Ah, spring! It’s become one of my favourite times of year since living in the UK. You’ve shivered and thermal-layered your way through the winter months, your body is seriously ready for some vitamin D and you’ve had more than enough of the jeans, jumper and boots combo.
As the temperature slowly slides over the 10 degree mark, the days get longer and the cherry blossoms and magnolia trees begin to bloom, a totally different mood hits London. And it’s no surprise, when the average street is transformed into a bubblegum pink oasis!
Even the view from my balcony has completely transformed over the past 5 weeks:
But, I digress. Spring in the Northern Hemipshere also coincides with my birthday, and I’ve quite taken to the habit of jumping over to the continent to ring in another year on the planet. Spring was particularly delightful last year when Ross and I went to Innsbruck, so this year I was looking to head somewhere new but similar.
Deciding on Switzerland, I gathered Ross and our friends Amy and Hayden for a lovely long weekend, staying on a farm just outside Lucerne.
After a very pleasant flight (I can’t believe I’ve been tolerating Ryanair and easyjet for so long when you get FREE BOOZE AND CHOCOLATE on Swiss), we landed in Zurich and easily navigated our way via train to Lucerne.
(Sidenote: is this the coolest, kitschiest beer can you’ve ever seen?)
The journey was about an hour and couldn’t have been simpler, however the ticket price was quite expensive – useful info for anyone travelling by train in Switzerland in the future.
From Lucerne, we caught a 15-minute bus to the rural town of Rothenburg and arrived at Hinderfeld Farm; our delightful home for the weekend.
Situated on a dairy farm and surrounded by cows, Spycher is a former granary, built in 1781, which has been recently renovated. It was such an unusual but very charming building and suited us perfectly.
There were goats right outside our front door, and just around the corner were these stunning views.
With the sun shining, we popped champagne, put together a smorgasbord of pre-dinner snacks and sat outside in the sun with them, and later made a yummy dinner in Spycher’s kitchen.
The next day was both my birthday and Good Friday. We knew most shops and restaurants would be closed, so we’d planned to go for a long walk and take a packed lunch with us, so we weren’t caught out and left hungry.
After a big breakfast and some birthday phone calls, we set off for Lake Sempach via the ‘wanderweg’ that begun from outside our front door. The trail took us past lots of traditional little houses, cows, my identical twin…
…and some strange birth announcement signs, which we came to realise were a tradition in the area. (Not a great picture, but just to give you an idea:)
When someone in Switzerland has a baby, it’s customary for friends and neighbours to gift them with signs, emblazoned with the new baby’s name and date of birth, which are hung outside their house so that passersby know to keep noise levels low. It’s certainly an interesting tradition and we came to know the locals’ children by name very quickly.
Walking on, we reached the lovely pastel-coloured village of Sempach, which you enter through an imposing Medieval gateway.
We soon came to Lake Sempach and began to walk around it, stopping for our sandwiches en route.
As we continued walking, we found ourselves at a Caribbean-themed beach bar! Not what we expected during a walk in Switzerland, but it was my birthday, after all, so we stopped for a couple of drinks in the surprising surroundings.
The lake was much bigger than we’d realised and we’d been walking for about 4 hours, so we returned home by train to Spycher’s nearest station and walked back from there.
The picturesque walk took us into the town of Rothenburg, then past pens full of pigs and a cheese shop with A CHEESE VENDING MACHINE. We bought some, of course.
Arriving home, Amy and Hayden whipped up the most delicious Tartiflette, which we thoroughly enjoyed after our long walk, along with copious amounts of wine and a birthday panettone.
The perfect end to a pretty perfect birthday!