December 8-10: We have a new place to live!

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One from the vault – where we currently live, with our little house on the left

As sad as we will be to move away from our beloved little Stöckli, from February 1 next year we’ll be right in the “thick of the action” in the village of Wohlen.

We’ve found a very large apartment in the town centre, which means no more forest on the doorstep, but also no more walking with a safety vest at night in the dark on the way home from work.

Our new place is large – 5.5 rooms, compared to the 2.5 rooms we currently live in – and while it has a definite 80s feel it has SPACE. It lacks the Stöckli ginger-bread house charm, but it does have convenience – a two minute walk to the bus, two minutes to the shop and three minutes to our favourite place to eat, Restaurant Kreuz. And there’s a pot-belly stove in the loungeroom! And we can still see the Alps from the bedroom window! And Leo now has a painting room. And and and …

Our good friends and neighbours Liliane and Rene will live just a 15 minute walk away, so we’ll still see each other often, which makes us very happy.

Half of me can’t wait to move in and make it ours, and the other half wants to hang on here as long as possible. The time will come soon enough when I’ll be firmly in the “move now” camp. Since finding out yesterday that the place will be ours, it’s almost all I can think about. We’ll have enough space to allocate one room as a chillout zone, for want of a better phrase. We’ll hang the hammock, have a nice rug maybe, the stereo with tunes and enough space to leave the yoga mat always on the floor. 2016 could be the year of reading and yoga. Oh wait, that’s what 2015 was supposed to be! 🙂

My minimalistic tendencies will be put to the test with all that space, but I think it’s still going to be a wonderful place to live and thrive. Just like it has been here for the past four years. I’ve been in Switzerland for four years. Can’t believe it. My arrival anniversary was December 5, and I totally forgot to celebrate!

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.

August 19-23: Finding a rhythm after holidays

Going to Sicily and London were lovely additions to this year’s fitfor15in15 escapades, but it’s taken me a few days to get back into the swing of blogging every day. I don’t think I needed a break, but it was lovely to just enjoy the time for what it was.

At home, the grass has turned green again and the weather is cooler but still nice.

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Leo outside our house. Look at all that green grass!

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Not sure if we’ll use the pool again this season – the water is now just 17 degrees. Too cold for most and definitely too cold for me!

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A beautiful sunset on my way home on Wednesday night

I went to work on Wednesday then went back again in the evening to celebrate Maru Dojo’s 10th anniversary. Congratulations to Marko and his team for a great event, and 10 years of success. Here’s to the next 10, 20 …

Thursday, I spoke with a friend in Australia about some writing work he’d like me to do and Leo’s friend Dani came over for dinner. I made a baked chicken pasta dish which was mostly made up, and thankfully it worked!

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Leo and Dani

Friday I sent in further documents for a job application that’s currently on the go, and helped Rene in the garden pulling weeds, using the electric trimmer and finishing off the mowing. It’s been a while since the lawn’s been mowed, because it was burnt to a crisp over summer. Leo was feeling poorly with the flu on Friday night and didn’t come to Fritz’s birthday party. I was only supposed to go for an hour, but Rene ended up staying much longer than he intended, so I got home about 10.30pm instead of 7.30pm. Thankfully, Leo didn’t mind!

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Freshly mowed. Friday was a lovely sunny day

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Dinner with Lotti, Fritz (hidden), Rene and Paul

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Ueli and Anna-Marie celebrating Fritz’s 78th birthday

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Eve, Liliane and Hani, laughing at the boys because …

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They sculled a shot of whisky! Rene said it burnt his nose and throat

Saturday, I cleaned the pool and enjoyed some warmth, then The Usual Suspects came over for a barbecue and we played cards for most of the afternoon and evening. Poor Eve, who is normally very good, lost six times. She was devastated! I managed to only have to pay once (two Francs, which goes into a kitty to be used on holidays in November) so felt pretty chuffed. Leo joined us only for the meal as he was still feeling rubbish with the flu.

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Sleeping beauty, where he spent most of Saturday afternoon

Sunday, Liliane, Leo (who was feeling much better) and I walked the lovely path behind our house (which I only ‘discovered’ this year) to our favourite restaurant in Wohlen, Restaurant Kreuz. They were having an outdoor lunch celebration with a traditional brass band, so The Usual Suspects met once again for another afternoon of laughs. For some reason, this one turned into a riot. The restaurant owner decided we should all have shots, and because we oohed and ahhed about how nice they were (a warm caramel/amaretto and cream concoction), we bought another round, and then another, and then he gave us something different to try, and then we had Red Bull and Jägermeister drinks and and and … Phew. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary for me to go into the Dojo today. I feel fine but riding in the rain with a slightly foggy head wouldn’t have been the smartest plan.

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10am in Wohlen bei Bern, looking at the Alps

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Liliane and Rene’s dog Boy joined us on the walk to Restaurant Kreuz

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Luckily when we walk to the restaurant, there’s lots of downhill

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Liliane said this red berry clump was quite rare to see in the wild. The leaves of the plant were long thin strips, but I can’t find any references on the internet

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What an amazing, massive hibiscus in the garden with all the decorations, which I’ve mentioned a few times

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Liliane in the elaborate garden

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This was one of the smaller blooms

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Boy with ball = happy Boy

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The band played in slight drizzle but it cleared up after lunch

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We moved our table under the tree so we wouldn’t get wet. Cheeky!

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All the other tables

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The gang. This is the first time I’ve sat outside at Restaurant Kreuz

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Leo killing any lingering germs with a Jägerbomb

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They call this drink a ‘Flying Deer’ here, because Red Bull apparently gives you wings

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Lotti enjoying the warm shot with cream. I can’t remember the Bern-Deutsch name for it, but it means Marmot Fart. Charming!

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Eve isn’t normally a dairy fan, but she thought this was pretty tasty!

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Rene pretending to be our waiter

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I had a shot at being the waitress, but the first friend of Rene’s I spoke to said, “Can’t understand a word” because I spoke to him in German and not Bern-Deutsch. Ahh, the daily challenges!

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Restaurant owner Peter handing out more drinks … really? Really? I’m well over them by this stage!

Overall, it was a great social weekend, but I’m looking forward to some quiet days ahead!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 1: My new favourite walk!

Have you ever had one of those moments when you think, “Why didn’t I do that earlier?” Today’s walk on a new path very close to our house was a slap-myself-on-the-forehead situation. Three years I’ve been here … three years.

Normally when I go walking in the neighbourhood, I go out onto the main road, turn left up through a patch of trees then turn right into some fields. Rene, our neighbour, took us on a nighttime drive after dinner two Fridays ago and showed us another walking path near the house – instead of turning right, walk a bit further then turn left.

What a revelation! We live near a creek! I had no idea running water was so close. It’s at the bottom of the deep ravine behind our house. I’ve never walked into the forest and down the ravine because it’s too steep, and had no idea this mystery ‘path to the left’ led to this little wonder. It’s totally lifted my spirits, knowing there’s a whole new area to discover and enjoy in summer. I envisage picnic packing, feet cooling, deer spotting, silence appreciating good times ahead.

Enough with the talk – here are the photos! We walked for 80 minutes in total, and I’m so in love with this new path I’m going to be doing it regularly. It’s steep, but walking towards Wohlen means most of it’s downhill. Maybe when I’m fit enough, I can run the opposite direction and have a killer hill just before home?

Hopefully the pictures do it justice and you can see, and feel, my excitement about having this formerly unknown area to us both literally (and I use that term in its correct sense) in our backyard. *smacks forehead in disbelief*

Wishing you a wonderful day.