Walking a new path with surprises

Yesterday, we ventured from our new home to a part of Wohlen we’ve never seen before. Well, we’ve seen it from a distance, but never walked through it.

The weather was crazy-amazing sunny and the path threw up plenty of surprises!

The shepherd and his flock have been sporadic visitors – one year they were in the field right next to our house. The sheep knew to scratch at the snow to find the grass underneath, so all I could hear was constant neck bells clanging, munching and scratching. Very cool.

Last year, there was a tiny flock nearby, but it wasn’t the same shepherd. Here’s that post from February last year – look at the difference in the weather!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Oh and I forgot this photo! Home to the narcissus and more sheep yeah, but also a well-deserved beer in the sun! Tee hee!

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The new apartment photo tour

The grand reveal. Are you reading, Mum?!

While we’ve been getting used to things like hearing people walking up the stairs or coughing in neighbouring apartments, I have been love love loving the brief walk to the bus and home again! The trip to work is a grand total of 20 minutes, instead of 40 minutes. Who doesn’t love a 50% reduction in travel time?!

Even without all the luxuries, like the grass, forest and pool, from our previous “castle”, we feel very at home here. Amazingly, despite upsizing from 2.5 rooms to 5.5 rooms, we didn’t have to buy too much stuff either. We bought a higher bed to see out the bedroom window (in the Stöckli we had a low bed because of the slanted roof), a cupboard, a clothes rack and two standing lamps. Everything else (except for the hammock!) was from inside the Stöckli too. It was a veritable Tardis!

So without further ado, here’s our new apartment. Sorry about the lack-lustre photography. I’m home with tonsillitis and couldn’t be arsed making art. And speaking of art, all the art work is by Leo. Clever chap!

So there you have it! Everything, apart from the balcony, is pretty much finished. Not bad for two schmucks doing it all on their own over three weeks. I think that’s contributed to my tonsillitis though. We’ve worked hard, carrying everything up two sets of spiral stairs to the front door and another set to the gallery level. No fights were had either, I promise!*

I’m really looking forward to working on the balcony and getting it established in spring. We’ll have an outdoor table and chairs and hopefully that vertical garden wall!

We look forward to welcoming guests. Will you be coming over?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

* I lie.

The last sunrises …

Our old home put on a magical show for us before we left. It felt like every sunrise was a winner. It felt like every day was clear and bright. I’m sure it was nature’s way of saying remember this view! remember this place! in the best way possible.

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Taking in the whole view from the left …

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… into the middle … (I’ll miss the white house making this scene “pop”)

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… and to the right … crisp and clean

We certainly had a grand view of the Swiss Alps.

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Gold! The view from the bedroom window (with the eave of the roof on the left)

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Foggy but inviting

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Layers

Ahhhh, those lovely last few days …

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Sunrise with stars still shining

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Winner, winner!

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On the walk down the hill to collect the keys for the new apartment

We’ve moved into the village of Wohlen bei Bern from the outskirts. Leo went to work before our appointment to collect the new house keys, then straight to the apartment, but I stayed home and walked the walk for old time’s sake. It felt fitting to say goodbye to that walk in that way. As much as I loved it (most of the time!), I’m glad, overall, that we’re down in the thick of the “action” now. And the church bells aren’t as bad as I thought they would be, clanging every 15 minutes, all through the night!

Here is the view from our new bedroom window …

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We can live with this!

Yahoo! We still can see the Alps! I think seeing those mountains is more important to me than the size of the apartment or having a garden or how nice the floors are or whatever! It’s my way of waking up happy.

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The view from the bed looking south east

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Closer …

Closer ...

Closer …

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With the windows open

I’m making the most of that view during winter, because I think come summertime we will only glimpse the mountains when all the leaves on those trees are back.

Photos of the apartment will be in the next post, promise.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Colourful visitors to warm your day

* Still catching up on old photos and stories from earlier in the year.

Walking to the laundry in the main farmhouse on one of my beloved free Fridays (I work Mon-Thurs), two unexpected but welcome guests called me closer.

It was January 22 and we’d had what was to be, so far, the most snow all winter earlier in the week. Because I leave for and return from work in darkness, patience was needed to snap this charming couple, who were taking it easy by the pool.

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Our friends stayed for a few days …

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Why does the woman always get the broom?!

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He did well, bringing an umbrella to avoid all that sun

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Maybe they’d been for a dip?

Thanks go to the neighbours, who have two small children, for inviting them over and making us all smile. Alas, the mild weather returned, and Mr and Mrs nourished the soil after nourishing our souls … a broom and umbrella the only reminders.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Tahdah! Back from box hell!

Greetings readers, and apologies for being AWOL for so long. For the past two weeks, we’ve had no internet at home which made it less distracting for packing boxes and dismantling furniture and unpacking boxes and assembling furniture! Box hell was relatively brief. It feels like IKEA hell lasted longer.

Very happy to be back blogging again. But before I show any photos of the new place, I have a stockpile of January photos to show you first!

Leo’s best friend Dani and his girlfriend Claudia came to see us one last time in the Stöckli. (We went walking on New Year’s Day with them in 2015). This time, Dani had the flu so didn’t join us outdoors, and I forgot to take photos of the scrumdiddeliumptious fondue we made. But here we are on the road …

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Crystal clear day for walking

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Leo and Claudia in Möriswil

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Icing on the logs

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Homeward bound. Claudia’s toes were frozen

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Blue skies, following me … Nothing but blue skies

Now that we have internet access, I’ll keep this short and write again soon.

And I’ll leave you with this cat who sits every day in the window of a travel agency near where I work.

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How much is that kitty in the window, the one with the elephants as friends?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Delicate and intricate

There’s an ornate building next door to my work which I’ve loved ever since moving to Bern. It’s in the Langgasse quarter, which has lots of uni buildings, student accommodation and a laidback feel to it all, all conveniently located next to the main train station. I may have talked about this area, and building, before.

Walking along the main street, just past the building on the left, is a driveway. My eye was drawn to an amazing plant growing along the fence. Just like the massive building before, it was delicate and intricate in a different way. Balls of a fine swirly, white, starchy substance replaced any greenery and brown octopus/spider legs wiggled inside. What a showstopper of a vine!

I stole a sprig for closer inspection. Here’s what they look like magnified …

The spiders legs fall out very easily, and the feathery material feels almost little a cotton ball/make-up wipe thing – not as soft as you’d think, but not scratchy either.

Do any of my clever green-thumbed friends know what the plant is called? I had zero luck searching the internet.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

And Vale Alan Rickman. What a chameleon he was, with such an expressive face and that rich, smooth voice.

I see faces

Today is the beginning of the blog without dates. Not the edible kind, but the time-frame kind.

Dates at the front of my posts put a time “limit” on them and I feel bad when I miss days. Without the daily exercise thing, there’s no longer a date dependency, so from now on I’m just going to write. Whatever comes to mind. Hopefully fun things, inspiring things, interesting things. Today let’s start with something silly.

Do you often see faces in inanimate objects? I love when stuff has a life of its own. Here’s the window latch/catch in our lounge room. I only noticed a few days ago what a great face he has, with his long shoot of plastic wheat. *chew, chew, y’all*

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What a face! I think he has a story or two about living on the land

I’ve given gifts of books with photos of faces in random objects as the subject matter, and always thought it was a good laugh – almost a challenge – to see and find faces, but never wondered if this “phenomenon” has a particular term or reasoning. Ta-dah, the power of the internet – I now know seeing faces in objects is called pareidolia (link to Wikipedia explanation).

Leo had never “seen” the man in the moon until we met, but now he knows where the eyes and mouth are. I have always seen the face, and the rabbit in the moon. But should I be admitting this? A study has concluded that people who see faces in stuff are more likely to be neurotic! Me?! Neurotic?! 🙂

They could be right. I’m always looking two steps ahead for danger and often pre-empting an accident situation, much to Leo’s annoyance when we’re in the car. “Brake!” “Pedestrian on the crossing!” “Slow down, please!” I admit I’m not a good passenger sometimes. Nervous Nelly. I say it’s all part of my previous job as a producer/production manager on television shoots. You’re always on the lookout for something that could injure someone. Hell, I paid wads of cash each year for personal liability insurance, and never wanted to test if it was worth it.

Here are some interesting stories with further explanations and examples on the pareidolia subject here (NY Magazine), here (Huffington Post) and here (BBC – the woman in the toast). If you’d like to see a whole Twitter feed dedicated to the topic, go here for some laughs! But only if you’re neurotic 🙂

On the theme of faces, this could possibly be the last photo of all these faces together at this table. We had fondue on Friday night at Liliane and Rene’s with The Usual Suspects, Liliane’s mum Hertha and Liliane’s good friend Lene from Gemany. A great night.

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Happy faces, in a familiar setting. How many times will we all be together here before Liliane and Rene move house?

Wishing you a wonderful day … filled with faces in inanimate objects … Brake!

Holiday on the rocks #2

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All kinds of cacti could be seen on Fuerteventura. These ball-shaped ones are always impressive, especially in clumps

Following on from yesterday’s reminiscing about the ingenious ways to use all those volcanic rocks lying around on Fuerteventura beaches, here is part two.

The second thing I had never seen before was on a day trip to Lanzarote. We caught the ferry for about 50 minutes from Corallejo to the port of Playa Blanca. Then we shuffled onto a bus for a five-hour tour of the island, stopping at an Aloe Vera factory, a winery and the Timanfaya National Park.

When I found out a winery was included on the tour, I admit I rolled my eyes. Seen one vineyard, seen them all. Rows and rows of vines, try some wine, on you go.

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Seen one winery …

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… seen them all?

But this winery is one I will never forget, because these are the vineyards …

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Each plant has its own hole, protected by a volcanic rock wall to stop wind damage. Have you ever seen anything like it? And for the record, the sweet white was too sweet but the dry white was quite nice (not that I know anything about wine).

So, the scenery was memorable for many reasons – the ground was so dark and the mountains looked amazing, with various red flecks from different minerals – but this Canary Island version of a vineyard takes the cake! Totally eye-popping moment and well worth the visit.

To find out more about the La Geria vineyard, and to see the plants in a better state than we saw them, go to this website. http://www.lanzarote-virtual.eu/lanzarote-round-island-trip/la-geria-vineyards-of-lanzarote

Here are some other snaps, taken from the bus, of Lanzarote. Around the port, it had a much cleaner, almost clinical, feel to it than Fuerteventura. Like the rich and famous, rather than the surfer crowd, would be comfortable there. But these are countryside pics.

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Yaiza has been voted the loveliest village in Spain – twice!

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Like being on Mars or something, but still incredibly beautiful and interesting

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Camel, anyone?

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Our tour guide making sure we were all prepared to hold a handful of small stones from one of the ‘hot points’ at Timanfaya National Park. They were damn hot! I had to drop mine quickly.

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Dry twigs caught on fire very quickly when put down this hole

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Water poured into this funnel burst back up within three seconds

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The restaurant in the park cooks meat on a naturally heated grill!

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We learned about the different types of lava flow as well. You’re not allowed to walk anywhere off the track because it’s so unstable and fine in places

So there you go! It’s nice to be surprised, isn’t it?!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Holiday on the rocks

Two things have really stuck in my mind from our recent holiday in the Canary Islands, and they both involve the volcanic rock found everywhere.

From Corralejo, on Fuerteventura, we walked to the big beaches, or grande playas, near the extensive sand dunes on the north east of the island, and as we came around the coastline past the great holiday houses and beach bars …

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They even built some houses with the volcanic rock. Normally it was a garden feature but some houses used them for walls and not just pavers

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I went to uni in Toowoomba. Nice to know it’s a mere 18,000+ kilometres away

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A chilled place to hang out with a drink, looking at Lobos Island

… and hit the sand, Leo pointed out some circular formations, obviously built by man, using volcanic rock.

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What could this round mound be?

From a distance, I could only see two, so I thought they were places to barbecue (check me out, the classic Aussie, thinking of a barbie) and smartypants Leo, who’s been here before, laughed at my stupidity.

Do you know?

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What could …

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… they be for?

They’re for people to lie in, normally naked!, to protect themselves from the wind. And boy what a wind. It’s a windsurf/kitesurf mecca, which makes for tough conditions on the beach if you want to bare it all.

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Kites all over the beach. The ones with a human attached at the bottom, going through water …

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… like this guy

Of course, people wearing swimmers also used them, but I have to say (from the cheeky peeks I was taking as we walked past them, and there were dozens of the formations, some in better states than others) that the majority were filled with rudie nudies. I’d want to to save my bits from being whipped by the sandy wind too!

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Three wise monkeys

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I stayed fully clothed!

I’ll tell you all about the second weird man-made rock formation thing that I’ve never seen before tomorrow.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

p.s all the good quality photos were taken by Leo. Thanks Leo!

December 19-January 2: Canary Islands

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Sunrise in Corralejo

Buenos Dias señoras y señores. Feliz año nuevo!

Ok, all that came from Google Translate but my wishes are hearty and authentic, even if my methods are somewhat dubious!

We had a wonderful holiday in the Canary Islands, where I faked a Spanish accent while ordering dinner and found two new Latin lovers. Leo isn’t concerned.

Our base was in Corallejo at the north of Fuerteventura and we travelled all over the countryside, leaving the island only once for a day-trip to Lanzarote to visit the impressive and Mars-like Timanfaya National Park.

Lonely Planet map of the Canary Islands. West Africa is less than 150km to the east

Lonely Planet map of the Canary Islands. The north west coast of Africa is about 150km to the east

Three days in a hire car were enough to see a fair whack of the island, especially the impressive bottom western tip, and one day we rode 44km on an unpaved, rutted coastal path on bicycles. We’d hired the bikes for two days but couldn’t face another day in the saddle.

My favourite moment was watching brave kids in El Cotillo jump in and out of the rough surf.

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Love this shot – captures the moment perfectly. I had heart palpitations watching them dive in and out, doing flips and being crazy

We ate and drank like kings and queens, lazed in the sun, were impressed by the kitesurfers, windsurfers and stand-up paddleboarders and I caught a cold at 2pm on New Year’s Eve. Woo me.

So here are some “wrap of the day” photos from the trip:

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Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

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Day 8

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Day 9

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Day 10

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Day 11

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Day 12

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Day 13

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Day 14

At first I was worried I wouldn’t like the arid landscape, but even though it was sparse with barely a tree around, the old volcanic mounds were beautiful and changed dramatically with the moving sun. We’ll definitely be going back. I might need to re-learn all that Spanish I forgot when I moved to Switzerland!

Wishing you a wonderful day.