Tag Archives: spring holidays

Spring Hols 2017…

So it’s back to school for us this week, after 2 weeks of Spring holidays.

We didn’t do very much this holiday. Our big thing was building a garden seat out of 2 pallets which we saved off the sidewalk last year.

 

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Here’s a picture summary of the process: sawing, sanding, gluing, varnishing and assembly. It took us about 4 to 5 hours in total but we waited in between for better weather and for the glue and varnish to dry. Tobias’ friend came over to help us twice 🙂
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The finished product! And it cost about CHF45 for additional support planks, glue, varnish, hinges, and screws. We have 2 different heights for the back support so you can choose a more upright position or a more laidback one 😉

Then there was the Ferienpass (holiday programs from the parent association in our village) in the first week. Tobias visited a bus factory and made a model bus out of metal. He got to spray-paint it and it is a useful pencil-holder. There were other programs he was interested in but they were full. I helped out again at the playgroup Ferienpass program, where we made bunny bags and sang bunny songs (the theme was bunnies because of Easter).

 

During the second week, we went over to a friend’s and played games for an afternoon, which was great fun. On another day, Tobias went for a movie with his friend, by themselves. i dropped them off and picked them up. They loved it! We got in some squash practice. And of course, Tobias cooked 2 lovely dinners as he always does during holidays.

 

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He cooked his favourite sushi and spaghetti carbonara.

So although it has been a rather quiet-type holiday, compared to our usual, we enjoyed it. Now onto finishing the school year in style 😉

 

syc

Spring Hols Revisited…

We have been back at school for 2 weeks now and as usual, only now am i looking back on the recent Spring holidays we have had, in April.

Quite unusually, the Spring holidays for our village did not follow immediately after Easter, instead, the kids go back to school for 2 weeks after Easter Monday and then we had the holidays. Which i think is good, because it makes the last term of school less of a marathon term (usually it lasts 12 to 13 weeks).

So what did we do this holiday time? Well, i think we took it fairly easy; i had just planned on one thing we would do each day.

The housework, such as cleaning, vacuuming, washing etc, still had to be done; as i am teaching Tobias to do these things (i think it is important for him to learn to be independent and these contribute towards that), we spent both Mondays of the holidays doing that.

We did go and catch a movie, Zoomania/Zootopia (depending on which language). It was a fun little movie and we liked it lots. Even better was having the entire cinema to ourselves! See how all those empty seats!

springholsreview20160506aThen we also got in some squash practice and Tobias had some friends over on another day.

The big thing we did do was going over to Alasce, France with a couple of good friends. We visited the Memorial of Le Linge, a World War I memorial site, which 17,000 men gave their lives. There were trenches still existing at this mountain location in the village of Orbey.

It has quite a nicely done small museum with artifacts and displays showing what the soldiers wore and had to go through. They even have a little film show telling you the history in a language of your choice.

i thought it was lovely that the museum was taken care of by some retired people, to whom i wish i could have spoken to (my french is unfortunately non-existent) because i am sure they would have stories to tell of fathers, brothers, uncles who lived through the war.

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We had lunch at a little French restaurant, and of course, i ordered snails 😉 The food was good but took a while to get to our table…
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This is the entrance to the trenches, the German ones were better built and therefore better preserved. On the right,That’s what it looke like through one of the “gun-holes”.
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Left: French cemetery, Right: German cemetery
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It is an amazing view from the top of the trenches.
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On the way back, we stopped off at Eguisheim, a cute little French village which has these cute timber-framed houses with these lovely Hobbit-like doors. i loved it!
We had dinner at another little French restaurant and look at the flaming dessert i ordered ;)
We had dinner at another little French restaurant and look at the flaming dessert i ordered 😉

Oh, we even got to geocache while we were at this memorial site. 😉

Then it was the weekend and the second week of holidays started.

i had planned to do either a small building project with Tobias or a garden project; since his class did the topic of plants and nature, he decided we should plant some tree/plants in our little garden. Which we did.

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Left: Tobias removing the wild flowers/weeds so we can start planting. Right: All planted; a blue cedar and some campanula and dahlias (which you can not see yet, cos they are just still tubers in the ground).

Our village offers a Ferienpass each Spring holiday, where kids can sign up for lots of different activities such as visiting the Migros to see the inner workings, or visiting the local butcher, or the bakery, or inline skating, or going to look for beavers or spending an afternoon with the hairdresser and tons of other interesting activities.

This year Tobias was only interested in canoeing so that’s what he did on that Thursday afternoon. And while he was canoeing, i volunteered to help out with the playgroup kids afternoon. So it worked out well.

Tobias tipping out the water from the canoe after the afternoon's ride.
Tobias tipping out the water from the canoe after the afternoon’s ride.

Then a very exciting visit from my Primary 6 classmate, whom i have not seen in almost 30 years! We picked her up after Tobias’ canoeing and went for dinner at our local restaurant in our village.

Tobias had his best friend came stay over Thursday night and he spent the day with us on Friday. Which left me free to catch up with my friend 🙂

We went up to the Weissenstein, in the new (well, new to me because i have not gone up in it since they opened this new and bigger one) gondola. Tobias’ friend suggested a different restaurant from the one i normally would go to at the top of the mountain. It was a fair walk, but we had great weather and it was a good way to work up an appetite. Plus, i discovered a place i had never been to.

Going up in the gondola... look at the amazing view!
Going up in the gondola… look at the amazing view!
Left: Walking to lunch. Right: Tobias stopping to read one of the signs along the Planet Way walk.
Left: Walking to lunch. Right: Tobias stopping to read one of the signs along the Planet Way walk.

After lunch and a short walk back to the gondola, we came down and rode the bus into town. It started to rain so we stopped at a cafe for a snack and waited out the rain. Then we headed home as the boys seemed tired and relaxed a bit before getting ready for dinner.

My friend took the morning train to Basel for her next meeting and we had friends come and visit in the afternoon. And for dinner, Tobias decided to try his hand at cooking his favourite food of all time, sushi! It was a nice way to end the holidays.

He has never been more excited about cooking something ;)
He has never been more excited about cooking something 😉

syc

Spring Break 2015… Part 02…

Here’s Part 02 of our Spring Break this year. If you have not read Part 01, go here to read it.

Yes, we were off to Liverpool – the place where my husband got his degree and more importantly, the city where his football team is. Yes, it is his team… hahhaa… The last time we went there… i had to go look it up; it was 2009! Almost 6 years ago! Read about that trip here.

This time the main aim of going to Liverpool was to watch a football match; Liverpool vs Newcastle. Initially, Tobias and i were not going to the match. Walter planning to go with his colleagues and friends. But the match date got shifted and they could not make the new date. So it became a family event 😀

i’m just going to give you a day by day summary of what we enjoyed there.

We landed on Saturday, about lunchtime. Picked up our rental car from the airport, then headed for lunch, settling on the quick and easy option of KFC.

i thought it was such a cute car, all bright and yellow! Reminds me of the song Yellow Submarine.
Such a cute car, all bright and yellow! Reminds me of the Yellow Submarine.

Then it was off to the hotel to check in and rest. We had to get up really early to catch the 7 am train to Geneva for the flight in. And we had all had a late night the night before. So rest was needed.

Top: View from Holiday Inn Express Breakfast room. Bottom: View from our hotel room.
Top: View from Holiday Inn Express Breakfast room. Bottom: View from our hotel room.

After our little rest, we ventured out for a short walk and to get dinner. It was decided that we would get fish and chips (a must-have while we were in Liverpool) and bring it back to the room to eat. It made for a quiet evening in. As well as an early night.

We saw this cute vintage ice cream truck on the way. It was not open though.
We saw this cute vintage ice cream truck on the way. It was not open though.

The next morning, we headed down for a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast. (There was other stuff too but we like our eggs , bacon and toast.) Then it was a short walk down to the Museum of Liverpool.

The view from Albert Dock, looking at the Open Eye Museum (the modern building) and the 3 Graces; the Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.
The view from Albert Dock, looking at the Open Eye Museum (the modern building) and the 3 Graces; the Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.

This museum opened just a couple of years ago and is a great museum. So very very much to see inside. In my opinion, they had squeezed way too much in there, i hardly knew where to start.

Top: The Museum, looking at it from the Mersey. Bottom: An amazing painting of the Liverpool city area.
Top: The Museum of Liverpool, looking at it from the Mersey. Bottom: An amazing painting of the Liverpool city area, took many artists many hours to paint it.

They had exhibits about the docks and the life back then. Exhibits which traced Liverpool’s history to the very early years. A small area which showed off the overhead rail which used to run in the city (it was taken down because the company went burst). There was a special area which highlighted the Beatles story, of course. As well as a whole room tracing the history of the 2 football teams in Liverpool. We got to watch a very interesting film about how one team became 2.

We spent more than 3 hours in there and still had not finished looking at everything. But we were getting hungry and went to find food.

Darling hubby had researched (he doesn’t do that often) and found a lovely place (The Interesting Eating Company) which serves pancakes and scones all day (i love scones!). It took a 15 minute drive to get there but so worth it! And get this, they do gluten-free too!

It was a very rainy day so we just drove around a bit and then decided to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. We saw it the last time from the outside only. It is absolutely beautiful! Lots of interesting bits inside too.

My pictures were rubbish. These are from the Cathedral's website.
My pictures were rubbish. These are from the Cathedral’s website.

Dinner was another must-have; authentic Chinese food! We went down to Chinatown and chose a very small family run place. It felt like we were eating in someone’s home. The place could only seat 12 at the most. It was not ‘i-will-keeping-raving-about-it’ food but it was homely and we liked it.

Yummy REAL Chinese food!
Yummy REAL Chinese food!
A nice waterfall near the center of the gardens.
A nice waterfall near the center of the gardens.

The next day was Match Day! But the match wasn’t till late in the evening. So we spent the morning having a little wander around the Festival Gardens. The feel of it was a very lovely and ambitious project neglected over time. Or maybe it was just the time of day? But there were some nice bits and a little walk along the water’s edge gave us a good view to admire.

Then we crossed the Mersey or actually we went under it and into an area called the Wirral (yes, the English and their strange place names). We visited a lovely little village called Port Sunlight, which was built by Lord Leverhulme for his workers. You can read more about the history of Port Sunlight and Lord Leverhulme here and here.

i really like the village. They have preserved it so well, even the Tudor buildings (i really fancy living in a Tudor house some day). And we also spent time walking around in the museum built by Lord Leverhulme for his wife, the Lady Lever Museum. It houses a lot of the art they had collected over the years. According to a short history written on a display in the museum, Lord Leverhulme loved art, he collected all sorts and filled his many homes with them. The museum shows off just a small portion of his vast collection. There is also a sweet little cafe in the basement of the museum which served traditional great-tasting but rather filling English fare.

Love those timber framed houses!
Love those timber-framed houses!
There is this big boardwalk in the middle of the village and along it is this very interesting sundial, where the person is the dial! There was no sun that day so we didn't get to test it.
There is this big boardwalk in the middle of the village and along it is this very interesting sundial, where the person is the dial! There was no sun that day so we didn’t get to test it.
Tobias loved his lunch but could not finish it. Can you guess how cheap it was, compared to Switzerland?
Tobias loved his lunch but could not finish it. Can you guess how much it costed?

Then we headed back to the hotel for a little rest. It was going to be a late night.

At about 5 pm, we dressed in our reds and went off to Anfield!

i had not been to a live football match since i was a little girl and the atmosphere was quite amazing; brimming with the excitement and anticipation of thousands of fans.

The schools around the stadium open their grounds for fans to park, for a fee of course!
Just look at the crowds trying to get to their seats. The schools around the stadium open their grounds for fans to park, for a fee of course!
The teams getting warmed up.
The teams getting warmed up.

Before the match started, a moment of silence was observed in memory of all the fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough more than 25 years ago. The anniversary was just a couple of days after this match.

Then the match started! We sang, we cheered, we oh-ed and ah-ed.

What i found most amusing was the cheers from the Newcastle fans. i have to hand it to them; there were some really interesting rhymes they had come up with, some not meant for children’s ears. i am tickled that someone actually thought up these cheers and people learnt them by heart and everyone shouted it out in unison!

The score! i know it's hard to read; 2-0. Way to go Liverpool!
The score! i know it’s hard to read; 2-0. Way to go Liverpool!

It was so very late after the match and we had to get back to the car of risk getting it shut in the school grounds. So dinner was sandwiches from a Tesco Express, which closed a few minutes after we bought our food!

Needless to say, we had a late start the next day, which was just fine cos we were on holiday. It was to be a day of walking. We decided to walk from the docks, through the city to the World Museum on the other side. This way we saw lots along the way, stopping off at various interesting shops and thrift stores.

Saw more vintage ice cream trucks!
Tobias photo-bombed my picture of the Pumphouse. Saw more vintage ice cream trucks!
There was this lovely open library - take a book, leave a book concept. It also served as a place for author appearances - how cool is that!
There was this lovely open library – take a book, leave a book concept. It also served as a place for author appearances – how cool is that! Right: Walking along Bold St.

The World Museum was spread across 6 floors and was quite interesting. It is not the most exciting museum we have been to, we do go to quite a number. And some of the exhibits were not well-maintained. But it did cover lots of topics, from bugs to bones, underwater creatures to space travel. The cafe did not sell very exciting food but it was enough to satisfy and had a great view of the city.

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Top: In front of the World Museum. Bottom: The Bluecoats.

On the way back, we went into an interesting place, called the Bluecoats. It is a whole building, dedicated to the arts. Artists could rent studios and exhibition space. There were workshops held there and various shops, selling wonderfully hand-crafted items, some very expensive but oh so very pretty!

There is a most amazing bookshop there, a place with lots and lots of books, not just normal books, very old and curious books. The place smelled thrilling – i loved it! We spoke to the owner and found out they had just moved in a few years ago and would even find antique or hard-to-find titles for anyone and they ship internationally! Of course, we took his namecard!

We had bought 6 books for just £12! Most were from thrift stores. We would have bought more if we had the luggage space, especially from that wonderful bookstore mentioned above. And of course we bought some lovely food items too. We even stopped off at the Chinese grocery shop. We then dropped off our stash at the hotel, got into the car and drove to Crosby Beach.

It is a lovely lovely flat expense of beach, stretching for miles! Lots of people were out and about with the family and walking their dogs. There is a nice playground, near the parking area. And then you take a short walk and up a little hill and you can see the sea!

The interesting thing about this beach is the permanent installation art on it. It is called Another Place by Antony Gormley. There are about 100 iron-casted men standing all along the beach and up to 1 km into the water. It represents man standing against nature and in harmony with nature. It was interesting to see.

Top: See how flat it is! Bottom: Tobias standing with the iron man ;)
Top: See how flat it is! Bottom: Tobias standing with the iron man 😉

We had dinner near the beach, at an American-styled pub. Then drove around and looked at the grand and beautiful houses in the area. Last but not least, we stopped and enjoyed the sunset.

Top: This house is faces the beach and was for sale - isn't it lovely? Bottom: The sunset made for a lovely end to the day.
Top: This house faces the beach and was for sale – isn’t it lovely? Bottom: The sunset made for a lovely end to the day.

Then next day we checked out. Dropped off the car at the airport and took a bus to Manchester where we caught our flight back. Why Manchester? Cos we were using Hubby’s miles to get ourselves a free flight 😉

There were so many other places we wanted to visit, such as the Tate, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, the Fab Four Story, Open Eye Museum etc. And we had planned to ride the Mersey Ferry but didn’t get to it.

It looks like we will definitely have to make another trip 😉

syc