Saturday, 28 May 2016

FIFA Museum

As of what I have heard, for many humans football is almost a religion. So today we will visit the Vatican of football - the FIFA museum in Zurich

In the first huge room you can admire the national teams jerseys. They are arranged by colours. With 209 members the display is truly impressive. Below comes just a selection: from orange to yellow ...

 ... from blue to green ...

... and a selection of all the shades of red. Actually, red is the most popular colour for a national team jersey.

In the museum you read about the highlights of FIFA itself and the rules of the game changing.

You can touch artefacts from the most prominent moments in the history of football. Well, you can touch the glass above them.

You can also see how the balls and shoes changed over the last century.

There are sections devoted to the referees ...

... to the players ...

... and to the winners.

You can visit the Maracana stadium ...

... and even literally take seats on the most prominent stadiums of the planet.

 You can meet in person the mascots from the FIFA World Championship finals.

There are exhibitions devoted to people who have impacted the way we perceive football today, even if they did not play themselves. Like Alfred Baloyi, the creator of Makarapa.

There is even a section waiting for those of us who love postcards and stamps. Football has been featuring on many stamps, all over the world.

But obviously the game itself is the most important part of the museum. You can watch it on huge screens ...

You can read hints from the best players (did you notice what the ball looks like after it got kicked by a professional player?

You can practice yourself on a small pitch ..

... try some table football ...

... or take a real ball and try to pass one of the many challenges built for the visitors.

I liked best this full-size pinball game!

Next to the exit a surprise waits for the visitors - a wall of wishes, there everyone can write their biggest football wish.

My human family put one as well ...

Well, it seems to confirm that, as Bob Marley said, football is a whole universe.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Park im Grüene

Switzerland is a small country and a large part of it is covered by high mountains and lakes. Every plot of land is expensive and people look to use it in the best way. As a result there are only a few public parks where families can enjoy a sunny afternoon.

Gottlieb Duttweiler, a successful businessman knew about it. He has founded in 1925 a retail company called Migros, which was to become the most important grocery chain in Switzerland. From the very beginning he had in mind something only few businessmen thought of at that time, and what is called today the corporate social responsibility. He has created Klubschule, an organisation offering courses and education for large audience. He has decided that a percentage of the revenues (not profits!) of Migros will be used to found cultural events through the Migros Kulturprozent. In 1941 he has transferred the ownership of Migros to its customers, transforming a corporation into a cooperative. Finally, last but not least, in 1946 he has donated a large plot of land in the town of Rüschlikon, transforming it in a public park, open to everyone without any access fee. Today, it will be my pleasure to take you to Park im Grüene.

The area is quite large. It includes a large lawn where you can enjoy the sun, play the ball or have a picnic.

The children can enjoy a playground with some slides, swings and constructions to climb.

There is also a nice cafeteria where you can enjoy a snack or even have a full lunch (from the Migros restaurant of course).

Next to the main path, you will find a stone dedicated to the founders, Gottlieb Duttweiler and his wife Adele.

Further back there is an observations deck.

From there you can see a great panorama of the Zurich Lake and of all the small towns on its shore.

There is even an guide which helps identifying the most important spots.

Can you please follow me outside the park itself? I want to show you one more place related to Mr Duttweiler.

No, I did not mean the Migros supermarket. I meant the orange building in the back. The path that leads to it shows the highlights of the history of Migros.

Here comes year 1925, there Migros was founded.

In 1957 the Migros Bank (yes! they even have a bank!) and the Migros Kulturprozent were initiated.

Next to it comes the Migros Hall of Fame, featuring some of the most important products sold by Migros. Featuring them in green style of course. Do you fancy a cup of coffee?

Or maybe a bit of chocolate?

Finally, we arrive to the Oranger garten, which exhibits the history of Migros.

Inside you can find an interactive wall. By choosing a particular product you can select one of the highlights of the Migors history.

The washing powder was hiding year 1945.

Historical pictures appear.

Then another amazing story is shared with the visitors. In 1945, to make oil more affordable for its customers, Gottlieb Duttweiler founded an oil refinery.

It still operates and remains one of very few refineries which are not owned by big oil companies.

I must admit I was really impressed by the heritage of Gottlieb and Adele Duttweiler. They were real visionaries, whose names will never be forgot in Switzerland. Now I propose that we go back to the park and enjoy some nice time in the green.

Saturday, 14 May 2016


Today we will visit the Swiss town of Zug, the capital of the canton of Zug.

In modern German, the word "zug" means "train". In the Middle Ages it meant the right to fishing. And yes, the town of Zug (in the canton of Zug) lies on the border of the Lake Zug. The local people are not excessively creative when it comes to names.

Next to the lake you will find a small park.

You can also relax on the banks that are decorated with vibrant colours.

They contrast with the white feathers of the swans.

They are so popular in Zug that they even have a monument here!

The town of Zug was founded around year 1 200. Its old town is not very impressive. You can enter it by the Zytturm, 52 meters high tower, built in tne thirteenth century.

The residential buildings look similar.

Even the Town Hall does not stand apart. I would not guess this is an important building if there would be no sign on the wall.

The streets of the old town are narrow, leaving just enough space for a larger carriage.

This one is a bit nicer than the others.

Obviously the town has some churches as well. Like in all Swiss cities, towns and villages, you can find here catholic churches. This one is devoted to Saint Oswald.

Just next to them, you can find protestant churches. You can tell them apart thanks to the fact that catholic churches have on their towers a cross and the protestant ones have a rooster. The golden rooster is a symbol of Jesus Christ who breaks the power of the darkness, forgives sins and calls for a new day. Like the rooster who called when Saint Peter denied knowing his Lord.

I propose that we go now back to Lake Zug, there is one more thing I want to show you.

Have you noticed this strange structure?

And yes, this is actually a door to a tunnel that goes inside the lake.

Let's go down to see what journey it offers. Well, the road is not long but taking it you will be able to peep into the life of the inhabitants of the lake.

I have a feeling they have noticed us and try to get in contact. From their perspective we can probably say that we are inside a huge aquarium, protected by a glass wall.

I hope that you have enjoyed the small and calm town of Zug. Before going home I propose that we take a few steps on the pier.

Why don't we sit here for a moment and enjoy the view. Mountains, water, sunset. What can be better?

P.S. My human family made me realise that there is something better. Zug is not only a low tax area. It is also the capital of the kirsch cake. I propose we take a little step sideways and taste it a bit.