I miss the howling of the wolves

I am a repeat offender. This evening the witches will be ritually burnt, it is the 30th. April. I am lying in the shepherd’s wagon in a game park near Cleebronn and am pretty well finished. It is cold, even very cold and it has been impossible without a cap in the last 2 days.

Last year I was also here.

Every morning the wolves, which lived only a few hundred metres away, woke me with their howling. This year they are as silent as mice and only the twittering of the birds and the bleating of the goats wake me in the morning. Before breakfast, while all are still asleep, I run up the path through the vineyard towards the peak to the small chapel. When I reach the top, I stop and feed on the view of the light green of the sprouting leaves. Breakfast is served in the inn “Wilde Sau”. It lies in the middle of the game park, where one can observe how the deer, the birds of prey, the horses and other animals wake up and also breakfast. The cheekiest are the small goats, which literally eat everything out of one’s hand, including the packing.

During breakfast I observe the holiday visitors. There’s no need to tell where a loving companionship and where a desert exists. It is obvious even without words.

We spend the day in the amusement park Tripsdrill and we are amused. We laugh a lot, try all the attractions, eat well, urge each other on. The youth fountain ride makes us wet but not younger – thank God. The marriage market provides suggestions and from the fountain we draw twins.

Our shepherd’s wagon has TV. That was also not necessary, not once did we switch it on. We had no cups, but five wine glasses and no toilet, which one misses even more when one has to walk through the forest in the middle of the night.

During these holidays my youngest’s school colleagues travelled in all the continents of the world. We were about three hours away from home. We watched how the storks build their nests and we fed the dwarf goats. No sign of the exotic, if one ignores the toilet in the forest. But nonetheless they are three absolutely unforgettable days. I missed only the howling of the wolves.

The season has begun

I’m a passionate paddler, standing on the board.  In winter Switzerland is not suitable for this sport. The reason is simple, you never really know whether your own stability can withstand the weather conditions. Occasionally it can’t. In winter the water is 5 degrees centigrade and a bath in the lake could end fatally. I enjoy life too much for that.

Therefore, I yearn for rising water temperatures and calm wind conditions. Last weekend the water was 7 degrees and the wind conditions seemed to be stable. I couldn’t resist. Equipped with shoes, gloves, cap and safety vest I set off onto the lake. The calm was indescribable. The peace, the cold but with warming rays of sun, the isolation (there’s no telephone and no other water sports enthusiasts) I enjoyed the indescribable feeling of being at peace with the world. It was just great. After weeks of internal sorrow at last I have found peace.

But as so often nature is unpredictable. In spite of the weather forecast, which didn’t foresee wind, the wind got up. Obviously, I paddled only close to the shore and obviously, I could have stopped at any time and gone on shore, but then I would have had to carry my board at least 2 kilometres. The wind grew stronger and I could no longer stand but had to kneel down to avoid losing my balance. The paddling became one-sided – always only on the right-hand side and therefore really strenuous. I felt the cold water, but I wasn’t cold.

Without an accident and without an involuntary bath I reached my staring point again. The season has begun. And respect for the superior strength of nature again became clear. I am looking forward to the summer!

Image source: pixplosion / pixelio.de

Montreux Jazz Festival _ Youth fountain for beginners

I have read so much about the festival that I thought I must go and have a look. I chose Gilberto Gil, Margareth Menzes and Mart’nàlia as the musical highlight.

I had already been in Montreux a few times, but up to now I had always experienced the little town as a wonderful, manageable idyll for those of advanced age. Therefore, my expectations of the festival were high and of the town rather modest.Read More »

Formula E in Zurich

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I have to admit that I have never understood how people can get excited about watching in the blazing heat how fast cars can race past them in endless curves. Time and again. Wzum, Wzum, Wzum.

I have never raised objections when one of the men close to me wanted to spend Sunday afternoon at home in front of the TV even when the weather outside was so good. We all have our funny tastes.Read More »

Tripsdrill – the first German adventure park

We went to Tripsdrill and found everything a child’s heart could desire. Good play areas, animals to marvel at and stroke, water chutes, looping coasters, horse-drawn coaches, boats, carousels, games and spending the night in a tree house.

What does the mother’s heart desire in such a children’s paradise? Enough clean toilets, food that doesn’t consist only of chips and sweets. Prices, which don‘t bankrupt you, no queues before the attractions, cleanliness and a well-kept environment.

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We were just lucky. It is the second half of April and the temperatures are climbing almost to 30 degrees. Summer at the beginning of spring. The Germans are at school and we in Switzerland have spring holidays. The park is empty and there are no queues anywhere.

In 278 BC named Trephonis Trulla by the Romans, in the vernacular the name of the location also described a place, in which the impossible is possible. In 1890 the first picture of the legendary Old Wives Mill at Tripsdrill appeared. In fact it was built in 1929 by Eugen Fischer. This was the year, in which Germany’s first adventure park was born.

In Tripsdrill you can find everything the heart desires. It is not kitschy, it offers lots of exhibitions on life and work in the past. In the midst of the vineyards, with a wine exhibition and wine tasting, we lived in a tree house in a wildlife park. In the morning we were awakened by the howling of the wolves, who slept 300 meters from us.

We visited 100 attractions, played, laughed, ate, fed the donkeys, stroked the miniature goats. I climbed into an Old Wives Mill, got wet but not really prettier and younger. I liked the wedding market with all its offerings. We rode in the cradle, pulled twins out of the well and admired the wedding procession and the pithy German humour. Three days fun without end, super sleeping in the treetops with nocturnal forest noises, which didn’t disturb us one bit, because every evening we were so dog-tired with my youngest. Simply only happy, fulfilled days.

The adventure park closes every evening at 6.00pm. On one of our last rides the man asked where we were living. I said “in the tree house, around the corner”. He winked and asked whether we had space free. I disappointed him, after all we were not alone but four of us were together on holiday. It just shows that one can even make contacts there. To all singles and happy couples or families, I can only recommend it.

Downsizing – and the trap of the trailers

With my youngest we wanted to escape from the dull weather in the Mittelland. The cloud cover weighs on one’s spirits despite sport and exercise in the fresh air. So we sat down with the internet and looked at the extracts of current films. Downsizing looked really funny and the two trailers we watched were without exception amusing. That’s the right one for us, we thought, and got ready for the evening performance.Read More »

A gut feeling

It is Sunday, the wind is sweeping over Lago Maggiore and creating small waves, sometimes with a sprinkling of white foam. I’m sitting in my Laser, a small one-man yacht, in which even when there is scarcely any wind one gets a wet bottom. I’m sailing from Ascona to Ronco with the objective of sailing round the tiny island of Brissago and then returning with a following wind to the harbour in Ascona.Read More »

Grindelwald – 50 years Pfingsteggbahn

The Pfingsteggbahn cable railway is celebrating its 50th anniversary on 2 July 2017.   The prices are the same as in 1967: Fr. 3.60 single, Fr 5.40 return. A bargain. Everything else is free: the view of the Eiger, the mountain air, friendly and down to earth locals, a calmness that is missing in city dwellers, the fantastic view down to the valley, the toboggan run, the play area, the bells of small goats grazing, the mountain bar and perhaps a few yodlers practicing.Read More »