Switzerland, three years on

Basel

Today is exactly three years since we packed the last of our stuff in a van (the rest having been taken a month earlier when Jan moved), said a final goodbye to our flat in Karlsruhe and I came to join Jan here in Basel. So, what’s been going on?

I still have the exact same four friends/acquaintances as last year, but our friends who moved here from Karlsruhe will probably be returning to Germany soon and I’ll be back down to two. I was hoping Jan would make friends for both of us, but despite him being involved in more choirs and singing projects than I can count I rarely get to actually meet any of the people he spends time with. I’ve been to every single one of his concerts and even joined the performers for dinner after some of them, but once it’s been established that I don’t (can’t!) sing, the rest of the conversation goes on without me. Basically I need to find some less antisocial hobbies… and the courage to go out and meet people by myself.

Other than that, we have visited even more places in Switzerland, including Geneva (finally), Spiez (in the dark!) and Castle Chillon, tried quite a few new restaurants in Basel, watched the fireworks for Switzerland’s national day and attended both Fasnacht in Basel and the Liestal fire parade again this year. We had fewer visitors in 2017, but have already had one in 2018 and will hopefully be seeing more later in the year.

basel-rhine

All in all, I am still very much enjoying living here and I hope we can continue living here for a very long time!

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If you go down to the woods today…


Es war einmal
“Once upon a time…”

No, you won’t see any teddy bears… not in these particular woods anyway! Last year, at around this time, we wanted to do something on a sunny day that just happened to also be a public holiday in both Germany and Switzerland. I had read about a fairytale sculpture trail in some nearby woods, so we hopped on a tram to Reinach and went exploring.

The sculpture path originally opened in 2005 with 12 sculptures. More were added in 2008, 2009 and 2011, for a total of 46 fairytale characters by 22 artists today. Obviously the later ones are in better condition than the earlier ones. Some of the sculptures represent specific fairytales that I recognised, some are Swiss tales that I didn’t know and others seem to just be general fairytale themes, for example a palace or witch that didn’t seem to be from any particular story.

fairytale palace

The palace above is actually a marble run, which is pretty cool. We found a marble on the floor and managed to give it a go. Then, later on the trail, we found this:

We spent quite a while playing with it because… well, you just would, wouldn’t you? So fun!

Poor Puss in Boots appeared to have fallen victim to a madman with an axe, and Pinnochio had lost his famous nose completely. Does that mean he had been telling too many truths? Telling tales unnecessarily, perhaps?

We found Red Riding Hood, hiding from a rather young looking wolf.

I immediately recognised the following sculpture as a mirror and assumed it was SNow White, but its sign informed me it’s actually Momo’s mirror. Momo is a fantasy novel by Michael Ende, which I started reading ages ago and never finished so I’m not sure where the mirror comes in!

Momo's mirror

Of course, no fairytale trail would be complete without an actual fairy!

fairy sculpture

We didn’t bring any food with us, but there is a picnic area in the woods including a place where you can “grill” over an open fire. The sculpture trail is only in a small part of the woods, and there is also a nature trail throughout the whole thing – the signs are only in German but I’m sure you can still have a nice walk. The photos I’ve shown here are, obviously, just a few of the sculptures. There are plenty more to discover. I can recommend this to anyone visiting Basel who has children or – like me – just loves fairytales!

To get to the sculpture trail, take tram number 11 from Basel to the stop called “Reinach Süd”. The start of the trail is a short walk – about 10-15 minutes. Follow signs for “Schulhaus Fiechten”.

A Photo an Hour: 24 March 2018

Hello friends! As some of you know, Saturday was this month’s Photo an Hour day. I took part on Twitter and now I want to add the photos to me blog, too.

10 a.m. Jan brought me a cup of tea in bed! Don’t be too jealous… it’s only because I was on day 3 of a sore throat 😉

11 a.m. Time for a shower! I used the one above the bath this time since Jan was in the other one.

12 noon. The sun was shining for a change and it was actually warm so we decided to go for a walk in the woods. On the way there we passed this field, which is usually full of horses. You can just about spy one at the back, by the tent thing.

1 p.m. After leaving the woods we reached a café where we stopped for a drink.

2 p.m. Heading home. The train is on its way to Basel from France.

3 p.m. A late lunch. This interesting looking twisty thing had bacon pieces in it. SO tasty!

4 p.m. Jan was busy doing something for his choir, so I started a new book. My final one for Erin’s challenge!

5 p.m. Time for another cuppa.

6 p.m. Doing some colouring. Jan laughed at by baby dragons colouring book – mean!

7 p.m. More reading while the potatoes cook for tea.

8 p.m. Eating baked potatoes and watching Pointless Celebrities

9 p.m. Still watching TV (although we switched it off 2 minutes after this photo was taken!)

10 p.m. In bed with my book. I’m determined to finish the challenge this month!

11 p.m. Refilled my water, now it’s time to sleep.

So, that was my Saturday. How was yours?

As always, Photo and Hour was hosted by Louisa and Jane.

Friday letters

Hello friends! (I hope none of you mind being called friends?). It’s finally Friday and I haven’t done Friday letters for a while, so I thought I would today. Here goes.

Friday letters

Dear Switzerland. A recent blog post by Kezzie and a slightly less recent one by Hazel have reminded my once again of how badly you need to up your recycling game. After being able to place basically all packaging in the recyclables bin in Germany I find it so frustrating to have to throw so much into the ordinary household waste here (and yes, I take my plastic bottles back to the supermarket but they won’t accept yoghurt pots or toothpaste tubes, for instance). Even Britain has recycling bins. Sort it out, Switzerland!

Dear unread books. I recently rearranged my shelves so that most of you are together and I hadn’t realised quite how many of you I own! I really need to start reading books I own before buying more…

unread books
I actually have more unread books than this, but I couldn’t fit any more on these shelves. Also, I excluded classics & non-fiction entirely since they have specific sections on my bookcases.

Dear water. Why is it so difficult to remember to drink enough of you? Must try harder!

Dear Basel cinemas. Why aren’t you showing the new Jumanji film in English? Just because it’s aimed at children doesn’t mean nobody wants to see it in the original language – do you know how many English-speaking children there are in the region?

Dear weekend. I’m glad you’re almost here. I’ve been very tired this week and I’m looking forward to a lie in!

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for sorting out the dishwasher and not complaining (often) when I fail to put away my lunch dishes.

That’s all for today folks. Happy Friday, wherever you are.

A Photo an Hour: 20 January 2018

Despite having seen the reminder the day before and even mentioned it to Jan while out in the evening, I managed to forget about photo an hour day! Luckily I checked Twitter at noon and saw the posts so I was able to still join in, albeit a few hours later. I only missed two hours though, and those photos would have been tea and cross stitch so you didn’t miss much. Here’s the rest of my Saturday:

12 noon About to heat some bread rolls in the oven for brunch (although Jan then ended up deciding he was too hungover to eat his and going back to bed…)

1 p.m. Time for a shower. Yes, so late. No judging! Also this photo shows how much lime scale is on my shower head. Again, please don’t judge.

2 p.m. Boots on as I’m heading out to buy a birthday present

3 p.m. Haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, so across the river I go to check the shops on that side of Basel. As you can see, the weather was not the best.

4 p.m. Found what I wanted, now on the tram home.

5 p.m. Time for a cup of tea and to start a new book.

The book was so good that I missed my 6 o’clock photo. Ooops!

7 p.m. Deciding what to make for dinner since it was just me eating (yep, Jan was still hungover…)

8 p.m. Nearly finished eating. Not shown: the book that I continued reading while I ate. (I finished it at 8:30… for everyone who has ever asked how I get through so many books, there’s your answer. Most people socialise on weekends, I read or cross stitch.)

9 p.m. Making a birthday card for my grandma

10 p.m. Pyjamas on – time for bed.

And that was my Saturday. How was yours? As always, Photo an Hour was hosted by the wonderful Jane and Louisa.

A Photo an Hour: 16 December 2017

Happy New Year friends! I hope you all had a good start to the year, whatever you were doing (I was in Geneva getting soaked – the heavens opened just before midnight!), and 2018 is an amazing one for every single one of you. Today I wanted to post my final photo an hour of 2017 before we get too far into January! I actually almost missed it, but luckily I was browsing through Twitter in the morning and saw other people doing it, so I waited until the next full hour and then started mine. As always, I am linking up with Louisa and Jane.

11 a.m. I had been awake for more than half an hour and hadn’t even had a cuppa yet, so clearly that had to be remedied…

12 noon. Cross stitching the last few Christmas cards for Jan’s family – none of which are actually pictured on this page of the magazine 😉

1 p.m. Showered and now getting dressed.

2 p.m. In town in the rain – I had gone to track down a last-minute Christmas gift.

3 p.m. Just managed to leap on a tram before it left. Phew!

4 p.m. Home, drying out with tea and candles.

5 p.m. Cross stitching away.

6 p.m. Still stitching… thus far it looks like nothing!

7 p.m. Emptying the dishwasher while “cooking” dinner. (Okay, the oven was doing the cooking…)

8 p.m. Jan put on “Being John Malkovich” while we ate.

9 p.m. Still watching. How messed up is this film?!

10 p.m. Film over, time for a hot chocolate. And when we switched the DVD off Home Alone 2 was on German TV.

I then went to bed before 11 p.m. to make sure I wouldn’t have to take another photo and mess up my symmetry 😉

The next Photo an Hour is on 20 January 2018. If you want to join in, all you have to do is take a photo every hour and then either upload them to Twitter or Instagram on the day using the #Photoanhour hashtag or save them and write a blog post like this one afterwards. Or you can do both (I usually take part on Twitter and then write a blog post later).

A Photo an Hour: 18 November 2017

The final Photo an Hour of the year took place on Saturday… and I haven’t even written my post for November’s round yet! Time to remedy that. For anyone that still cares, here’s what I got up to one Saturday in November. December’s will follow… hopefully soon!

This was a slightly unusual Saturday because I had agreed to work for part of the weekend so that my company could accept a big translation job. So, here we go…

10 a.m. Breakfast at my desk as I get to work.

11 a.m. Working away. This dictionary came in very handy for the technical text I was working on!

12 noon. Still working so I took a photo of the map above my desk.

1 p.m. After three hours I’m done with work. Yay! (I did another 3 hours on the Sunday for a total of six hours of overtime).

2 p.m. After a shower and a quick trip to the shop round the corner I’m finally having lunch!

3 p.m. Chilling with another cuppa and some cross stitch.

4 p.m. Sadly the dishes did not want to do themselves…

5 p.m. On a tram into town.

6 p.m. Having dinner in an Italian restaurant.

7 p.m. At the theatre dahling! We went to see an operetta that some people from one of Jan’s choirs were starring in.

8 p.m. was skipped because we were watching the show so…

9 p.m. Interval time. Glass of fizz has to be done! (Although it looks weirdly unfizzy in the photo)

10 p.m. was skipped again… I couldn’t really whip my camera out during the show!

11 p.m. Stopped off for a cocktail on the way home. The drink was fairly boring and tasted mainly of fruit juice, but at least the décor was pretty!

And that’s it… I was home and tucked up in my bed before midnight rolled around.

The monthly Photo an Hour linkup is organised by Jane and Louisa. If you would like to take part next time, keep an eye on the #photoanhour hashtag on Twitter for January’s date.