Somehow, this winter is taking far too long for my taste. Although I am usually more a person that prefers travelling north instead of south, I really don’t like this time of transition between winter and spring.
We are therefore trying to make the best of every halfway sunny afternoon and I have written a long list of trips I am planning to do as soon as the weather allows us to be outside for more than an hour without having to look for a place to warm up again.
Sunday started with the usual grey mist that is so common for this region during wintertime. After the lunch nap of the little one, it started to look a bit brighter though and we hoped that the sun would make its way through, so we took the bus, and then another bus, and went to Fahr Abbey.
Fahr Abbey is a small monestary which dates back to the 12th century and is nowadays run by around 25 Benedictine nons. It is situated along the Limmat (which is the river that runs through Zurich) and being nestled between green meadows and the river it looks quite pictoresque so one could almost forget that the highway and the next industrial area is just around the corner. The complex includes, among others, the main church, a small chapel, a cementary and the main buildings, and also a restaurant and a farm with various animals – which was the reason we chose to go there with the little one. There is also a monastery shop which looked quite promising as they sell locally produced products there, but unfortunately it is closed on Sundays. However, it is a really nice mixture for a family afternoon trip, I think, and we will definitely go there again on a warmer day (as soon as the sun set, it got icy again and it took both Karsten and me the whole evening to warm up again…never underestimate the temperatures in February!).
Winter’s different here for sure… After a few years of experience we expect the first snow around October, then two to three warm and probably snow-less and fog-rich months (twice we had barbecue in t-shirts on our balcony in January), then the “Bise” which hits Switzerland around February and in some cases causes weeks of -10°C to -15°C, with the lakes freezing over, and then snow and fog and sometimes rain until end of March… It’s not always like this but we are thus not so disappointed when spring starts later than elsewhere 😉 Hiking season starts around mid of May if we’re lucky. If you go earlier you’ll probably get drowned in a mud avalanche or a molten snow torrent which isn’t there the whole rest of the year.
The most important consequence about Swiss winter, from my point of view, is: Take off as many single holidays as you can and go to the mountains. That’s what all the Swiss people tend to do, at least the single ones 😉 Up there it’s warm, sunny, bright, everything one used to German winters would expect to see down in Zurich. Well, everyone except for people who have studied in Konstanz, of course, where you don’t have mountains nearby but the fog is as depressing. Then you’re used to it.
Didn’t I see a post from you a few days ago where you complained that there’s no real winter here in Zurich? 😉
Oh yes, I still think that this wasn’t a real winter here….even it was freezing after our trip to Fahr Abbey that was only in the evening. If it would be -10°C all the time, I would be used to it….
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