Friday, 8 July 2016

Five on Friday - the Swiss edition

Well that's us back from Switzerland. It was quite a whirlwind visit with three stops on the way. We arrived in Basel Monday last week and picked up our car, drove to my mother's in the Bernese flatlands, then went back to Basel for a visit at my brothers and his wife. We finished our tour the Suisse in countryside near Zurich, where we visited the best ever god mother. Despite the criss crossing of the country, we did do very little. At my mums we lazed around the swimming pool and Sam and I ventured out for walks in the evenings, at my brothers, we visited the zoo and ambled along the Rhine and at my god mother's, we spent the day at the big outdoor swimming pool with the waterslide and explored the woodlands. I managed to catch up with one of my oldest friends from the olden days, walking along the river Aare in Bern, enjoying the views and chatting. My favourite part of the whole holiday was to be able to eat meals outside without putting up a wind break and two extra jumpers. The children enjoyed most being able to swim outdoors and eating favourite foods every day. I knitted a lot and listened to my audiobook (American Gods by Neil Gaiman).

If I make it sound easy peasy and super relaxing, it was not. Of course there was plenty of relaxation and fun but it is never trivial to travel with four children on your own. Sibling rivalry is rife and sometimes exacerbated by third party intervention. Sleeping arrangements have to be renegotiated at each new location, taking into consideration that some of my children find it difficult to eat a meal at the same table. Coins have to be tossed for seating positions in the car and activities have to be attractive to ages ranging from 7 to 15. Teenagers have to be coaxed away from their devices into the sunlight, little red heads have to be carefully monitored for sunburn and care has to be taken to drive on the right side of the road (the latter of course completely random and easily rectified if ongoing traffic gestures madly at you).

I thought you might enjoy five collages of some of the highlights of our holiday! Enjoy.

Bern, the city I view as my home town in Switzerland, although I didn't grow up there. The photos are of the old town, which is built in a loop of the Aare river, great for swimming when it is hot. The sign in the large photo is to indicate that there is a railing and steps to get out of the river safely. I'd love to live in one of the houses on the river.

A tiny selection of flowers and fruit in my mother's garden. It is a beautiful and well designed garden, a sanctuary for small wildlife and people alike. It is a pleasure to spend time just breathing in the scent of many flowering plants. The tiny pale green fruit are olives, the bigger green ones figs. You wouldn't believe the number of bees and butterflies on the French lavender!

The main  children's attraction at my mother's, a decent sized swimming pool. The kids love to swim,  jump and splash. I am not a big fan of the water but it is very nice to be able to cool down when it gets hot. It is also nice to sit by the pool and knit. Little people stay in the water until they are shivering uncontrollably, then warm up on a towel on the hot stones. The view is of the Jura mountains in the distance, as seen from a deckchair next to the pool.

In Basel, we went for a stroll along the Rhine and visited the zoo. Storks are residents in the zoo but are wild and free to leave. It is a small and manageable zoo with lots of interesting creatures. The Rhine is a mighty river and quite fast flowing, too. The wildflowers along the riverbank are quite amazing. 

Last but not least, we spent a couple of days near Zurich, where I forgot to take the camera to the big public swimming pool but remembered to bring it along on a shady walk along a forest burn. James lost and recaptured his croc - quite a bit downriver - and stubbed his pinky toe in a separate incident. We met cousins and their children, which was really lovely. It is impossible to get a photo of my four smiling beatifically so I chose the one with the silliest faces. I .am amazed that they sat on one single bench together
The next couple of days are quite busy with getting everything ready for Sam's and Annie's scout trip to Iceland. They'll be gone for two weeks. I wonder if they realise how lucky they are? Probably not now, but maybe when they are adults, looking back at an amazing childhood with adventures and love and more. Oh to be a child of mine!

Other than that, I am still deeply depressed about the political, economic and ecologic future of this country. I don't feel like moving on and pretending this whole sorry mess has never happened (so many do) but at the same time, I feel fairly impotent and can't see how I can make a difference.

Be sure to pop in over at Amy's for more Five on Friday posts. I am looking forward to catching up with my favourite blogs over the coming days, I have rather neglected blogging because I had to soak up as much sun and warmth possible to last me for the rest of the Scottish summer.  See you all soon, one way or other xx

29 comments:

  1. Such wonderful photos of your family trip bringing back memories of our holidays with our children and all the palaver and exceedingly good times. :-)

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  2. Wonderful photos. Switzerland looks such a beautiful country. I'm so glad you had a great time. Like you I feel stymied by what has happened over the last few weeks and am finding it difficult to shake myself and move on too. Have a lovely weekend:)

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  3. It looks like you had a great time.I'm trying not to think too hard about the political upheaval and great photos like yours are a wonderful distraction!

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  4. Lovely Photos of fun moments. Gosh your post made me think about holidays with my three sons when they were young. You become quite a diplomat over bedroom and car seat negotiations. I empathise with you big time. Hopefully some good will emerge from the mess our country is in at the moment. Try not to let it get you down. Hope the Iceland trip goes well :)

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  5. Switzerland is such a pretty country. It's been many years since we visited. Use to drive there when we lived in Germany. Aw, sibling rivalry. I thought we'd avoided that when we had only one child, but one day she informed me that I liked the cat better than I did her.

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  6. I'm glad you had such a nice visit to your home country, Christina. The pictures are wonderful! I wonder if you feel a bit like I do when I return to the US. It's familiar, and sort of feels like home, but not as familiar and homey as my adopted country. You were very brave to travel on your own with four children!

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  7. Wonderful shots of your family trip. Loved all those smiling faces!

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  8. You always make me smile with your down to earth and matter of fact approach to your children so very similar to how I was raising my three daughters. I use to travel a lot with them when they were small too as my husband was in the military. Looked like a great break away. How exciting to be going on a trip to Iceland they are certainly very lucky.

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  9. Sounds like a really great trip! It's not easy travelling with kids on your own. When my three were little I used to travel with them from US to England on my own. We always had a fun time and they were so excited by the plane travel (even though it was a long trip) that they were pretty well behaved. Lovely pictures!

    Have a great weekend

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  10. What an amazing trip you had and what great memories for you all, your mosaics are fabulous and I hope that you'll join in with my new weekly meme Mosaic Monday when we re launch August 1st.
    BTW Love the blue shutters on the house in Bern, I'm addicted to them now!
    bon weekend
    Maggie

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  11. What a wonderful holiday. Thank you for sharing your trip away. It looks amazing. The snippets of your mum's garden look glorious. Have a good weekend. Leah x

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  12. Glad you had a good time and that it mostly all went well. I hope that James' toe is better now poor fellow! I can see why the pool would be attractive to all, and to you to be able to sit and relax while keeping an eye on them all! Thank you for joining in Five On Friday, I hope you have a great weekend! xx

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  13. Christina, thanks for taking the time to share your life with us in your delightful way and in spite of your depression about the current political turmoil...I understand your sense of impotence about making a difference in it all. Some may think I am deluding myself, but I take comfort in believing that the Lord is Love and is in control no matter what circumstances I find myself in. I am asking the Lord to raise up wise and righteous leaders. Why God allows man to make choices that cause death and destruction I do not know, but the existence of evil is in stark contrast to the joy I find in growing to know the Lord and enjoying the beauty around me. I am cheering you on as you parent your children and I remember similar challenges I had with my children as you relate your challenges :) I am at an exciting stage with my adult children in that grievances they felt as children are being sorted out, now that we are all adults, enhancing the loving foundation we already had. Sending you love with hugs, Gracie xx

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  14. I just wanted to say that many, many people in the UK are deeply depressed about the way the politics have turned. Please don't feel rejected by us ...

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  15. what a wonderful trip x glad you got lots of warmth x hope Sam and Annie have a fantastic time in Iceland, what an amazing opportunity x

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  16. Wonderful post and pictures. Good for you travelling alone with four children. I am sure having the opportunities of enjoy swimming cooled off some of sibling rivalry. (remember it well with our five).
    Memories in the making of a holuday filled with fun times and family.

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  17. Wonderful post and pictures. Good for you travelling alone with four children. I am sure having the opportunities of enjoy swimming cooled off some of sibling rivalry. (remember it well with our five).
    Memories in the making of a holuday filled with fun times and family.

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  18. What a lovely post, and it does sound like a great trip despite sibling wars. I think I must have been lucky with my four boys that they got on really well ... most of the time!

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  19. Your trip sounds wonderful, well minus the siblings squabbles and all. I am depressed over here int eh US with another shooting that killed two black men and then five police officers, what a mess it is to live here with all this gun violence.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  20. Wonderful post and photos and looks like a great holiday and time spent with family (despite the sibling rivalry!) I share your anxiety about the current situation and wonder what the future holds.

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  21. What a wonderful post, honest but full of joy. I went to Bern when I was 15 on my own to visit a penpal and then stayed in Luasanne. Jo x

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  22. Oh I know well the trials and tribulations of travelling alone with children. Mamma lives in Norway so have been there got that badge. Also would have enjoyed eating outside. We usually eat must dinners outside from late March but not this year brrr!

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  23. Looks like you had a wonderful holidays! Love of your pretty mosaics and children smiling!
    We have a rainy season now. I miss that clear blue sky!
    Have a good new week,Christina.

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  24. Looks like you had a wonderful holidays! Love of your pretty mosaics and children smiling!
    We have a rainy season now. I miss that clear blue sky!
    Have a good new week,Christina.

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  25. I nodded several times reading about your tactics for searing/meals/activities. All sounds very familiar, and I have only two to deal with! Sounds like you made the most of your stay though, and how lovely to have a pool to sit beside and cool off in. X

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  26. Everything you say about travelling on your own with 4 resonates with me! (except I have only - only! - 3). The endless working out who can sit/eat/be driven/sleep near who else without WW3 erupting. All good fun. Thx for sharing your pictures
    Jx

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  27. Catching up with you on our own holiday in Italy. Enjoyed reading this - your way of writing about the reality of family life is always entertaining. Only one child with us but plenty of bickering and sulking as she clashes with me and especially her dad several times a day. Talking to people in Italy about Brexit makes me feel more ashamed than ever about the country's decision to leave Europe.. The waiter in the bar by our apartment, who works in England in winter, seems a bit touchy about it and was surprised when we said we voted to remain. Seemed to think that everyone in UK objected to immigration and young men like him coming over to work. How sad.

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  28. Oh Christina I am delighted to find your blog - I had to smile at your description of the negotiations with the children - I think my brother and I have never got past that stage!!!
    Your photos are great from your visits in Bern and Basel and Zurich - nice part of the world and they're so lucky having a summer they can count on - I'm seriously fed up trying to catch five minutes of sunshine between the hours of drizzle and downpour.
    Anyway, thanks for the sunshine in your photos and I'll look forward to following along.
    Fil @ Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

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  29. I've been saving this post to read when I had a quiet moment! Your comment about travelling with children made me smile – always a triumph of hope over experience, I think. It sounds as though you had a lovely time regardless of the niggles of parenting and your photos are super. Lovely to see your gorgeous children (mine often gurn for the camera too!). Hope the remainder of your summer holidays go well. Sam x

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx