Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A wintery weekend

It has started snowing quite a lot recently so this weekend we had a great time exploring winter delights of Switzerland.

On Saturday we caught the train up the hill behind Vevey to Les Pléaides, where we have been a few times now, at different times of the year. It was really good to get up there after a fresh dump of snow and we were making our own tracks through the snow and exploring the hilltop without really encountering a large number of people.

Fortunately the restaurant was still open so we were able to grab a hot chocolate to warm up before getting back on the train back to Vevey.

The next morning we woke up to find our square had been blanketed in snow. They have been setting up a Finlandais village in the square in preparation for the Vevey Christmas, so it looked quite cool to have snow on the rooftops all around us.

We then caught the train (having not yet taken the time to put snow tires on our car) into Les Diablerets, a nearby ski resort.

The train ride from Aigle into Les Diablerets is really amazing, through all the pine trees with fresh snow on the branches. It made everything feel very Christmassy!

The ski lifts at Diablerets have not yet opened, but we hired some raquettes (snow shoes) and walked out of the village into the surrounding country-side.

We had so much fun in the fresh snow that we're now considering buying our own sets of Raquettes - a great way to get out into the Swiss countryside which is so beautiful in Winter.

Monday, 17 November 2008


On Saturday we jumped in the car and drove over to Neuchâtel, which is meant to be one of the most French towns of la Suisse romande in terms of language, food, and attitudes, and is also the watch-making capital of Switzerland.

Switzerland being a small country, it only took us about an hour of driving to get from Vevey to Neuchâtel, and although I always considered Neuchâtel to be North West of us (being so close to France) in fact it is almost exactly to the North and even a tiny bit to the East. Anyway, that is enough about the oddly shaped country we live in!

We started at the top of the old town, near the 12th century Collégiale church and Château, after which the town gets its name.

We wandered around the cobbled streets, hopping into shops and downing hot chocolates to keep us warm. The old town is very attractive, and the Art and History museum was surprisingly interesting, housing some famous 18th Century Automotons (the Writer, the Illustrator and the Musician) as well as some interesting artwork by local artists.

We stayed in Neuchâtel until sunset when the temperature suddenly dropped, driving home via Yverdon where we took a walk around the old town and had another warming cup of hot chocolate. I think more than anything this trip reminded us just how small the country is, especially when you have a car, and how easy it is to get out and see more of the place with minimal fuss.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Autumn in Switzerland

We've been having deliberately quiet weekends recently; recovering from a few busy weeks of travelling, Linda starting a new job, my own job getting quite hectic, a historic presidential election, and the whole global financial meltdown thing.

This is not to say we haven't been doing anything, rather that we've been keeping things a bit closer to home - and there's certainly nothing uninteresting about where we live, especially as we dive deeper into Autumn!

The weather has certainly been getting colder, and the days dramatically shorter, but we have still had some amazing days with clear, sunny weather. We've been taking advantage of these days to get out and have a BBQ picnic by the lake or play a bit of casual sport, like ping-pong (I'm a new convert) or kicking a soccer ball around.

I'm also a convert to the disposable charcoal BBQs, which are surprisingly effective, and we've made ourselves some delicious picnic lunches with fresh food bought from the markets.

Autumn seems like a bit of an in-between season over here; no longer hot and not yet cold enough for the proper winter activities to kick in, but we're still having fun and looking forward to the snow and Christmas markets only a month away now!