Walk in the Woods

Our city of Winterthur spreads out like a six-fingered hand into the valleys between wooded hilltops. The city and its people own all the wooded areas, and protect them from being developed. To maintain them, they periodically do selective cut logging of the woods, and sell the firewood. It is a really good system, and they are careful not to over-cull the trees. Each section of the forest has clearly marked trails and the occasional bench or fountain.

In these trails there are three vitaparcours, which are trails that have little stops along the way containing tools for exercising, and a sign explaining how to do the particular exercise. I remember seeing a similar trail in the suburbs of Dallas, too, so I know it isn’t all that uncommon in the US. The one nearest us is the Winterthur Lindberg. I’ve not had the chance yet to try all of it, but we generally try the exercise if we come across one. There are over 500 of these types of trails in Switzerland.

In addition to the vitaparcours, there are trails marked for jogging, bike-riding, and horseback-riding. Most trails are only for jogging, though.

We’ve mainly explored the Lindberg, which is the large area north of the city. The trails are really popular. On weekends we see lots of people on the ones that are an easy jog from the parking lot or the trails that are closest to the line where the city meets the forest. Even during the week day you’ll see lots of folks on their lunch, taking a break. Sundays brings families and slow walkers drifting down the wider trails, especially along a scenic route that takes you to a gorgeous overlook of the whole city. The name of the park where the overlook is located is the Bäumli.

Heath and Eddie relaxing in the small park called the Baumli overlooking Winterthur

Heath and Eddie relaxing in the small park called the Baumli overlooking Winterthur

Near the Bäumli, there is a restaurant, which we’ve yet to visit. And there’s also a pretty large vineyard on one side of the hill, with lots of trails zig-zagging through the steep slope. There’s also apple orchards, and private gardens that you can skip around. Basically, the rules are, if there isn’t a gate across it, you can go up, down, or through it. Continue reading

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Blueberries! (and Eggs, and Flowers, too)

As usual, life has kept me busy, and my energy and brain cells are sapped trying to outsmart a toddler. Oh well!

Recently, I had two opportunities to go blueberry picking with my closest friends here in Switzerland (both of whom are also mommies).

I haven’t gone berry picking since I was a kid living on the east coast of the US, so this was a real treat. Both times we went, we were threatened with rain, but had a lot of fun anyway. The kids explored and ate blueberries right off the bush, and met a very friendly Bernese Mountain dog (very popular Swiss dog, and originally bred here by monks in the mountains).

The blueberries were huge and delicious, and just falling off the branches. Edward ate whatever he could reach, whether they were ripe or not. Back at our flat, my husband and son were pigs over the blueberries (hence the second trip), but I managed to stow away several parcels of blueberries in the future. We’ve had blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins (Nigella Lawson’s recipe is excellent, btw), and I’ve got another bag left that I’m going to use on a recipe for blueberry sweet buns (like cinnamon buns, only filled with blueberries instead of raisins). Continue reading