Summer to Autumn



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



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



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.

Double digits means…..


……. double cake!!  Happy 10th birthday Claudie xxxxxx


She picked a himbeertorte (raspberry cake) and schwarzwaldtorte (black forest cake) – although I suspect the second one was for our benefit because she doesn’t like dark chocolate.  Claudie is sweet like that.


How did ten years go by so quickly??


She is beautiful inside and out.  Kind, smart, funny, adventurous, a little shy at times, a lot courageous at times.  We love this girl xxxxxxxxx



What has changed in 8 months?


8 months???  Really???

  1. I have food on my mind a lot.  You have to eat seasonally here.  We are so spoilt living in Brisbane because we pretty much have access to everything all year round and I don’t always think about what I am buying or eating.  Here it is different.  I am welcoming the summer food!  Tomatoes never tasted as good as they do right now.
  2. We are enjoying fresh vegetables and salad straight out of my in-law’s garden.
  3. The best mangoes in the world are absolutely Australian.  There is no contest.
  4. We have tried Arancello (the orange version of Limoncello).  So good.  I plan to try making my own.
  5. A new school year started this month.  I still can’t quite get my head around school starting in August.  Claudia is now going to a regular class for a couple of sessions a week and does woodwork, craft and sport with her Swiss classmates.  She has made some new friends and is enjoying these lessons.  Her integration class continues.  Some of her friends have moved on to regular school classes full-time and there are some new students.  We are in the thick of German grammar and homework has never felt so hard!!
  6. I have realised that the problem with Switzerland is that it is so clean that it makes everywhere else suddenly seem dirty.  I have spoken to other travellers about this and they fully agree.  This should be the last country on your European itinerary.
  7. I have noticed that I have become a little Swiss.  This may be fuelling my obsessive compulsive tendencies.  I am the best (non-Swiss) recycler ever 🙂
  8. No, my German has not improved beyond belief.
  9. We hardly ever watch tv.  It is so nice to sit outside in the afternoon or go for a walk while the weather is so good.
  10. I am dreaming of having a cellar in our house in Australia.  Most houses/apartments have one here.

What has changed in 7 months?


  1. We went on an overseas holiday.  When you live in Australia everywhere is ‘overseas’ but here in Europe it is a bit of a novelty for us.  Photos coming soon….
  2. I am used to seeing the Pollen Report on the news.
  3. I felt at home when the hot weather finally arrived.  And it has been HOT.
  4. I am having phantom fan pain.  There are no fans in our apartment and my Australian mind just can’t accept it.  I keep walking to the wall expecting to find a fan switch and then being surprised time again that it is not there.  Move on Jen.
  5. We had our first Australian visitors.  It was good to be a bit rowdy and laugh really loudly.
  6. The school year ended in the middle of the year.  It feels so strange.
  7. The weeks are rapidly getting booked up with visitors, visits and general socialisation.
  8. We still have not bought a kettle or a hairdryer or a microwave.  And guess what?  You can live without them apparently.
  9. I started playing Candy Crush.  If you haven’t…. don’t.  It is a trap.  I have nightmares about the exploding chocolate that just won’t stop.  I slam my hand on the couch and yell at a metal object.
  10.  I am dreaming of a relaxing week at the beach doing absolutely nothing but sleep in late, eat mangoes, and listen to the ocean.

Stein Kaeserei


This is the first part of a mini-Swiss tour we took the Johnsons on – they call it Urs Tours.  We started here in the village of Stein.


We brought them to this cheese factory to find out the secrets of Swiss cheese.  A specialty cheese, Appenzeller, is made here.


Lots of cheese.  Lots and lots and lots of cheese.


We watched a movie about the special traditions of this area which are maintained to this day.  And learned the secret of this spicy cheese.  Well, not all of it.  The actual spice mix is top secret.

DSC_0093-001There were some angelic flowers to behold.

DSC_0086-001A wedge of cheese rock climbing wall (which was a bit of a favourite).


And who doesn’t love running around in a hamster wheel?  A few dizzy kids tumbled out of there.

What has changed in 6 months?


  1. I have to start exercising.  I was doing a lot of walking when we first got here but Miss Independent has been flying to school on a scooter for the last few months and it has caught up with me…….  I blame the cold weather.  And the comfort food.
  2. A lady I met on the street back in the days when I walked Claudia to school invited me out for coffee.  Ooh my first friend.
  3. All the winter clothes have finally been packed away after three false starts.  I would pack them away and then it would get cold again.  And again.  And again.
  4. I am able to recommend a few good restaurants in our town, the best days to shop, places to go, which buses to catch, shortcuts to take, and can converse with people in my limited and dodgy Swinglish.  (Although yesterday I think I was getting told off at the supermarket about something but I had no idea what it was and the lady at the checkout eventually gave up).
  5. I have a bicycle.  Yay transport!!  And I am going for a ride everyday (see point 1).
  6. I got pulled over by the police today for (unknowingly) riding in the wrong spot 🙂  Apparently I am on a roll this week for not following the correct procedures…..
  7. We are planning a trip off the continent….
  8. Time feels like it has sped up suddenly.
  9. Fresh picked Swiss strawberries.  Does anything taste better?
  10. No horrible cockroaches here.  But lots of bees.  Probably because there are so many flowers in bloom.  I have had to chase a few out of the apartment.



Ben spent his 18th birthday sitting in a chair having chemotherapy.  He wanted to go out for dinner that night and ordered his favourite meal even though we all knew he wouldn’t be able to eat it.  I’m sure he did it for us.  To make us feel better about how he spent such an important milestone in his life.  He still joked around that day and took it all in his stride as he did with most things in his life.  It would be his last birthday.  Four months later he was gone.  Four years later we still go through the motions of making him a cake and cooking his favourite meal.  Because we wish he was here to celebrate.  Because we miss him so much.  Because we know we are here because he is not.  His passing reminded us that life is short and unpredictable.  And pushed us forward to do the things we always talked about doing.  So here we are.  Halfway around the world.  Love you so much buddy x  Thankyou for everything you taught us.