Foggy, colourful days

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Autumn is a dreamy season of foggy, dark mornings……

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Incredible colours…..

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And the start of trees shedding their leaves ready for winter.

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There are dewy webs everywhere and a stillness in the air.  The busyness of summer has passed and again it is quiet in our neighbourhood.  I feel so lucky to have been here for four seasons and to see how not only the landscape changes but also the activity of the people who live here.   The temperature now is a lot like winter at home in Brisbane.

 

 

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Elvis is made of pumpkin

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Yesterday Anita, Claudie and I went to Seegraben to a pumpkin festival.  And there he was in all his glory….. the King.

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Seegraben is just down the road from Zurich and is a beautiful spot on Lake Pfaeffikon.

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The pumpkin festival is an annual event that runs for a few months.  A German artist created these pumpkin sculptures which were huge and quite impressive.

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There was an incredible array of colours and shapes…

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These ones were absolutely bizzare.

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Some were huge….

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Claudia is tall so it gives you some idea just how big these are.  These ones were used in the recent pumpkin regatta – people actually get in these and paddle up the lake in a crazy pumpkin race!

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The apples on the trees lining the labyrinths are used to make Shorley (which is a really nice sparkling apple drink).

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They also have a wish tree in the middle of one of the mazes.  People can tie a piece of cloth to the tree and make a wish.

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The kids were kept well entertained with hay bale climbing/jumping/burrowing…. pumpkin carving, swinging in large hammocks, tree climbing, pumpkin throwing……  Kids are the same everywhere.

 

The birthday lunch

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The Whites stayed in a B&B in the nearby village of Lutisburg.  They had a fantastic view from their attic apartment.  Beneath the viaduct is a river and in summer it was a hive of activity as it is the closest thing to a beach around here.  We left from here for Sue’s birthday lunch on a gorgeous sun-filled day.

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Sue’s request for her birthday was to go somewhere with a nice view.  We searched high and low for the perfect spot and took them to a restaurant that looked out to the mountains in one direction and across to Lake Constance in the other.

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Ahhhh the best laid plans…. we arrived at the top of the hill where the restaurant is located and were immediately surrounded by a blanket of fog.  Oh well, we had a really delicious lunch 🙂 and enjoyed the day despite the weather’s failure to co-operate!

With the Whites at Wallensee

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The Whites arrived in Switzerland to fairly dismal weather but thankfully the sun came out for a few of the days they spent with us.  We headed down to Wallensee (south of where we live) for a picnic on the weekend and a little countryside touring.

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‘See’ is the German word for lake.  It has to be said that all the lakes in Switzerland are really beautiful.  The picnic area here is accessed by a one lane road.  There is a somewhat complicated sign at the entrance (if you don’t read German) that tells you to wait until a certain time to drive so that you don’t crash into someone coming the other way.  There are also the hikers to avoid….

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We saw a bit of activity that day – divers, waterskiers, sailboats, canoeists.  The water was chilly even with the sun out.

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But what a lovely spot to enjoy some time with your family.

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Afterwards we drove up the hill to Amden to take in the view of the lake from higher ground.

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And at this point Sue started to worry about their ability to negotiate the steep winding roads of the Swiss mountain areas…. It takes a bit of getting used to 🙂 (especially in winter).

Hosenruck

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On the weekend we have been to Hosenruck in the neighbouring canton of Thurgau.  The view from the restaurant looks out to Saentis (the mountain on the left mostly covered in cloud) and the Churfirsten range (the seven mountain peaks to the right).

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Further around you can see Lake Constance with either Germany or Austria in the distance.

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The other memorable event of the weekend was the family get-together.  There were about 40 aunts, uncles and cousins who came and Urs’ parents had three grills fired up for the event.  Everyone had a good time catching up with family they hadn’t seen for a long time in some cases.  It is a real memory test to remember names (and how to pronounce them correctly) and work out the connections between people but I am slowly figuring it out!

What has changed in 9 months?

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  1. We have had to start thinking about preparing to go home.  We do this with very mixed feelings.  (The photo above is from one of the neighbouring apartment blocks.  Someone is moving out of the penthouse and all the boxes are going down a conveyor directly to the truck.  Which would be a good idea if it wasn’t raining today).
  2. Claudia has seemingly grown overnight again.  All her jeans are too short and the weather has cooled considerably.
  3. On reflecting on our time here we didn’t get to do all the things we had hoped to do but we had some other (unexpected)fantastic experiences.  Which is one of my favourite aspects of travelling – the unplanned things are often the most memorable.
  4. We have family from Australia coming to visit.  It is always good to see a place through new eyes.
  5. I have been to the dentist.  And nearly had a heart attack when the bill came.  Health care is very expensive here….
  6. Interestingly, I went to the doctor over two months ago and still have not received the bill.  Ha, that would never happen in Australia.  You pay before you leave the office!
  7. I understand the Swiss love of their mountains now and why they miss them.  It is a very deep connection that you can only really start to comprehend when you have spent a lot of time here.  I will definitely miss them when we leave, the same way I miss the ocean now.
  8. The winding Swiss mountain roads are not as frightening to drive on as they used to be but it also may be because there is no snow on them at the moment.  Driving in winter is another story 🙂
  9. Living in an apartment with less stuff (and enjoying it) has really made us think about the way we live.  And no doubt will have an effect on how we live in the future.
  10. Claudia is reading chapter books in German now.  We are very impressed with how far she has come in such a short time.

 

  

Pumpkin season

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I didn’t take this photo.  It was sent to us a few years ago by one of our Swiss relatives (thankyou!!) and I stumbled across it yesterday.

In Brisbane we can eat pumpkin almost all year round.  And I love it.  So I have been looking forward to pumpkin season here.  Everywhere you drive at the moment there are roadside stalls selling pumpkins.  Most with an honesty box.  We bought a pumpkin last week and despite being very orange on the outside, the flesh was surprisingly pale inside.  There are many varieties for sale – orange, white and even black pumpkins.

To see these stalls is one of the nice things about living in such a seasonal climate.  The mornings are starting to get darker, the days a little cooler, and the change of food appearing in the supermarket (and at roadside stalls) are reminders that autumn is upon us and we are now in our fourth season here.

 

Firecrackers

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I remember being able to buy firecrackers in Australia when I was very young and then they were banned because of the number of injuries that happened during backyard firework displays.  You can buy them here in Switzerland at the supermarket at certain times of the year and we bought these for Swiss National Day on 1st August.  Except at that time we were in Scotland…….  So they are sitting in our cupboard until we decide where and when we can use them.

Rapperswil

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Lake Zurich is shaped a bit like a banana with Zurich at the northern tip.  We went to Rapperswil on the weekend, which is about 2/3 of the way along the lake on the north-eastern side.

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A lot of people come here to go cruising around the lake and they could not have had a more picture perfect day.

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This is the view from Rapperswil Castle looking down over the rose gardens, across the old town, to Lake Zurich.

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You can see a tiny pontoon at the bottom of the picture.  There were a lot of people swimming around here.  It felt like summer had returned.

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Claudia was happy to see these bambis (who make the funniest and most unexpected sound).

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The stag was hiding close to the brick fence below us.  Such a beautiful creature.

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There is a Polish museum in the castle but the people standing outside were awaiting a bride and groom.

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I was a little surprised to see Buddhist prayer flags up there.

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Gratuitous shot of moi because most of the time I take the photos and forget to get in any of them!!

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There was more than one wedding in Rapperswil on this fine weekend.

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Afterwards we drove up the hill to Frohberg where the view was nothing short of incredible.

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And where yet another wedding was taking place.

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It really was the most amazing day after some unpredicatable weather over the last couple of weeks.