A postcard from April
For the first time in a long time Switzerland had a wonderfully warm Easter. Blue skies, sunshine and temperatures into the mid-20s (mid-70s for you Fahrenheit people) dominated, and we were not even here to enjoy it! Instead, we were battling the ever-changing spring weather in Portugal where one minute the sun was shining and the next moment we were treated to a bucketing shower of rain that had us running for cover (trying not to slip on those beautiful but dangerous-when-wet cobbled stone roads). As the Swiss saying goes “April April macht was er will” (April April will do what it wants). But it wasn’t all sunshine in Switzerland either, because as we returned so did more typical Swiss April weather—with snow on the mountains, rain in the valleys and the temporary return to warmer jacekts. The Böögg, a burning snowman and Zürich’s answer to Groundhog Day, after all, didn’t predict a fabulous summer this year - so let’s hope it’s wrong and the sunshine returns, pronto.
Our visit to Portugal, a road trip covering destinations from Lisbon to Porto, was definitely the family highlight for April April. Over the course of 10 days we ate our body weight in Pasteis de Nata, the national custard tart, ate enough seafood to last us the entire year, and made it our mission (well, the adults at least!), to discover the unsung heroes on the port scene. Forget those big houses making you taste their entry-level port—head straight to the little cafés who stock smaller producers and ask for a tasting of an advanced standard. You will have to pay, but I promise you, it’s worth it. We left the café “Linie 25” in Porto with two bottles of smooth, sweet port, with only one bottle making it home!
Another highlight while in Portugal: on the day we battled the crowds in Sintra, our little Z turned 5. Surrounded by family, friends, ice cream, pasta, My Little Ponies and a singing Elsa Barbie that only a Godmother could get away with giving, our little ray of sunshine celebrated her latest journey around the sun. On our return home, she received another gift from her Godfather, a “Chindsgitasche" or kindergarten bag - a big day in the life of a Swiss kid - and when she woke up the next morning she looked quite ready for the date in August when she will make her big debut in her school career.
There’s plenty more to share from our adventures, not all alcohol related, so keep an eye on the blog this May for my reflections on Portugal, as well as some great tips you can use on your next trip.
April has also meant the beginning of my 100-day project. This is the second time I have taken part in this project, which involves choosing a task and simply turning up to do that task for 100 days in a row. There’s even a whole online community participating each year. This year to avoid overwhelming myself with a complicated project I decided to keep things simple and decided on the theme #100daysofwhatcatchesmyeye. This project is making me a little more present, a little slower, and a good deal more intentional with what I photograph.
Speaking of photography, I got my camera out this month and took headshots for SFT contributor Abbie, a payment for her writing for Swiss Family Travel. She was a natural in front of the camera and made me realise how much I enjoy taking lifestyle portraits. Did you know that I am a photographer as well as a writer? Not only am I paid in the traditional way, but I take photos in exchange for blog posts, so if you have a talent for writing and like my style get in touch! April also was the month that I added a new camera to my equipment, the FUJI XT3. I agonised over this decision for months and finally pressed that “buy now” button shortly before our Portugal trip. It will take some adjustment to feel as confident as i do with shooting with my Canon (which I’ve been shooting with for over 10 years), but I am excited to carry less weight around my neck when traveling - my main reason for this purchase. Yay for lighter, mirrorless cameras!
On the blog front, April was a little bit like the weather this month—a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We have your spring clothing choices covered with a guide to what to wear during the inconsistent weather that we call Swiss spring. Three camping articles from three different campers are also just in time to help kick start your summer camping inspiration, as well as a detailed list of my very favourite Swiss chocolates. Our visit to LUGA as well as a little stop motion tutorial rounded out our month.
So what do we have to look forward to in May? We have work trips, media trips, plenty of celebrations (6 birthdays, 1 Confirmation and Mothers Day) as well as some sporting events. The Boy will participate in the local cantonal Jugi Day (Sports day) and take his bicycle test. The blog will see plenty of posts about our time in Portugal as well as more campground reviews and an review of my upcoming visit to Thurgau.