Thursday, August 25

Central Switzerland Underwater

You may have heard on the news that torrential rain has caused severe floods and landslides in Switzerland and other parts of Europe. This photo, courtesy of another Flickr user (jr++), was taken in or near Bern, the Swiss capital.

All is fine in Geneva, but elsewhere in Switzerland at least four people have been killed and thousands evacuated. The main areas affected are in the central and north eastern parts of the country, with damage estimated to be around 500 million francs. These before and after photos from the BBC news website will give you an idea of the water level compared to what is usual for this time of year.

Monday, August 22

A trip to the Swiss Capital

Pru & Jess in main market st of Bern

Last weekend saw our first trip to Switzerland's lovely capital Bern, about a 1.5 hr drive from Geneva. We were joined by Pru, a former colleague of Jess's, who was visiting us for a few days during her travels around Europe.

Our drive was guided by Jess's new GPS unit, complete with turn-by-turn voice instructions. Although the voice got a bit annoying, it was very effective in directing us from A to B and finding points of interest.

Swiss National ParliamentBern is a very nice city, with the medieval Old Town recognised as a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site, and over 6kms of covered shopping arcades. The rainy weather and limited time prevented us from seeing many of the major attractions, but we'll be back! We achieved our main aim of doing a tour of the National Parliament (pictured). It's an impressive building and we were given an interesting overview of the Swiss political system.

Pumpkin StallAfter the tour we headed back to Geneva, via Neuchatel, where there is yet another lake. This seems to be the vegetable growing region of Switzerland and we were thrilled to come across a roadside stall selling pumpkins. These have been out of season since we arrived and impossible to buy. Peter made pumpkin soup today - yum!

Monday, August 15

Fireworks in Geneva

Originally uploaded by Athos99 Genève.

This weekend saw the conclusion of the annual Fêtes de Genève, which has been running since 4 August. The main event of the festival is the Saturday night fireworks that are blasted from the banks of Lake Geneva.

We started the evening off with a BBQ at our place with our US friends (Linda, Jason and 16 m.o. Hadley), who brought along their Finnish neighbours, who brought along their visiting Finnish cousins. They were all really nice people and we had a great time.

At about 9.30 we realised we'd better get a move on if we were to make it into Geneva to see the fireworks starting at 10pm. Our walk into town takes about 30 mins, so we got to the banks of the lake shortly after it started. It was very spectacular and went for ages (about an hour in total). Apparently they use 500 tonnes of fireworks! I'd hate to think how much is spent on them. You can buy tickets for 30-50 francs to sit in the best viewing spots, so I guess that helps offset the costs.

Next year I think we should follow our neighbour's example and watch them from one of the many boats out on the lake. Fantastique!

Thursday, August 11

Swiss Style

The longer we spend here, the more obvious it becomes. These Swiss really know how to live in style! The scenery is fantastic and there are so many hiking and picnic spots from which to enjoy it.

Last weekend we were invited up to Gryon with Bob & Zydre to attend a midsummer festival on Sunday. On Saturday we went on a short (2 hr) hike, followed by a lovely picnic lunch, including champagne! Later that afternoon we went to Solalex to check out some art exhibitions. This is where we came across the pictured water trough, cleverly doubling as an esky for the locals.

On Sunday it wasn't too summery, in fact snow was predicted at 3,000 m, so rather than heading up the mountain, we decided to head back down to Geneva where it was still nice and warm. Another great weekend!

Our New Cycling Website

You'll know from reading our earlier posts that we've set ourselves the task of cycling across Switzerland. Well... at least completing the 300km 'Route 1' from Geneva to Andermatt. We hope to go on to greater things, either attempting other Swiss paths, or venturing into France or Germany.

As this is a long-term project, we've created a separate site to keep track of our cycling achievements. Visit it at

You can also check out our Flickr Album for some of the beautiful scenery we've seen riding along the Rhone Valley.