Thanks to the sudden arrival of the mutated strain of the coronavirus, and the subsequent lockdown precautions in England and Scotland, our annual winter road trip to visit family had to be cancelled at short notice. This was the first Christmas since 2006 that Jo and I spent away from our family, so we made our own plans to ensure a festive alternative.

In the afternoon, the forecast for a white Christmas came true as snow started coming down thickly, so we headed out for a walk in the most picturesque place we know: the open-air heritage museum at Ballenberg, near Brienz. Although the business and all of the 100 varied buildings across the site are closed for winter, the paths around what amounts to a historic village are accessible throughout the year. Despite the beautiful scenery, we had the place pretty much all to ourselves, which was one of the best experiences we could’ve hoped for.

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