Switzerland

Switzerland, a quadrilingual country in the middle of Europe, has been my home since 2001.

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The flying rubbish truck

The rubbish collection service at Bettmeralp – a car-free village in the mountains of upper canton Valais – must be unique in the world. In the absence of any road connection to the village, a 7.5-tonne lorry is carried up and down the mountain by cable-car.

The flying rubbish truck
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Forever young

We’re incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy the sight of the Blümlisalp paddle steamer, which passes our home every day in summer, hooting loudly as it arrives at the landing quay in the village a few hundred metres away.

Forever young

Roads of the Gotthard

We took a drive through the Alps last weekend, to photograph the famous curves of the old cobbled pass road at Tremola. The serpentine route leads up to the Gotthard Pass from Airolo and provides cyclists and driving enthusiasts with a slow but memorable experience. If visitors haven’t had enough of being jolted around on the many cobbles, which were…

Roads of the Gotthard

Firsts of August

1st August is Switzerland’s Bundestag (or federal day), so Jo and I usually take advantage of the day off work to celebrate our adopted home. Here are some photographic mementoes of the day trips we’ve made. Interlaken, 2006 Brienzer Rothorn, 2007 Bachalp, Grindelwald, 2010 Mattehubel, Reutigen, 2012 Glacier 3000, 2013 Oberberghorn, 2014 Hardergrat, 2015…

Firsts of August

Sundlauenen to Merligen

Catching the ship from Faulensee to Sundlauenen, hiking through the forest past St. Beatus Caves to Merligen, and then home by paddle steamer. Approaching Sundlauenen by ship St. Beatus Caves, Beatenberg Sundlauenen quarry The funicular from Beatenbucht to Beatenberg Traditional house in Merligen “Blümlisalp” paddle steamer in Faulensee…

Sundlauenen to Merligen

A yellow field, somewhere

There is a yellow field, nestling in a small valley, which sways gently in the breeze. It is surrounded by deep green trees and amongst them, a thatched cottage sits with an elevated view across the scene. I haven’t found it yet, but I have found many picturesque alternatives on my travels. Like this one, in canton Fribourg.

A yellow field, somewhere

Schilthornhütte, Switzerland

A small mountain cabin overlooking the Bluemental valley serves as a restaurant for hikers in the summer and for skiiers in winter. Between seasons, when the restaurant is closed, the spot is a blissfully peaceful point on the mountain, to which only determined walkers come. The Birg mountain station overlooks the scene, and on a summit in the distance, the…

Schilthornhütte, Switzerland

The boy on a pogo stick

Roses wave gently in the breeze, and a wood pigeon coos from a tree, unseen. A cyclist glides silently by and a muffled, childish swear word echoes quietly from a nearby football pitch. Bees buzz, breezes waft, and a boy bounces past on a pogo stick.

The boy on a pogo stick

The view that isn’t quite there

Somewhere in the hills which push up the wall of rock on the western end of the Bernese Alps, there is a view. A view of rolling hills, green trees, little farm buildings and forested land. Beyond them, the sparkling turquoise-blue water of the Thunersee, with the impossibly white, impossibly high range of mountains which stand guard over the Jungfrau…

The view that isn’t quite there

Basse Ville

I regain a holiday feeling by sitting in an old town square, eating pizza, whilst locals perch on a wall, smoking cigarettes before a little bus arrives and rattles them away. Swifts and martins race through the narrow lanes, far above us, to catch their own dinner. The sun slowly retreats up the old stone buildings surrounding us, and fades abruptly from…

Basse Ville