Tag Archives: Vaud

The forecast

The forecast

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People without babies must think I’ve gone a bit nuts. Every time I see someone I describe, with confidence, how the baby is. Two days later, I’ll be saying something completely different, with no apparent awareness that I’ve done a U-turn that would make a politician’s head spin.
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I’m starting to believe that small babies are like the weather: there’s not much you can do to control either of them yet people spend a great deal of energy trying – and also trying to predict what will happen next. It never works as well as you’d like. All you can really do is try to dress appropriately for the climate and expect to get wet now and then.

And I’m still hoping for an accurate forecast!

At swim, two ducks

At swim, two ducks

There are a lot of wild birds on the lake at the moment, as the winter has been so mild that some seasonal visitors have stayed, rather than head futher south. I don’t know which should be where when though.
Lake Geneva, with Alps in the distance. Birds everywhere in the foreground.

The swans are here all year round, I know that much!

Behind a white swan is a group of smaller waterfowl

And they’re always pretty bossy when someone starts throwing food around. Or when a dog comes by, and they hiss for dominance.

Close up of a white swan in shallow water

The only one I recognize out of these is the mallard.

Three ducks, each a different species, in shallow water on Lake Geneva

I took this last photo about a week before the others. The coots are sheltering from strong winds blowing on the lake by hiding in the harbour with a flock of brown tufty ducks. I’d never seen a flock this size – I usually see one or two coots, paddling along quickly with their giant feet. I think they’re rather lovely.

A flock of coots floating among the small boats in a harbour

The importance of a good altitude

The importance of a good altitude

A lot of people imagine that Switzerland is completely covered in snow all winter. It really isn’t. At least, it isn’t completely covered. Here (and I’m back in Switzerland for a few weeks, woo!) altitude matters in a way that it doesn’t in the UK, or most areas. As an example, here’s what it’s like at 400m above sea level, around where I grew up: Vineyard in winter under a blue sky. No snow anywhere.

 

No snow. Not a speck. This next photo was taken a 20-minute drive away, at 1200m.

Meadow in winter under a blue sky. Completely covered in snow to a depth of at least 50cm.

 

Now that’s Switzerland in winter, right?

You can see more photos from La Givrine in my post from last year. 

La Givrine, Vaud

La Givrine, Vaud

If you’ve ever come out and stayed with my family in Switzerland, you’ve probably been up to La Givrine, up in the Jura. It’s at about 1200m above sea level, so the season is quite different than down by the lake and it’s pretty all year round – plus, there are at least 3 restaurants which do good food, and one which does excellent fondues.

Low hills (as we're already up a mountain) withfull snow and trees under a blue sky.

January

February

February

April

April

Mostly grass, some green, some brown, patches of snow and trees under a mostly blue sky

May

The white speckles you can see are crocuses – they’re absolutely everywhere at the moment, in their thousands. The snow’s hanging on late this year, but it’s nearly gone – there’s only these patches in sheltered spots left. Some years they don’t get enough snow to open the ski lifts, but this year the skiing was good.

If you’re in the area, it’s a very pretty place to visit – there’s a train up from Nyon, and an easy walk to several restaurants. The easiest is 20m – there’s a restaurant right at the train station – but our favourite is the the Couvaloup de Crans, about 2km / 40 minutes up the mountain.