Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Some of the many lovely things about Switzerland

1) The flowers! The Swiss are very good at their window boxes and other containers with flowers. If I have a tiny criticism, it's that they seem to think that scarlet and pink go together, which I don't. However, there was such general floriferous whoofing that it hardly mattered. This is Murten. Hint for future wealth: take out shares in Swiss geranium farms.

2) The roofs. I do like red roofs in beautifully random shapes. (Daughter 2 points out my inconsistency in that I'm not very keen on red bricks. Which is true. But I might, if they were in such lovely cluttered patterns. And it's a mellow red.) This is also Murten.

3) The turquoise water. It's really that colour. Something to do with minerals dissolved in them. My brother will no doubt give me the scientific explanation but it's very pretty, whatever the reason. This is Bern. We in Edinburgh tend to pride ourselves on our beautiful town centre but I have to admit that Bern's is - well - pinker and bluer and greener. We tend to go for grey, stern and lowering. (Lowering as in threatening, overcast, rather than bringing down.)

4) Mountains. We too have mountains, but not quite so everywhere and not with pretty pink and white towns so close by. Our mountains are magnificent but you wouldn't go there to increase your social life. We go more for isolated derelict cottages and occasional villages with grey roofs. And sheep.

5) Cute little churches - mainly at the highest points of already quite high villages. As one of our party remarked, you'd need to be really keen to pant up the hill to these churches.

6) Smooth hillsides. These fascinated me. Though the chalets on the hillsides usually didn't have fenced-off gardens, it looked from the trains as if the grass in between them was smoothly mown. Which didn't seem very likely: rather hard work. The landscape looked like a painting, with the flat grass, the shadowed trees and the musical-box houses. As we travelled around, however, we often saw people cutting the grass (which wasn't actually quite as short as it looked from a distance) and then raking it up, presumably to use as animal feed. Is this right? Does anyone know?

7) Red. They are very fond of red, on their flags, tourist souvenirs and yes, more flowers. These are begonias. Our growing season isn't long enough to achieve this effect.

8) More mountains. This is the early morning view from our balcony in Thun. Rather impressive.

9) The lots and lots of views, such as this one from a rack railway up to the...

... Reichenbach Falls, where Sherlock Holmes fell to his death (or didn't). They were a bit unimpressive, actually. Mr L thinks that they've been somewhat diverted for the sake of hydroelectricity. Niagara they're not.

Look what Daughter 2 did while we were away. It's the first time she's had short hair since - well, since she was 1.


  1. Really, could there be anything not lovely about Switzerland? Some of their politics, yes, but not the views.
    Love your comparisons to Scotland!

    and we have something in common with the love of red roofs but not red bricks.

  2. What a beautiful place......and I reckon when it comes to flowers the more colours there are - the better they look.

  3. Re: grass - not a blade is wasted in Switzerland. I spent time there in my youth and used to watch elderly neighbours, working all day in their tiny patches of meadow, hand scything and then collecting every scrap for winter feed for the cattle, who spend their summers in the alpine pastures and their winters back in the villages.
    Glad you had such an interesting holiday, and hope you got lederhosen for the little ones?

  4. You went to the Reichenbach Falls!! How exciting! After falling in love with Sherlock thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch, that would definitely have been on my list too. Everything is just so lovely there I don't know how you didn't throw your arms wide, twirl around, and start singing "The hills are ali-i-i-i-ive...." - but then again maybe you did and were too shy to mention it.

  5. Enjoyed your comparisons to Scotland. Coming from Australia, that amount of green seems inconceivable.(I feel that last word looks somehow wrong but, at this time of night, don't have the energy to find a dictionary!)
    Your daughter's new haircut looks really good.

  6. Oh Wow -- DD2 looks beautiful with her new hairdo!

    And Switzerland and Scotland -- my two favorite countries! Is there any more beautiful country than Switzerland with all those gorgeous mountains and green? Your photos are wonderful -- it looks like you had a great time. I always thought the cows and sheep took care of "mowing" the grass in those alpine meadows -- no???

  7. Didn't see sheep in any quantities. Many cows (with cowbells - yes, really) but not in those situations. Mainly higher up. Ditto goats.

  8. It looks very pretty indeed.

  9. DD2's new hairstyle looks great - very sleek! I have always loved long hair, on myself and other girls/women (NOT men), but sadly I got to the point where I was looking like a 60 year old Alice In Wonderland, not a pretty sight. So I had all mine cut off too.
    Switzerland is one country that I very much wanted to visit when I was a child, after reading the Heidi books. Your photos made me think of those books again :-)

  10. What a wonderful trip you have had! I have so enjoyed your photos and it is especially nice to know where they were taken - not just random shots called "my vacation" ;-)
    Also nice to see the comparisons to Scotland! Someday I will see both Switzerland and Scotland.... Switzerland next fall when we will take a river cruise, and Scotland another time, I PROMISE! Especially since I know such very nice people live there!