My poor neglected blog! As usual, I have a list of excuses, mostly arising from work. My first month in my new job has been incredibly busy and combined with the end of term craziness with the children, my blog has had to take a back seat – again. I think my list of posts I want to write is currently totalling seven – and I’ve been worried I’ll never pick it up again. But I am determined to try and keep going as I get such a pleasure from reading back on our adventures, and enjoy writing about our life so much!
So, here’s a photo heavy post about a wonderful weekend away we enjoyed last week to try and get back into the habit of writing about our lives…
As some of you will remember, we enjoyed a weekend break in Zurich last year, visiting our good friends Catherine and Charlie and exploring some of the stunning peaks of Switzerland. We’ve talked about it often, and the children often remember the fun they had swimming in Lake Zurich and seeing their little friends Phoebe and Henry. So we finally went back to visit last week for a long weekend just as school finished for the Summer.
The children were so excited about the trip – not only because they were going on a holiday, but also because they got to go on a plane! Sophie in particular was beside herself and had a huge grin on her face for the entire flight – very cute!
As soon as we arrived at Catherine and Charlie’s, we swapped travelling clothes for swimming costumes and headed down to one of the local badi’s on Lake Zurich – safe swimming spots on the lake. I was too busy swimming to take a lot of pictures, but it was the perfect start to our trip. Alex has been doing really well at his swimming recently, and to encourage him to improve, we’ve been reminding him about the badi. A little way out on the lake is a trampoline platform – you have to swim out to it, and you’re not allowed to if you are wearing floats. He was desperate to go out to the platform last year, but wasn’t a good enough swimmer, so when he messed around at swimming lessons – we kept reminding him to focus his mind a little bit! And sure enough, he managed to swim out by himself to have a bounce! Quite an achievement for a five-year-old!
He even had a go at the zip wire, although found the lake a little bit cold to spend too long in there!
Unlike our trip last year when the weather was glorious, the forecast for this year’s visit was pretty terrible, particularly in the mountains, so we decided to spend a day in the city itself just in case we needed to dash inside during a rain storm. We got the train into central Zurich and had a wander along the lake, stopping to look at boats and sculptures along the way.
The children spotted lots of little fish in the clear water, as well as coins (or pirate treasure)!
We tried out all the city transport, including the tram and the fabulous little funicular that runs from the main city square to ETH Zurich, a university high up on a hill above the city.
Once at the top, we wandered past the gorgeous university buildings to seek out the zoological museum. Phoebe helped Sophie out when her legs got tired!
As the heavens finally opened, we whiled away an hour in the lovely little museum. Here’s Sophie listening to a range of different frog noises! She looks like a DJ!
It was really quiet, so the children could explore independently – and they ran all over the place spotting animals they recognised and learning about ones they didn’t.
The inseparable duo of Phoebe and Sophie spent ages exploring a world map, working out which creatures were on the wrong continents!
Before we left, we all teamed up to complete a massive (and rather difficult) tiger jigsaw – it was quite an effort, but we managed it in the end!
With the weather brightening up, we hopped on a tram back to the lake and took the ferry back to Horgen. I loved seeing the lakeside from the water – so many beautiful (and I imagine extremely expensive!) houses to admire!
We nipped to another badi once we were back in Horgen to enjoy some evening sunshine – turns out that the Swiss don’t do outdoor swimming when it’s been raining, so we had the entire place to ourselves! What a treat! Sophie loved the paddling pool.
And braved the big lake slide with her daddy!
As usual, Phoebe was close by and she and Sophie had a great time together.
I took a few snippets of video during our badi trips – so here’s a quick film of some of our Lake Zurich fun (sorry about the lame music, one day i’ll take some time and make a proper video with a classy soundtrack!)
While the mountains were being hit by poor weather and rain storms, thankfully the hills surrounding Lake Zurich enjoyed pretty good weather while we were there. So we spent a day hiking high above the lake. We took the train to Uetilberg to follow the “Path of the Planets“.
At a scale of 1:1 billion, the path of the planets follow our solar system – it was fascinating to see the relative size and distance of our planets. And the added motivation of looking out for planets was great motivation to keep the children walking during the lengthy hike!
It took us most of the day to follow the trail to the Felsenegg cable car – it’s not easy to persuade a 3 year old to walk up steep hills in hot weather! But it was a wonderful experience – so nice for our city kids to get out into nature with their friends!
One of my favourite things about our trip to Zurich last year was the regular cooking fire spots along the trails we walked – and this walk had some perfect spots! We stopped for a fabulous lunch expertly prepared by Charlie (who had carried fire wood in his back pack along with a lot of sausages!). The children had a great time finding suitable sticks for holding their sausages and then carefully cooking them on the fire – Alex wants to be Bear Grylls even more now!
After lunch, we continued the walk, energised by all the delicious food!
Every so often, the vista suddenly opened up and Lake Zurich appeared far below – we liked spotting the ferry boats and trains.
As we neared the end of the walk, the landscape became more agricultural – Sophie seemed rather keen to visit the farm shops signposted in the distance!
We were all pretty tired after our long walk. The children did so well, walking the whole way by themselves with no carrying (and only minimal whining!). We’re looking forward to taking them on some walks on our forthcoming holiday to the Italian Lakes in August.
For our final night, Charlie decided to prepare a proper Swiss cheese fondue – so despite the warm weather, we all tucked into steaming hot cheese overlooking the beautiful Lake Zurich sunset. Yum!
Our final morning dawned clear and sunny, so we decided to head to the mountains – but on the way, we noticed that the weather up high looked pretty bad, so we made a last minute detour to fabulous Jucker Farm – a children’s farm south of Lake Zurich. The children played on enormous hay bales and we all enjoyed some stunning apple juice from the gorgeous farm shop.
With a few hours left before we needed to be at the airport, we decided to end our trip with another badi trip – this time to the badi at the Jucker Farm. The clouds had cleared and the weather clear and sunny. Such a gorgeous spot.
Sophie headed straight into the clear water and started playing with the sand and stones at her feet!
Soon, everyone was splashing around – practising swimming and speeding down another big slide.
We even buried Henry on the beach!
It was the perfect end to our perfect weekend – I am very much hoping this becomes an annual weekend. Wish I could spend the entire Summer there! I know the children would relish more time together – here’s the gang reunited just before we headed home.