Archive for the 'News' Category

Lacking or Slacking?

We need to apologise for our lack of blogging. We haven’t been slack, it is that we have had no computer cos it died on us a few weeks ago. We have a lot of things to blog about so will have to catch you all up on that soon. Today is a big day… Toby, Noah and I are heading back to New Zealand. Our year here is up already, far to fast. Daniel is staying a bit longer to finish up with the apartment and work. But we promise lots more blogging adventures with us, whether from NZ or Switzerland!

Green Eggs & Ham

Since we are managing to stay sick (running into week three now!), reading stories to the kids has been quite popular. The most favourite book at the moment is Dr Seuss `Green Eggs & Ham`. I saw that Google paid tribute to Dr Seuss yesterday with this cool Dr Seuss logo:

dr-seuss

A bit of interesting trivia – Did you know Green Eggs & Ham was written using only 50 words? Here is what Wikipedia says:

Green Eggs and Ham is one of Seuss’s “Beginner Books”, written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just fifty different words, of which 49 are monosyllabic (the one exception being “anywhere”)…

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s publisher, wagered $50 that Seuss could not write a book using only fifty different words. The bet came after Seuss completed The Cat in the Hat, which used 225 words. - Wikipedia Article.

Swiss trains – so mobile!

I have wondered many times whether the Swiss are technologically challenged, considering the amount of paperwork and phone calls and letters and trips to government agencies I have had to do (nothing seems to be done online… or by email).  But the Swiss Railway definitely do not have any technology shortcomings.   I love what SBB are doing…  Now you can buy a ticket for the train using your mobile phone!   And when the train conductor comes around to check your ticket, you show them the code given to you on your mobile phone and the conductor has a bar code scanner / reader to check it.  How cool!  How easy.

I am not looking forward to going back to Auckland trains where they run half an hour late, break down, catch fire, the conductor never has change for a $20 and no machines to buy tickets in advance.  Ah well.

A very snowy drive

After checking the weather forecast on Saturday night, we decided to hire a mobility car and go for a drive on Sunday.  The weather forecast somehow forgot to mention that there would be truckloads of snow all day!  But we had fun anyway, just drove pretty slowly.  We decided to head to the Drei-Seen-Land (Fribourg region).   There were lots of things to do and see – the Gruyere Castle and Cheese region, lots of beautiful lakes, the Papillion.  The kids were keen to check out some butterflys and sloths (I know, weird combination!) so we went to the Papiliorama in Kerzers, also checked out the Murten See and went home via the Emmentaler Cheese Factory.  It is freaky how you drive 50 minutes south and suddenly everyone speaks French!

Was so good to get out of the house after a week of being home sick.  Man, I forget how dumb it is to be sick.  I take good health for granted.  Lets hope this week we are on the up…

It’s been a while…

Hmmm,  we haven’t blogged for a while!  Not because we haven’t wanted too, but because we have been very sick over the past week.  We were meant to go away on a road trip for a few days for Daniel’s birthday but had to cancel / postpone  :(

Will post soon.  I promise!

The Swiss are eating even more chocolate!

Before we arrived in Switzerland we read the statistics for chocolate consumption and found that the Swiss topped the world with and average of 12 kilos per person per year!  Well, the latest surveys say that the consumption has increased to 12.4 kilos.  According to this article, in this time of economic crisis, the Swiss aren’t cutting down on chocolate!  Well, it is supposed to be a stress relief, right?!

I really don’t know where the Swiss put the all the chocolate they eat.  They all seem so slim and I am always that only one in the chocolate eisle at the supermarket filling up my trolley.  Actually, when I speak to the Swiss they can’t imagine that they eat over 12 kilos a year.  Where does it go?  Someone must be eating it?

Perhaps the Swiss chocolate companies just make up these figures to make you feel like you have to keep up with the rest of the Swiss.  You know, peer pressure! Haha!

Glühwein

I made some of this delicious drink myself.  Hey and it wasn’t even that hard!  I wonder if the alcohol boils out while cooking it?  It might be good to know in case I have to drive somewhere after drinking a few cups full.  Oh, wait – we don’t have a car!  Sweet, i might have some more!  Oh, and you can add a bit of port (100mls or so) makes it even nicer…

Glühwein – Hot Mulled Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of dry red wine (750 ml)
  • one lemon
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • some cardamom (or ginger)

Directions
Heat the red wine in a pot (don’t boil). Cut the lemon into slices and add to the wine. Then add the cinnamon, cloves, sugar and a little cardamom (to taste). Heat everything for about 5 minutes – do not boil – and let stand for about an hour. Before serving, reheat and strain. Serve in prewarmed glasses or mugs.  Enjoy.

Crazy Noah

“I am crazy” – that is what Noah says when he looks at the photos of him.  We have so many photos of our crazy wee boy.  He loves pulling ‘crazy’ faces, has an obsession with trying on everyone elses accessories – snowshoes, sunglasses, hats, earrings etc.

And he has no fear it seems (except of balloons?!).  On the train he will often wander around meeting the other passengers or sharing raisins with a random kid (eating off the floor together!).  On the train back from Zermatt he entertained the entire carriage.  The other passengers made barriers with their arms down the eisle and Noah would have to walk up and down and say the magic word to open the barrier arms.

He has a need for speed too.  And loves going as fast as possible on sledges, scooters or in cars!  “Baaaastar Mama, Bastar, Go Go Go” he yells to me (I know, it sounds a bit dodgy but he means to say “faster”)

Here are some “crazy” photos of him:

Snowboarding

So we recently spent a week in Bettmeralp (Google Maps shows it in summer, which is not cool. Zoom out to get an idea of where is is. The resort also has it’s own website.), as you may know, and I tried my hand at a bit of snowboarding.

There’s limited photographic evidence due to a) me going by myself most of the time, and b) I don’t have a nice long telephoto to stick on the front of my Canon.

We arrived on the Saturday and I went across the road to the ski school and booked a 1-hour private lesson for the next morning. My colleague Alain lent me his board and boots, which was totally awesome, and thanks to some decent sports shop sales, I was kitted out.

I met Patrick, my instructor, at the learner’s slope the next morning and got cracking. Had a wee muck around at the bottom, and I quickly got back the feel from the day-and-half I did on Ruapehu about 18 months ago.
We hopped on the T-bar and made it to the top. I had been told that the T-bar was the worst part of snowboarding (only a chair-lift and a platter (platters suck) on Happy Valley at Whakapapa), but if you know what you’re doing and relax, it’s sweet as. The next hour went fast, as I learned the toe-side and heel-side positions for traversing, and the turns. Took a few tumbles, but got the hang of it fairly quickly.

After my lesson I did a few more runs by myself without bailing and had pretty much mastered the learning slope.

I managed to get back on the slopes a few times throughout the remainder of the week and found that as I gained confidence I started to crash more, but that was cool; it’s all part of the fun! I got in a full day’s boarding on the Friday, and managed to get down most of the blue slopes on the mountain and thoroughly enjoyed it.

And here’s the sole item of evidence for your verification:

I’m really keen to get back on the board, so I’ve been looking at some rail and snow deals (Jessica writes about these) and there are some massive resorts around; St Moritz has over 350km of pisten with 56 lifts. Crazy! So I’ll have to disappear for a couple of long weekends sometime soon :)

Walk from Bettmeralp-Moosfluh-Riederfurka-Riederalp

This has to be one of the most amazing walks I have done.  I have skied this track a few years ago and this time Daniel, my friend Miriam and I decided to walk it with the kids and sledge in tow.  The views are spectacular – with endless snowcapped mountains and the Matterhorn in the distance.

We walked from Bettmeralp to Riederalp and then took the gondala up to Moosfluh.  Then we walked along the ridge from Moosfluh to Riederfurka. We followed the mighty Aletsch glacier which the photos do no justice to show its vastness!  We stopped for a beer and pommes frites at the outdoor cafe in Riederfurka and soaked in some of the sun.  There was a random ‘castle’ to admire, kind of looks somewhat out of place but beautiful none-the-less.  Then we continued down the sometimes steep and icy path to Riederalp stopping only for some sledging and photos on the way!  Daniel and I no longer laugh at the Swiss going everywhere with their two ‘sticks’ or hiking poles.  It would have been quite handy to have some when walking over some icy bits in the track.  Although, I am not sure if these ‘sticks’ are really needed in central Zurich (yes, I have seen them in action on Bahnhofstrasse!)

Toby spent the first part of the 3+ hour walk being pulled along on the sledge but then found that walking by himself through snow (up to his waist!) and breaking all the icicles on the way was much more fun.  Noah spent most of his time riding on my back in the wonderful ergo but enjoying sliding down the hills on the sledge.