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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!

syc

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Stewed Meatballs for dinner, they were yummy!
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Delicious Breakfast!
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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.

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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!

syc

Autumn 2013 Holidays Week 01…

We are currently on Autumn School Holidays! 3 whole weeks of no school! Nice! But what do we do with the kid?? Well, we travel all over Switzerland, which is pretty much what we do for our Spring and Autumn hols here.

So Week 01 was a take it easy week. (See Week 02 and Week 03.) We did the housework – yep, my little boy did his share of keeping the house clean and tidy 🙂 And to reward ourselves we went to see a Swiss movie, the S’Chline Gspängst, with some friends at the local cinema here in Solothurn. Something which we have not yet done in all the years of living here cos we always travel to some big city to watch a movie in English. BUT this was a Swiss story, which of course, had to be watched in Swiss German. The title translated is The Little Ghost. And it was a delightful story although i have been informed by Swiss friends that the movie only very loosely follows the book it is based on. What was wonderful was that it was shown at a little cinema which reminded me of how cinemas were when i was a kid. i tried to get a feel of it in a photo but it doesn’t quite come across as you can see below.

We were seated in the balcony.
We were seated in the balcony.

Then we spent a lazy day at home. The next day it was off to the beautiful lakeside village of Brienz for a short walk and our Grinberg treatment. We discovered this lovely new climbing structure by the lake. If you are ever in Switzerland, you have to make a stop in Brienz. Take in the amazing views and ride the steam train up the little mountain. The lakes and the mountains join to make this an amazing village to visit. We were last here when we visited the only Swiss Violin-Making School.

The boy had so much fun on this structure.
The boy had so much fun on this structure.

We were to meet the husband for dinner so we took a slow walk along the river in our town and guess what we found! An open bookcase (Offener Buchschrank). i had written about the Little Free Library about a year back and wished we had one and now we do!! The boy happily found a book of animal stories to bring home.

The bookcase is made of metal and has glass panels to protect the books.
The bookcase is made of metal and has glass panels to protect the books.

Friday was the exciting day for my boy – we took his best friend along with us and went to the Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Center in Brunnen, where the boys got to assemble their very own standard/basic Swiss knife.

Here the manager of the place was telling the boys some history.
Here the manager of the place was telling the boys some history.

It is a nice little place, not very big. There are a couple of historical films to watch. We found those very informative. The store took up a fair amount of the 3 floors. The museum is down below, not very big but again interesting, there is even a story corner where you can listen to 6 stories of how a Swiss Army Knife saved the day. And some interesting knives on display.

The boy hard at work assembling his knife at the special workstation.
The boy hard at work assembling his knife at the special workstation.

They sell a lovely gift set which i think makes a unique gift. The set consists of all the parts you need to make your own Swiss Knife. The only catch is that the person getting the gift would have to come to the Visitor Center in Brunnen to actually assemble it.

You couldn't find a happier boy that day.
You couldn’t find a happier boy that day.

Saturday was spent at the Suisse Toy Fair in Bern, which we have gone to every year since i discovered it a few years ago. It was nice and crowded as usual. Of course, my little guy headed straight for the digital games zone and we stayed there for at least an hour if not more. Then it was lunch and the boys headed to the remote control section and i went to the crafting section. i loved that they added this section a couple of years back. i had fun walking through the small but interesting section, drooling over all the tools and materials which i can’t afford 😉 Unfortunately, the little boy felt unwell after that. So we had him rest in the quiet zone (it is so thoughtful of them to create such an area), while we did a quick sweep of the rest of the fair (we were almost finished by then).

i didn't get many photos this year. So here one of the boy playing one of the new Wii games he has been waiting for. The conclusion was that it wasn't as fun as he thought it would be. Yippy! He won't be asking for that for Christmas... hahhaha ;)
i didn’t get many photos this year. So here one of the boy playing one of the new Wii games he has been waiting for. The conclusion was that it wasn’t as fun as he thought it would be. Yippy! He won’t be asking for that for Christmas… hahhaha 😉 The other photo is the group project for this year – boats. Last year’s was lego buildings of Switzerland.

i will blog about the second week soon.

syc