Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual visit to beautiful Switzerland.

This week let’s find the usual alpine landscapes mixed with a few animal ones as well. All from wonderful Switzerland.

As a toddler son loved animals. He still does… One day he would love to have a falconry or zoo. I so hope he does.

Every visit to Switzerland gave him an opportunity to get close to animals.

AND as we always arrived on a Saturday a trip to his favourite shop in the world on the Sunday. A shop in Interlaken with a huge range of Schleich toy animals.

He would get to buy 4 new ones. He was always careful to pick toys which he couldn’t get hold off in tour Yorkshire shops. Then the new members of the team would then get a 7 day guided tour of Switzerland.

A guided tour which would take in at least one zoo.

Happy days and definitely hungry work….

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in Yorkshire. It must be time for our weekly trip to the country which means so much to our little family. Beautiful Switzerland.

A country which is just under 850 miles away to the south east of our little Yorkshire bungalow. Actually 850 miles doesn’t sound that far away when you say it quickly. Ok 2020 will sadly be another year without breathing in that alpine air but 850 miles surely is doable in the near future.

My partners family has been visiting Switzerland since just after the Second World War. My partner fell in love with the country as a young child during the seventies. She introduced me to Alpine Heaven 20 years ago. Our son made his first trip here when he was one.

850 miles doesn’t sound so far. Just short enough to give us a few travel options. The air option is convenient. Either a direct flight or a quick change in Amsterdam. These days you spend more time going through security than actually in the air. Flight time is less than 2 hours.

The second option was by train. Super relaxing but much longer. A 6am train to take us into London. A two minute walk to the Eurostar terminal. Navigate the security which is completed in minutes then wait to board the tunnel train that takes you under the sea into France. Just over two hours later your stood in a Paris station. Then it’s a short walk or a subway journey to a connecting station.

You now have three options. The first option is a train journey to Strasbourg then a short train journey into Switzerland.

The second option is a HGV bullet train to Basel in Switzerland.

The third option is to stay in Paris for a couple of days to allow a visit to Paris Disneyland. Definitely fun….

The train to Switzerland option is long one, especially if it involves a trip to see Mickey Mouse. It’s a full day of travel but incredibly relaxing. Another option does exist. It’s to drive. Never tried it but it might be the best option for our son. It would be about 12 hours including an hour on a tunnel train. Driving through The Alps does sound fun. If only we had a Aston Martin to cruise in.

Until next week. Take care everyone. Remember to live and let’s see how far our little legs can carry us.

A trip many moons ago

I stumbled across a few old photos. From a time before parenting. Even before my first ever digital camera… A time when my body was still young and I could run up mountains. A time when the wind would still blow my thick long black hair across my face.

A trip to the West Side of Northern England. To the Lake District and to one of Englands most famous mountains. The Old Man of Coniston. It’s not a huge mountain standing at just over 2600ft. But it’s steeped in history. It’s positioned next to the beautiful Coniston Water. The walk to the top takes you through old copper mine workings. Alongside a couple of stunning little tarns. Then finally onto a summit with sweeping views.

Hopefully one day I will return to the summit. A summit climb with considerably less hair. Which will take much longer this time and feature many sandwich stops..

Swiss Sunday

Now that’s a view from a train station. It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to stunning Switzerland.

Some wonderful news. Switzerland is now open again to most of the world. Hopefully soon the good people from the US will be able to get there as well.

We have not been back to this Alpine Heaven since the summer of 2015. It seems like an absolute lifetime. So much has happened.

Yes we have so many obstacles to overcome but one day WE will return.

Switzerland is just part of us now. Feels more like Home than England. That feeling gets stronger each day.

We still have my partners ashes to spread here. The view across Lake Thun with the snow covered mountains in the background is one of the places she wants to become a part of. Her Home. Our Home.

So yes these virtual trips feel like a return to what should be our home. One day just maybe that will happen.

Good to see someone maintains a balanced diet when he visits his future home…..

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for a virtual wander to alpine heaven. Switzerland, a country which is that beautiful it looks like a series of stunning oil paintings.

Everywhere you look it’s another photo opportunity.

A climbing paradise. Another perfect landscape.

Even the cities provide endless postcard opportunities.

The most picturesque churches blend perfectly into the glorious Alps.

When the weather changes the real life paintings become magnificently atmospheric.

The colours become stunning.

Even the lake steamers are straight out of a painting, especially when the are surrounded by such a backdrop.

A Swiss lake boat is also a wonderful place to pull faces at your mum while she sits inside drinking her peppermint tea. That would be some portrait.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland.

Sat here in Yorkshire, listening to the rain and wind lash against the house …. I so need my little fix of alpine heaven.

Sunday was always my favourite day in Switzerland. It normally marked our first full day here. The holiday lay before us.

We would have an early hotel breakfast and off we would go to catch the first boat of the day. Heading across Lake Thun for our adventure.

Sunday would be quiet with virtually all the shops closed. A peaceful backdrop. With just the sound of water, cow and church bells breaking the silence.

The stress of life quickly forgotten. Surely this is what life should be really about. This is still a wonderful life.

And then make our way slowly back. One last Sunday task. A quick round of golf. A perfect Sunday.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a bit of virtual travel. I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we visit one of the most stunning places on the planet. Let’s go to Switzerland.

As a child I would visit my towns library. It wasn’t very big. It had masses of a Mills & Boon books. That’s not really going to float a young boys boat. The library didn’t seem to have that many exciting books. But it had one. It was a reference book so I couldn’t take it home. So every Saturday morning I would carefully get this book. Find a comfy seat and read. This was a book about climbing in Switzerland. I would look in awe at the mountain photos and read the daring tales of the brave climbers.

Switzerland seemed like a fantasy world. Too good to be real.

How could a country look this exciting and this beautiful.

I would dream of standing on top of these peaks and gazing out into the distance. My heart racing as I am surrounded by The Alps.

Then fast forward many years and I’m there. I’m stood on some of those very mountains.

Switzerland is real. It’s actually more stunning than I ever imagined.

And next to me is a little boy. A boy starting his love affair with this magical country.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to one of the worlds most beautiful places, Switzerland.

This week is a little different. A transport theme. Switzerland is renowned for it’s staggeringly efficient public transport system.

Riding on the train, boat, bus or cable car is a visual delight. Just sit with a drink and take in the views. All the photos from here on are taking from the comfort of the passenger seat.

It’s one of the few countries where you really don’t need a car to travel. Bus, train, boat, tram and cable car all link seamlessly.

The system is completely integrated. As you approach a train station, look out the window. Watch the all the connected buses, boats and trains coming in at the same time. Everything links up.

It runs to precision timing. Living in the UK that thought is mind blowing. If a train is listed to leave at 11.59, then watch the station clock tick round and unbelievably it does leave on the dot.

All the announcements are beautifully delivered in German, French, Italian and then in English. Sometimes traditional Swiss singing is even provided onboard.

In all my time I only ever experienced one late running train here. I was on platform at Spiez waiting to get to somewhere deep in The Alps. The PA announced that a mountain rockfall had blocked the line and the train would be delayed. The PA promised an update within 5 minutes. In the UK that would block the line for weeks. Quickly followed another announcement saying that specialist teams were already on site and the train would be be delayed by 20 minutes. 20 minutes….. Then guards walked up the platform apologising for the delay and making sure every passenger had a revised connection schedule. When the guard spoke to me, he phoned the other station to ensure a connection would be available for me. Unbelievably I did eventually arrive at my destination only 20 minutes late. My bus connection was waiting. Simply staggering.

My partners mum always loved to get to the top of at least one Swiss mountain every time she visited. It reminded her of the days she would walk in The Alps with my partners beloved Dad. Unfortunately as she got older her mobility declined and she became very frail. Yet thanks to the wonders of Switzerland she managed to keep making those mountains journeys. A bus (or tourist road train) would pick her up from the hotel and take her to the station hub. Then trains would take her to the bottom of the mountain. Finally either a pulley train or cable car would carry her to the top. Here she should would sit in the restaurant, drink coffee and just look at the view. That meant so much to her.

Until next time. Stay safe and be happy. And finally travelling on a boat is such thirsty work….

Fashion expert

A mass of red from a plant that my big sister bought for us as a house warming present many years ago. Still so colourful, still so stylish. Unfortunately other things in the house are not ageing so well….

We have a school week holiday coming up. A week to give the kids and teachers a break. Let’s not forget parents, grandparents, guardians, support staff as well. We might be homeschooling but it feels like a break is much needed. A week without schooling to allow kids to be kids….

We call the week before a half term the T minus clock. T minus days before the school breaks up. Can we survive the T minus clock without holiday homework. Well….

It’s T minus 3 days to go and it’s not going well so far. So far Son has Art, English and Science holiday homework. Large projects. So much for kids having a break.

I clearly need a break or at the very least a fashion consultant.

“Dad are you seriously going to wear that“.

I thought it was a fine shorts and Jumper (sweater) combo.

“You hair is sticking up and you haven’t shaved today”

I’m calling it the Indiana Jones look.

Maybe for Indiana Jones 6 when he’s about 110.”

Clearly Dr Jones has aged well then….

The jumper is a bit big for you.”

It was a Christmas present and I never got round to changing it.

And I’m probably taller than you now.”

Something strangely emasculating about when your son has edged passed you, when he is barely 13.

How can I put this politelyErm …. You look like a hobbit from Lord of the Rings”

Any cheap fashion experts out there?

Update: School are clearly joining in the fun. The class have been asked to watch a fantasy movie for the next lesson. And why movie are we watching. The Hobbit. The Shame never ends.

Swiss Sunday

Way-hay it’s Sunday here, so it must be time to do a bit of much needed virtual travelling. A journey which will take us to beautiful Switzerland.

So while we wander round this stunning land, why don’t we consider some ever so important Swiss Facts….

Switzerland virtually every year has at least two cities in the top 10 list of best cities to live on the planet.

Switzerland makes half of the worlds production of luxury watches.

Switzerland consumes more chocolate per capita than any other country in the world. It also produces more chocolate than anywhere else. They invented milk chocolate.

Switzerland is about 3 times smaller than New York.

In 2007 peace loving Switzerland accidentally invaded Lichtenstein. Thankfully the world didn’t spiral into a global nuclear war following the incident. If it had then the country has enough nuclear shelters to house its entire population.

It has a square national flag. You won’t find many other countries in the world doing that..

They have FOUR official languages. German, French, Italian and Romansh.

It’s also a little known fact that in Switzerland it is illegal for Dads to have an ice lolly.