Olten Street Food Festival

I’ve mentioned the Olten Street Food Festival on my blog before because it happened to take place on June’s photo an hour day. However, I also meant to write a full post dedicated to the festival and Olten, and that hasn’t happened yet. There’s another Monday Escapes linkup happening today, so it seemed like a good opportunity.

Olten is only about half an hour from Basel by regional or inter-city train (faster by ICE – express train – but more expensive), but it’s already in another canton, namely Solothurn, and some of its surrounding towns are in another one again – Aargau. The town, which has a population of roughly 17,300, is located on the River Aare.

The food festival was taking place in Kirchgasse and Baslerstrasse. On the way there, we admired the streets of the old town.

Before deciding what to eat, we had a walk around the festival to see what was on offer. It wasn’t particularly large, but there was still quite a range of foods! Quite a lot of Indian stands, but also Japanese, Argentinian and Italian, just to give a few examples. And, of course, there was raclette!

Finally, we decided to start with something “local” – there was a stand offering tiny burgers (just the right size to be able to fit more food in afterwards!) and proudly proclaiming that the beef was from happy, Swiss cows.

The choice was a good one – the burgers were delicious! Tasty beef and yummy melted Swiss cheese.
Next up was a Columbian/Venzeuelan speciality – Arepas, corn bread with various fillings! Jan chose a vegetarian one with black beans and cheese while I went for chicken, which also came with cheese. It tasted a bit like the enchilada fillings you get in Mexican restaurants, but less spicy. Very tasty though! We had to wait a while for our order to be finished, so while I queued and Jan fetched drinks, the camera came back out 😉

As you might have noticed from the photos, it was a bit of a weird weather day. One minute it was bright sunshine, like in the photos above, the next it was cold and chucking it down, only to clear up again and become far too hot for rain coats 10 minutes later!

From one South-American cuisine to the next… we were getting quite full by this point, but we decided we still had time for a little Coxhina from a small Brazilian stand. This time, Jan chose chicken and I went for beef. Jan’s was delicious and mine had a nice flavour but unfortunately was still slightly cold inside. The filling was precooked though (they just reheated them at the stand), so I ate it anyway.

CoxinhaAt that point, Jan decided he would like a coffee and I remembered seeing a sign for Turkish coffee at the entrance to the festival, so we headed to the Turkish stand. I chose a homemade lemonade, as I’m not a fan of Turkish coffee. The stall owner tried really hard to get us to also take one of his pastries, so we chose a pistachio-filled one to share.

The lemonade was lovely and refreshing and the pastry was not too sweet.
Having done enough eating for the day, we decided to have a walk around the rest of Olten while we were there. The old ton area is pretty but fairly small. Outside the old town, the buildings aren’t quite as nice, but the entire town is surrounded by mountains and greenness – a description that could apply to anywhere in Switzerland really 😉

Once we were back at the river, we were also almost back at the train station. With no room inside for more food, we decided to take the next train home. All in all, it was a lovely afternoon out and after reading so many other bloggers’ accounts of food festivals I was happy to finally get one of my own to try! There are more street food festivals planned by the same company for Lucerne (7-9 August 2015) and Berne (14-15 August 2015) and I’ve just read about another one in Solothurn (the city that gives the canton its name), which is taking place on 29 and 30 Augzst 2015, so hopefully I’ll make it to another one this summer!

Have you been to a street food festival? What would you have chosen to eat if you’d been in Olten with us? Let me know in the comments! And if you’ve got a travel tale for Monday Escapes, click the button below.

My Travel Monkey

A photo an hour: 20 June 2015

In the middle of last week I read about a street food festival that was taking place in Olten (about 45 minutes train ride from us) on Saturday, which seemed like perfect timing – usually I find out about these things just after they occur rather than just before. When Jane pointed out that Saturday was also photo an hour day, the timing felt even more perfect. Obviously it was my fate to go! I’m planning a full post about the street food festival for later in the week, but for now here’s Saturday’s photo an hour:

10 a.m. I’m up! As usual, a cup of tea is needed before I do anything else. Trying to switch things up a bit by taking a photo of my cups in the cupboard.

11 a.m. Shower time! Look, it’s the shower in the new flat!

12 noon. Sorting out dry washing. *Yawn*

1 p.m. On the train (actually not 1 p.m. because we were busy buying tickets then and I kind of forgot about the photo. But 1 p.m. ish).

2 p.m. Still on the train. At least the view from the window was nice!

3 p.m. Waiting for some food at the festival! The weather kept switching from bright sunshine to rain literally within seconds – I felt like I was back in Britain! In this photo, it’s about to rain again.

4 p.m. Drinking lemonade from a Turkish stall. Very tasty and actually cheap!

5 p.m. Back on the train. I think we were near Sissach at this point.

6 p.m. Home! Doing a bit of cross stitch.

7 p.m. Erkältungstee time! I’m still not sure how a bunch of herbs can cure a cold, but anything’s worth a try, right?

8 p.m. Taking a break from cross stitching to read.

9 p.m. A late and light dinner since we spent the afternoon stuffing ourselves at the food festival.

10 p.m. (Ahem. Sort of). Rush (the film about Niki Lauda) was on Channel 4 so we decided to watch it. We get Channel 4 in Switzerland (and E4, More 4 and the BBC and ITV channels!).

11 p.m. Still watching Rush.

Midnight. Will this film ever end?!
It actually did end 15 minutes later then I went to bed without taking a photo. I don’t want to ruin my symmetry though, so here’s a bonus photo of the bedroom that I took a while ago to show my grandma our new place. You can see from the noon photo that we have different bedding on now.

The photo an hour roundup post isn’t up yet, but once it is you’ll find the link here.