Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a little bit of Switzerland.

In all our trips to this wonderful country we would usually spend our time in the mountains and the lakes. But as soon as son joined our trips we would need to find time to visit Tierparks – Zoos. Every so often it would be to the large zoo in Zurich. But his favourite animal place was Bern. A city with a wonderful little zoo and a bear park.

Bern is such a beautiful city.

Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland. The country doesn’t have an official capital but Bern is classed as its federal city.

It’s strange in all the visits we made to Bern it was always sunny.

The Zytglogge (Clock Tower) is over 400 hundred years old. Every hour a wonderful mechanical music show entertains the crowds.

The old part of the city which dates back to the 12th century is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cathedral of St Vincent towers over the city.

The thing that strikes you about Bern is that even on a work day it seems such a quiet city. It’s also such a friendly place. The first time we came looking for the zoo we didn’t have a clue where to go. At the train station we asked a passerby what was the best way to the zoo. He happily provided us with a city map and then walked us to the correct tram stop. That’s not going to happen in London…..

The river Aare sweeps through Bern and the hilly ground often offers wonderful views across its many bridges.

The city is famed for its Bears. Thankfully the city has invested in improving the Bear Park.

Walking round the city, even a beautiful one like Bern is in the end – very thirsty work.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday. A very wet and windy Sunday here in Yorkshire. So let’s go on a trip to beautiful Switzerland.

This time let’s return to a place we visited so many times. Schloss Spiez. Spiez Castle.

Work on the castle started in 933 by the King of Burgundy. The tower was added in the 12th century. Over the years it has been transformed from castle to a gloriously romantic residence.

In all the times we visited here we never once went inside the castle. Son is not keen on confined spaces. But you can walk around the outside and the gardens for free.

Son loved coming here from the hotel. It was only a 5 minute walk. It was always quiet. He always has had to stand next to his knight pal Adrian Von Bubenberg.

The Castle Church is stunning. So peaceful inside.

If you time the trip well you can sample the local wine from castles vineyards.

The castle offers stunning views across Lake Thun and the surrounding mountains.

The castle dominates the marina area of Spiez.

And on a hot day the gardener puts the water sprinkler on for the kids to play in. One of Sons favourite places ever.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for your weekly fix of Switzerland.

I’ve been asked several times if I am getting sponsored by the Swiss Tourist Board for this series. NO. Not even one small block of Toblerone. But I live in hope…. Never going to happen. But the point is that my partners family became attached to Switzerland. She shared this country with me. A place I have grown to deeply love. That’s the real point of this series.

Before I ever went to Switzerland one word sprung to mind with this country. MOUNTAINS.

As a kid I desperately wanted to see the two legendary Swiss Peaks. The Eiger and The Matterhorn. The names just conjured so many stories of adventure, heroism and tragedy.

Eventually thanks to my partner my dream came true.

Switzerland is a climbers and walkers paradise with over 60% of its land being mountainous.

The country hosts 20% of The Alps. It’s has 437 mountains over 3000m (9842ft).

Yet you don’t need to be a mountaineer to enjoy the scenery. Many of the peaks can be walked with a decent level of fitness. Swiss precision transport will get you to the top while you sit and enjoy the scenery. Or you can just quietly sit outside at a cafe. With a coffee, something stronger and enjoy Swiss chocolate. What better place to drink in the mountain landscape.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for a bit of Switzerland.

Once on every visit to this great country I would try to go for a run. While the rest of the team where having an extra hour in bed I would quietly sneak out for an early morning run.

It was always the same run.

Not a long run. Just about 1 hour.

An hour punctuated with polite ‘Grüessech‘ exchanges with passing runners and walkers.

A stunning lake side run. For most of the route you are running within inches of the water.

With just the sound of the lapping alpine lake water. The occasional passing passenger boat.

Stunning Alpine scenery.

To me it’s the best run ever.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for your weekly fix of Switzerland.

Let’s start off with two really important facts about Switzerland

  • They invented milk chocolate,
  • They consume more chocolate per person than any other country.

Got to love them….

Another couple of random facts about this great country. As the country is completely land locked water is not something you necessarily associate with it.

But it has over 1500 lakes.

Water accounts for about 4% of its surface area.

It’s lakes and mountains just go hand in hand. To create wonderful, dream like world.

Chocolate, lakes and mountains. What a country.

Swiss Sunday

It’s time for my most repeated words. Its Sunday so it must be time for a little bit of wonderful Switzerland.

I’ve been asked quite a few times why did you start going to Switzerland? Why did you keep going back? Why did you always stay in the same town, same hotel?

My partners grandad went there when he was a young man. The fresh alpine air helped him recover from a serious medical condition which had plagued him. He then introduced my partners beloved Dad to the country. Her Dad then spent a lot of time there after the Second World War when he worked with a charity helping injured service men.

Why always Switzerland. Why always Spiez. My partners family become close friends with the hotel owners. Part of the visit was to see old friends. Plus Aspergers families will understand the need for routine and familiarity.

But above all else. Just look at these physio.

That’s why.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a bit of Switzerland.

When I did my first Sunday post about Switzerland never did I imagine that it would still be going as we move towards a new decade.

As long as people enjoy it then the photos will keep coming. Ok some photos will get repeated. But when I run out new photographs then I can dip into my partners family albums. Years and years of lovely family trips to this wonderful country.

Maybe just maybe we will find a way of going back. Keeping that family link going.

Creating more memories.

I’m sure my partner would love that.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for a bit of beautiful Switzerland.

This times it’s a delightful alpine meadow walk in Wimmis.

Wimmis is a small municipality in the canton of Bern. A short walk from our hotel in Spiez finds us out into the meadows and heading towards Wimmis.

Alpine meadows make for some of the most relaxing walking country on the planet.

On one side you get glimpses of Lake Thun. Looking the other way brings on glorious views of The Alps.

For most of the walk we had the privilege of being accompanied by stunning birds of prey. Son was in awe. His encyclopaedic knowledge in full flow.

After a couple of hours it was classed as most definitely a two ice lolly walk.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a bit of calming Switzerland.

Last couple of weeks have found us replaying some wonderful memories from a family trip to the pyramid mountain. The Niesen.

Week 1

Week 2

I had a couple of lovely emails saying how much they had enjoyed the views and asked if I had any more photos from that trip. Thank you and here goes with round 3 then.

As with a number of Swiss mountains you can enjoy a hot drink, fine food and maybe something a little stronger at the top. The Niesen has a wonderful sun lounge that offers stunning views of The Alps.

And someone enjoyed himself.

Swiss Sunday

Last week we left our Swiss Sunday trip travelling up the Funicular to the top of of the Niesen.

The Niesen is called Switzerland’s Pyramid.

If I remember correctly I promised you some stunning mountain top views. Well here goes.

It overlooks the beautiful Lake Thun.

With one of the Worlds most imposing mountain ranges, The Alps dominating in the opposite direction. Including breathtaking views of The Eiger.

Bizarrely the literal translation of Niesen is sneeze.

It’s also a favourite visiting spot for some very brave individuals.

On top our son had a blast of a time. So many dreams. And the first snow he had been able to touch in over a year.