I have started and thrown away this post four times this week. I am so angry with what is happening with the leadership in the US right now, that all I have been able to write has been political stuff, and I know no one wants to read about that. It is all around us every day. Even over here, I can’t stop reading about what is happening in the USA. All of Europe seems to be concerned. I get a lot of “Bad American” vibes here. The population seems to think that Americans as a whole are uncultured slobs, who think the whole world should revolve around the US. But, they also really seem to admire “America.” It is no secret that there is no love lost for President Trump. There is widespread relief that he will no longer be in office. There also seems to be widespread amusement about how buffoonish the entire transition process has been. Oh well, enough of that, or I will write nothing but bile for the next few minutes!
Julie is excited. One of the things she has missed the most over here is Italian Sausage. It turns out that Italian Sausage is just another American concoction that doesn’t seem to exist outside the US. She did however, find a recipe to try and make Italian sausage; so in normal Julie fashion (those that travel with her have experienced this effect many times) she bought enough fennel seeds to flavor a couple hundred pounds of pork sausage. I laughed when the first shipment came in. I figured one package would be enough, but then I remembered who I married. I laughed even harder when I was putting away the packages of fennel seeds and I came across a bottle of Fenchelsamen. Fenchel = Fennel. samen = seed. However, it was the next shipment three days later, that pushed me over the top. :). Something tells me that when we move back to the US we will be moving with multiple packages of fennel seeds! So tonight we are having calzones with italian sausage for dinner, and i’ll probably be eating italian sausage for the next week or two.
Last year we discovered Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets). We had a blast last year going to a couple of different markets, and had big plans this year. Unfortunately, almost all have been canceled. Even though they are outside, the markets would be a fantastic vector to help spread the virus. Thousands of people in tight spaces all drinking Glüwein, or the local holiday drink, would lead to Trump level super spreader events (sorry I couldn’t resist). We are going to be visiting Rapperswil-Jona either this weekend or next, as they have decided to have a small market set up, and tonight, we are heading down to Zürich just to see the christmas lights (assuming the rain holds off). I have my list of 10 Christmas markets, that we will start whittling down next year. My list is multi country: we want to visit markets in Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Croatia, as well as here in Switzerland.
It has been another slow week. About the only thing done besides house work, is put about 150 kilometers on my bike. After the 1/2 marathon, I decided to give my knees a break this month; so instead of running, I am doing a lot more biking. I am trying to do five times a week, and at least 30 kilometers. 30 kilometers is about 18.5 miles. Most of my rides, though, are either 35 or 40 kilometers. It did get cold, though, so I moved the bike from the balcony into the basement storage area. I download some shows on Netflix to my ipad, and watch while I am riding. Here is the thing, that doesn’t make sense to me, though. When I run for an hour and a half. My garmin watch tells me I burned about 900 calories. When I ride my bike for an hour and a half, the calorie count is almost doubled. Yet I feel a lot more tired after running than I do riding. Why is that? My head tells me that if I expend more effort running, I would burn more calories than riding. Any one know the answers?
Julie and I got all the kids Christmas presents bought and shipped. Amazon does make the distance pretty easy in that regard. Last year one of the gifts was air fare over here. Which seems pretty lousy, because we would pay for that anyway, but they don’t need to know that. I am thinking that will be another gift this year. Maybe they can come twice. 🙂 I did book Julie and I couple of nights in a town called Andermatt.
Andermatt is a mountain town. Switzerland is the only country in Europe that is allowing skiing this year; so I was a little worried about finding a place, but we found a nice one bedroom apartment. That way we can cook our own meals, and not have to worry about restaurants. Even though the ski slopes are open, Andermatt limits the number that can be on the mountain. You actually have to make a reservation for the gondola ride up the mountain. We don’t plan on doing any skiing, but we are going to bring our Schneeshuhe (Snow shoes). We figure that hiking will not be very crowded. We both know we need should probably just stay home due to the virus, but we also know we have to do something to keep our spirits up. Switzerland has said the vaccine, will probably not be available until summer. The one thing I am looking forward to, is that we get a car in mid January. We are getting an Audi A-7 so we can take some long drives and explore Switzerland by auto until we can resume travel again.
Take care and stay healthy!