A Postcard from July
Life has turned down a gear and July has been about sleep-ins, late bedtimes and lots of ice cream. We are four weeks into the school holidays, and I don't think any of us can yet imagine setting alarm clocks anytime soon.
After the finishing of school in early July, The Teen headed off on camp with Blauring, a local youth group. Twenty-two girls aged 7 to 16 with this year's theme Vikings, spent six nights taking over a small village in the Bernese Oberland. They went on hikes, had survival days where they were responsible for cooking their lunch and enjoyed evenings singing songs around the campfire.
Just an hour after she arrived home from camp, we whisked her and her dirty clothes to Lugano where we began our family summer holiday. We spent five days eating our way through Lugano with some hiking, swimming and boat trips mixed in. The meals in Lugano are always a highlight for me, and we added two fabulous restaurants to our ever-growing Lugano favourites.
Pizza, Polenta, Osso Bucco and lobster spaghetti makes for a delighted Kristin. The kids ate more ice cream than they could ever dream of, passionfruit for the girls, lemon for the boy. I experimented with new flavours, some better than others — my favourite of the bunch, orange and rosemary.
Five Days later, we packed up the car happy not to be heading home but on to the alps to finish off our summer holidays. Four hours after leaving Lugano, we were unpacking our car and settling into a Eurocamp cabin on the Lauterbrunnen campground Jungfrau. I had first visited this campground 18 years ago as a young Au Pair, visiting friends from Australia who were backpacking around Europe. It was fun to come back as a grownup with my husband and three kids, observing the current Aussie backpackers who seemed to be always on a quest for a WIFI code.
The hardest part of our seven days in the Bernese Oberland was to decide which hiking path we would try each day. We hiked to lakes, along panoramic trails and on a treasure hunt. Sometimes with hordes of other tourists but mostly without. We cooled down by visiting ten waterfalls hidden inside the mountainside inside and splashing into the Lauterbrunnen pool with its alpine views. Talking of alpine views, every playground we found along our hikes had one.
We spent our evenings around our outdoor table where we played Mahjong till the sunset. Even little Z learned the names of each Mahjong tile. With Little Z we played a lot of Tschau Sepp - the card game Swiss kids learn before the traditional Jassen. The kids would pop at 5.30pm each day to the entertainment room for a movie so we could relax with a Beer or a Most.
I took up journaling on our trip, the old school way with a notebook and pen. It was a way to document our holiday, but also a way to deal with the boredom of having no screens ( I deleted all social media). Journaling has turned into a lovely pre-bedtime routine that I have continued back home. I wish I had journaled on my last visit to Lauterbrunnen; it would have been interesting to compare.
But seven days came quickly to an end, and before we knew it, it was time to pack up the car and head back home. Not before stopping one more time at the waterfalls to fill up our water bottles with icy cold spring water from the water fountain.
On our way home we stopped in a very very hot Olten for lunch and to check out a VW California at a nearby car dealership. I think the salesman either didn't want to sell us a car or was struggling with the heat himself. The search for a van continues - watch this space.
We came back home at the end of a heatwave that we had avoided up in the mountains. 38 C is just too hot for Switzerland who doesn't know the joys of air conditioning. Thankfully a refreshing change rolled in and since the temperatures have not been back over 30.
Before July ended, we went to a sports festival in Zug, where The Boy zip lined across the lake and the kids finally got to on the Pedalos. I did a massive clean up of the kitchen which took a good two days, and I did some baking ready for the Swiss National Day, which was 1st August. More about that in my postcard to August in early September.
So it's now August, and it's going to be a big one. Not only is Little Z beginning Kindergarten mid-month, but the long-awaited Schwing- and Alper Festival is also coming to Zug. A once in a lifetime event for a little city like Zug, with more than 350,000 people expected. Schwingen is Swiss Wrestling, and I will be writing a blog post or two all about the sport and when you can expect from the festival. Also on the blog this month: More from our trip to Lugano and Lauterbrunnen, including a campground review and updating my favourite restaurants in Lugano post.
I hope your July was a good one and August started well too.