Ende des Sommers in der Schweiz

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Author:  Pete
Location:  Zug, Switzerland

Just because we’re back in Europe doesn’t mean summer is over!  We’re treating this as an Altwiebersommer, which I think translates to and Indian Summer in so many conglomerated words.  Switzerland can get a little gray in the winter, so the Swiss has honed the art of enjoying summer.  There’s a festival within walking distance every weekend throughout the summer.  Zug is all bedecked for Swiss National Day and the Zug Festival.  We generally amble through and get a wurst and a beer, and to listen to some music.  There’s often silly things going on like the bike-log ride (which I didn’t partake in) and the blob (which I did).

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The badis, which are beaches or baths, are bustling with people meeting to cool off during the hot days.  The Zugersee is inviting and most afternoons we walk down to our closest strandbad.  We’ve been dipping Leonie in the lake regularly; she doesn’t seem to protest.  I think we’ve got ourselves a water baby.

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The last Friday of summer we floated the Reuss river with a bunch of friends.  You can take a train to Gisikon Root, walk down the steps and jump into the river with noodles, tubes, and coolers of beer, and float to the next town, Sins, which is six miles away.  The float is a summer favorite with stunning scenery; the river is swift and clear, six feet deep with smooth pebble bottom.  At the pullout there’s an great Zollhaus pub and you can take the train back, dripping wet if you need.  It’s an ideal way to freeze out the heat of the day.  It also makes a great ending to summer!

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First Father’s Day Expedition

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Author: Pete
Location: Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

For my first Father’s Day, Miranda surprised me with a day in the mountains.  We set out to hike Mount Pilatus, one of the prominent peaks that routinely beckons from across the lake. It’s the dusky shape on the right; Medieval legend has it that a dragon lives in the caves above the tree line.  We set out to see if it was true.  Leonie is old enough for dragon slaying, right?

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Our first experiment with babies and public transport went just fine.  Leonora did fine on the “Worlds Steepest Cog-Train” with it’s 48% grade and ear-popping pressure changes.  Not a problem, just don’t lean too far over the side.  There must have been ten different languages being spoken on by the other hikers on the train, but everyone said the same thing when confronted by sweeping scenery or adorable baby. “Oh!

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From the end of the cog train we hiked a path that hugged the side of the mountain, well maintained in true Swiss fashion.  Leonie slept like a champ in the front carrier, despite some jostling along the trail.  We swapped between carrying baby and backpack to keep the muscle groups and sweat stains balanced.

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We did find some caves and sent Leonie in first to check for dragons.  With no luck we set our sights on one of the three peaks.  We were fortunate to have gorgeous weather and calm winds and our summit was enjoyably attainable.  Although there were a few other hikers at the top, we were the only ones with a baby.  While we’re not sure what that says about our parenting, it was refreshing to be out in the mountains after a few months’ hiatus.

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The First Months’ Blur

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Author: Pete
Location:  Zug, Switzerland

It’s been a busy one.  At the same time that Miranda and I were trying to find our own traction in space, the newborn’s gravity pulled a tide of friends and family our way from the other side of the earth.  The subsequent month or two went by as a emotionally charged, sleep-deprived blur as we hosted favorite folks from all over, wrapped up the school year, and honed our baby systems in a trial by fire.  I can barely get out of the house with the same color socks on these days let alone enunciate my thoughts, so this one is going to be all pictures!

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And that’s the seven minutes of down time and single-task concentration I have allocated for this month!  Stay tuned for the next installment!