So, every now and then I have a conscious realisation that we’re living in Switzerland. Obvious, I know, as it’s true and it’s coming up to ONE YEAR since we moved here (August 2), can you believe?!
Here I sit, sipping my peculiar weak Swiss wine, munching on some Swiss chocolate sitting in my Swiss apartment as the sun goes down over the pre-Alps and I can see the vineyards behind us, lining the hillslopes all the way to Lausanne, along the lake. Ah, there’s a rainbow and some pink wafty clouds over the mountains across the lake to France and I can hear church bells ringing. That’s just to set the scene. Here’s a couple of pics of the real view, downtown Vevey apartments and all.
So, today, my pinch me moment was when we visited some thermal baths down in the Valais at Val d’Illiez, about a 45 minute drive from here. Nestled in a lush green valley is a beautiful classically Swiss resort.
This photo below (perhaps one of my favourites so far of Switzerland) is of the valley, a little higher up, towards Champery.
A few wooden chalets, perhaps 4 storeys high surround an indoor pool and an outdoor pool of thermal baths. The thermals come from local natural springs with fresh mineral water gushing from the mountain at 30 degrees. Despite the slightly sulphurous smell, the thermal baths were lovely – a small winding canal wound around with a current that gently drifted you along and back again to where you started.
True, it’s the middle of summer here, but the weather seems to have a mind of its own and we’ve had a few weeks of consistent rain and some chilly days. Today was temperate and it was 15 degrees outside at the thermal baths, which made the 30degree pool heavenly and nothing compared to the warmer pool, which had decadent steam rising off it to the outside air. A return in cooler months is a must as that would be an invigorating experience to dip in to the warm baths in the winter wonderland surrounds, come winter.
After exploring the hammam, a super hot, super humid sauna room and then dipping myself in an icy 8 degrees bath, I returned to the indoor heated thermal pool to sit at the edge of the pool which has bubbly spa chairs inbuilt and enjoyed the view through a 3 storey glass window to the lush green misty forested hills behind. Wow, Switzerland! Sometimes you take my breath away. Granted the chilly dip may have added to the goosebumps, but still there are some moments where I do have to pinch myself.
These moments are sandwiched between ones where I desperately miss my family and friends and would love nothing more than a good natter with my Mum or Dad, a dip in the ocean or a local inner west wander or culture blast. Meeting plenty of other expats as we do, it’s interesting as most of them fall head over heels with the lifestyle here and would do anything to stay and not return home (be that UK or USA or South America or fill in the blank…), where I feel while we’ll make the most of our time here while we can with trips around Europe, that I truly feel like bursting into song sometimes like Peter Allen as I still call Australia home.