Dear Baby,

Ok so your delay tactics have paid off. Your Mum has just finished sewing a beautiful blanket for you to laze about on.

But enough is enough. We’re ready.

See you soon.

Love Mum and Dad

It’s Autumn in Switzerland and that means that it’s Wild Game season!  The majority of local restaurants prepare a special seasonal menu showcasing wild game and in turn do their bit to keep wild pests under control. We were more than happy to head out to a fine local restaurant and help out!

The tasty collection of autumn treats pictured here is a typical dish found on the menu at this time of year. Wild venison, poached pear filled with a cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts fried in butter, roasted chestnuts and red cabbage. It all looked rather spectacular together on a plate and it was absolutely delicious too! Yum yum!

Unfortunately, summer is almost over here in Switzerland. With this in mind, we decided to make the most of a beautiful Sunday afternoon by walking to one of the many picnic spots close to home.

It’s very common here for families to meet up on a Sunday and head out on a leisurely hike. Often this doesn’t mean heading for the mountains but rather wandering through picturesque farm land on the outskirts of town.

Farmers are very accommodating of the public here. We’ve never seen signs such as “Private Property”, “Trespassers will be prosecuted” or “Keep out” which are so common back in New Zealand. Farms seem to be open to all with well maintained walking tracks and and picnic spots with seats, tables and even fire places for cooking lunch. If you happen to meet the farmers, they always greet you with a friendly “Gruezi” (hello).

We had fun making this little video which hopefully gives you some idea of a typical Swiss Sunday picnic. This spot is only 15 minutes walk from our central city apartment.

Schwingen, or Swiss Wrestling, is considered a national sport of Switzerland. Two men, who would not look out of place in the front row of a rugby scrum, enter a sand pit, lock arms and then attempt to overpower their opponent and toss them on their head. The fight is won by pinning the other’s back against the sand. It’s rather a bizarre sight for the uninitiated!

We joined a crowd of around 15,000 enthusiastic fans at a Schwingen competition at Schwaegalp, a spectacular spot under the steep face of Mt Santis in the heart of Appenzell. A day at the Schwingen is a full-on Swiss “cultural” experience. There were performances from local choirs, alphorn blowers and flag tossers. There were grilled Bratwurst (sausages) available and local beers and ciders to wash them down. There was even a speech from the leader of the far right-wing SVP party!

It was definitely a unique experience!

The 1st of August is Swiss National Day. It is a tradition for many Swiss to begin their national day by heading out to a local farm for Brunch. A few hundred farms around Switzerland participate, giving townies a taste of rural life and, hopefully, an appreciation of the work farmers do. We’re big fans of any tradition involving food so this year we rounded up a few friends and hiked to a small farm in the beautiful rolling hills of Appenzell.

A lovely brunch, which included bircher muesli, breads, meats and cheeses, was served inside a cleaned out cow shed. A bottomless pot of coffee was circulated with delicious creamy milk, which we assume was straight from the farm. There were tables outside the shed with a great view of the surrounding bright green meadows and the mountains in the background.

After eating all we could handle we slowly wandered back through the countryside, enjoyed the bright summers day and worked off a little of all that cheese!

It was another great Swiss experience.