Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. Yesterday I was thinking about window views. The sort of view you would happily sit by your bedroom window, gaze out at the beauty and just smile. Sometimes the real window view is that good. The above photo is from the hotel room we stayed at on our last visit.

Well for this weeks virtual holiday let’s play fantasy window view. I’m going to pick a different dream window view for each day.

Sunday. Let’s start the week off with a view across beautiful Lake Thun.

Monday. Let’s have a window filled with an alpine meadow.

Tuesday. Let’s have the sound of water filling the room as well. A window filled with an alpine river.

Wednesday. Let’s enjoy one of the worlds greatest mountains. The Eiger

Thursday. Let’s have a window looking across a beautiful Swiss valley.

Friday. Let’s move the window to beautiful Lake Riffelsee and it’s always present reflection of The Matterhorn.

Saturday. Let’s finish the week with a view of a stunning waterfall.

See you next week my friends. Stay safe.

Hotel Window

Another cold start. I’m calling it an official three jumper day.

One of those cold starts that as hard as you work out, or regardless of how many warm layers you put on – your still cold.

The first week of schools version of homeschooling has now finished. Some subjects did embrace the opportunity. These offered the child a chance to be creative and to see where their learning interest would take them. Sadly that was not much of the week. Most of the lessons reflected the normal parrot learning teaching approach. What is the point of getting someone with dyslexia to translate page after page of French (without any context or help). What is the point of setting an online spelling test where the spoken words are so rare that I had to look every one up in a dictionary to see if they actually existed.

But he survived. The parent got through it as well. So that’s something.

Whether it was my lack of sleep, the unremittingly grim news or a week of homeschooling but last night I couldn’t get a thought out of my mind. Maybe, just maybe this is our world now. No more holidays. No more new lands. No more Switzerland. Certainly the financial shock of the next few months will take me a number of years to repair the bank balance. Generally travel may become more difficult over the next few years. Aspergers and the fear of social interactions is certainly not going away any time soon. So maybe that’s it with travel.

That’s sad but actually there is more to life than travel. So much to see and visit close by if it comes to that. Anyway we have not had a holiday since 2015 so we are used to it anyway. Doing virtual tours is a fun, safe, environmentally friendly and is so much cheaper. Then a thought crossed my mind. It was inspired by Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) while we watched Fawlty Towers. Basil was getting seriously cheesed off with a guest who was disappointed with the view from the bedroom window.

“Well may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically

Actually could we scale the virtual tours up a notch. Why don’t I pick a window with a chair next to it. Then why don’t I stick a poster or large photo over the window glass. Suddenly my view of say the trampoline could be transformed into whatever I fancy. I’ve seen other people do this in the past. So tomorrow I am going poster hunting. Got a couple of belting posters of The Alps to find.. But in the meantime I’m hoping my bedroom window will look something like this.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so does anyone fancy a little virtual trip to a wonderful country called Switzerland.

Yes I might be currently over 1000km away in another part of Europe. But my heart is there.

So as my world rapidly shrinks for the next few months, I think it’s time to remember the beauty of The Alps.

The wonderful and friendly people. The brilliant culture.

The clock work precision of daily life. Even its wildlife get in on the act.

The stunning clear blue Lakes.

The history.

The beautiful Swiss villages and towns.

The always colourful alpine meadows.

The crisp mountain air.

The fun

And above all the peace.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday. The world has gone completely bonkers. This morning I so need my few moments of peace in beautiful Switzerland and I invite you to join me.

What I’m about to say might get my British Nationality revoked but here goes. I’m not sure I love my country anymore. I certainly love Yorkshire and the North East. I could see myself being happy in the Scottish Highlands. But increasingly my natural home feels like Switzerland. Not sure about the practicalities but maybe one day.

Today I would certainly settle for just another week there. It’s been four years now. So this morning it’s the next best thing – a virtual visit.

Remembering what it was like to walk in The Alps.

Remembering the colours.

Breathing in the sweet, fresh mountain air.

Listening to the calming soundscapes.

Be safe out there my friends and remember. It’s still a beautiful world.

Swiss Sunday

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

Switzerland certainly does mountains but it also does some mighty fine lakes as well.

For quite a small country Switzerland has over 7000 lakes.

And they are often not small ones. The lakes can be over 1000ft deep.

Most of the larger lakes have regular boat services. Some are still the luxury old steamers.

Lakes and mountains always create such a beautiful atmosphere. Unbelievably calming.

In the above photo you can see a road cut into the cliff face. It’s a stunning yet precarious lake view from there.

One of the other things you immediately notice about Swiss lakes here is how clear water is.

A wooden rocking horse provides one of the finest lake viewports. You know what – he never gave me a go….

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.

Pink legged German

He survived his challenges today. Staggeringly our French telling the time trick probably picked up a few marks. To be fair to school son was provided with a scribe for the English exam. No scribe for French. Will have to find out why.

I survived today’s challenges. Made it out in one piece from the bizarro world which was work. Then made it round the 12k run. Once again the view helped lift the soul.

Well clearly the bizarro work world had rubbed off on to me. On the run I was listening to my German language course. It seemed to be the right thing to do as son would be currently sitting his French exam. It was basically going in one ear and straight out of the other one. A passing cyclist then flagged me down and asked if I knew where the nearest cafe was. I suspect he wasn’t expecting the following response.

Guten Tag. Es ist diese Straße runter. Über 5 Kilometer

As I noticed the cyclist’s bewildered I just repeated my amateurish German but this time a bit slower and a bit louder. Then it dawned on me. What a wally. All very embarrassing. What was even more embarrassing was that when I finally switched to English I’m not sure the cyclist was any more the wiser. Although we where in Yorkshire he clearly didn’t understand my Yorkshire accent. As we speak the poor man is probably lost somewhere on the moors cursing that useless German in his pink leggings. Still it took my mind off Son’s ongoing French based anxieties.

I will leave the last words to a modern day Philosopher.

Well Dad I survived. The problem with the French Exam was that it’s basically in French. English is hard enough but French. It might as well have been in a foreign language.”

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.

2003

2003. A time before parenting. A happy dreaming couple. A time when digital photography was still seen as the work of the devil by many. When a mobile phone was just that – a mobile phone – nothing else. My football team was still playing in the European Champions League.

31st May 2003. As the local paper described it. A once in a lifetime opportunity. The chance to see a 90% solar eclipse. Two problems

  • The peak eclipse would happen dead on sunrise. Best viewed from the East Coast.
  • This is Yorkshire.

Yorkshire does many things well. Cricket, Rhubard, Beer, Ferrets, Terriers, Chocolate, Moody Moors. We also do lots of cloud and rain. We don’t really do sun – bit of a bugger when your looking forward to a solar eclipse.

With a wing and a prayer we set off for the coast at 3am. Arriving at Scarborough an hour later. People looking out across the sea. Just before sunrise it’s hard to tell if the clouds have formed.

The first signs of morning and we wait with baited breath. Will the Sun appear.

As the sunrise time came still no sign of the sun. Maybe too much sea mist.

Then at 4.36am a thin red strip of sun appears. The crowd let’s out a huge cheer. Some hardy folk jump into the sea for a swim.

Unbelievably the infamous Yorkshire weather was playing ball today. Not a cloud in the sky.

As the Sun continued to rise a beautiful red then orange water path virtually led the way to the eclipse. Someone had brought a ghetto blaster and almost hypnotic music drifted across the morning air. The dreaming couple talked about an adventure to a far off land to see a full eclipse one day. One day.

17 years later. The Yorkshire weather is certainly not playing ball. I came across these photos looking for my birth certificate. They instantly took me back to that time of dreams and a truly magical partial eclipse.

One more little miracle. A photo involving me. A photo I can sign up to. So to those who have asked for a picture. Ok here it is.. Me back in 2003.