May 20: Tulip season is over – with a bull…dozer

My fitfor15in15 exercise today was to walk to the shops and back. I’m counting this as 40 minutes of exercise because I could have borrowed the neighbour’s car. Cheating?! No! The weather was pretty average again and also cold, so walking instead of driving was a torture of sorts. 🙂

What was even more torturous was seeing the tulip field. It’s gone! All gone! Bulldozed! And they’ve taken away the little shelter where you wrapped the flowers and paid the money into the honesty box. What the?

fitfor15in15

Walking to the tulip field. These clouds were ominous but cool. Corn growing in foreground

fitfor15in15

And there it was – the bad news

fitfor15in15

Blumen zum selber pflucken …

fitfor15in15

Is no more … totally flattened

But it’s not all doom and gloom, because …

fitfor15in15

A new flower field is across the road

No tulips, but soon there’ll be gladioli and … other flowers that I have no idea about. It’s a smaller space but hopefully it will yield as many colourful blooms, and make me as happy, as the original one. (A neighbour said it’s being rested after years of flowers, so the soil can rejuvenate. Next year it will probably be sprouting corn, sunflowers or wheat.)

But it’s the end of an era. Sob. I loved that field! Especially when the Alps were in clear view – you could take a photo of the flowers in the foreground with the mountains behind. This new field faces the other way. Oh well … that’s nature.

If you would like to see photos of the tulip field from this season, starting from the green shoots, click here, here (first blooms), here (at sunset), here (the best gallery), here (the pink and green one) and here (the vases at home). Sob. Now, they’re just memories … 😉

So you don’t feel sad too, here’s a happy cow.

fitfor15in15

I shall name thee Betsy. The buildings in the top right are where we live

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 6: Catch-up photos and postponed nervousness

The big news which distracted me from writing yesterday’s post is … I have a job interview. It was supposed to be this morning, via telephone, but it has been rescheduled for next Wednesday. I’m not going to say anything more about it for fear of jinxing myself. Please cross all fingers and toes.

As a catch-up for yesterday’s simple post, here are a few drab-looking photos.

fitfor15in15

A glorious full moon from May 4

fitfor15in15

We’ve had so much rain in Bern and surrounds that the Aare river is flooded and the walking paths on both sides have disappeared

fitfor15in15

Looking towards the city from the LorrainebrĂŒcke (bridge). The water is normally crystal clear

fitfor15in15

Grey skies in Bern at Waisenhausplatz

fitfor15in15

Markets in Waisenhausplatz

fitfor15in15

Across the tram lines from the wares in Waisenhausplatz is BĂ€renplatz, home of the food markets

fitfor15in15

Lovely fresh, unpackaged products

fitfor15in15

Bring your own container! Zero Waste!

fitfor15in15

At the top of BĂ€renplatz is the Bundeshaus (Federal Palace of Switzerland) where Parliament sits. Most people think the Swiss capital is ZĂŒrich

fitfor15in15

Looking towards the Gurten (the small hill) from the viewing platform at the Bundeshaus

fitfor15in15

The building in the distance with the spires is the Einstein Museum. He was a lecturer at the University of Bern in 1908

fitfor15in15

There are several street chess boards in the city

Monday night was the final of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to be at the Crucible Theatre in 1995 for a night and day session – amazing to be there after watching it for so many years on television. It’s always sooo quiet! Congratulations to perennial underdog Stuart Bingham on his first world title! It was a fantastic final (against Shaun Murphy) and I’m glad Bingham won because he beat my favourite player Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-final.

Yesterday was a very social day – lunch with Leonie and then drinks and dinner with Claudia (not my old German teacher Claudia, who I meet once a week, but Leo’s friend Dani’s girlfriend Claudia, who lives in Basel). In between the two catch-ups, I went to the library and finished this beautifully written, memorable book.

I was amazed to see the unusual pink and green tulip from our local tulip field in a recent post from Freda at livesimplysimplylive. I’ve never seen them before and then twice in three days! Freda’s grow in her garden. How wonderful! Must try and plant some too.

I’ll post again with some fitness stuff. This is really more of a catch-up from yesterday, where my exercise was walking around the city looking at the flooded river.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 4: The force was strong on Monday Runday

Not only is it Monday Runday, it’s also Star Wars Day … May the 4th be with you.

The fourth, I mean force, was strong today on my 5km run. Apart from stopping to take the odd photo and having to walk 200m to get rid of a stitch (again!), I felt really good and was happy with my time. I think I’m so worried about being dehydrated and getting that weird pain in my ears, I overcompensate and drink too much water before I head out.

fitfor15in15

At the beginning of the run, one of these tracks was a little creek

fitfor15in15

Looking towards Sariswil

fitfor15in15

These calves looked so cute, I had to stop for a photo

fitfor15in15

So sweet – they ran over to say hello!

fitfor15in15

Maybe I smelt good, but I doubt it

fitfor15in15

In the end, they all lined up for their 15 minutes of fame

fitfor15in15

Saw a man using a strange machine in the fields, and waved … and maybe ran a little harder! Such a dag

fitfor15in15

Rape seed in full bloom

fitfor15in15

I startled this heron (?) in the puddle and it flew off majestically

I had thought about taking a longer route, but then chickened out at the last minute. Probably a good thing, as it was really humid (no wind too) and I ended up having to shed top layers and run in my tank top – first time that’s ever happened in Switzerland!

As part of my cool-down, I walked back to the tulip field (I measured it as 550m from our house) but the ducks from yesterday were gone. I bought a bunch of solid hot pink flowers as consolation.

fitfor15in15

Magnificent tulip with insects!

fitfor15in15

The bunch from yesterday, downstairs

fitfor15in15

The new bunch from today, upstairs

The tulips aren’t going to be around for much longer – I’m almost tempted to collect a bunch of beautiful white ones, with pointy tips, tomorrow!

This morning was rainy and pretty miserable, so while waiting for a break in the weather, I mended the split in the backside of my apple-green cotton trousers. Initially I thought my pants would only be good enough for garden work afterwards, but I think I did such a good job, and the thread matched so well, I can wear them out again. (Can’t believe (and am very thankful) a hotel sewing kit carried that colour!) Then again, I may have been without my glasses when looking in the mirror … And after taking this photo, I’m now having second thoughts. I’ll wear a long top. 🙂

fitfor15in15

Maybe my mending effort wasn’t so invisible after all …

All this rain has made our next holiday plans a bit sketchy – from next weekend, we’re planning to walk the first third of the Swiss Camino, from Constance to Einsiedeln. It should take about five to six days of walking, and is only 93km long, but if it’s going to be too wet, maybe we’ll have to rethink our plans. We walked the second (middle) section from Einsiedeln to Thun in 2012 and hopefully we’ll complete the third and final stage from Thun to Geneva before too long.

  • Physically Fit: Monday Runday – 5km jumping across the muddy puddles
  • Mentally Fit: Walking to the tulip field again and talking to the calves
  • Nutritionally Fit: Sixth day of fasting (500 calories) on the 5:2 Diet (and start of the final week perhaps?)
  • Minimalism: Mending the green pants

Have you been out wandering in your neighbourhood recently? I’d love to hear about what you see when you go walking or running.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 3: Another Sunday walk

We had a great time at the BEA with everyone yesterday, and a quiet, relaxing time home alone today.

The gang - Leo, Tom, Sandra, me, Leo, Pastora and Iva

The gang – Leo, Tom, Sandra, me, Leo, Pastora and Iva

fitfor15in15

We didn’t go on this ride

fitfor15in15

Leo, Tom and Sandra

fitfor15in15

General BEA sideshow and ride alley

fitfor15in15

Bueller … Bueller …

fitfor15in15

Sandra and her hamburger, me and my second Berliner raspberry doughnut. I told you I was addicted

fitfor15in15

Leo found the biggest sausage grill

A little bit of wine tasting

A little bit of wine tasting

Seems to be a Sunday tradition at the moment, going for a wander in the neighbourhood. It’s been raining so much the past few days, we made a break for it during a rare break and headed out. Again, the walk was leisurely, but they say 30 minutes a day is all you need.

fitfor15in15

Good weather for them

fitfor15in15

You know it’s impossible not to stop at the tulips

fitfor15in15

These ones came home with us

fitfor15in15

A mistake photo but I like it

fitfor15in15

What an amazing tulip!

fitfor15in15

Beautiful light on the rape seed field

fitfor15in15

Lovely colours, blues and greens

fitfor15in15

Mud up a side track

fitfor15in15

He wasn’t very camouflaged

At home I spent a bit of time in my garden, admiring the blooms. We also watched the first season of Broadchurch, which I really enjoyed. I’ve long been a fan of Olivia Colman – she never disappoints. She was amazing in Tyrannosaur (not for the faint-hearted) and Green Wing too.

fitfor15in15

In my garden at home

fitfor15in15

The first two signs of my gladioli!

fitfor15in15

My new bulb garden is coming up a treat! Those pink tulips started white

Oh and Mayweather beat Pacquiao. I didn’t watch the fight, just read about it. The more I know about Mayweather, the less I want to retain.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 26: Strolling in the neighbourhood

Like a couple of old wanderers, Leo and I walked around the neighbourhood this afternoon for more than an hour. I have to admit it was at a very relaxed pace.

(Writing ‘walking in the neighbourhood’ reminds me of this Sesame Street classic. And can you believe? People think kale is something new and funky but here it is mentioned in … what … the mid 1970s?! Love Bob too.)

Back to the walk … We went to the tulip field, up the hill to visit the cows at my favourite farmhouse, said hello to what felt like half the village during peak hour in the forest, then along the horse trail, past fields of Urdinkel, into the neighbouring village, patted the little horses and up through the fields to home.

All in all, a very nice way to spend the afternoon before the rains came. Tonight we chowed down on Leo’s lasagne and started a new TV series called Bloodline. This is much more to my liking than Braquo. I am a major Kyle Chandler fan, which helps.

  • Physically Fit: A leisurely wander
  • Mentally Fit: A leisurely wander; saying hello to all the animals
  • Nutritionally Fit: Last of the chocolate cake and too much lasagne
  • Minimalism: A leisurely wander. It really does tick all boxes other than food.

Here are some photos from the walk.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 23: Tough ab workout and flexibility

For today’s exercise, I thought I’d search for something different from somewhere different, but I knew it had to be stomach-centric. When I plank, I’m gobsmacked at the pudding that hangs from that area! When the fitness instructors plank, their bellies stay flat and taught. How is it so?! I can’t even ‘blame’ having kids on this excess! So that’s a new goal for the end of fitfor15in15 – to plank without the pudding.

Thanks to the Internet, ask and you generally shall receive. I liked the name of this – Get Fit Fast Ab Workout – 15 minutes of pain – and ignoring the physique of the totally ripped bloke without a shirt, thought I was up for it.

Ahh, no … nowhere near up for it. Apart from it feeling a bit militarised, with the host, Adam Harper, barking at his buddies, “Don’t you give up on me!” *cringe* it would be a brilliant workout for someone who has the fitness levels of, say, Adam Harper and his buddies.

Wowsers it was tough. I couldn’t do any of the exercises properly, or for the entire duration, apart from the side plank hip lower one. I’ve learnt some new exercises though and will try adding them into any homemade routines. The last one, touching your ankles through bent, spread legs, may become a regular. (I really had to giggle at the end of the show, when the host plugs his company’s t-shirts. If they’re so good, shouldn’t he be wearing one?!)

A lot of the raised-leg exercises hurt my lower back, so I did them with bent knees. I realise this made them much easier, but I’m not an advocate of pushing through the pain, yo. Especially when it’s yo back, yo. Overall, I’m not proud of my efforts in that workout, but it’s something to do again and refer back to, in order to keep improving. It’s motivation to plank without the pudding! Plank without the pudding! (A new mantra?!)

One thing I am proud of today is the realisation I’m becoming more flexible. Yesterday and this morning, I was able to touch my nose to my knees for the first time, albeit briefly, but that is a massive improvement from January. Sure it can be contributed to four months of moving, but I also think yoga is making a big difference. I’ve done two yoga classes, here and here, in the past week and I really think my hips are loosening up, which means I can bend further forward. Morning stretches, as part of my morning routine, will have also played a role.

Have you been doing something regularly and noticing an improvement? It’s such a nice boost, isn’t it?! Please, tell me about your successes.

  • Physically Fit: Get Fit Fast Ab Workout
  • Mentally Fit: Sitting in the sun for 10 minutes
  • Nutritionally Fit: Fourth day of fasting on the 5:2 Diet – 500 calories
  • Minimalism: Nothing today – other than minimal calorie intake 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day. Here are some photos from my walk home yesterday evening after meeting Iva.

fitfor15in15

The long way home

fitfor15in15

The sun was a huge ball and created a wonderful sunset glow

fitfor15in15

The sun sets on another day in Tulip Military School

April 21: A lovely surprise

fitfor15in15

Thank you, Karie!

Don’t you just love surprises?!

Karie, who lives in Singapore, sent me a postcard which arrived today! It’s put an extra spring in my step – so much so that I’ve decided to walk home from the city this afternoon. It takes about three hours, I think, and I’ll stop at an animal shelter directly on the path to see if I can register as a volunteer.

Yesterday, on my fasting day, I had a coconut water, fresh strawberry and raspberry smoothie. It was so delicious, I made another one today with quinoa rice milk, banana, strawberries and raspberries, and some vanilla protein powder. Loving these smoothie breakfasts!

The yellow tulip from the end of yesterday’s post is in full bloom today. I hope it lasts in the wind! Thinking of everyone in coastal New South Wales and Sydney who’ve been battered by that crazy weather, which has killed three people, cut power, brought down trees and eroded the beaches. Mother nature at her worst. Such a shock.

I’ll write more this afternoon when I’m home from the walk.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 20: 5km run, walk, run, shuffle, walk, run … argh!

fitfor15in15

The first tulips of the season from the self-pick farm. The stems were quite short but I wanted some colour

Today was a beautiful day and the wind was cool and strong – not enough to stop me going for a run. Well, that’s what I thought as I was leaving the house!

After last Monday’s effort, where I felt I could run my best time on the 4km track, I started off on the 5km loop and within 800m had an ice-cream headache. Mine comes inside my ears and it feels like both ear drums will explode. The wind was cool and fierce and before I knew it, I had to walk. That’s the first time I’ve ever had to walk this year. Couldn’t even manage a shuffle in some parts. I’ve been told it could be because I’m dehydrated but I thought I had that covered today. 😩

While it was disappointing, and slow, it was still good to be outdoors, taking in all this:

fitfor15in15

Leaving our property and heading into the woods

fitfor15in15

I stopped running about here. Windy!

fitfor15in15

Nice view of the Alps

fitfor15in15

Soon this will all be yellow rape seed

fitfor15in15

Clouds and sunshine … and wind!

fitfor15in15

Even walked most of the downhill

fitfor15in15

Empty animal houses on the homeward stretch

fitfor15in15

The cows were back in the sunshine at my favourite property

fitfor15in15

The Alps and cows again

fitfor15in15

A study in cow

I spent a lot of time on the computer today, listening to the Tibetan bells and ocean sounds, setting up a Google+ account for fitfor15in15. I wonder if it will be worth the trouble?! My friend Kate from The Outdoor Diaries helped out. Thanks Kate!

  • Physically Fit: 5km walk/run
  • Mentally Fit: Setting up Google+ for the blog. It still needs a lot of work and I need to learn more!
  • Nutritionally Fit: Third fasting day on the 5:2 Diet – 500 calories
  • Minimalism: Avoiding the Icebreaker website. I love their gear!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

fitfor15in15

I didn’t plant this tulip in my garden! The wind must have brought it here

fitfor15in15

Same goes for these two!