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Contributed by Olivia Coker


The 2012 Zurich Festival Ode to Wanderers, Real and Metaphorical. Since its inauguration in 1997, the Zurich Festival has gradually succeeded in its two foremost aims. It provides mass exposure for Zurich cultural institutions. It also shines a brighter international spotlight on Zurich, as the city establishes its seat in the pantheon of European summer festivals. The international community could hardly hope for a more relevant festival theme than this year’s “Wandering – Trajectories and Peregrinations.” This three-week cultural pageant offers operas, concerts, ballets, plays, book readings and art exhibits, all exploring the human condition of bodies and souls lost and discovered in motion.

The program exemplifies the high Swiss regard for talents and intellects from around the world. English speakers can take particular pride in their collective contribution. Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler stars American singers Thomas Hampson and Emily Magee, both perennial Zurich favorites. New Yorker David Zinman, Artistic Director of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, conducts concerts and his third series of international master classes. Students of German can even brave Shakespeare and Mark Twain in translation, or join in the public pondering of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Free events include live shows at Paradeplatz, opera broadcasts at Münsterhof, and Switzerland’s biggest ball on 16 June at the Zurich Main Station. 15 June –18 July Tickets and information: Olivia Coker has lived in Zurich for eleven years with her family. She works as a journalist, communications consultant, and speaker.

Rafting and Biking Event A grand day out.



wasn’t 100% convinced I wanted to take part in Packimpex’s event on 12 May, combining as it did two of my least favourite things: exercise and being rained on. But it did also combine two of my favourite things: exploring Switzerland and meeting new people. So in the end, I went and I’m glad I did.

Our bikes were returned to us at the end of the rafting trip and we rode back to town through the meadow and woods. We stopped at Laufen castle, which stands right over the Rheinfall, just long enough for a picture and a vow to be back soon, and then rode on towards a well-deserved apéro.

About 50 of us huddled under the awning at the Schaffhausen train station, as the rain came down in buckets. But just as we were ready to set off on our bikes, it let up considerably – a good sign indeed. We rode down to the Rhine just below the falls – the largest waterfall in Europe – where five rafts were waiting for us. I’m not sure how far we paddled, but I was told my estimate of 30 kms was a little high. We did pass some beautiful trees and buildings along the shore and barely felt a drop of rain.

It was lovely to meet people aged from 5 to 50-ish, from easily a dozen countries and living in various parts of Switzerland for a few months or their whole lives. By the time you read this, I’m sure my arms will have stopped aching, but my happy recollections and, I trust, those of my companions will stay. Many thanks to Asmita and Nicole of Packimpex Zurich and Schaffhausen, respectively, for organizing such a grand day out!  Allison Turner

More details about forthcoming Packimpex Events are published on p. 61

Hello Switzerland for Expatriates, Summer Edition 2012  

Hello Switzerland is written by expats for expats living in Switzerland. Designed mainly for English speakers, the magazine contains feature...