Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Revise and Explore

Today we had to start over with teaching Cainan how to get to his school.  Last night I received an email from the school inviting us to an open house on a completely different address from the one I had.  So I checked with the school and sure enough - the school has two campuses.  The lower school (what I taught him yesterday) is for grades up to 3.  4-6 grades are in the upper school.

The positive of this is that it is actually even closer to our current apartment.  He only has to ride one subway stop.  And his walk to his school is through a beautiful residential neighborhood full of quite streets, small shops, and even a museum.  .

Main entrance to Cainan's school

 The Upper School
 This is the back entrance to their outdoor space:

The neighborhood around the school was really lovely and quiet, so I took a few pictures:

 Restaurant outside of Cainan's school
 Very common sight around Basel - not just the bike, but a bike with a basket
 Swiss house

Now that we know where he actually will be, we will practice this a few more times.  But it is quite a bit easier than the route we taught him yesterday, so I don't foresee any problems.

Scooby (our dog) and our two guinea pigs arrived from the United States today.  They seem to be just fine - not much trauma.  Our dog spent the morning figuring out the apartment and smelling every corner.  We have even taken him on two walks which he seemed to enjoy.  Now he is enjoying a long awaited nap - my guess is he didn't get a lot of sleep on the plane.  It is nice to have him (and the guineas) here with us.

The kids wanted a bit of a down day, so I went out for a bit on my own.  I walked around the neighborhood and took the tram back over to the section where Cainan's school is located.  Around the corner from his school is the Rhine, so I walked down to watch the people floating by RhineSchwimmin.  Also - I saw the even present Roche tower where Mat works.

Around the area of his school are two museums - a Cartoon Museum and a large art museum called Kunstmuseum Basel.  I decided to buy my annual museum pass while I was walking around.  This pass gets me into 365 museums around Switzerland, Germany and France.  Plus some castles and other fun architecture as well.  It was about $130 Francs, but the cost of one museum entrance at just about any museum is $35 Francs, so I only have to step inside 4 museums to have paid it off.  I think I could do that before the weekend.  I went inside Kunstmuseum Basel and enjoyed looking at the modern art and art from the 11th century.  It was busy in the museum - I was surprised since it was a Wednesday afternoon.

After the museum I headed back to the apartment, but stopped in the local Migros on my way.  I needed to pick up a special sticker that I need to throw away my two suitcases that didn't survive the trip.  (rules for everything, remember).  I was nervous because the word for this sticker was a bit tricky.  Luckily I had my trusty phone, so I just showed the cashier the word and wala - got what I needed.  I did do a small amount of grocery shopping but only because I wanted to use the shopping cart.

I know - you don't see anything special.  But you need to look again.  Do you see the chain hanging down from the grocery cart?  A few years ago, Switzerland (and I also saw this in Germany) went to a system to make sure the carts stayed neat and orderly, and got returned.  You put in a 2 Franc coin into the cart and it releases the chain.  You shop, and then when you return the cart, you get your 2 Franc piece back.  This goes for grocery stores and shopping we were told to just always keep a 2 Franc piece in our wallet.  (For Germany I need a 2 Euro piece).  I could see America benefiting from this.  Then people wouldn't leave their carts all over the parking lot and in the parking spaces and on the sidewalks, and in the grass......

I took a picture of the tram system because it truly is miraculous.  Swiss trains run exactly on time.  Exactly.  There is no guessing on when it will show up - if it is going to be late or early.  Unless it has broken down, that train will be there exactly 8 minutes after the one before it.  There are electrical signs at each tram stop letting you know when each one is coming and sure enough - the second it says it is arriving, it is right there in front of you.  Clockwork.

One last random picture.....this is the picture of the bridge over the Rhine that Cainan (and Arlington) will travel every day by tram to get to school.  On the left side is where the school is, and on the right side - where we live.

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