Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which we haven’t been able to visit in a few years but which still holds a special place in our hearts.

Someone asked why we love this country so much. Well the first thing is that is has so many links to our Hawklad. His mum’s family have had links to the country for nearly 80 years now. That’s so important to our son.

Another reason is how the Swiss villages just look so perfect in the alpine landscape.

Another reason is the country’s beautiful lakes. They have a magical quality.

Another reason is those walks through the wooded mountain valleys. They are simply breathtaking.

We hardly get much snow these days where we live. The excitement of coming to land where the snow is always there. Even in summer.

The mountains are nothing short of epic.

Finally its not a bad place for an 8 year old to have breakfast.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to one of the worlds most beautiful countries. It’s time for a little bit of Switzerland. So while we are wandering amongst The Alps let’s consider a few random facts about this wonderful country.

  • Switzerland is one of the main filming locations for Bollywood movies,
  • Einstein’s most famous equation about Energy was developed while he lived here,
  • Guess where the Swiss Army Knife was invented…..
  • It has the largest nuclear shelter in the world,

  • The majority of the world’s luxury watches come from Switzerland,
  • It has four national languages. Romansch, German, French and Italian,
  • Most transport announcements are also made in English,
  • It has its priorities right. Education is really well funded and teachers are well paid.

  • It’s original name was Helvetia,
  • The country does not have an official animal. Many think it is the bear but actually if you spend anytime here then you will quickly realise that it should be the Cow,
  • Monte Rosa is its highest mountain at 15203ft,

  • Switzerland has many laws protecting animals. Dogs can eat in restaurants. Social animals must be kept in pairs. If one of the pair dies you must replace it. This applies to small animals like Guinea Pigs,
  • Switzerland is always in the top 3 countries for life expectancy,
  • The worlds largest particle physics laboratory lies beneath Switzerland,
  • The Swiss love chocolate. They eat over 11 kilos of chocolate per person each year. Yet they have the least obese population in the whole of Europe,

The final random fact. Many believe that Scotland is the home of golf. Wrong. It’s Switzerland.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly visit to that most beautiful of countries. A virtual wander to Switzerland. A place we haven’t managed to visit for a few years but which is very much on our hearts.

It’s a land that is dominated by the mountains. The Alps.

In every direction your eyes are drawn to the mighty snow covered peaks. How do you squeeze so many mountains into such a relatively small country.

60% of Switzerland is mountainous. That includes 451 mountains. 24 are over 4000m. That’s a lot of mountains to either climb or just enjoy from the beautiful valleys.

Apart from the monumentally stunning views the thing that strikes you is the quality of the alpine air. It feels so crisp, so fresh and so clean. It’s a staggering feeling. No wonder doctors would often recommend a trip to The Alps to recuperate.

Yes it’s good to reach for the heights some days.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland🇨🇭. A country which means so much to our little family. We haven’t been since 2015 but it definitely still feels like home.

This week we won’t be venturing too far away from water. All the photos feature beautiful Lake Thun.

It’s a wonderful deep blue coloured lake that sits on the northern edge of The Alps. So it is surrounded my imposing mountains and rolling hills.

Deep snow does not often fall here even during winter. But you are often surrounded my snow covered mountains. So very close. During the summer it is often very warm here. Then the cooling lake waters are such a delight.

During the summer months it is popular with those who sail, windsurf and swim. Lake steamers take tourists on relaxing trips across the waters. Those who like to fish come here all year round. It’s also a hikers and runners dream.

Lake Thun and the little town of Spiez are just so stunning. It’s tempting to spend all your holiday here. Why travel when you have all this.

Lake Thun also has one of the most beautiful little playgrounds in the world. Definitely one of Hawklads favourite places ever. A great place to dream.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual visit to beautiful Switzerland. It’s such a stunning country and means so much to our little family. Yes it been a few years since our list trip but the memories are still strong.

It’s a country where you always seem to be near a stunning mountain or a peaceful lake.

Those mountains are just so impressive. Towering over the largely unspoilt landscapes.

The mountains, lakes and villages just seem to work beautifully together.

So yes a place where memories are made. Like this fallen tree. Will always be that tree where a Dad trying to show off found out just how cold that water really was. I thought me being so streamlined would have not produced such an enormous splash.

A country with so many memories available. You don’t need to fish so hard to catch one.

Remembering the unique alpine sounds. None more so than the frequent ringing of church bells. In this land the bells are not drowned out by noise pollution. It’s such a beautiful sound echoing through the valleys.

So until next week, take care and remember it’s still a wonderful world.

Lists

Some of the plants are already starting to show some Autumnal colours. It’s only August….

It’s 131 days to Christmas. In normal times 131 days sounds like ages. I suspect this year it may not seem such a generous amount of time for many people, including parents. Pandemic rules, shopping restrictions, reduced product availability, money just that bit tighter, many still isolating. Plus remember last year – one of Hawklads presents was ordered in November and finally arrived in March. Yep this might be a challenge. I think I need to write a list. Yes I am good at doing lists. Unfortunately I am not so good at following list. And as for trying to find those lists after a few days – I’m a complete disaster. I need a list to help find the lists.

Occasionally I do stumble across long forgotten lists. I found one recently dating back 15 years. It was a list of mountains I had set myself a goal of climbing. 60 bucket list climbs. 15 years and I had ticked three as climbed. Another one had been attempted but I had to turn round near the top as I came across someone who had hurt their knee. So ended up helping her back down. So that’s 4. In my book just attempting a climb and coming back in one piece counts as ticking it off. Basically been stuck on 56 to go for years now. That’s another one of my great lists just basically gathering dust. Maybe I can change the wording on that list. How about 56 bucket list climbs that I will never complete. Change the wording and suddenly the list is completed. I can then bin it.

But no. The original list went back into the cupboard. A bit of paper soon to be lost again. This time I took a photo of the 56 climbs still to be attempted. Actually added a couple of Himalayan mountains to the list – might as well make it more sexy. The list is on my iPad now. So it won’t be lost and actually it might be a rare useful Gary list. It’s a great reminder that I’ve STILL got stuff to do and achieve in my life. It might seem like that I have not yet ticked off many things from my life lists but from today that CAN start to change.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for another virtual trip to stunning Switzerland. It might be four years since our last visit but the memories are still so strong.

Memories of vineyards, castles and walking through alpine meadows. The spectacular Alps always in view.

Walks along crystal clear lakes and through spectacular mountain valleys.

Beautiful towns and dramatic rivers.

A walkers and climbers paradise.

Some of the best views on the planet. And let’s not forget the weather.

Sometimes the weather in Switzerland demands two ice lollies. That means poor Dad misses out. The question is – how cold are the lollies.

The answer – VERY COLD.

But definitely worth it.

Swiss Sunday

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

We have been so blessed to visit Switzerland so many times. The weather has virtually always been with us. Just stunning. But occasionally the weather closed in. One day it poured down. Rather ironically it was on a trip to Meiringen. To see the location of the the final battle between Sherlock Holmes and Moriaty. The village is a homage to the great detective. A little bit of England in The Alps. Of course it had to rain. Through the rain clouds the infamous Reichenback Falls can be seen.

But normally the sun shines and the views are almost to perfect to be real.

If anything these photos don’t do Switzerland justice. It is the most beautiful place I have ever visited.

Always something that takes the breath away.

But let’s not forget that as beautiful as the views might be……It’s always time to play with animals. Especially new ones freshly acquired from a lovely shop in Interlaken.

It’s always ice lolly time.

With one hand

August 2018

It’s been too long since I stood by the sea. Far too long. For someone born in a small north eastern seaside town, that’s tough. Genuinely don’t know when it will happen again. My gut feel is not in 2020. Our Government of Fools has now start reversing it’s rushed reopening plans. Yesterday it was perfectly safe to visit cinemas without a mask. Today you MUST wear a mask for your favourite movie. Yet kids and teachers are still expected to go mask free in classrooms. Last Friday we were being told to support the holiday industry and travel as it was safe. Just days later that all changed and more countries are being urgently added to the quarantine list with thousands of tourists now already out there. Even though those countries have much lower rates of deaths and infections than the UK.

Tougher lockdown regimes are being reintroduced into some areas with significantly rising infection rates . One such area is uncomfortable close to us. That is doing nothing for Hawklads anxiety levels. And now his garden consultation with his new health worker is in doubt. Such visits are now under review again. Somedays it feels like it’s one step forward and then one back. That’s at a time when his obsessive hand washing and fear of touching surfaces continues to mount.

But there is always hope and is it really one step forward, one step back…

When I first started climbing I hated having to retrace steps. One step forward, one step back seemed such a waste. A failure. Something to be avoided at all costs. But over time I learnt wiser ways. Things like climbing in things like pink compression tops and tight blue leggings is really not cool at all. Things like collecting rain water from rocky pools to drink might be a life saver but it doesn’t taste as nice as a can of coke stuffed into my climbing pack. Things like it’s not a great team building idea to lead a pitch when you have spilt asunder your tight blue leggings. I also learned that retracing steps is often a good thing. The times a few moments of retreat and sideways steps actually leads to a much easier and safe climbing way forward.

So yes things are tough and that garden visit would be useful but…..

The word BUT sounds to negative, maybe however is better.

However we do at least have access to the service still. That’s a huge bonus. The garden visit would bring stress currently, so if it doesn’t happen then it’s one less thing for Hawklad to worry about. It also encourages us both to try new things, see if we can find our own way through this maze. There will be things we haven’t tried. Maybe potential help has been there all the time and we just haven’t looked hard enough for it. Too much relying on someone else to find it for us. Maybe the only solution for Hawklad is to bunker down for a few more months until those clever vaccine people find something that works. So maybe retracing some steps is the best way forward.

There is always hope and yes I still have a pair of tight blue leggings…..

Hard life

It’s a hard life for some. Not sure if the hard life applies to The Cap or to that old sofa. The Cap is resting after a hard morning of causing chaos. This sofa is 17 years old. Over the last few years it has had to endure sustained cat and dog attention. Currently it’s covers are being washed for the millionth time.

It’s a hard life for my bottom as well. This morning I was blasting out a few miles on my equally old exercise bike when it basically fell to bits. It collapsed. One minute I was dreaming of summiting the Alpe d’Huez and leading the Tour de France. Three seconds later I’m sat on the floor surrounded by bits of exercise bike. Oh how the mighty fall. Now I know what it feels like to fall of your bike and forlornly watch the peloton scream past you.

Thankfully ten minutes later the bike was reassembled and the snapped retaining bolt replaced. The rest of the stationary ride was completed while I sat on an ice pack and a soft cushion. Bruised buttocks are not fun. But on the bright side, it’s much easier to ice pack your posterior than it is to ice pack your ego.

Bizarrely we were watching the Dora The Explorer movie last night. Yorkshire really knows how to live the dream. Near the start of the movie, poor Dora was dancing at a school ball. It was such a random odd dance that all the other kids were laughing and poking fun at her. Poor Dora, I really felt for her.

Dad she dances like you.”

Really, I’m not that bad am I….

In fact worse, much worse. At least Dora is coordinated. Your dancing is that bad, that if I’m within 50 miles of you, you are banned from any dance floor.”

The shame. How the mighty have fallen. I’m telling you that I once won a New Years Eve Blues Brothers dance competition.

That was thankfully before I was born Dad….”

It’s a hard life……