It’s Sunday so it’s Swiss Sunday.
Switzerland has a truly staggering array of landscape visions. Rolling hills, meadows, lakes, soaring mountains, crashing waterfalls and crystal clear rivers.
But often what is missed is how the buildings often just blend perfectly into the stunning backdrops.
So it’s time to give a quick shout out to Swiss architecture.
Every time we crossed Lake Thun on the boat we would see this building. Usually with a man fishing just in front of it and dream of living here. Maybe in another life.
The 14th century wooden bridge in Lucerne has poignant memories. It’s the last place my partners mum visited in Switzerland before she became to frail to travel. It was a privilege to share that moment with her. Its one of the most striking man made structures I have ever seen.
Most holiday Sunday’s we would come to Interlaken. We would never fail to sit outside for a Swiss hot chocolate. Then as we walked round the town we would pass this luxury hotel. We never did save up enough to one day stay here. Again another one for another life.
On our wonderful trips we spent most of our time on the Lakes and in The Alps. We didn’t often venture into the cities. But when we did we started to really appreciate Swiss architecture. How much did we miss?
I want to take this opportunity to thank those who have been very complementary on this weekly series on Switzerland. It’s convinced me to keep it going. I’m starting to get suggestions for particular Swiss themes that some kind folks would like to see. So in the coming weeks I will see what I can come up with for waterfalls and the Swiss Capital.
A largely sleepless night. Too much time to think. World seeming particularly cold this morning. In need of a lift. For some reason the run didn’t work today. Just a freezing slog. A slow 30 minutes and then the motivation battery completely drained. So back home even colder and still in need of a lift.
But then salvation. Old photographs. Memories. Great Memories.
Back to 2001 which finds us in the Loire.
Chateau de Chenonceau was built over the River Cher in 1576. It’s French Renaissance Architecture at at finest. The chateau has a fine collection of masterpieces, tapestries and renaissance furniture. The long Grand Gallery stretches over the bridge and across the river. It’s a stunning place. Inside and outside.
As much as the chateau brings back great memories one photograph lifted my spirits. It reminds me how truly blessed I was to spend time with this special person. Always in love. That makes me smile.
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.
Before we just focused our holidays on beautiful Switzerland we had trips to France. Some great times. Times before our son. Times before grief rode in. Times even before digital. So occasionally I’m going to do turn the clock back to the start of this century. Go down memory lane.
This was a long weekend trip. A car trip from Yorkshire to the Loire Valley. We pre booked the accommodation but didn’t quite expect to be staying in a mini chateau.
Even before brexit the English always received a warm welcome in France.
Inside was just staggering. I was under strict orders. ‘Don’t touch anything in case you knock it over’.
The chateau stood next to the Loire River.
It must have been hot. No jumper.
Why the long weekend. Why the 620 mile drive. To watch the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.
Not the greatest of views but the budget had been blown on the accommodation and petrol. It was hot. Mid to high thirties. Wow it was noisy.
The race was won by the great Michael Schumacher.
It’s been a while since we arrived in Strasbourg on our Creaky World Tour.
Let’s see how far around the world I can get only powered by my battered old stationary exercise bike, dog walking and local runs. As my fitness tracker has died I will be using a suitable alternative for the distance calculations – Pokemon Go. So might even catch a few Pokemon on the way.
Since the 16th September my battered body has recorded the following distances.
Exercise Bike – 528km
Walking – 125km
Running – 205km
That’s a grand total of 858km.
The first stop off point is to Kitzbuhel. That’s 490km. That’s Kitzbuhel in Austria. It’s on my bucket list. Just once I would love to go to the famous Downhill Ski Race here. The Hahnenkamm. It’s just about the most demanding course on the world circuit. Every year I sit in front on the TV with my mug of coffee and watch the brave skiers fly down this scary rollercoaster at speeds of up to 142km/h (88mph). We also play a game. Who is the first person to spot Arnold Schwarzenegger in the crowd. Thanks to the Red Bull and Zimbio websites for the photos.
So we have a bit more distance left in the tank and with a fair wind we can just about reach beautiful Vienna. That’s a trip of 370km.
Vienna is the capital of Austria and has been ranked the city with the highest quality of life in the world. Its been top for the last ten years (Mercer Quality of Living Survey). It was just about my partners favourite city. She would often reminisce about going to the wonderful Vienna State Opera House (Staatsoper). Thank you to Austria.info and Mozart.co.at for the photos.
It’s the end of the Halloween. The kids are back in school on Monday after a week away from purgatory. It’s also the week we would most often visit Switzerland. It’s quiet. Attractions like Lake Boats and Cable Cars are still operating full summer timetables. Winter hasn’t kicked in but snow has returned to the mountains. The colours are glorious and the skies are frequently so atmospheric. As ever photos don’t do it justice but here goes.
We left last Sunday having just arrived at the top of a little mountain which is special to me. The FIRST.
The First is a smallish mountain overlooking the beautiful Swiss Town of Grindelwald.
It is 7100 feet high and it takes about 25 minutes on the mini cable car to the top. You can just sit on the grass and drink in the the views.
At the top you can have fine Swiss food and drink
Or enjoy high level walks.
Or the brave can fly at breakneck speed.
Or you can do a number of platform walks across the cliff face or into space. Only for those with a great head for heights (or in this case drops).
The First is just a fun mountain. Every time you visit here you can do something different. So many memories available to be made. Just goes to show that you don’t need to be the biggest to be one of the best.
For us the perfect Sunday morning was a Swiss one. Maybe I should get sponsored by the Switzerland Tourist Board – any free bars of Toblerone would be happily received ….. in my dreams. Suspect that the Visit Yorkshire Team wouldn’t even give us a free stick of rhubarb.
A leisurely breakfast of hot chocolate, caffeine, freshly made bread, butter, various cheeses, fruit and birchermuesli. Sat by the lake looking at the Alps.
Then a short walk to the boat stop and wait for the precision perfect boat to arrive. Sometimes it’s a stunning Steam Boat.
Then sit and watch the world go by for 2 hours. Stunning views. An early wine or fresh peppermint tea. Maybe even some Swiss choir signing. Certainly some chocolate.