Seasons

I have been to Switzerland before we came to live here and seen it in all of the seasons but to watch it change from one to the next was really special.

DSC_0494

It was only a few short weeks ago that I was staring out the window on a rainy day at this gorgeous tree.  The colours of the leaves are incredible and I could look at them all day.

DSC_0006-001

Now it is completely bare.

DSC_0007-001

Winter is coming….. and we might just be hoping for a little snow before we leave 🙂

 

Advertisements

What has changed in 10 months?

DSC_0894-001

  1. We are packing boxes, giving things away, selling things, posting things, and returning things in preparation for our return to Australia at the end of next month.
  2. The mornings are really dark again.  It is hard to get out of bed…..
  3. I have become aware that living as a foreigner amplifies all of your inner thoughts about your capabilities, resilience, the mortality of your loved ones, the direction of your life etc.  It makes you examine everything you believe in much greater detail and to question things.
  4. At the start of our time here I noticed all the differences.  Now I notice all the similarities.
  5. Claudia has had a lot of new children join her class.  She refers to them as ‘the newbies’ (the ones that started in August) and ‘the new newbies’ (the ones that started in October just after the last school holiday).  There is a lot of chaos in the classroom at the moment.  Multiple children of multiple nationalities, languages, and ages dealing with being in a new country in sometimes very inappropriate ways.  Our quiet studious girl has never been good with a lot of noise and this is taking it to a whole new level.  It is interesting to see how she is dealing with it so maturely and reflecting on the reasons for the behaviour.  I am really feeling for her poor teacher at the moment.
  6. I finally feel like I am orientated as to where various villages and cantons are in relation to each other.  I used to be so confused about this despite having been to Switzerland several times.
  7. I made a major decision regarding a career change.  It has not been an easy process and I have been filled with a lot of doubt and fear.  The reality is that, once you are really honest with yourself, a sense of relief replaces both of those feelings.
  8. We have spent a lot of time thinking about how we want our life to look when we get back to Australia and the changes we want to make.
  9. I am still terrified speaking on the phone in German and avoid it as much as possible.
  10. It is very interesting how little you miss the ‘stuff’ you have stored while you are away.  There are only a few things I would be sad to not see again.

Ballenberg

DSC_0841-001

Ballenberg is an open air museum in the Brienz region.  It is enormous – we were there for over five hours and still didn’t see everything.  The museum features homes from various regions of Switzerland that were dismantled and carefully rebuilt piece by piece.  A big task considering the age of some of them.

DSC_0858-001

There are many artisans at work in the museum.  Here cheese is being made the old fashioned way…

DSC_0892-001

The woodcarver had an impressive workshop.  This one’s for you Dad 🙂

DSC_0859-001

Gutters made from a hollowed out log, and held up with wooden brackets.

DSC_0863-001

A very old sled….

DSC_0875-001

There is an airport near the museum and a group of FA18s were roaring through the valley while we were wandering around.  The noise was unbelievable.

DSC_0917-001

Claudia did some woodwork – sawing, drilling, carving.

DSC_0927

Ha, this is a very old fashioned hair-curling machine.  Clearly women have suffered for beauty throughout the ages!!

DSC_0943-001

Thatched huts.  The thatch was incredibly thick.

DSC_0971-001

This compound would look right at home in Italy but is actually from the Italian-speaking Tessin region of Switzerland.  It is one of my favourite areas – mild weather, lots of sunshine, and delicious food.

Trummelbach Falls

DSC_0820-001

Trummelbach falls are 10 glacier-waterfalls inside a mountain that we visited while we were staying at Lauterbrunnen.    You access the falls via a lift (doesn’t every mountain have one?).

DSC_0822-001

Switzerland is a masterpiece of nature.  There is no denying it.

DSC_0767-001

There were a lot of stairs to climb once inside so it wasn’t all easy going.

DSC_0765-001

Some of the waterfalls were pounding but we were told there is a much higher volume of water at other times of the year.

DSC_0812-001

We walked off a lot of the schnitzel we consumed while staying in the alps.  It all evens out in the end…..

Toboggan me……..

DSC_0974-001

In the village of Lauterbrunnen, a farmer leads his cows down the mountain to market on a foggy morning…..

DSC_0005-002

Meanwhile, the Gaytons and the Birrers headed here to go tobogganing.  It would have been nice to be able to go sledding in the snow but we will take what we can get.  Can I just say, I LOVE tobogganing (and sledding).  So much fun.DSC_0994

A few were a wee bit nervous heading down a steel track on a little toboggan that they may or may not be able to control.  But after a few goes, everyone was speeding down as fast as they could.

DSC_0986-001

He flies…..

DSC_0985-001

She also notched up some pretty impressive speeds…..

DSC_0982-001

Oh and look at the view!!

DSC_0995-001

It was hard to concentrate on the track with all this gorgeousness in the background.  I will take a toboggan in any season.  Love it!!

Bond morphing and dangerous mountain-top antics

DSC_0725-001

Let’s just get the Bond morphing out of the way shall we?  We laughed so hard doing these photos that we were crying.   Claudia as 007….

DSC_0729-001

A Bond girl…..

DSC_0731-001

And Dr No….

DSC_0727-001

I was also a Bond girl.  You have no idea the face contorting it took to get these photos to look semi-real.  Again, we laughed and laughed.  Really loudly.

DSC_0663-001

So it took us four gondolas to get to Piz Gloria, the mountain famous for having been in a Bond movie (the one with the least well-known Bond, George Lazenby, in it).

DSC_0667-001

And it was all the more fun for the Bond connection.  So much laughing.

DSC_0679-001

At some point we decided it was a good idea to walk out to this viewing station…

DSC_0710-001

And risked our lives on the slippery slope with nothing more than a pair of joggers on…. There was screaming, and more laughing, and a bit of crazy snowball throwing.

DSC_0688

It was a memorable day for family….

DSC_0625-001

Sisters….

DSC_0628-001

And cousins.  Still laughing.  Every time I look at those Bond photos.

Interlaken

IMGP0984

After a rowdy night with the Gaytons where there was a lot of laughing and too much vino consumed we headed to Interlaken for the day.

IMGP0986

Interlaken lies between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and is a major tourist spot in Switzerland.  I was trying to take a photo of the many paragliders floating down from the sky into town but just couldn’t seem to catch them in time.  We also spent a lot of time trying to talk Stephanie into having a jump…

IMGP0990

And tried to talk someone into going for a swim…..

IMGP0991

And joked around a lot.

IMGP0993

And a couple of cousins got to spend some time together.  A good day in all.

 

 

Lauterbrunnen

DSC_0558-001

We are staying with the Gaytons in the village of Lauterbrunnen.  This valley is famous for its many waterfalls.

DSC_0564-001

It is a quiet village at the moment but in winter the numbers swell both for the many skiing opportunities close to here and for a famous downhill ski race that takes place in the alpine village of Wengen.

DSC_0565-001

We walked to the Staubbach falls.  A steep path takes you up to a spot where you can stand directly behind the falls.

DSC_0580-001

The view is fantastic from up there and the water crashing down in front of you is worth the climb.

DSC_0588-001This is the view from behind the falls looking out over Lauterbrunnen  with the Swiss alps in the background.

DSC_0590-001Claudia spotted this rainbow.

DSC_0593-001Afterwards we walked around the village.  I think the cemetery looks really lovely as each grave site has been planted with colourful flowers.  So pretty….

DSC_0606-001

The view of the falls is breathtaking from the village.

DSC_0611-001

This house is interesting with its grass-covered roof.  Camouflage perhaps??

DSC_0612-001

Later we went on a short drive to Grindelwald.  It is probably the more well-known of the two villages but a bit too touristy for my taste.

The glass blower

DSC_0507-001

On our way south for a holiday we stopped at Lake Luzern at Hergiswil.

DSC_0504-001

This incredible tree was in the park where we stopped.  I asked Urs to stand in front of it to give a sense of scale.  It was huge.

DSC_0502-001

There was an entrance and inside the branches of the tree spread out around the trunk like a cave.

DSC_0500-001

Magical….DSC_0517-001

We also stopped at Glasi.  This is a museum and glass factory where you can see all the pieces they sell being hand-made.  These guys have people watching them work all day – visitors can stand on a balcony to see how it is all done.

DSC_0523-001Hot work indeed…..

DSC_0534-001

Claudia had a go at making a glass bauble.  Blow slowly and gently he said in Swiss.

DSC_0538-001

It was fascinating to watch.  Oh and the bauble looks beautiful.

Summer to Autumn

DSC_0827

DSC_0497

The leaves are falling.  Colourful leaves that seem to get even more beautiful every day.  Green becomes orange and red and pink.

DSC_0831

DSC_0496

It is quite cold now.  This morning when I ventured out for a walk I was thinking about winter boots and a warmer coat.

DSC_0829

DSC_0495

Oh and the fog.  It is definitely fog season.  The other day it felt very much like snow wasn’t far away…. We can only hope.  A snowy landscape is a such a pretty one.