Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dancing Fountains in Warsaw

It took me a while to describe you my trips to Canada and to Zurich. In the meantime I have been to a couple of places that I did not manage to show you. The most important attraction I wanted you to see are the dancing fountains in the Old Town of Warsaw. They are now closed because it is too cold. But I hope this post will incite you to visit them when spring will come.

To get to the dancing fountains you need to go the part of the Old Town called New Town, more precisely to the New Town Market Square.

The New Town as you have guessed is not so new, since it was founded in the 15th century. The New Town Square is large and surrounded with nice residential buildings.

The biggest building on the square is the church of St. Casimir (Kazimierz).

Now we need to go down the hill to the level of the Vistula river. There, you will find a park with the fountains.

First, you will see a set of small fountains.

They are very funny - they "jump" into both directions following the people walking around. The kids love them.

They also change colours.

Further on, you will see the big fountain.

It is really impresive.

But the best thing is that it can really dance. Unfortunately it dances after dark and usually the place is so crowded that it is hard to take good pictures. But you may have a glimpse at the spectacle here.

Next to the fountain you will see an elegant, old-fashioned gentleman. It is William Lindley, a famous British engineer. He designed the water and sewerage systems in Warsaw.

He stands next to a very special bench.

Yes, you are right its legs are made of water!

This was a tiring afternoon. It's time for the biggest attraction of the Old Town. The waffers with whipped cream!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Zurich ZOOh

My visit in Zurich took me quite a while. As a last stop I decided to visit some of my friends in the Zurich zoo.

Generally, I am not a huge fan of cages and fences but it would be difficult to meet otherwise some of the species. In Zurich you can see animals of all kinds and colours. It seems however that blue and yellow are the most popular ones. You can check it both with the fishes (the blue one is called Amblygobius phalaena, I think it is a very cool name) ...

... and the amphibians.

The birds also have some elements of blue and yellow.

I liked a lot the penguins - they were having fun despite of the visitors, jumping, swimming and apparently laughing a lot.

This owl seemed to say "don't you dare coming close to my lunch!". As if horses were interested in eating mice.

This nice crocodile comes from the Philippines. It is very nice. At least as long as there is a strong glass wall between him and you.

Obviously, the mammals have the biggest representation (at least they take most of the space). The anteaters have a very nice pitch.

A little 'hello' to my black&white cousins.

The llama tried to give me a kiss. I know I am irresistibly handsome but sorry m'am, we are not the same species.

Luckily the tigers did not try to come close. Not that I was scared, I just don't like big cats this much.

And the last ones. The gorilla mom feeding her baby looks so much human. It is truely amazing how close these species are. Just that they are on two sides of a glass wall.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Tramway Museum in Zurich

Another point on my "to see" list in Zurich was the Tram Museum.  I was inspired by the tram with the married couple that I have shown you on the Paradeplatz.

The tram network in Zurich is large and well organised.

This requires of course many trams. As a consequence you can see in the museums trains of all coulours. Green ones ...

... and blue ones.

Some yellow ones ...

... and red ones too.

The great thing about this museum is that everybody is allowed to go inside each of the trains, even those very old.

It is even possible to test the steering mechanisms.

For those of us who are a bit smaller there are nice models which show the trams in the right perspective.

There is even the possibility to see closely the uniforms of the tram service officers from different periods.

The last picture comes with some special greetings to my friends Postcrossers. This is a little wagon that used to transport the letters (and postcards) across the city of Zurich.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wildnis park in Zurich

My cruise on the Zurich lake led me to a nice city of Thalwil. Next to Thalwil there is a wildlife park called Wildnis Park. This is not a zoo. Animals do not have cages. They run in a vast area in the mountains. The amazing thing is that animals are just a few meters from houses.

Next to the entrance I saw some deers.

As I moved forward, I chose the "Easy Route". When I was coming back I was really wondering what the "Hard Route" would look like.

The Easy Route led me to wolves. From this perspective they really look like bigger dogs.

To complete the picture, there were also some wild cats (do not expect tigers, these are actually cats, just wild). I could not help the feeling that this one was looking at me in a strange way. I hope they do get fed regularly.

Here comes a family of boars.

The biggest attraction of the Park are bears. Unfortunatelly they did not show up today. I was however impressed by the comparison of the size of the bears and human. That confirms what I saw in the Museum of the Evolution.

The animals seemed pretty happy in this park. Though I am sure they would prefer to travel around the world like me.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A cruise on the Zurich Lake

As you probably remember, Zurich is located in the lower part of the Zurich Lake. Of course, Zurich is not the only town located on the banks of this lake.

The best way to see the lake and the villages around it is to take a trip with one of the boats. The boats are part of the cantonal public transport and you can use the same tickets you will use in trains or trams.

The Zurich harbour (though it is rather a pier) is in the very city center.

I have seen such boxes with lifebuoys in many places next to the lake, also on the pedestrian zone that I have shown you recently. I like it - safety first!

As you may see, the day was gloomy and rather cold. But Swiss people are tough. I have seen many of them in kayaks and canoes.

Luckily, the ship was warm and nice. The passengers could choose to hide inside (I loved the idea od a glass roof) ...

... or enjoy the breeze outside. All right, maybe the breeze was not such an attraction this day so the open deck was almost empty.

Because of the weather, the view was not as spectacular as it could have been. I could hardly see the other side of the lake.

I focused then on the buildings we were passing by. If you live by the Zurich lake you have to be really well-off. This means also that you need to have a parking place for your motorboat next to your house.

Recently in Warsaw the city has built many so-called "Park & Ride" parking lots where people can come with their cars and continue with the underground or other public transports. In Zurich I saw similar parking places next to the boat stations. They just had two levels. One for cars. And another one for motorboats, of course.

Another thing I liked were the bathing spaces, with toboggans leading directly to the lake. I've heard that on sunny days they are full of children.

Finally, the weather began to improve a bit. I saw a ray of light.

This will make the trip much nicer.