The Danish, the Toy and the Furry… Autumn Hols 2017…

It has been almost 3 weeks since we went back to school for the winter term. As is my habit, i don’t get round to blogging about the hols till well after.

i’m going to try out a different format this time. i’m going to do all the “talking” and then hit you with a whole gallery of pictures.

So we spent a few days in Copenhagen because Walter had to go there for work and he extended after work was concluded so we could make a weekend of it.

i really like Copenhagen and as i have been telling people since my return, it is definitely a city i could see myself living in. i love how everyone cycles everywhere and the bike lanes are almost as big as the road for cars. The pedestrian pavement is raised above the bike lane and the bike lane is raised above the motor lane which makes for quite a safe ride. We were told that in winter, it is the bike lane which gets cleared of snow first because it is the most used mode of transport. The metro and trains are also good, easy to navigate and clean and people are all orderly about it.

The architecture of the city is lovely. There is a good mix of modern and old but not clashing. We liked the Meatpacking District which was warehouses for meat packing (as the name suggests) and is now the trendy dining district. We ate at War Pigs which served pork and only pork. The concept was interesting; its sort of school canteen meets pub meets casual dining.

The night view of the city from across the waters is lovely! It really made me miss the ocean so much more because Switzerland is a land-locked country and while it has beautiful lakes, when one has grown up on an island, the ocean is just something else altogether.

We got to see even more of the lovely ocean when we headed to Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet), which is supposed to be one of the largest aquariums in northern Europe. It had an interesting layout, like the arms of an octopus spinning outwards and the building looks amazing from the outside; it’s like a big wave rising out of the sea. We really enjoyed the interesting blue wave-like sculpture benches we encountered along the walk from the train station to the aquarium. Watching the feeding show which was presented in both Danish and English was interesting.

Then we did our dues by visiting the “must-see” sculpture of the Little Mermaid (story by Hans C. Andersen). There was just tons of people surrounding her, all trying to get a selfie with this bronze mermaid. It is a nice sculpture but it’s not something that amazing. However, i do love the story behind how and why the sculpture was created. Read it for yourself in the picture i took of the plaque next to her. There is also a genetically modified mermaid but we didn’t go see that one.

Of course, being by the ocean, we had our fill of lovely yummy seafood! Oh, how i miss good seafood. Another thing we did by the waters was to visit Nyhavn (New Habour) on our Segway Tour. It was T’s idea to do the tour and it was a good choice. We did the short tour because the long tour had included a couple of places we had already seen the day before. We had a very nice guide who spoke great English and the tour was very interesting with little bite-sized stories about the city. We did it in a slight drizzle and even that didn’t put us off. If you have children who are 12 and above, i highly recommend doing this tour. Learning to ride a Segway is easy and fun as well. But be warned that if you are not used to standing in one position for more than 15 minutes at a time, it can get quite tiring so wear very comfortable shoes.

Another super place to visit with kids is the Experimentarium. We visited this place in the afternoon but so wished we had given it a whole day. For my Singaporean friends, it’s like the Science Center but way better and more interesting. For my Swiss friends, it’s like Technorama and probably just as good, if not better.

We also managed to catch a very inspiring art exhibition in one of the parks at night, it’s called Reflektion. It was wonderful to see lots of people at this exhibition with kids and all, even though it was a night-time exhibition. It was like an enormous light show but all over the park and exploring different aspects of light – fantastic! Sorry, i cannot find the link to the exhibition anymore.

Last but not least, we cross the channel to Malmö, Sweden, for a really short look around there. It’s a nice little place from what little we saw; we only saw it for like an hour before our flight back.

That was our overseas trip for this autumn.

We did the Suisse Toy Fair as is our tradition for the month of October. This year we went with T’s best friend and his family. It was smaller this year and was missing a few big players such as Lego and Hasbro. We spoke to a vendor there and he says that there might not be a Toy Fair soon because there are fewer and fewer vendors each year. And it is true, we noticed there are few stalls in almost every section except for one; the LAN Gaming got bigger! It’s like a gamers’ heaven; rows upon rows of computers filling the whole hall, you and your friends playing till your heart’s content for 3 whole days, you can sleep there, eat there, they even have shower facilities! There was also a Cosplay section this year as well as all the digital games. Regardless of the size, the kids had fun!

Our next outing was to Barryland. It is a museum i had wanted to visit for a while. It’s the Saint Bernard Dog Musuem! i love dogs! And there were puppies to see when we were there. It’s not very big but it is packed full of information. However, not as interactive as some of the other museums we have been to, so if you have small ones who can not yet read, it might be best to wait till they can and are interested in dogs.

Well, that sort of wraps up the highlights of our autumn holidays this year. Now enjoy the picture gallery!



Autumn Holidays 2016…

i know this is an extremely belated post. We have been back at school for 4 weeks now. i have tried a few times over the last few weeks to get this post written but somehow it never happened. So this week i decided that it has to be written and it got moved to the top of the ‘to-do’ list.

Our autumn holidays was the first 3 weeks of October and while it was not as exciting as last year’s, it was still fun-filled and we managed to do a fair bit.

In the first couple of days, we focussed on getting some housework done. Tobias then went off with one of his best friends to a nearby waterpark, Bernaqua, for an afternoon. The next day, we met up with some friends from Niderwalden at the Toni Zoo for lunch and a lovely walk around the small but well-kept zoo.

One of the highlights was the Foxtrail! We did this scavenger hunt type game around the city of Bern. We did have rather high expectations after reading great reviews. But it was a bit of a let-down. A few of the instructions were not well written, so we got confused and turned around quite a number of times. The helpline was not as helpful. But i think it was because this was originally meant to be worked out in German and being English-speaking meant we understood the instructions differently. We had also expected to learn more about the city as we chased the “fox”. However, there was little write-up to learn from at all. What was expected to take us 2.5 hours, took us 3.5 hours. Oh my, my feet were nearly falling off.

Top Left: One of the clues, Top Middle: This tunnel took us ages to find, Top Right: Another clue, Bottom: Such a lovely view of the Aare!

It was not a great experience but it was not all that terrible. We did see parts of Bern we would otherwise never venture into and walking along the river was lovely. i can see that it can be quite fun for an adult group of close friends. But we had children with us so such long walking times with very little rewards of learning or anything else made it difficult to justify the costs.

After all that walking, we took it easy and took in a movie the next day. ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ was a great movie and we loved it. Even in German, the story came through nicely as did the funny bits.

As it is our tradition, every year in the first week of October, we attend the Suisse Toy Fair! This year saw us spending more time in the electronic games section (E-games) and it is no surprise as this has been the trend. There was even an entire hall devoted to LAN gaming! Tobias has said he might try and see if he can register for entry for that next year… hmm… this mama doesn’t quite like that idea.

Tobias had a great time in a pallet gun game. He had to queue for about 45 minutes but he thought it was worth it. And it did look like loads of fun.

Top Left: LAN Gaming, Right: Trying out VR, Bottom Left: Pallet Gun Game

We also put in some practice in our squash game. And watched yet another movie, ‘Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children’, which we absolutely loved! Definitely going to get the book!

In between all that, Tobias cooked a dinner of stewed meatballs and a breakfast of healthy blueberry donuts. We also painted our dining area wall a bright sunshine yellow!

Stewed Meatballs for dinner, they were yummy!
Delicious Breakfast!
Our spot of sunshine in the house 😉

On top of that, we hosted 3 guests; Tobias’ best friends stayed for a night, another friend who just had an operation came to stay for a night too and another friend stayed one night as well.

i took one of our guest on a walk on top of Weissenstein, the mountain behind our place. We were well-rewarded, don’t you think?

So as you can see, we were busy those 3 weeks in October!


Autumn Holidays 2015… Week 02 & 03…

This is part 2 of my posts about the Autumn holidays this year… if you would like to read part 1, go here.

So we had a few days in Milan in the first week and that was basically the highlight of the whole holidays. Usually we travel all over Switzerland, checking out different museums or animal parks or some other interesting place. But this autumn after the first week, we kinda took it easy and laze around a bit at home and just did stuff near home.

We visited Castle Hallwyl with some friends who are back in country after some years away. i had always been interested in seeing this castle cos it’s one of the few castles with a moat in Switzerland. When we were there, there was a special exhibition about the big fire which destroyed a fair bit of the castle.

We wanted to join the group tour but was told that the lady doing it that day would be doing it in Swiss-German. So we decided not to join it but to wander around on our own cos it would be hard for us to follow along, especially for our friend’s kids who don’t have the language. However, we did get English audio guides which were great.

The castle has several different parts; a front castle, a rear castle, a tower (prison at one time), a barn etc. It had also undergone reconstructions at various times in its 800-year history. The rooms all show different aspects of its history and the story of the family who owns the castle, as well as life in general, medicine and entertainment during those days.

Top Left: Tobias working hard to shape a cannon ball, Top Right: View of the moat from the prison tower, Bottom Right: View of the Front Castle from the Rear Castle, Bottom Left: On the other side of the castle there’s a mill which had an interesting 3 wheel system, only one is left standing now.

Then my Uncle visited us. He only stayed with us for a couple of nights when he arrived and then one other night just before he left. So we only visited, quite briefly, Luzern and our town of Solothurn with him and his travel companion.

Left: The entrance to the old city walls in Luzern. Right: View of the walls from the tower.
This is the view of the city of Luzern from along the wall. That day was quite cloudy but still a lovely view.

That was pretty much Week 02 – we cleaned and tidied and did those 2 little excursions.

It was lovely to have family visiting, we haven’t had family here since my parents and brother came a number of years ago. And now we have had my Uncle at the beginning of October and then my cousin and her parents near the end of October (we only saw them at the start of their trip and at the end cos they were on their way to Italy). Now in November, my brother-in-law and his family will be here but again we will only see them for a meal cos they are on a group tour.

Week 03 saw us going for a movie, Inside Out, which we had wanted to see for a while. And having cinema vouchers definitely made the decision to go easier. It is a great movie! Loved the characters as well as the whole idea behind it.

We did some squash practice and violin practice (there’s an upcoming concert). But the major highlight for me in Week 03 is Tobias cooking his favourite, Kong Ba Bao (stewed pork belly bun), all from scratch. So proud of him! 😀

From Left to Right: Cutting up the meat, blanching the meat, the stewed meat, ready and waiting to go into the bun.
Left to Right: Tobias rolling out the dough to make the buns, the shaped buns waiting to be steamed.
The finished dish; stewed pork on one plate and the buns on another. You assemble the bun yourself so you can make it as big or as small as you want.

It was YUM! And my Uncle said it was even better than the one they had in Zürich, at a Chinese restaurant. 😉

i got the recipe from an old uni friend who has a food blog. So get the recipe here! Thanks so much, V!

This is not the first time Tobias has cooked. He cooks quite regularly at home. You can read more about what else he has cooked here and here.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Week 01 was all excitement with the Milan trip and Week 02 & 03 was a relax homey holiday.

i wonder what the Christmas hols will be like this year.

Are you planning something special for your Christmas this year? Care to share?