Switzerland

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

Ladies bike for sale

Jo bought a new bike in 2012 but hasn’t used it as much as she’d expected, so it’s up for sale at Fr. 450 (or near offer). It’s a 21-speed Kalkhoff bike, made of aluminium, and in near-new condition. If you’re interested, there are photos and details at http://velo.mhm.li/: please do get in touch via *protected email*, Twitter or…

Ladies bike for sale

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

The Jungfraujoch is the prime tourist destination in Switzerland’s Jungfrau region. High atop a mountain “saddle” between the Mönch and Jungfrau peaks, it’s accessible by taking a cog-wheel train which makes its way to the summit through a tunnel carved into the mountain. Temperatures in winter can plunge a low way below freezing, but we were lucky enough to…

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

Bachalp, Switzerland

Bachalp is an area of the mountains which ring the northern side of the Grindelwald valley. It’s a popular tourist destination, as its fairly easy to reach on foot in around 45 minutes from the cable car station at First. Hardier walkers continue on from the much-photographed lake Bachalpsee onto a steeper path, which leads up to the Faulhorn mountain hostel.

Bachalp, Switzerland

Furka Pass, Switzerland

The Furka Pass, between Gletsch in canton Wallis and Realp in canton Uri, is one of the high alpine pass routes, only open between June and (approximately) October because of heavy winter snow falls in the region. The pass road is well known to James Bond fans, as it was featured in Goldfinger in 1964. (Watch out for Bond’s radar display: it shows Goldfinger to be near…

Furka Pass, Switzerland

Aigle, Switzerland

The castle at Aigle, near the western end of the Valais, was originally two fortifications. It’s a picture-book scene, but harks back to serious use in the fifteenth century, when it was already over two hundred years old. Today, it sits peacefully amongst expansive vineyards and welcomes tourists from all over the world.

Aigle, Switzerland

Schärihubel, Switzerland

This meadow is on the hiking route between Sulwald, above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and the heights of Bällehöchst and Höji-Sulegg. It’s a steep hike to get here, and even more so to get to the nearby peaks, but the view down to the northern end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and on to Lake Brienz is worth it. It’s also a…

Schärihubel, Switzerland

Locarno, Switzerland

At the end of a long afternoon’s drive from home, via Kandersteg, Brig, the Simplon Pass and a very narrow and windy road through the Ticinese mountains, we arrived at Locarno, on the shores of Lago Maggiore, just in time to catch the last sun of the winter day.

Locarno, Switzerland

Gries Pass

Attempting to get away from baking temperatures, we headed for the mountains and a hike across summer snow fields to the Gries glacier.

Gries Pass

Gries Pass, Switzerland/Italy

The border between Switzerland and Italy lies along the alpine chain, and there are several roads which cross the border from north to south. But there are naturally many other places where one can cross the border with a little more effort. Around an hour and a half’s walk from the Nufenen Pass road, a hiking trail leads from the dam at…

Gries Pass, Switzerland/Italy

Sulzibiel, Switzerland

The lake at Bachalp, around 45 minutes’ walk from the First mountain restaurant above Grindelwald, is well-known from tourist photographs, given that its refection on a calm day contains some of the highest and most striking peaks in the region. But nearby, an unnamed pond on a part of the mountain called Sulzibiel is just as good at reflecting: from this…

Sulzibiel, Switzerland
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The Great Escape

A lovely idea from Graubünden Tourism. Set up an interactive video advertisement in Zürich’s main station, showing what a beautiful part of the Alps you could end up in by just getting on a train. Then invite passers-by to join you by printing them a free ticket on the spot. (And wait for the initiative to spread across the internet like wildfire.)…

The Great Escape

Blow-up boating on Lake Thun

Jo found that because we’d saved so many points on our supermarket card, that we could “afford” a kayak using points alone. A few days later, and a large and heavy cardboard box arrived on the post woman’s scooter trailer and we had our dinghy: an Intex Challenger K2.

Blow-up boating on Lake Thun

Melchsee Frutt, Switzerland

The Melchsee is a lake in the mountains,  tucked away in the lee of a range of peaks between Meiringen and Engelberg. Nearby, the smaller stretch of water called Blauseeli (little blue lake) is a haven for frogs after the snows melt, and the edges of the pool are lined with frog spawn at this time of year.

Melchsee Frutt, Switzerland

Airolo, Switzerland

Deep amongst the mountains which form a natural boundary between the northern and southern sides of the Alps, Airolo sits below the old, snaking Gotthard Pass road. The intrepid northern motorway motorist heading south for the sun arrives in Airolo gratefully, often having queued for several hours on busy summer weekends to pass through the Gotthard Road Tunnel, which emerges here…

Airolo, Switzerland

Faulensee, Switzerland

It’s always good to be near water when there is a special sunset going on. Here, a partially cloudy day ended with a drawn-out bang as the sun poked beneath the clouds. Tthe misty glow to the left of the village in the middle of the picture is driving, misty rain being back-lit by the sunset. I hurried home from the…

Faulensee, Switzerland