Walking in Wohlen

DSC00270We had a public holiday on May 5 and the sun was out, so Leo and I took a short wander in Wohlen before joining The Usual Suspects at Liliane and Rene’s apartment for an early dinner.

Magnificent day, one of the few sunny days we’ve had in May (why so much rain?! My garden! Ugh!) and it was nice to put the walking shoes on again. Our wanderwegs have been missed!

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Travelling Light: Toiletries and make-up

Finally! I can’t believe it’s taken me five months to write about what I take when travelling. I love to pack light – just love it! Some may look at this and think ‘that’s not light’, and I’m cool with that! Everyone’s different, so, without further ado, here’s what’s in my new toiletry bag.

It’s a three-zippered number from deuter, with a capacity of 1.2 litres, weighing 50g when empty.* Until recently, I used a single zippered lightweight case from Eagle Creek (which I can’t find on the internet), but I’m loving the organisation options of the new bag – three compartments for easy access!


The old … (pen is for size reference)


… and the new

We’re (hopefully, depending on the weather) going hiking/walking for five to six days next week from Constance to Einsiedeln in Switzerland, which is basically the first third of the Swiss Camino.

We don’t know where we’ll be staying along the way, so I have to assume that some nights may be in youth hostels or basic hotels, where no toiletries are provided.

Sample or travel sizes are your friend (most of these were free!). Here’s what I’ve packed for one week:

  • Toothbrush (very lightweight and slim)
  • Toothpaste (I have two small toothpastes 25ml and 30ml, each about a third full, so will take them both to use them up)
  • Floss (mini)

Dental things

  • Shampoo (sample/travel size, 30ml)
  • Conditioner (sample/travel size, 30ml)

Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body and face moisturiser (in orange GoToob, 60ml)
  • Deodorant (spray bottle, 30ml)

Moisturiser and spray deodorant

  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens case
  • Contact lens solution (15ml)

So I can see the pretty scenery!

  • Soap (for face and body, 40g)
  • Toner (love a refreshing spritz of toner, 10ml)
  • Perfume (a sachet and a small sample size (1.5ml) – nice for a few evenings!)

Soap, toner and perfume samples

  • Tablets (hayfever, vitamins, headache, penicillin (for tonsillitis), gastro-stop (the last two are for just-in-case moments) in a small plastic ziplock bag
  • Cotton buds
  • Toothpick
  • Bandaids
  • Hotel-size sewing kit (for dealing with (hopefully no) blisters). The past four items are all in a small ziplock bag)

Tablet bag and cotton bud bag

  • Hairbrush (foldable with a mirror inside)

Folding hairbrush

  • Foundation (sample size, 7ml)
  • Eye and cheek powder (silver duo compact)
  • Eye and cheek brush (small)
  • Eyeliner (mini)
  • Mascara (very thin, light and short)
  • Lip balm

Make-up items

When it’s all listed out, it looks like so much, but I’ll use everything (except possibly the make-up) every day.

Now it all goes into the three pockets of the washbag:

  • Back zip: Brush, make-up
  • Middle zip: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toner, moisturiser, deodorant, contact lens things, packet of tablets, packet with cotton buds etc
  • Front zip: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss

Back compartment (without the brush)


Main compartment, with ziplock bags and soap flat at the bottom


Front compartment

And this is what it looks like when it’s all zipped up. There’s still a bit of room in there, and will gain more as the tablets get taken.


All zipped up and ready to go. Total weight 620 grams

I’m pretty happy with that total weight, just over half a kilo, and if I didn’t feel the need to pretty myself up at night, I would ditch the make-up completely.

But wait? What about sunscreen, I hear you say! I wear a wide-brimmed hat, neck scarf, long-sleeved top and pants to avoid sunburn (damn thee fair, sensitive skin!) and carry a small sample-size sunscreen, about 7ml, in the pocket on the waistband of my backpack for easy access and regular cheek and nose applications. The lip balm (which also has sunscreen in it) lives in my trousers’ pocket.

So there you have it. In a dream world, where I had 20/20 vision, my skin wasn’t dry and sensitive and I had short hair, I think my toiletry bag would look very different. Eventually, I’d like everything to be eco-friendly plant or oil-based items, but because I have these things already, and most of them were free, it would be crazy not to use them. I’d love to travel with one natural soap for everything, one oil as a face, body and hair moisturiser and bicarb soda as toothpaste and deodorant. One day! One day! (I look forward to writing that post too!)

What toiletries do you like to take when travelling? Do you use sample sizes or take the lot?

Check again soon for posts about my backpack, walking clothes, casual clothes and sundry/miscellaneous items.

* As always there are no affiliate links on this site. I’m just providing you with information and receive no perks or money from the companies and products mentioned, giving me free reign to say if I like them or not.

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


We didn’t go on this ride


Leo, Tom and Sandra


General BEA sideshow and ride alley


Bueller … Bueller …


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


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.


Good weather for them


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


These ones came home with us


A mistake photo but I like it


What an amazing tulip!


Beautiful light on the rape seed field


Lovely colours, blues and greens


Mud up a side track


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.


In my garden at home


The first two signs of my gladioli!


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 21 #2: Walking from the city and gardening

Call off the search dogs! I’m alive!

I mentioned I’d write again after walking from the city, but that idea went out the exhaustion window. It took two hours to walk home (which was a nice surprise as I thought it would be longer) and when I arrived, Rene was finishing repairs on the ride-on lawnmower in preparation to do the garden. So yep, you guessed it, I dumped my backpack on the bench outside our house, and walked straight over to him to help. Thank goodness for leaf blowers and ride-on mowers! Three hours later, I flopped on the couch (after a shower of course!) and after another three hours, I was asleep on the couch. I stumbled up the ladder into bed.

Part of the plan to walk home was so I could stop at a new animal shelter to ask about volunteering. I’d seen a picture of it in a free local magazine so was keen to see if I could be put to good use. Searching in the forest where I thought it would be, I asked a woman with a very funky short grey crop hairdo, who was walking her dog, if she knew where it was. “It hasn’t been built yet,” she said. “Maybe next year.”

Serves me right for not being fluent in German! I’d completely misread the article and thought the place had opened already. What makes the story even more bizarre (aside from my silliness) is the woman who I spoke to, well, her husband is involved with trying to get the shelter built. How about that for a fluke? Of all the people to ask, Heidi was the best person possible. She was very knowledgeable about the whole procedure and said some residents across the river are against it being built, because they’re worried about the noise travelling. If all goes to plan, the shelter could be finished by the end of summer next year.

Anyway, here are the photos from yesterday’s walk:

And here’s the finished garden. My arms were shaking from using the leaf blower to clear all the leaves (the leaves! the leaves!) out of the garden beds and off the concrete areas. (Rene is a stickler for dead-leaf decimation. I follow his orders.) Then I jumped on the mower to finish with this:


Look at that freshly mown grass!


Look at that leaf-free garden!


Look at that ball-crazy dog called Boy!


Look at those flags in the wind (and look at the lovely grass too)!

  • Physically Fit: Two-hour walk from the city to home; using the leaf blower (damn heavy thing!)
  • Mentally Fit: Meeting Leonie for lunch, walking, beginning French crime show “Braquo”
  • Nutritionally Fit: Smoothies, salads and strawberries
  • Minimalism: Fail – could have used a broom instead of the leaf blower. I’d still be in the garden though …

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 19: Walking around the Schwarzsee

No, no, not the Black Sea, the Black Lake! The Schwarzsee is about an hour’s drive south of Bern and today was my first visit there. Very pretty, still some snow up high and a crazy dragon.

We followed the Witches Walk (Häxewääg) around the lake for about 90 minutes, stopping to take lots of photos. Unfortunately most of the ones with the snow-capped mountains were taken into the sun, so they didn’t turn out so well on my phone, sorry.

But it was wonderful to be outdoors after binge-watching “The Killing” for too many hours yesterday. We only binge-watched the start of season four for a few hours tonight. 🙂 Enough to make me forget I hadn’t written the blog today!

Here’s a little tour of the Schwarzsee:

  • Physically Fit: 90-minute walk around the Schwarzsee
  • Mentally Fit: Being outdoors; planning our next holiday; watching more of “The Killing”(!)
  • Nutritionally Fit: Coconut water & fresh fruit smoothie; steak and three veg!
  • Minimalism: Making a mushroom, shallot and bacon steak sauce off the top of my head, from scratch, no recipe required. Not really a great minimalism example, but something I’m proud of!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 6: Walking the favourite new path again

A very late post – again – because we binge-watched more episodes of ‘The Killing’ TV series on Netflix – again. My eyes are popping out of my head as I type this, but we’ve finished season one! Yay. (Where’s the bed?!)

It turned out to be another sunny, cold and windy day today, so we decided to walk the new path behind the property again. The first time we walked, and ‘discovered’, this path, there was still plenty of snow, but now it’s all gone and the grass is a sweet green.

A well-decorated house made our jaws drop. Last time it had Christmas decorations everywhere, but we didn’t have a look at the actual exhibition. Today, we checked out the Easter offering, and I’m glad we did, because I won’t forget it in a hurry. Wow. How many years would it have taken to collect it all?

The round trip took just over an hour, I think. Our favourite restaurant wasn’t open, so we didn’t stop for a soft drink on the way home. Three men were playing boules in the gravel pit and kids were using the swings, so despite being closed, it still felt alive.

Here are a few photos.

We’re off on a driving holiday to the Alsace region (the capital is Strasbourg where we went for my birthday) on the border of France and Germany. We liked it so much we thought we’d spend a few more days there, exploring and walking. I hope to have time to write a post or two. Never fear, I’ll be doing my exercises too!

Wishing you a wonderful day … and maybe a wonderful few days.

April 5: Just in time … Easter egg hunt!

The clock has just struck midnight, but I’m still going to say this is the post for April 5 … even though technically it’s now April 6. Who’s counting?!

We had a great day today on our Easter egg hunt – both Leos did an amazing job organising it all. On Friday we painted the eggs, Saturday afternoon the Leos hid the eggs (in the pouring rain) and today we went a’searchin.

Pastora’s Leo’s brother, sister and sister’s boyfriend joined us as well. We started near the Bern/Belp airport and finished at an outdoor picnic area further towards the city. Eichholz is also a camping place in summer, and the starting point for a great summer swim in the Aare. I say starting point, because the river flows so quickly, you’re transported to a new destination in seconds.

So, I’ll keep this short and let the photos tell the story. All up, we walked three hours and had plenty of ‘good for your mental health’ laughs. I’ve never been on an Easter egg hunt of this scale before. Next year, the guys said the girls have to organise everything – first thing we’ll do is paint the eggs a brighter colour!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

(I’m posting this so late because after we came home, we finished a Swedish TV series called ‘GSI Göteborg’ (which is also known as the ‘Johan Falk’ series) and then started on the American version of the Danish series ‘Forbrydelsen’, called ‘The Killing’. Scandinavian thriller and police shows are addictive (even though we’re watching the American version … in German … with English subtitles … I’m babbling and waffling, sorry, I’m tired. Enjoy the pics. Goodnight!)

March 20: Five hours in the garden and a 40 minute walk

This post is going to take a long time to type. My arms and hands don’t really feel like they belong to me. In fact, half my body doesn’t feel like it belongs to me.

At 8.30 this morning, I helped Rene, the owner of our complex, and a friend fill holes in the grass/lawn. Something’s been having a dig, maybe a mole? So there were a lot of sunken patches that Rene wanted filled. So I had the rake to flatten the newly dumped soil, and then used the flat part of the spines to stamp the soil down. This is where I think I did the nerve damage. Joking, sort of.

Then I used the leaf blower for a good few hours to clean out all the farmhouse ground floor sections and to get the leaves onto the grass. And then I went through all the garden beds and blew all the leaves out of there too. And then I got the blower into the stones around the pool, and swished them all out. And and and! Normally, I despise leaf blowers. Great big horrible noise polluters … use a rake for crying out loud! But today, despite my wrists screaming blue murder, the leaf blower was a blessing … so many leaves in the garage, flower beds, behind bushes up against the buildings and so on.

No stopping me now! Once I’d blown every leaf bar 100 onto the grass, I then jumped on the ride-on lawnmower and sucked them all up (and mowed the very short grass at the same time too). By 11.30am I was done with the lawnmower, but I wasn’t done with the garden.


Forgot to take before shots, but this is after I’d done the mowing …


… on Rene’s trusty green machine …


… so that the garden could look like this

While sitting with Rene on the outdoor couch, surveying our great work, I noticed the side of the garage was looking kind of raggedy, with dry brown grass growing up the wall. Who needs a pause? Not me! I got out the small hand trowel and dug out all the weeds and grass growing at the edge of the garage, so next time when we mow, the edges will be clean. Oh, I love a good clean lawn edge. To top it off, I finished the final edge around our house too, which I hadn’t done last time I was in the garden because it was in the shade and a bitterly cold wind made the whole thing unappealing.


Love a good clean garden edge!


Boy, Rene’s dog, is a constant foreman when I’m outside. The green shoots are mixed bulbs I planted in October. I can’t wait to see what comes up!

Then after a 30 minute break to eat some cereal for lunch (nothing in the fridge!), we loaded up the trailer to take some rubbish to the local council collection depot which is next door. Then it was home to put my sneakers on and walk down to Wohlen to buy dinner supplies at the local supermarket. I really didn’t feel like walking, really, really didn’t, but I’m glad I did. It was a beautiful afternoon with plenty to see.


Every Friday people can bring their hard rubbish and bigger items here for a minimal fee


Lovely flowers on the walk to Wohlen to go grocery shopping


Happy chickens in the sun. I bought more eggs from the honesty box shop


This dog loves sitting in the boot of his car. He’s there all the time, and it’s nice to see him on the walk to Wohlen


Colourful display at the local supermarket


You can also buy lawnmowers, outdoor furniture, horse blankets and gumboots with your TP and orange juice


The bustling metropolis of Wohlen bei Bern


Plowed fields (on the way home) ready for something new


Farmer at work in another field near home


Our place is looking pretty schmick! 😉


Stoekli sans leaves, with clean garden edges 🙂

The sun was lovely today. Except for a few minutes when the moon was in front for the eclipse. Do you think I remembered, or even noticed? Nup. I was outside the whole morning and didn’t see a thing, that’s how focussed I was. (Or oblivious.) It was a bit misty/cloudy here so I’m hoping I didn’t miss out on too much. Without the right eye protection/glasses it would have been impossible to see it properly anyway, so I’m trying not to be too disappointed at my obliviousness.

The sunrise this morning, though, was amazing, and I did manage to drag myself out of bed for that! Leo called out for me to have a look and it was so good I donned my floral dressing gown and Birkenstocks at 6.55am and ran into the field between our house and the neighbours to get photos … then remembered they’d just sprayed the whole thing with liquid fertiliser only a few days prior. Thankfully the smell went away when I washed my legs!


The sunrise was so impressive, I left the house in my dressing gown and Birkenstocks


Lovely red sun


This was the view to the right as the sun was rising. No Alps today


Leo leaving for work. He passed me on the access road from our house onto the street. I was in a cleaner place, gawping


Sunrise over the local council maintenance depot, from our front door

So, all in all, a brilliant day (other than my disaster dinner!) and I am going to sleep the sleep of the totally exhausted tonight.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 14: Five-hour walk from Aarberg to Wohlen bei Bern

Apologies for this late post … we had an internet issue last night and nothing would send, nothing would upload, nothing would save … and after a few hours of frustration, nothing could stop me muttering “I’ll just have to do it tomorrow.”

So, a day late, here’s what we did yesterday …

After Tuesday’s walk into town with Pastora and Iva, Leo was also keen to get back into the walking swing. We did some walks in winter, but not many of length, so with the sun trying to shine (and a chilly two degrees to start the day) we caught the bus just after 9am to Aarberg, a beautiful little village further along the Aare river.

Unfortunately we didn’t go into the old town centre, so I have no photographic proof of how quaint Aarberg really is – we just walked straight off the bus onto the path to Wohlen. I’ll do a photo post about Aarberg in summer, when the trees in the main square have leaves. (*oops, didn’t manage to do that!)

There are many different wanderweg trails from Aarberg to our house, but we chose to go through Lobsigen, Baggwilgraben, Elemoos, Wahlendorf, Meikirch, Uetligen and then home. A surprise change of plans meant we ended up walking through Lobsigen, Baggwilgraben, Elemoos, Wahlendorf then Sariswil and home.

And what a lovely excuse it was – a Bernese mountain dog became our guide through the forest just after Elemoos. She became totally overexcited when we met her, and ran to the path to lead the way. It was like she knew what to do, so we thought she was walking home and encouraging us to follow her. She kept turning back and checking if we were still there and then running ahead, on the exact path we were planning to walk. Then she’d run back to us for a pat. When I was deleting old photos off my phone because the memory was full, she ran down to see what was holding me up, and barking as if to say “Come on, hurry up, what’s keeping you, let’s go!” The surprise and comfort of walking with a dog was so sweet, even though we kept encouraging her to go home.

Turns out her name is Luna and home was where we first met her, when the track dissected some farm buildings. We found this out from the closest vet surgery, in Sariswil, where we went to get her microchip checked. The vet said Bernese mountain dogs love company and love to explore. Her owners were on a day-trip to the ski fields, so she adopted us as her family for the afternoon to keep her entertained. Oh, the lovely Luna. The vet waited with her until someone, arranged by the family, came to take her home. She was unsettled as we left, and I was too. Really makes me want a dog even more!

All up, a great day. We saw so many animals – dogs, cats, horses, sheep, goats, ducks, cows, chickens …

So enough from me, I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story. I think the internet crashed last night because I tried to upload so many!

Wishing you a wonderful day.