Swiss Saturdays

Forgot this photo from our outing to Zurich yesterday – considering our ability to test the boundaries of acceptable conduct, we thought a photo in the waterfall in the train station was much more fun that in front of the waterfall. Once on the other side of the water wall, it was nice a dry!


Onto today, final Saturday before school begins so we hoped to have a day with a good combination of exploring and low-key time at home. The forecast suited that nicely as the morning was nice and the afternoon was rainy. We set out early to go find the castle and it did not disappoint. It was a fair bike ride there for Helena, she’s steadily building her stamina on the bike. She did great. Like all good castles, this was up on a hill. As castles go, this one is a fake. Think of the Downton Abbey palace being built on Hwy 22 north of Bragg Creek. This castle was built by someone with more money than he knew what to do with and for the sake of ensuring everyone around him knew about it. Evidently his wealth had to do with salt some +100 years ago.

It sneaks up on you as you bike around the corner and then whoa, there it isn’t! 

The first view as we rounded the corner on our bikes. The kids’ exclamation of “Whoa!!” was such fun.
For just 100 years old, up close it looked a bit rough around the edges. Needs a little tlc.
Every castle needs a vineyard tunnel leading to its garden door.
The castle was impressive but true to form for my nature loving kids, the goats across the road were much more fun. We spent a good long while feeding the goats. Another pang of guilt for this mom while I watch my children flock to animals in desperate search of buddies. 

All livestock fences here are electric. We rediscover this on a daily basis…zap!
Even Dad got in on the friend making.
This was the only flat bit in their pen, below was a very steep slope. Goats sure are agile.
Got chatty with the neighbours who told us to go right ahead and wander through the garden.
Manolo, practicing his German on the neighbour lady. She sent us away with a zucchini from her garden!

On the way home we stopped at the arena just outside town to watch the competition going on there. Helena is quite keen to take up riding which may be tricky in that the two closest stables are a polo stadium and a fancy schmancy dressage ring. We’re more the crooked old barn up on the hill kind of family…need to find that option for Helena to begin her riding career.

Most spectators arrived in porsches, we parked our bikes right next to them!
Dream on little girl, dream on.

We rounded out the afternoon of obscene wealth with some illegal fruit harvesting and garbage picking. It’s important to give kids a well rounded experience. Every time we leave the house we come upon the free stuff our neighbours have left outsid for the taking. We have had a good run with the free stuff but it is a dangerous, slippery slope. True story, today I caught myself wondering what might be inside a dumpster..for the love of God, what is becoming of me!? I didn’t, in fact, check the dumpster and in my defence, I had just scored some much needed items when we dropped off the recycling. There’s a take it or leave it section where we found an ironing board and hangers, both of which I was thrilled to find. Last night there were some tools and fantastic antique items a block away. The high price of things in Switzerland has been offset quite nicely by the fact that our neighbourhood has been so generous with the government-always. So, yes, I am effectively dumpster diving without ever having to reduce myself to climbing in a dumpster. Heaven help me if I ever lose sight of the difference…

The rainy Saturday afternoon allowed me to also spend some good time in the kitchen. The heightened level of anxiety of the kids (and me for that matter) makes me want to provide as much comfort food as I can. Tonight I made a delicious roast chicken with baby roasted potatoes. Manolo pointed out it was the authentic Swiss Chalet meal!

After supper I set about baking my first batch of cookies. I make good cookies. It’s an important skill in my mom-tool box in my opinion. My ability to do so here has been in question. Finding all necessary ingredients has taken me all +6 weeks to acquire. Baking soda and baking powder were particularly tricky to track down. And chocolate chips don’t seem to exist here. Why would they when the chocolate bar aisle is as long as the entire store. 

Advice to someone who is moving abroad… bring your own measuring tools. The conversion from cups & tablespoons to ml & grams is tricky. The set of measuring cups purchased here are completely different than at home. I’m not a fan of my baking requiring complicated math. Thank goodness for Google. 

All in all, they turned out pretty well. 

need to find the right chocolate; milk chocolate & cookies dont belong together in my opinion.
Some finessing with future batches for sure but it will at least ensure that my kids have love with them at school in the form of home baked cookies in their back packs. A fresh batch of apple sauce and an apple crisp round out the weekend’s baking achievements. The apples were liberated from a tree I pass on one of my favourite riding routes which may or may not have been on the other side of a fence. 

And it turns out I may be a horrible parent as today I made Diego an accomplice is stealing figs again. (Remember the frisbee in the yard incident which resulted in my very first tree ripe heavenly fig.) The back story on this is that the house next to our cousins is vacant and the yard is a neglected, overgrown jungle. In the midst of this jungle I happened to notice a fig tree. I asked Andy & Mirielle about the yard and the tragedy of the wasted figs. They felt it would be no big deal at all to pop into the yard to grab some figs. So this afternoon, D and I did. That yard, and abandoned house were the stuff of horror movies. In through a rickety fence, needing to carefully wade through the waist-high over growth, random statues and old bathtubs throughout the yard. Every now and then you can’t move because a blackberry bush has caught hold of your pant-leg. We finally made it up to the fig tree, right next to the house with the partially drawn shades and cobwebby windows, certain that someone is indeed inside, watching us. So, so creepy. And a tragedy as well in that so many of the figs were beyond ripe and wasted. We took what we could and left, beyond anxious to get the heck out of there. Not winning mom-of-the-year awards for this move, as on the eve of Diego’s final day of summer vacation, I set him up with material to fuel his nightmares for a lifetime. Guarantee there is a nightmare coming for that kid where the inside of his school is like the over grown yard and his desk is the abandoned bathtub. Shudder….

This is really creepy Mom!

Wish us luck for tomorrow, our final day before entering our new world. We need to channel as much peace and bravery as we can to pack into these kids for the days ahead.  Seeking to find “something solid enough to stand on or wings to fly”.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Elisabeth says:

    Those big schoolhouses do look intimidating, they are the ones from my childhood, but inside theiy are like any school so courage and good luck on Monday . I’ll be thinking of you and the kids, lots of love
    Nonna

    Like

  2. Patti says:

    Excited by scoring an iron? What is an iron? What’s happeningto you?!

    Like

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