Happy Christmas and goodbye to 2023

December 19, 2023, No comments

So that was 2023 and I’m glad it’s almost over. Not an easy year for me but it wasn’t all hospitals and bad news. In between all the crap were some lovely Swiss moments. Here’s a look back at the last 12 months:

January: a cold start to the year but I love Bern in its winter coat. Even after Christmas is over, the city still looks magical covered in snow.

February: after the pandemic caused a pause, carnival was back as loud as ever. Bern’s may not be as long and rowdy as Basel’s but it’s always fun.

March: once spring had sprung, it was great to be able to start hiking again, albeit at a low level. This was my first visit to the hanging bridge at Sigriswil – 340m long with great views.

April: Fribourg is often overlooked by visitors rushing to or from Lake Geneva, but it has a lovely old town and marvellous cathedral. A day trip showed I should go more often.

May: it’s years since I’ve been to the Rhine Falls but it was worth the wait. Snow melt and spring rains meant that they were in full flow and as impressive as ever.

June: time for one of my favourite excursions from Bern – the train to Wengen, cable car to Männlichen then hike back around via Kleine Scheidegg.

July: a new hike for me up at Hasliberg. From Meiringen, it’s a series of cable cars up to the Alpen Tower then a glorious hike down to Käserstatt. With cows of course.

August: I don’t often get to stay in absolute luxury in Switzerland, but Cosa Travel arranged for a night for me and Gregor at the Bürgenstock Resort above Lake Lucerne. Simply sublime.

September: on days when I was feeling vaguely human, I’d escape to the mountains. The best antidote to chemotherapy is a day of sunshine and fresh air at Mürren.

October: but usually I was confined to Bern, too sick to travel even within Switzerland. Luckily it’s a beautiful city all year round.

November: perhaps my favourite day in the Bern calendar is one Monday in November when the city is taken over by onions. Yes, it’s Zibelemärit and scrummy onion tarts.

December: when chemo finished just as the first snow fell, you couldn’t stop me from finding a winter wonderland – and Kanderstag always fits the bill.

No trips to far-flung Graubünden or Ticino this year but they are already planned for 2024. Not only because I love going there but also because I have started researching my new book. More on that next year but for now, I’ll simply say this:

and may 2024 be a better year for all of us.

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