Saturday, December 20, 2014

Aubonne Christmas Lights

We went for an evening stroll around our village to see the Christmas lights lining the streets and adorning the houses. It's fun to be back in a place with a winter Christmas!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vineyard Lunch Walk

We are making the most of the glorious Autumn weather in Aubonne and we celebrated the start of November with a picnic among the vines. Daniel led us on one of his training routes which leads to our neighbouring villages of Bougy-Villars and Fechy. It was a warm, peaceful walk and a great way to enjoy lunch!

Exiting the village through the old village gate

Strolling down a country lane alongside the vines

Impressed by the "designer sheds" in the vineyards

Enjoying the sunshine

A perfect spot for lunch!

Beautiful views

And re-entering the village through the same gate

Monday, October 20, 2014


The Arboretum is situated in the Aubonne Valley and is a bit like a botanical garden. It cultivates thousands of trees for scientific research and species protection and provides a beautiful setting for walks and picnics. We had such beautiful Autumn weather over the weekend and on Sunday we went for a lovely walk through the farms and vineyards to the Arboretum.

The grapes have been picked and the vineyards are turning yellow

The ubiquitous cows with their cowbells. These provide a
background ding-a-ling-a-ling meoldy for all country walks!

Our new life in a snapshot: the Alps and Lake Geneva in the
background, Aubonne Tower and village in the middle, and
forests,  vineyards and cows in the foreground.

A country lane running alongside a farm. Many of the cows have
moved to their winter fields, so these fields are empty now.

A leaf-lined path through the forest

The back entrance to the Arboretum over the Aubonne River

A view of the other side of the river

A trail inside the Arboretum

The centre of the Arboretum with beautiful Autumn colours

The walk home with Mont Blanc in the background

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Swiss Fondue

Our friend Jane invited us round to her house for our first Swiss Fondue! The first thing to accept is that calories absolutely must not be counted. The ingredients call for around 200g of cheese per person, and when you add the wine, bread and meat, well, it all adds up to an amazing meal!

Our cheese was Alpina from Bulle, a small municipality in the district of Gruyère. We rubbed garlic around the inside of the pot, added the cheese and a generous dollop of wine, and waited for it to melt into gooey sumptuous cheesy goodness. Our meal was accompanied by a delicious local wine from Fechy and freshly baked bread.

The ingredients

Add the cheese

Give it a good stir

Ready to go!

Fondue forks :)

Enjoying our first fondue

Empty plates and very full tummies

Monday, September 29, 2014

Grape picking

Today we went grape-picking at one of the many local vineyards in Aubonne. It was another example of the honesty system which we see everywhere in Switzerland. Previously we've bought apples from a neighbour in Etoy which were kept in a fridge outside his house with an honesty box next to it.

STEP 1: Choose your row of vines

STEP 2: Select a juicy bunch of grapes

STEP 3: Cut the grapes with the scissors provided and place them into the bag provided

STEP 4: Weigh your grapes at the weighing station

STEP 5: Check the amount that you owe

STEP 6: Place your money into the honesty box

STEP 7: Enjoy! (Both the grapes and the awesomeness of Switzerland)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Les Diablerets

Daniel wanted to do some specific race training in the mountains so we caught the train to Les Diablerets. We changed train at Aigle onto a tiny two-carriage train which chugged its way through the vineyards and forests and up the mountain. It was a spectacularly scenic train route and we saw a chamois on the way!

Les Diablerets is very similar to the villages in the Saas Valley but it is French-speaking. Although it is busier in winter, there were a fair number of people out and about running, biking and even paragliding. And we got to hear another alphorn performance which was fun :)

Daniel ran for 55km in the mountains completing 3,500m of altitude gain. It was a great experience for him to train on the trails and live the dream of running in the Swiss Alps.

Paragliding in the Swiss Alps

The charming village of Les Diablerets

A pretty bridge

Daniel coming in to the finishing straight looking strong after 55km

An alphorn band!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fechy Wine Festival

Today we went to our neighbouring village of Fechy to enjoy the pre-harvest wine festival. We paid 10 francs to enter and received a wine glass and a little pouch to wear around our necks to keep the wine glass in. All the ‘caves’ (cellars) set up stalls with 5-10 different wines and we simply circled the village going from stall to stall sampling local wines. It was heaven!

There were also food stalls and bands, and we were treated to our first alphorn performance complete with flag throwing!

Us with our wine glasses and pouches

Stalls set up around the village

An alphorn band

Flag throwing

Saas Valley

I accompanied the MYP 1 class from my school on their camp to the Saas Valley. This was my first foray into the German speaking part of Switzerland and it felt like another country! We stayed in Saasgrund, a picturesque village of wooden Swiss chalets lined with flower-filled window boxes. The Alps dominate the small village and there are ski lifts leading up the mountains straight from the town itself. All the villages in the Saas Valley have their busy season during the winter as they are predominantly ski villages.

We spent our days learning about the hydro-electric scheme at the Mattmark Dam and about the Fee Glacier in Saasfee, the village at the end of the Saas Valley. We caught two cable cars up to 3,500m which is at the base of the glacier, and I walked a little way along the glacier itself which was really cool!

The Mattmark Dam wall

A glacier and mountain stream trickling down near the Mattmark Dam

Beautiful Alpine woods

A marmot!

The impressive 5km-long Feegletscher (Fee Glacier)

A glacial river with waterwheel

People walking on the glacier

Me walking on the glacier!

The enchanting village of Saasfee