Round trip to Murzelen

IMG_5342Have you ever made plans to go for a long walk, somewhere spectacular, which involves getting in the car, and at the last minute think why waste time in the car when you can just start walking from your front door instead?

Leo and I had grand plans recently to go walking close to Spiez, on the Lake of Thun, doing a four-hour circular wanderweg. Spiez is probably only 45 minutes away in the car, but the whole thought of wasting 45 minutes of glorious sunshine sitting in a car put us off enough to search for a plan B. And luckily, where we live, there is always a plan B.

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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!


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.

No!vember 10-30: Lust for life, lust to write

No!vember came and went faster than I could put fingers to keyboard. I haven’t lost my lust for life, just my lust to write!

And exercise? Well you can pretty much forget about all that, just like me. I can’t even say I’ve been walking 40 minutes a day, because lately I’ve been getting a lift to work with a neighbour in the mornings and with Leo on the way home. Slack! But, happily, I haven’t had to walk too much in the cold.

Snow arrived when I was in Bonndorf, Germany, with the female Usual Suspects plus a few extras. Every year for about 15 years, this group of women has been going to the Black Forest for a long weekend of wellness and spa treatments. This year, I was lucky to be invited. And I’ve been sworn to secrecy – what happens in Bonndorf, stays in Bonndorf! I’m embarrassed to say I was the youngest of the group, and always the first one in bed. Ha! I think speaking German, and listening to Bern-Deutsch being spoken, for four days may have knocked the wind out of me a bit. But it was wonderful, and I can’t wait to go back next year, if they’ll have me. Must lift my game.

On the 30th, we went to see a unit for rent in the centre of Wohlen bei Bern (one minute to the bus and shop!) and we hope we receive a contract soon. Fingers crossed. If we get it, I’ll tell you all about it.

Here are some photos from the past 20 days. *shaking head in disbelief at how slack I’ve been with the blog.*

Wishing you a wonderful day.

October 28-31: Mum and Judy visit Bern, and the RWC

After months of talking about it, my mum and sister’s visit came and went in the blink of an eye.

They arrived about 9.30pm on the 26th, and left at 5pm on the 30th. Why would you come all this way for only a few days, I hear you ask? Well they’re now on a 36-day cruise from Athens to Singapore, and hopefully having a whale of a time. It was great they could fit in a few days with us beforehand – or as I like to say, do the obligatory family catch-up before the real fun began! 😉

They were here in summer 2012, and I was worried the cooler weather this time might be a downer, but the sun came out every day, and Friday was positively balmy!

Here’s a small collection of photos from their trip. I worked on the Wednesday, so Mum and Judy wandered around Wohlen bei Bern, then we went out for dinner Wednesday night; Thursday we drove to Thun and toured the castle, walked to the lake and then went to dinner and saw the light show in Bern; and Friday we walked the Lüggliweg path (the one I “discovered” in March) to Restaurant Kreuz in Wohlen bei Bern for lunch, and had a very cruisy afternoon before they jumped on the train to Zurich for their flight to Athens.

The autumnal colours were out in full force and it was nice they could visit the Stöckli again before we have to move. And they both fell in love with a very popular Swiss salad, called Nüsslisalat. Here’s a link about it in English. Do you know of this salad leaf too? It’s very yummy with chopped egg and bacon.

Saturday night we went to Evi and Paul’s for a lovely dinner, and to watch the Rugby World Cup final, where the better team, New Zealand, beat the underdogs, Australia. (Leo got quite into the RWC, and we watched many games each weekend.) I’m very happy for all Kiwis, and we will miss seeing Dan Carter on the field in the future. What a face!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

October 10-27: Mishmash of photos

Well, who’s been a slacker on the blog then, huh?! Me!

To make amends, I’m going to keep the waffle to a minimum and load up a photo gallery of all the lovely things that have happened in the past few weeks.

My job’s going well, I’m enjoying the brisk walk in the fog to work, but since we’ve lost daylight savings, I’m not enjoying the walk home in the dark. There are no street lights and I was nearly hit by an idiot driver who couldn’t see my torch shining in the night. So now I’m wearing a yellow safety vest on the walk home. Stop laughing! It’s pitch black! 🙂

More posts to come!

July 15: Close encounters

No, not on the bike! With the camera! 🙂 (I can hear my mother breathing a sigh of relief from here!)

Today, after work, Iva cooked a barbecue lunch for Pastora and I on the terrace at the office. And then Iva and I jumped in the Aare. I need a waterproof case for my phone so I can take some action shots as it truly is a wonderful experience I want to share! The water was a gloriously refreshing 19.5 degrees.

My 15 minutes of exercise today was walking along the river and then swimming back to the office. We were gone for about 40 minutes, and I think 10 minutes of that was swimming.

Here are my afternoon ‘close encounter’ snapshots from the garden. I enjoy the results of the olloclip we bought in Strasbourg for my birthday and should use it more. Several of the cacti have flowers at the moment. What a treat.

Wishing you a wonderful, colourful day.

June 27 and 28: Weekend wrap

Saturday and Sunday served up plenty of sunshine so we made the most of it by being outdoors.

Saturday we worked in the garden and I did some small things around our house and Liliane and Rene’s too. Even though we’d spent the previous evening at dinner together, we all joined forces again in the afternoon for cards and dinner around the pool (for the first time ever, I didn’t lose a game!). I still find it so amazing to only turn the lantern on at 10.30pm.

Today there was an airshow in a neighbouring suburb, so we all stood in the garden and gawped at the heavens, watching the nine small planes do all their spectacular stunts. A forest blocked some of the view, over the Wohlensee, but all the loop-the-loops and high-up action kept us entertained for 20 minutes, and then they just all flew away again. It was almost sad – the way they couldn’t even wave goodbye!

We walked to Lotti’s house for her birthday gathering this afternoon, a good 40-minute wander in the sunshine on the path that I only ‘discovered’ earlier this year, that’s directly behind the house. Once home, a quick dip in the pool and a play on my new toy (see the last photo), ready for tomorrow’s commute to work, and two episodes of House of Cards wrapped it up.

Overall, it was a very social weekend, with maybe not the right sorts of foods consumed (Lotti’s birthday cake and a few other small sweeties) and not enough exercise completed to counteract the beer calories consumed, but wonderful fun.

In case you missed my post from yesterday, please click here to read the latest guest contribution to fitfor15in15, from personal trainer Richard Wheeler. He has some excellent tips, which I will be taking on board, for (re)starting your fitness!

Signing off with a mixture of photos from the week. Some wouldn’t load a few days ago, but most are from this weekend.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

June 19: Work and play

I didn’t write the blog yesterday because I was having too much fun! 😉

Work went well, I was there for four hours and played around on the ‘back end’ of the website, learning what does what. I’ll go back again on Monday to learn about the email orders.

Afterwards, Pastora, Iva and I went to Cafe Pyrennes, our favourite bar, and had another excellent afternoon which turned into early evening. Sandra and Kanjana joined us as well, and we saw Marion, who we’d met there a few months ago, and met Werner, who at 70 is still fighting fit and working as a stage designer in European theatres. All very interesting people!


On the way to the bus. I think that’s potatoes growing?


So many slugs and snails on the walk!


Looking back at the steps down to the Dojo. There’s another set this long at the top, to the right. They’d make a good workout


Recent rain has made the Aare brown again


Can you see the patterns in these pieces of wood embedded in a fence?


Iva and Pastora on the footbridge over the Aare


Sandro with Pastora. I forgot to get a photo with Kanjana, silly me


Werner, the theatre stage manager/designer


Pastora and Marion


Cows on the way home


Corn and lovely light over Wohlen

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 31: The World’s Longest Staircase

In Berner Oberland, a region of the Canton of Bern in Switzerland, lies the Guinness Book of Records’ World’s Longest Staircase.


Looking back at the terminus, heading straight up. The stairs are to the left of the track


A glimpse of what’s to come

With 11,674 steps going steeply to the top of the Niesen mountain, you’d be a fool to consider a running race on them, wouldn’t you?! But on June 6, crazies of all ages will huff and puff their way up in the 14th Niesen Stairway Race. I wonder if they ever stop and have a look at the amazing view behind them?


Somewhere around the middle I think

At all other times, people aren’t allowed to walk on the steps, because the funicular train goes up and down at 15-30 minute intervals – apparently it gets a bit tight in some sections. For any of my hardcore running fans, do you fancy entering in 2016? I’ll cheer you on at the start and have a cold drink waiting at the finish! 🙂


A clear view on the way down

The funicular was built 1906-1910 and takes you to 2362m. The first section of 2111m takes 14 minutes to complete, with a steepest gradient of 66%. You switch to another train for the second section, which is 1388m long, takes 12 minutes, and has a gradient of 68%.


Leaving the top station

The Niesen, also called the Swiss Pyramid because of its shape, is about a 45 minute drive south from Bern. We caught the funicular (no surprises there!) to have brunch on top today. It was Leo’s birthday present from our neighbours last year and we were shocked at how full it was! Sunday seems to be a popular day to sit and watch the clouds whiz by. It’s also popular with the paragliders who constantly fly past the viewing platforms and over the restaurant.

Below is a gallery of our photos and here’s a link to the Niesen official photos (some lovely shots in there in clearer weather).

Wishing you a wonderful day.