A Refreshing Break

This past weekend I travelled to St. Gallen to visit family friends whom I haven’t seen in quite some time!

Off to the ‘bahnhoff’, or train station, and another swiss journey was underway. I always love travelling around switzerland, the trains are so good and efficient – they truly live up to their reputation!

Two and a half hours later after a very pleasant trip through Zurich and lots of stunning country side, I arrived at my destination. I was greeted there by Maria, my youngest brother’s godmother, her son Laurent and her husband Heine.

I was treated to an insider’s trip around St. Gallen by the family where we took in the impressive cathedral, old windy streets with impressive architecture, ancient library and various other sight’s around the town before settling down to a traditional beer and pretzel after all that hard work!

Outside the catholic cathedral

Outside the catholic cathedral

The sun has been blazing down here in Switzerland for the past two week’s now, today i got quite burned having a picnic with a friend by the river! So of course the weekend was no exception and we where blessed with around 20c temperatures all day, it really feel’s like summer is here.

After drink’s we got into the car and headed off to Lake Constance, a short drive from St. Gallen. This was rather funny for me as only a few week’s ago i was taking with the boy’s in the company about taking a weekend away to the lake for some water activities etc, and so to end up there almost by accident as i had no idea it was right next to where i was staying for the weekend was a rather nice coincidence.

The lake itself is absolutely massive! it is a freshwater lake, 63km long and at it’s widest point nearly 14km wide. It’s also pretty unique in that it borders three countries – Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It’s not quite boating season yet so we enjoyed a nice walk around the shore with the dog taking in the beautiful views.

Lake Constance at sunset

Lake Constance at sunset

Just as we where sitting down on a bench this wonderful sight befell my eyes:

We had a lovely dinner at home – fajitas which where incredible, and i learned how to make caipirinha’s the right way – with kiwi (a secret Maria’s Brazilian friend passed on from her country.) A strategy game with Heine and some serious Call of Duty play on the Xbox with Laurent and a happy yet tired Matthew retired to bed.

The following day, one hour’s less sleep thank’s to the clocks changing for summer time, we had a nice traditional english fry up – it’s been ages since i’ve had one. After this Heine and I went for what was an incredible motorbike ride on his classic Suzuki Intruder – what a beast it was!

Such a beautiful sound and roaring through the alps with the sun blaring down on us, i couldn’t think of a better way to spend my sunday afternoon. We stopped off for a Beer at a nice alpine restaurant high up in a pass usually covered in snow at this time of year, awesome views across the valley from there and damn good beer too.

Alpine refreshment - clear air, sunshine and cold beer

Alpine refreshment - clear air, sunshine and cold beer

We passed through Herisau, Apenseller (where the cheese of the same name is produced), and stopped off at another small village for the brilliant British past-time that is afternoon tea. Amazing cake and coffee as you would expect from this beautiful food loving country. I think i’m getting more and more British – the day after I enjoyed afternoon tea with my dear friend Gary, colleague and fellow Scotsman, in the Bellevue Pallace Hotel – Bern’s best 5 star hotel, sitting out on the terrace over looking the river aare that flows through the city.

A Happy Gary

A Happy Gary

It's All Smiles From Me

It's All Smiles From Me

Back to my weekend, After the great bike ride – the adrenalin rush and awe-inspring views, it was back onto terra firma for me and a nice walk and chat with Maria before heading back to Bern on the evening train. I was very tempted to stop off in Zurich at my friend’s house, it’s only 1 hour by train to Bern so i could of taken a early morning train on time for work, but decided to keep that for another weekend.

Me On The Suzuki

Me On The Suzuki

I arrived back in Bern completely refreshed, well rested and a much happier soul – it was a much needed escape from the fish bowl city small town’s can become after you’ve lived (and loved) there for a while!

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