live in Switzerland or come to visit and have curious kids, this is the place to go.
Oh i would advice going by public transport if you are going during school holidays, parking is fairly limited, unless you are the first ones there. It can be quite a walk.
PS: This is not advertising for Technorama. We have in no way benefited monetarily or otherwise in writing this. Simply want to share a place where kids can have great fun and learn at the same time.
EDIT: i forgot to mention that all explanations and instructions at each exhibit is nicely displayed on little wooded cards in 4 different languages – German, French, Italian and English. So there is no need to worry about not understand or not being able to explain anything to the kids.