Welcome to the The Röstigraben Letters, monthly letters between Kristin from Swiss Family Travel, and Laura from Let’s Explore. Married Swiss, Kristin, an Australian living in german-speaking Zug, and Laura a Dutch, living in french-speaking Geneva, unfold through their letters the cultural differences between both sides of the Röstigraben, learning more about Switzerland along the way. Read their letters (Kristin’s & Laura’s) and replies, and share your thoughts in the comments.
My letter is a reply to Kristin’s May letter from the other side of the Röstigraben. You can read her July letter here.
South of France, July 2021
I’m writing you from the South of France today, on the French national holiday, the 14th of July. While I am writing you from my parents in law’s garden, I am surrounded by the sound of the cicadas and the smell of the pine trees. Now, I am not really on vacation. I had the opportunity to have my home office elsewhere, and since the kids are on vacation, the choice between our apartment in Geneva, or their grandparent’s garden, made the choice rather easy. As I work part-time, I can still also enjoy this change of scenery outside of my ‘office hours’.
Our children do not have 6, but 8 weeks of school holiday in Geneva. But next year this will be different, as the Canton has voted to have a longer Easter break starting next year, which they then will deduct from the summer break. I am happy with that, because in some years, the time between Easter and the summer break can be quite long for the kids.
Oh, I haven’t been to the Swiss National Park yet, but would really love to go there once! We, like you, have very fond memories of our holiday in Flims – Laax last year in summer, and like you, I adore eating Capuns in Graubünden. Good choice to go back to Flims! We especially liked the Trutg dil Flem hike there. I think you did a part of that one too last year didn’t you?
Funny that you speak about Edelweiss flowers. I had the goal to grow them from seeds myself this year, and also posted seeds to my mom. They grew way better at my mom’s in the Netherlands than they did at my place in Geneva.
I personally don’t know Globi that well. It could be that the character is a bit more popular in the German speaking part, but I’m not sure about that.
I’m super happy to have inspired you for future visits in the French speaking part of Switzerland! Yes, the Narcissi fields are a wonderful add to your bucket list, and spending a night in Geneva to make your stay a bit longer really is a good choice too!
I of course have lots of tips on visiting Geneva. The best Badi would be the Bains des Paquis I spoke about. Then, you should definitely hop on one of the yellow bus boats and visit the Old Town, and the area Carouge, which is a bit the Italian quarter of Geneva.
In the meanwhile, we have spent 2 weeks in the company of my mom, which was a real blessing after such a long time separated. Like in most areas, the weather wasn’t that good unfortunately, but we did enjoy Geneva, and I’ve spent one afternoon enjoying some mom and daughter time with an afternoon tea in a hotel by the lake, and we went to a gorgeous terrace in the middle of the vineyards in a nearby village.
We also went all together on a great excursion in Switzerland, the Chocolate Train! Have you heard of that train? It is a beautiful Belle Epoque train that runs on the Goldenpass line from Montreux. The train itself makes the trip so special. A bit like I would imagine the Orient Express train to be like. We first went to Gruyères, and then on to Maison Cailler in Broc for the Chocolate experience. I’m happy my mom was with us on this trip!
Less than a week later, we were on another train trip, but going to France that time. From Geneva, it takes 6 hours to get to Saint-Raphael, the coastal town where my husband’s family lives. Yes, he is French and Swiss, a bi-national. We just had to change trains once in Marseille, so it is really easy to come here by train. It seems we are luckily escaping to horrible weather in Geneva for a week already, and the children are happy to spend some time with their grandparents.
On Monday, my after-work activity was snorkeling with my son in front of Ile d’Or island. One of our favorite beaches in Saint-Raphael. Since it is a rocky beach, and no sand, there is always an incredible amount of fish swimming there.
This weekend, my husband will come to pick us up, and we will go back to Geneva. We will be there a few days before our real family holiday starts. I will of course be washing and packing during those days.
Can’t wait to see your photos from the Swiss National Park and Flims! Enjoy your holiday dear Kristin!
Sending you sunshine from the south,