The other sled run…

IMGP0077Australia has a lot of ‘bigs’ – the big banana at Coffs Harbour, the big pineapple at Nambour.  Berguen has a big sled.  And while looking at this photo I realised that the ski lift in the background is the one that takes you up to the fast sled run.  The one we really wanted to go on but missed.  Lesson learned.

Zopf

DSC_0109My sister-in-law made this for us and we ate it for lunch today – delicious!  It is  a Swiss bread called Zopf (which means ‘braid’) and it is traditionally eaten on Sundays.

It is made with high proportions of butter and milk which gives it quite a unique texture and taste.  Apparently this was done (historically) because the bread was made on a Friday to be eaten on a Sunday and the high fat content allowed it to stay fresh.  There are other versions of this type of bread found in Austria and Germany (eg. Jewish Challah bread).

Berguen

IMGP0081At the end of the sled run you arrive in the village of Berguen.

IMGP0084A lot of these small villages are very casual in the way the roads are used.

IMGP0086One can sled or ski down this street, for example, right to a restaurant.

DSC_0053-001Or the ice bar.

DSC_0060And have a sit on an ice sofa.  A very quick sit.

DSC_0072-001On the way to the Kakadu bar.

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One must be careful of tourists running late for their bus, or of cars sliding out of control.  Okay, that may be a fairly loose interpreation of the actual sign.  But still possible 😉

DSC_0073-001Such a sweet door.

DSC_0086But this is something we have not seen anywhere before – outdoor fondue.  A drink is included and it would need to be a schnapps to brave standing outside to eat in these low temperatures!!

Sledding Preda-Berguen

DSC_0031We drove to Chur (about an hour south-east of us) on the weekend and then caught the Bernina Express to Preda to go sledding.  This is the first carriage we were in on the train and we were having a jolly lovely time in there until we got kicked out.  Apparently we were in the Panorama carriage.  Note the lovely windows that go up to the ceiling and the pleasant surroundings.  Not actually the carriage we were supposed to be in…..

DSC_0034Not before I snapped a quick photo of the Rhine River.

DSC_0038Ahem…. in our real carriage.  Which was still ok but just lacking in that Panorama ambience somehow…..

DSC_0048This is the Landwasser Viaduct which is 65 metres high and 136 metres long.  Very impressive.  Its upcoming arrival is announced on the train in both German and English giving people plenty of time to get a photo.  This railway has been Heritage Listed and the trip to Preda was a really lovely part of our day.

DSC_0054These are the type of sleds we rented.  They are called carving sleds and they are responsible for the increased interest in sledding in Switzerland in the last few years.  These sleds can be steered while you are lying down just by shifting your body weight from side to side and generally go much faster than the more traditional type of sled.   I don’t have any photos of us zooming down the run but can tell you that we clocked 29km/hr (there is a board that tells you when you go past it).

In all honesty it wasn’t the best sled run we have been on.  There were a few slow patches where there wasn’t enough drop to slide and we had to walk.  But there were some fast parts and it was a bit of a novelty sledding on a run that is normally a road and is closed off to be used for sledding in winter.  I think if you have never sledded before it would be good because the run felt much safer than some of the ones we have been on which had a much steeper drop.

DSC_0085Here we are walking back to the train that takes you back up to Preda from Berguen so that you can sled down the 6km road again.DSC_0088The area is very pretty and I will post some photos of Berguen tomorrow.

What will we be doing on the weekend?

If you think sledding is for kids.  Think again.  It is called sledging here.  And you don’t pull a sled up a small hill and slide down (well you can if you want to).  You go up in a gondola to the top of the mountain and fly down purpose-built sledging runs.  It is fast.  It can be dangerous.  It is the best fun.  We are going here…

http://youtu.be/LSYBqT8Y-pg

Have a good weekend.

Not Spring, but trying

DSC_0022You can absolutely be sure that as soon as I write here that we had a warm day with blue sky and all the snow has melted that it will snow that very night.  And the next day will make it look like I was telling stories.

But there are tiny signs of Spring to be seen.  The local garden centre has made a few changes.

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There are now vibrant green displays out the front.  And tulips are everywhere to be seen.  I love Swiss florist shops and garden centres.  They use a lot of forest-inspired decorations – delicate moss with whimsical glittery beads – done in a very understated way.

DSC_0025I couldn’t resist some of these.  It is a nice way to celebrate the seasons and bring a bit of colour home.

How much do things cost?

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These are a few items I bought today at the supermarket.  The Australian dollar and the Swiss franc are almost 1:1 at the moment.

A loaf of good quality bread (380g) – $2.60.  Worth every cent.  I love the bread here.

Milk (1 litre) – $1.65.

Carton of 6 free-eggs – $3.60.

Potatoes (Amandine) (680g) – $2.90.

Good quality ham (100g) – $3.45.

Cheese (Winzerkaese) (250g) – $4.35.

Ten years ago it was much cheaper to live in Australia but the cost of living has increased phenomenally there.  I am not spending much more on groceries than I did in Australia but we are eating less meat because that is a lot more expensive here.  A couple of other things that are more expensive here are petrol (currently about $1.70/litre) and health insurance (which is compulsory and I can’t even say the amount without crying).  I will never complain about how much I paid for health insurance in Australia ever again.  Cars are cheaper here.  So is wine.  Thankfully.

What would I?

shippingThis is how we shipped some of our things to Switzerland.  It was the genius design of my clever husband.  The cardboard box has a wooden frame built inside it and is screwed onto a pallet.  We were able to fit 14 boxes inside – some small and some large – but getting them in there was a challenge.  The outer box was heavy so it got put on the back of the truck first.  Then we had to climb up the ladder (and when I say ‘we’ you know it wasn’t actually me :)) and drop the smaller boxes in through the top.  Everything was packed in bubblewrap.  And the entire outer box was wrapped in industrial plastic.  Not a single thing was damaged on the long trip here by sea.  It took almost three months door to door and was shipped from Brisbane to Singapore to Slovenia (via the Suez Canal), and then brought here by truck.

What would I bring again?  Almost everything we packed which was some of Claudia’s toys and books, some boardgames, a box of tools, some kitchenware, some clothes and shoes, a bag of craft stuff, and a few decorative items.  It was great to open the boxes and see some of our own things when everything else was foreign.

I actually brought my sewing machine (and have used it) and a large crockpot.  Crockpots are fantastic for the cold winter here but surprisingly they are not common at all.  All of the electrical items we brought are working with just a simple European adaptor – I had read that people sometimes have problems but so far so good for us.

What do I wish we had brought?  Some tupperware containers.  Some of the spice mixes that I can’t find here.  12 large tins of Milo.  A few friends and family.

Oh, and just for the record, we will definitely be going to Slovenia.

 

Blue days

DSC_0004The sun came out today and the snow is slowly melting away again.

DSC_0005It is warmer.  We were too hot in our winter clothes on the walk home.

DSC_0006There are both traditional and modern homes on the high road.

DSC_0009And a little patriotism.

DSC_0007Even the hairy stairs are not looking too scary at the moment.

DSC_0013But there is still enough snow to grab a quick snowball 😉

 

Old wares

DSC_0003We furnished our entire apartment very cheaply and have a LOT of IKEA stuff.  So we went to a secondhand shop on the weekend to find a few things to add a bit of soul to the mix.   I found this fantastic typeset tray (which now has a small Lego Harry Potter sitting in it).  There were some amazing pieces in the shop that I just had to walk away from…

The man had to work on Sunday so we had a lazy day watching a movie.  There are no dvd shops in our town.  You just rent directly from the tv.  Too easy.