Filed under: Travel | Tags: Cliff Walk, Europe, Glacier Walk, Glaciers, Snow, Suspension bridge, Switzerland, Titlis
Right! So on day 3 of our European adventure we traveled to Titlis, the (I think) 3rd highest peak in Switzerland. We were super excited as it would be our first chance to play in the snow.
After 3 cable car trips in total, roughly 45 mins of travel, we arrived at 10 000feet and were greeted by breathtaking beauty. The cable car ride took us through various clouds and at times visibility was zero. But the view and the experience was worth the trip. What surprised me most was the fact that it wasn’t nearly as cold as we had anticipated, despite the snow I was waltzing around in a pair of jeans, a short-sleeved shirt and a fleece top. To be honest it was a bit of a mind-boggling experience. When we started on the first cable car ride it was clearly in the middle of summer with over 30 degrees, yet there we were 45 minutes later standing on a mountain top with snow as far as the eye could see.
After playing around in the snow for a bit and taking about a gazillion pictures we ventured over to the Cliff Walk…the highest suspension bridge in Europe. We had been talking about this particular experience for days. I am beyond scared of heights but, as I explained it to everyone afterwards, I think my fear of missing out on a once in a lifetime experience is bigger than my fear of heights and I was determined to cross that bridge. As it turns out…i was the only one out of the four of us brave enough. The boys took all of 4 steps, took a picture and got off the bridge as fast as they could as soon as it started swaying. The other girl wouldn’t even try. So there I was, all alone with my fear but determined to conquer, and conquer I did. I walked all the way to the other side without hysterically bursting into tears and proudly got another single traveler to take pictures of me, I of course returned the favour. On my return journey I even helped a girl who was stuck in the middle of the bridge sobbing hysterically. I felt so sorry for her because I understood exactly how she felt, and everyone was just walking past her and ignoring her. During our time on Titlis the clouds would, from time to time, completely cover the mountain and for a few seconds you wouldn’t be able to see anything. This happened while we were on the bridge too and I’m not sure if not being able to see how high we were made it better or worse. But I was on a super high for the rest of the day. What an incredible experience!
After I returned and found my friends, who patiently waited around playing in the snow while I was being brave, we headed on over to the glacier to do the glacier walk. Yep, I got to walk inside an actual glacier. It’s weird experience, knowing that you’re walking inside ice that is thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years old….being able to touch history…I was, and still am, in awe.
Our antics in the snow were followed by a lovely meal on top of Titlis. And of course we had to try out another of their local brews:) Here are some of the pics we took from our table out the windows that pretty much form the entire wall of the restaurant…i suspect it may have been the meal with the most spectacular view I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Filed under: Travel | Tags: Chapel Bridge, Lucerne, Matterhorn, Swiss pass, Switzerland, The Brown Cow, Zermatt
On Tuesday 13 August I woke up, no longer a weary traveler, but with the realisation that I WAS IN SWITZERLAND! You are welcome to assume that waking up and hearing the cow bells softly chiming and running outside onto the balcony and watching the green GREEN grass and smelling the fresh air brought on a bit of a shriek. SWITZERLAND!
We had spent the weeks before our departure as well as the night before, setting out a “more or less” plan i.e. there were certain things we really wanted to see and which days would suit those things best. So on Day 2 we were heading out to Zermatt, the little town where the Matterhorn, fondly known as chocolate mountain, is located. Now if you’ve ever had a Toblerone chocolate you would have spotted the picture of the mountain on it…that, my lovelies, is the Matterhorn.
We set off on quite a long journey. First we travelled back towards Lucerne, where we missed our train (by seconds) and had to waste 45 minutes. It was well worth it though as we got to see the historic Chapel Bridge. it is the oldest wooden bridge in Switzerland and one of the oldest in Europe. There are original artworks on the bridge depicting historic events and walking across it is really quite the experience. Not to mention the beautiful bright flowers EVERYWHERE. A section of the bridge had burned down somewhere in the 90′s and had to be rebuilt, but they attempted to make it as close to the original parts that were left as possible.
From Lucerne we took several more trains until we finally arrived in Zermatt. Along the way we got our first glimpse at glacier water. It’s amazing how different it looks from the crisp, clear water at the bottom of the mountains. The glacier water is slightly grey and appears milky due to all the minerals. We also spotted our first glacier. Guys I can not begin to describe that feeling. It looks like water rushing down the mountain, only it is stopped in time. The difference between the glaciers and the snow is quite obvious, but unfortunately my pics aren’t of great quality as they were taken from a rather fast-moving train:)
By the time we reached Zermatt we were absolutely starving. We had been busy all day and it was already way past lunch time so we stopped at The Brown Cow, where we had our first taste of the local brew and feasted on the Zermatter burger. The one thing we did notice is that the Swiss make incredible fries. It is probably the best I’ve ever had in my life. Odd, but true.
After our rather late (understatement) lunch we walked out of the town and towards the foot of the mountain where we tried our very best to pose with this rather majestic lady. But she was very shy and the tip kept hiding in the clouds. We finally managed to get a 20 second glimpse of the mountain in its entirety and it was AMAZING.
After touristing around for a while we finally started the long journey home. Along the way i took this beaut…which will be part of the iPhoneography exhibition on Thursday (nudge nudge wink wink).
We traveled somewhere in the region of 13 hours in total on Tuesday and only reached home at around midnight. Tired but happy:) And excited, because tomorrow will bring Titlis and the skipark and walking inside a glacier and playing in the snow.
As a side note. If you are traveling to Switzerland and you plan on exploring the whole country and not just the city you’re staying in, the Swiss pass is definitely the way to go. I made up the cost of my 8 day pass by the 3rd day of traveling. All public transport is free and you get a 50% discount at many of the tourist attractions and cable cars if you have it. Definitely worth every cent:)
Filed under: Life, Travel | Tags: Airport, Emmetten, Fly, Frankfurt, green, holiday, Sunset, Travel, Zurich
I’ve been exceptionally bad at blogging lately. The fact that i returned home from my holiday 7 weeks ago and still haven’t blogged about it is staring me in the face….hating me. Also..the fact that I just had to realise it was that long ago makes me sad. I wish I could go back and remain in a state of permanent relaxed adventuring…wouldn’t it be awesome?
BUT I’ve finally managed to navigate my way through my over 1 700 pictures and narrowed them down to just a few. Even so the holiday was action packed and I’ve decided to break the trip down into 1 and 2 day posts in order to make it easier to read:) So here we go…Day 1:)
As a lot of you know my cousin’s wedding was the day before I was due to depart on my holiday, and due to a lot of work and a lot of wedding arrangements I wasn’t even halfway packed by the morning of the 11th, the day I was due to leave and I had a house full of guests. The parentals and my aunt were awesome by making me breakfast, helping to tidy the house and reminding me of small things I would need to remember to pack. And shortly after lunchtime we were on our way to the airport, where i spent the rest of the afternoon lounging around reading and drinking the free wine while feeling super excited. It should be noted that this is not day 1, this was Day 0:P
I landed in Frankfurt on the morning of the 12th (super tired as my superpowers include the ability to NOT be able to sleep on a plane and we had spectacular turbulence for the entire 10 hour flight) where i tried out my broken German on the passport control dude. He pretended to be impressed and waved me through without any issues. I proceeded to my departure gate for my flight to Zürich and waited. The time to board arrived and there was no sign of the gate being opened. I asked around, checked the boards and bugged a number of airport staff, but no one could tell me what happened to my flight. 15minutes before my flight was due to depart they finally figured out that my newly assigned gate was 2km down….I nearly died. Metal ankle or not, I ran the 2km and was rushed through an already closed door onto my connecting flight. The fault was entirely that of the airline, to which they admitted and my fellow passengers were only mildly annoyed. Crisis only narrowly averted.
I finally arrived in Zürich and had to wait 2 hours for my various traveling companions to arrive from South Africa and Ireland. The wait was made more bearable by a bucketload of Starbucks. From there we took a bajillion trains and buses (missing 1 or 2) until we finally arrived at our new home in Emmetten. The one thing that completely astounded me was how incredibly CLEAN everything was. The train and bus stations were all sparkly and non-foul smelling. Not to mention how beautiful and clean the entire country was. Switzerland had managed to steal my heart within minutes.
After a brisk 1km walk from the train station to our apartment with our suitcases in tow, we refreshed our weary bones with a much-needed shower and headed out in search of dinner and to have a good look around the little town we would be calling home for the next week. Here are some snapshots of the town…..and guys…it was waaaaay past 8pm, but we were convinced it was like 4pm latest. The looong summer days really messed with our heads.
We wined and dined ourselves at the local hotel where NO ONE spoke a word of english. Let’s just say it was a rather entertaining affair with our bit of broken german and the help of google translate in order to figure out the menu and order. And then it was time for bed, as tomorrow we would be heading off to Zermatt, the home of chocolate mountain, more commonly known as the Matterhorn. (To be continued)
I can’t take credit for this little gem…it comes from the remake of FAME. While the new version of the movie wasn’t nearly as impressive and lasting in my memory as the original, this little monologue connected with something deep within me.
Filed under: Celebrations, Family, Life, Love | Tags: Bridesmaid, Cousin, Love, Maid of Honour, The Replacements, Wedding
So I realise it’s been more than a month since the wedding, but with being on holiday and then trying to get back into routine and work and everything else, I haven’t really had a chance to write about it.
So, on 10 August 2013, my cousin (and for all emotional reasons one of my 3 younger sisters) got married. The engagement and all the planning had been a long process, but the day had finally arrived and we were all terribly excited:) I was Maid of Honor and had worked my butt of with various things including organizing the dresses, the bridal shower, to name but a few. But on this spectacular day my main objective was to make sure i had a solution in my magical suitcase for any problem that might rear its ugly head (this included everything from extra bras for the girls, to glue, to needle and thread, to a knife, to a first aid kit, to champagne and food for the bridal party and the make up artist…amongst other things) and most importantly to keep the bride calm.
My dearest cuz, you made the last part pretty hard. Not because you were super stressed or anything, but because you were so excited that keeping you still long enough to let the hair dresser and make up artist do their magic became nearly impossible. You had a few severely emotional moments, a few moments where the stresses of the day got hold of you, but mostly you were just excited. Helping you to get dressed along with your mother while the photographer did her thing left me with a tear in the eye….the day was finally here and you looked so incredibly beautiful.
The ceremony was very special and very “you” and we all had a giggle as you, like the tomboy you are, did a bit of an airpunch when your groom took hold of you and gave you a passionate kiss, claiming you as his wife:) The tables were beautiful and we all had an amazing time catching up with family and friends alike. And then your dear husband caught me totally off guard when, after finishing his entire speech and all the thank yous, he asked me to stand and gave me my very own, long thank you speech. I was reduced to tears for the second time that day. It wasn’t necessary, your smile and the happiness that oozed from your very being was thanks enough to be honest, but it was mightily appreciated. And even though some things had cause me lots of frustration and work I would do it again in a heartbeat:)
Love you long time my cuzzy:) xxxxx
P.S. I’m adding some of the pictures taken with my camera and my phone on the day. There weren’t a lot of the bridal couple, but if my cousin lets me i’ll post some of the photographers pics as soon as we have them:)
I hate facials. And yes, I heard your audible intake of breath and I can totally see the horrified look on your face…but give me a second to explain.
Like a lot of other things connected to my health and my body, my skin is weird. As a child i went to more dermatologists and doctors than I care to remember. Not so much because of bad skin, although like the bulk of teenagers I had a few years of really bad skin, which I’m epically grateful I outgrew. I still don’t have beautiful skin, but it’s calmed down to just well, normal skin, and that I can deal with. The reason I had to see so many of them is because of odd skin conditions. I’m prone to heat rashes (part of the reason I don’t particularly like summer or heat, I’m literally allergic to it), all kinds of strange forms of eczema, rashes and my skin as allergic to most products.
Growing up I remember a particularly bad tiny little “thing” that formed on my right calf. It covered an area slightly larger than the size of a R5 coin, which nobody understood because rashes spread…so this was obviously not a rash. Itched like hell and eventually all the little dots joined and formed this awkward and ugly sore that just wouldn’t go away. I think i was prescribed a million different salves and tablets and saw more doctors and specialists than I want to remember, but nothing helped. The thing (as i had started calling it) simply got uglier and angrier by the day. They cut samples to send away for testing and still, nobody was able to figure out exactly what it was. Then one day a little old lady that was like my second grandmother in the little town I grew up in gave me a tub of some mystery concoction that a pharmacist in another little town mixed. I was told to apply it a few times a day and see what happens. I was 12 years old and desperate, so completely willing to try ANYTHING. Within days the “thing” was gone, and my only reminder is the faint scar I still have. This is partly the reason why I hate doctors and dermatologists so much.
As I got older my skin allergies got worse. There was a point when i was at varsity and shortly after I started working where I could ONLY use unscented white soap to wash and original aqueous cream. EVERYTHING else caused my skin to become red and sore and sometimes even terrible breakouts. It seems to have calmed down slightly since then, but my choice of products is still limited to…well…dermalogica really. It is an expensive range, but the only “intended for skin” products that I can safely use without any side effects. I love dermalogica. I can use one or two selected products from Kiehl’s and Annique, but not the whole range.
I don’t wear base…like ever. Because my skin can’t tolerate it. I am however currently on a rather panicked search for a base that I’ll be able to wear for a full day without having to suffer the fallout because my cousin is getting married on 10 August and I’m the Maid of Honour. I’ve tried a few and every single time I’ve had to deal with the itchiness, the redness and a bit of breakout. Not ideal, since I’ll be leaving for my holiday the next day and I refuse to pitch up in Switzerland with a spotted face.
So here’s my problem with facials. I love them. They are relaxing and my skin usually feels great straight after. I love being pampered and feeling like I’m being beautified. The problem with facials is that even the most basic ones, using only products I KNOW I’m not allergic to and only a few products at that still leaves my skin feeling over stimulated. Over stimulation means that the next few days is a pain in my ass with little spots everywhere. And extractions of even the tiniest under the skin little thing, will cause inflammation and infection in that area, no matter how much disinfectant or what not they, and afterwards I, apply. Which means that instead of being a good thing and my skin looking better, my skin looks worse than on even my normal bad days and it looks particularly weird because the skin is otherwise radiant because of the treatment. Ridiculous right?
So yes, as much as I love the concept of a facial, I hate them. And this makes me sad.
It seems all I ever do these days is play catchup. I’ve been particularly bad at posting on my little blog this year (you know, life and work and whatever else keeps us busy) and then I end up doing little catchup posts to bring everyone back in the loop of things. This post is really no different. It’s a roundup of the last couple of weeks (yep, it’s been that long since i last posted O_o)
So I’ve been doggy sitting for the parentals this week as they went on a little road trip, but they’re on their way back as we speak and will be here to spend my birthday weekend with me. Awesome, especially since they missed the big Three Oh last year due to the birth of their first grandchild:)
I’ve also recently learned that no matter how hard I try I don’t understand people or the choices they make even though they know and admit to knowing that it’s the wrong one. It makes no sense to me. I’m very much a black and white kind of person…grey areas are a relatively foreign concept to me and I get confused when people willfully make decisions they know is a disaster. I’ve witnessed this with friends and work and family in the last couple of weeks…it’s a tough one, because it’s not exactly generally considered OK for me to grab a hold of them and shake them, so I leave them to go on their merry way and to learn their own life lessons…I’m still confused though.
Life has been fairly quiet really…work has been busy, but not as hectic as it was earlier in the year and I’ve been keeping myself busy with Kitchen tea arrangements, friends, wine tastings and *twinkle eyes* holiday planning. This is the one piece of news i have that is absolutely fantastic. After working my butt off for over 18 months without a single break I will finally be taking a holiday:) The last year and a half has been hectic and I haven’t had any time off/away. No little weekends away, hell, rarely a weekend that wasn’t spent working to begin with. I worked all through last december and took the total of new year’s day and Christmas day off the entire time. It was time for some me time. So in August I’ll be jetting off to Europe for a fun-filled two weeks. I can’t wait! And don’t worry, you guys will be getting like a million pics on the blog to look at:)
So, consider yourself “in the loop”.
P.S. I’ve attached some pretty for you…a beautiful sunset and a pic of my early birthday flowers;)