Monday, February 14, 2011

Life in Switzerland: 2 weeks in...

2 weeks down; 6 to go - not that I'm counting or anything :P We've now been in Switzerland for nearly 2 weeks and it's been... interesting so far. I don't know if it's the hormones speaking, but I have to say - I'm homesick for Holland. I miss our lovely (spacious) apartment, my bike, our town, Albert Heijn and despite the miserable grey, rainy weather that is so typical in Flatland at this time of year, I just really miss the place in general. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves while here, it is improving now that I'm getting into a routine and finding my bearings.

We are living high up on the side of a mountain overlooking the tiny town of Martigny. The views are spectacular and it's a picture perfect location but quite isolated up here - there are no shops, no people really, just the birds, snow covered alps, cows, vineyards & nature... It's been very relaxing but it has made me crave a busy city - yes, Martigny makes Nijmegen resemble a hectic, bustling metropolis. Luckily we have friends living only 20mins down the highway so that is a HUGE help!

When I say we are living on the side of a mountain, here's what I mean - these are some snaps of the views from our front door...

Despite the fact that I've decided that for me, Switzerland is best as a holiday destination (I still love the country, I really do - it's just quite a shock to the system after living in Holland for nearly a year), I am loving a few things. The sun - oh my, it is SO strange to see the sun shine every single day! It makes it feel less cold and miserable even though temps up here on the mountainside can get rather chilly, the sun just brightens things up. I'm also loving the mountains - obviously so different to Flatland.. :P Who knows - maybe after 2 months I might really enjoy living here???? We'll see.

Mitch and I decided that we are going to make the most of our time here and travel somewhere new every weekend. Groceries here are REALLY expensive (ie chicken is approx $40 AUD / kg) and the choice isn't fantastic - so on our first Saturday here we took a little roadtrip into neighbouring France so I could practice my CARREFOUR warcry and stock up on some essentials at a more normal price. It was a really beautiful drive along the French side of Lake Geneva, through the pretty town of Evian-les-bains (I really want to go back there - it looked so nice!) and lots of random little villages situated along the lake with the alps in the background. This was definitely the most scenic Carrefour we've been to yet - alps on one side, lake on the other and it had a great selection - we came home with a boot full of meat which we had to attempt to squish into our teeny freezer!

On the Sunday we had a nice picnic in the sun with our Aussie friends. It was such a gorgeous, sunny day and was topped off perfectly with a visit to Lavey-les-Bains. I had heard about this place from our friends and it well and truly exceeded my expectations. You can't really take cameras in (it's a weird set up) so I don't have any photos but the website shows a little bit of it... It was SO relaxing - although it felt a little weird to be leaving the house with a bikini and a ski jacket, it truly felt like summer as we were swimming in this gorgeous outdoor pool (with its whirlpool, massage jets etc) in the midst of snow covered alps. With saunas, a hamman (all obviously no good to me at the moment), colour therapy, a UV room and deck chairs in heated glass rooms with views of the mountains, it was worth every penny. I can't wait to go back again!!!!

Hmmm... I wonder where we'll go on our next few Swiss weekend adventures???

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