February photos

Happy March everyone! I can’t believe another month is over already. Today is Jan’s birthday, so tonight there shall be a nice meal and gifts ­čÖé

Last month I started a new series in which I wanted to share the photos I took throughout the month that didn’t warrant a blog post of their own. So, with another month now over, it’s time to share February’s photos.

Nobody needs this many (bad) photos of small birds but I just can’t resist their cuteness!

The snow returned (briefly) and I discovered once again that it’s really hard to take photos while snow is actually falling from the sky!

snow

The photo above was taken on a Friday morning. The sun came out in the afternoon and melted everything that had managed to settle… and would you believe the next day was bright sunshine and highs of 12┬░C? The weather has been so confusing lately!

I had a week off at the end of the month and on a particularly sunny day I went for a walk into town (and beyond). It was 22┬░C that day. In February! I mean, it was nearly March, but still… 22┬░C!

There were signs that spring was approaching! Can you spy the bee below?

I walked all the way to the Birsfelden hydroelectric plant, which means nothing to you so you’ll just have to trust me that it was a reasonably long walk ­čśë 2km further and I would have been in Germany, but instead I decided to cross the river and head back since it was getting on for 3 p.m. and I still had to cook tea.

Look how blue the water is? Aah, I love living here!

And, to finish off, a yummy treat! Jan and I finally made it to the chocolate caf├ę I’ve been saying I want to go to ever since we moved here. I don’t even care that I went way over my calorie limit for that day -it was so, so worth it! Chocolate heaven ÔŁĄ

And that was my February in photos. Tomorrow there will be a proper February recap post – with less imagery and more words (the type that end with -ing ­čśë )

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Friday letters

Hello everyone! I hope your Friday is going well so far? As for me, the first thing I did after getting dressed this morning was spill almond pur├ęe stuff down my new skirt! Not a good start. Luckily the day has been fine since then. Also, it’s been snowing all morning, which is messing with my head after February started off unseasonably warm (seriously, it was like spring). I thought April was supposed to be the month that does what it wants?* I don’t think this snow is going to settle though – so far it’s just making everything wet.

Anyway, on with the letters.

Postkasten

Dear scales. I’m sorry I’ve left you without batteries for so long. I just wanted an excuse not to know my weight for a while. I promise to bring you back to life soon though!

Dear body. I swear sometimes you operate without any input from me. After all, I would never tell you to walk into desks, kick the bottoms of chairs or just generally do things that result in bruising in weird places. I would appreciate if you could stop for a while now!

Dear baked potatoes. I will never fail to be amazed by how something so simple can be so yummy!

Dear door bell. Why is it I jump a mile in the air every time you ring?! Even when I know the postman is due to bring a package that day I have a mini heart attack when he presses you. So weird!

Dear chick pea pasta. You are interesting, but in a good way. I will definitely be buying you again.

Right, that’s enough for today. This is my lunch break so I should probably go and, well, have lunch… Have a great weekend, dear readers!

*German proverb: “Der April macht was er will”

 

January photos

Some bloggers write a weekly photo post sharing a photo for each day of the previous week. There’s no way I’m going to remember to take a photo every single day, but I do like the idea of sharing random photos that don’t fit into a whole blog post, so I’ve decided to just write a post at the end of each month where I can dump all the photos I took. Here’s January’s.

It snowed and actually settled enough to still be there at the weekend so I went for a walk and found this guy:

red-squirrel

I also tried to take photos of snowy Basel from on top of a hill, but didn’t do very well:

baselbasel-markthalle

A few days later it snowed again and someone came to visit our balcony:

robin

That was the best photo I managed to get before I was spotted…

I then went out for a walk during my lunch break and discovered it’s quite difficult to take good photos while the snow is actually in the process of falling!

Look how deep it was though:

dscn0151

Finally, after disappearing for a few weeks, birds started visiting our balcony again. Here’s one sitting in a tree, having just taken a seed from our feeder and flown away to a safe distance to eat it:

bird

And that’s about it for January. Snow and wildlife… that sums up my month pretty well, to be honest.

Friday letters

Friday has crept on me again this week… along with half of January. My dad’s, my sister’s and K’s birthdays have already been and gone. Just my grandma’s left now then I’ll have to start thinking about the February birthdays I need to make/buy things for. But first, what letters can I write to the universe this week?

Mail box

Dear birds. The lard ball we’ve hung out for you is exactly the same as the one you demolished within two weeks before Christmas, so I don’t understand why you’re shunning our balcony now? I’m sad to see my balcony so empty of little feathered friends.

Dear winter. Nice of you to actually show up this year . I’ve been waiting to see Basel in the snow since we got here (I mean, snow is kind of something I associate with Switzerland and we got basically none last winter…)

snow
How it looked here last week

Dear BBC. It’s exciting that you’re producing a TV series of Good Omens, but must it be a collaboration with Amazon Prime, of all things? There is no Amazon Switzerland, and therefore no Prime for those of us who live here ­čśŽ

Dear Dara Ó Briain. I am so excited to see you perform tomorrow night. Please be as funny as you usually are!

Dear Goodreads. Quit tempting me with your book recommendations! My wish list is already long enough to keep me busy for many, many years…

That’s all for today, folks. Happy weekend!

Graub├╝nden – June 2016

I’m slowly catching up on blogging my Take 12 Trips adventures for 2016. With this post, I’m only two months behind!

At the beginning of June, a colleague of Jan’s was playing at an accordion festival in Disentis Abbey. Disentis is in the canton of Graub├╝nden (of Grisons in French), which we had herd was a beautiful area with lots of amazing scenery and many hiking opportunities, so we decided we would go down there for a weekend, watch the colleague perform on the Saturday and then spend the Sunday hiking before returning home, ready for work on Monday. We booked a hotel in Breils or Brigels (Graub├╝nden is trilingual canton!) and set off bright and early on Saturday morning. The plan was to walk from Brigels train station to the hotel, but it turned out to be at least an hour’s walk up the mountain, so instead we took the Postauto (bus run by Swiss Post). Brigels is a cute little town that probably has a beautiful view on clear days… I wouldn’t know, we had clouds ­čśë After checking in to our hotel, we bought a sandwich from the supermarket and ate it on a bench overlooking the town. Here are some photos from Brigels:

After we had eaten, we took the bus back down to the train station. After checking what time the last bus back to Brigels would be (pretty early!), we took the train to Disentis and went in search of the accordion festival. The festival was also part festival, so we watched a number of groups play the same pieces before Jan’s colleague’s group took to the stage. This group was more professional than the others and was taking part non-competitively so they could just play without worrying about points. Even non-musical me noticed that they were much better than the others! We decided not to stay for the rest of the competition and went for a quick walk around Disentis. It turned out there wasn’t much to see and I took a grand total of four photos there!

Soon it was time to head back to the train station so we could catch the bus back to Brigels. Once up there, we walked around for a bit (but I took no photos because I had forgotten my memory card and had only the memory on the camera itself, meaning I was limited in how many I could take!) then had a delicious dinner at the hotel before getting an early night. We wanted to be up early the next day to fit in a nice hike before we had to go home!

After breakfast the next day we headed out to catch the bus back down to the train station and from there took a train to a station called Oberalppassh├Âhe on the Operalp Pass, a pass high up in the mountains. We wanted to hike to the source of the Rhine, which is considered to be at the Tomasee (Lag da Toma, or Toma Lake), but the hiking paths weren’t officially open yet and there was still some snow around so we didn’t quite make it. We could see that some people had already crossed the snow and presumably gone all the way up, but my shoes weren’t quite good enough and I was scared to cross the largest expanses of snow! We had a lovely hike anyway though and ended up walking around for roughly 3.5 hours, which isn’t bad (especially since it rained part of the time)! I’ve promised Jan I will go back with him when the weather is better and actually go all the way to the lake.

The Rhine ends in Rotterdam, where it flows into the North Sea, so near where the train stops at the start of the hiking trail there is a lighthouse, a smaller replica of one in Rotterdam. Apparently the replica at the Oberalp Pass is the highest lighthouse in the world. But enough rambling, I’m sure what you really want is photos!

 

A second gallery… too many photos for one! (As always, click photos to enlarge)

The staff at a restaurant┬á near the train station had kindly agreed to look after our luggage for us, so when we went to pick it up we decided we deserved a treat after all that hiking in the snow. Beer and B├╝nder Gerstensuppe (barley soup). We also had cake but I scoffed that too quickly for a photo ­čśë

Finally it was time to be on our way. The train home took us on a beautiful route, over a gorge and then around the other side of Lake Lucerne, through Schywz (a tiny canton, but the one that gives Switzerland its name). Two train changes later, we were finally home where we went straight to bed ready for a week of work starting the next day!

This first trip to Graub├╝nden was incredibly short, but it’s okay – it definitely won’t be our last!

Linking up with Packing My Suitcase and My Travel Monkey for Monday Escapes.

Travel Monkey

First Friday letters of 2016!

I’ve been totally slacking on the Friday letters front so far this year (and the blogging front in general, to be honest). I have some letters in mind now, though, so let’s do this!

Mailbox

Dear British celebrities. Apparently the Grim Reaper has it in for you lately. Please look after yourselves! (Especially if you happen to be approaching 69).

Dear Alan Rickman. Everyone else has said it all, way more eloquently than me. You were one of my favourite actors and I can’t believe you’re gone. Terry Pratchett levels of devastation here, my friends! (And at least with him I could kind of see it coming.)

Dear 2016. I’m hoping for great things from you. Don’t let me down!

Dear snow. You are on your way, apparently.Please could you hold off just until I get back to Basel tonight? I don’t fancy being stranded on a train, thanks.

Dear January. You’re half over already! This scares me.

Dear Dylan Moran. I’m hoping you still have tickets left for your show in Basel at the end of the month, because I really want to purchase some!

Dear fellow bloggers. I promise to come and catch up with your soooon!

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy your weekends ­čÖé

More from Zurich

I tried to write this post a few days ago but WordPress lost it and I couldn’t be bothered to type it all out again…

1 January was our final day in Zurich. We started 2015 by sleeping til 1.30 p.m., then eventually managed to drag ourselves out of the hotel and to the main train station, where we found a cafe for breakfast. I had a hazelnut-filled croissant (which are called Gipfeli in Swiss German!) and a far-too-sweet cinnamon latte. Then it was time for some more walking. We took a different parallel street to Bahnhofstrasse, one we’d never been down before, and eventually came to Zurich’s “other” river – the Sihl. Apparently it flows below the Hauptbahnhof (main station) and parts of the station are actually below the river! The things you learn from Wikipedia… Once we got away from the town centre, the path was slippy but it looked pretty with the river alongside and the tree branches hanging over it.

After we’d walked for a while, Jan consulted the map on his phone then decided we needed to turn left if we were eventually going to end up back in town. He then proceeded to make me go up this set of steps:

 

Narnia eat your heart out!

I didn’t so much walk up them as haul myself up, clinging to the handrail for dear life the whole time! What looks like pretty snow had been trodden on so often that it was actually more like ice. Very, very slippy ice! At the top, we found a park area set on a hillside. All the local kids were out playing with their bobsleighs. I wish we could have borrowed one… it would have been slightly easy than walking/slipping down the frozen path!

After leaving that park and walking down some random streets, we entered another park where we found more people sledding and another snowman. From there, we also had a view of the lake.

Finally, after walking for what seemed like days, we reached the lake. By this time it was dark and we were cold and hungry, but we still stopped to take a few photos of the lake. By which I mean Jan stole my camera and took pictures after witnessing me failing to get any good ones. Hmph!

After all the walking we’d done, Jan decided he wanted a hearty meal of the type served by a brew-house. The first Bierhalle we tried was closed (for future reference, lots of places in Zurich seem to close on New Year’s Day), so we headed to a place called Restaurant Johanniter. Jan chose a dark beer that was delicious! Unfortunately it was on special and the card only said “Schwarzbier” so we don’t know what it was to look out for in future. I went for the Appenzeller Qu├Âllfrisch, which was also tasty. To eat I had vension “geschnetzeltes” – geschnetzeltes is a word for strips of meat cut in a certain way. Jan had the traditional Z├╝rcher Geschnetzeltes, which I’m not keen on because it comes in a sauce with mushrooms. I then treated myself to some apple strudel for dessert (no picture of that because I was too busy stuffing my face ­čśë )

Once we’d eaten, we headed back to the hotel to pack and relax for a while. And that was the end of our trip to Zurich. A lovely city, if fairly small. I’m sure we’ll be back… Basel to Zurich is only a little over an hour by train, which makes it pretty perfect for a day trip with visitors.