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.
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..
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…..
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.
It’s time for another bit of virtual sightseeing. Last year I started my very own world tour. Let’s see how far I can get powered only by
- My falling to bits exercise bike
- My falling to bits running shoes
- Pokemon Go….
When I started the tour I was restricted to Yorkshire now that has become the garden. So let’s see where we left off last time. We had just visited beautiful Timisoara in Romania. Now the journey continues. We still had many kilometres unused and we have added another 200km this week. So where have we got to….
We have arrived in the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. Let’s start with some random facts about this city.
- A population of about 730000,
- The official language is Moldovan,
- During the Soviet Union the city was called Kishinyov,
- It’s called the White Stone Town due to many of its buildings being built from Limestone.
So let’s take a look at some of the city sights.
Officially the biggest wine cellar in the world
Stefan cel Mare Park
So thank you Chisinau. Now where next on the world tour.
********* all City photos from TripAdvisor. ************
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.
It’s been a while since we did the last of these. Last year I started using the miles generated from my exercise bike, fitness tracker and Pokemon Go (Don’t Ask…) to see how far they would get me round the world.
So over the last couple of months let’s see what my entirely house and garden bound existence has generated.
720km Exercise Bike
205km Pokemon Go
Plus we had some km left in the tank from the last trip to Trieste. So let’s see where my little hairy legs have taken me.
So on our last mobile report our intrepid Explorer was leaving Trieste. We now find him 850km further west in Romania. Beautiful Timisoara.
Timisoara has two names. The City of Flowers and Little Vienna. Looking at the online photos, it is such a stunning place. So let’s see a few of the highlights.
Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral
Thank you beautiful Timisoara.
We still have plenty of km left over and more to add this week. So let’s see where we are next Thursday. Stay safe and remember to smile.
*****Thank you to Tripadvisor and RomaniaTourism for the photos.******
I don’t know why but last night I had a dream about a trip we had a couple of years back to Lindisfarne. A place called Holy Island. You have to drive across a long causeway running out into the North Sea. After a few minutes you arrive at the small island. You can only drive onto the island at low tide. The monastery was founded on the island in 634 by Saint Aiden. It became the base for christian evangelicalism in the north of the country. In 793 it was raided by the vikings and that raid is often seen as the start of the Viking age.
Son absolutely loved this place because of the history. He also liked the thought of walking somewhere his mum had been. We had a lovely holiday here before we became a family of 3.
Don’t know why I dreamt about Lindisfarne. In the dream we were stranded by the tide. Couldn’t get off the island and everywhere was locked up. And the vikings were coming….. Not sure if my car security is Viking raider proof. It will almost certainly invalidate the car insurance.
I keep reading that so many people are having weird dreams at present. I’m certainly on that list. Not going to try and explain it. All I can say is that I do like a good dream but not the endless sleepless hours which seem to follow mine these days. But I am so lucky. A warm bed. Hot drinks on tap. A safe home. Books to read. Old photos to look at. And I am not alone. Tired yes but I can work round that. I’m ok as long I’m not asked about Quantum Theory or French Verb Conjunctions…..
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.
Reminders of what is still out there. So close yet in this changed world, so very far away. Photos from a time before lockdown. Seems almost a lifetime ago.
Trying to reintegrate back into the big bad world will be a challenge for many. Certainly it will be for our little family. We have however taken the first very hesitant steps. The overall journey will not be easy and will require frequent retreats.
A couple of houses close to ours have started large renovation projects. Much scaffolding, many trucks and vans. With that comes workers, strangers on the door step to our sons safe world. Now the safe boundary has shifted from the front gate to the front door. His world has contracted again.
We just have to live with this. Thankfully the back garden is still safe in his eyes.
Over the last week we have been building towards a short journey. A little round car trip. Unfortunately the new strangers to the village disrupted those plans. But we have made it with a few tweaks. We went early before anybody had time to arrive. That way we also had the roads to ourselves. Careful car reversing managed to get the car close enough to the house to allow son to take a few hesitant steps. I opened the car door so he didn’t have to touch any alien surfaces. We then drove for 10 minutes without stopping. No time for walks or photos. Then back home for Son to shower and change clothes.
That’s a start. We may go again next week. We will go when Son says so, not me. I suspect it will be a long time before we have new photos from the trips. But these few shots from winter show what even a little 10 minute drive can reveal. As hard as some governments try to wreck our life’s – it’s still a wonderful world.