Sunday, 25 February 2018

Snowshoe hike in Amden

After all I did get a little bit of winter magic right before the winter holidays are over. Yesterday I went to the mountains together with my brother, his girlfriend and my dad.

We started out in foggy and cold Zürich but once we got closer to the alps, we could see bits of blue peeking through the grey. The further up we got, the better the view was and once we had reached our starting point in Arvenbühl above Amden we were out in the most glorious sunshine and deep blue sky. Fortunatly it didn't take long to rent a pair of snowshoes and then we were ready to go.

The path started easy enough but after only a few minutes we'd reached a little brook that we crossed and from there on it was only uphill. Like really steep uphill and of course I made my usual mistake: I started too fast which made my lungs burn. Luckily we weren't in any kind of a rush so we just dialed down the tempo and it got a bit easier. Taking lots of photos helped because of the many baby stops.

After about 1.5 hours we reached the highest part of our hike which was also the most beautiful. Stunning views in two directions, deep soft snow everywhere and the trees all covered with cristalized ice. It didn't even feel very cold because of all the heat we'd generated while walking up.

We took more photos and then we slowly made our way back down again. In the end we were hiking for about 3.5 hours including lots of breaks and we all felt our legs and arms in the best way possible.

To regain a bit of strength we went for prune pie and coffee Arvenbühl (coffee spiked with spirit and whipped cream). The whole excursion took only a few hours but it was such an amazing day to spend outside with my family.

Thursday, 22 February 2018


For the first time in six years we didn't go skiing during our winter holidays. A year ago, we had planned to go to Tschiertschen again this year but alas, it wasn't meant to be. For a while I considered going to another location for a skiing holiday, but neither Antonia nor Yannick seemed very keen on snow and mountains and spending time on the slopes is far too expensive to do it half assed.

Then, while we were sitting in the cable car up to the Flumserberg right after christmas, we started dreaming about other places we could go instead and very soon London was at the top of Antonia's list and she convinced me to give it another try. We checked the flights and found three seats on an easy jet flight in the middle of February.

We stayed in a small appartement next to Gloucester Street. The location was perfect, very close to the tube and there were lots of restaurants and a mall in walking distance. The accomodation was ok, there was a living room at street level with a kitchen nook and then there were two bedrooms and bath below street level. There are a lot of this below stairs appartments in most of the big London houses, I guess, they used to be for servants. Frankly I was a bit scared in our bedrooms. I could hear so much noise from the street and from right outside our window in the middle of the night and it felt as if the wall was far too flimsy to keep anybody from entering. Nothing happened though, I guess it was just my overactive imagination ;-)

We were lucky with the weather. Apart from a bit of rain on the day we arrived there was a lot of sunshine and while it was definitely still winter, it felt a tiny bit like spring as soon as we were out in the open. We spent a lot of time outside so it was a very welcome surprise to be dry most of the time. Among our highlights of the three and a half days we stayed in London were:
  • a long, wet walk along the Themse 
  • a visit to Tate Modern Museum and especially the view from the eleventh floor

  •  a tour with the river bus to Greenwich
  • the view from the Shard at sunset
  • a day at the Harry Potter Museum 

  • a sunny walk across Hyde Park

  • watching Black Panther at a London cinema
  • breakfast, lunch and dinner at different coffee shops and pubs

Definitely a lot of typical touristy stuff ;-)

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked London. I've been there a few times and it always felt too big and busy and slightly scary, but not this time.

I really enjoyed spending time with Antonia, she is an excellent travel compagnion and I can't wait to go to Cananda with her and I was rather sad that Yannick and I didn't manage to find a good connection very often. I think we both wanted to get along, we just couldn't figure out how to.