Welcome to the The Röstigraben Letters, monthly letters between Kristin from z’Nüni 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 October letter from the other side of the Röstigraben. You can read her October letter here.
Geneva, October 2021
Happy October to you too!
I saw your gorgeous Ticino photos over on Instagram. You are so lucky this region is within easy reach! From Geneva it is a bit further indeed. For us, it’s almost as far as driving to the South of France. Well, about an hour shorter, but that does make the south a popular Autumn break for many here.
I totally understand you feeling torn between discovering new places or returning to favorite ones. We really love both too, as returning to places also makes solid memories as a family. At least that’s how I feel about it, going somewhere with a toddler, and returning through the years and re-discovering the same place while interests change.
I have never been to the Rheinfall, this is literally the opposite side of Switzerland for us. It is still on the long Swiss bucket list of places to visit as soon as the opportunity arises. I did however visit another place of this long list in the beginning of this month with my friends who came to visit from Amsterdam. We went to the Lac Bleu near Arolla in the Valais region. I had already been to Blausee on the German side, but never to Lac Bleu on our side of the Röstigraben, and what a beautiful place!
I was hoping for the larch trees to be yellow already, but it was too early for that, but it was super beautiful all the same. The hike to the lake is a short one, but with amazing views and a cool small mountain restaurant for some drinks after. We all loved it! Have you heard of this lake before?
We stayed overnight in a hotel with a hot tub, and had Rösti in their restaurant. Yes, they do serve Rösti here as well! My friends actually knew Rösti as a pre-cooked meal and were pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
Another short hike we did on the same weekend was to Ferpècle and the foot of the Mont Miné glacier. Wow! Really beautiful and moon like landscape that you could really stare at for a long time! I definitely will go back here with the kids once as well as this whole region was super beautiful.
When you drive towards the valley, the road also takes you through the Earth Pyramids of Euseigne. I had to look this up on the internet, but these pyramids were formed at the end of the ice age. Super impressive formations!
Wow! You went on the Glacier Express with your visitors when your first born was 6 weeks old! Seems like a good idea for sightseeing with a baby as the baby can sleep and you’re not outside for too long, depending on the season she was born in of course. Great idea to take your daughter back to the Rheinfalls now that she is bigger!
Hmmm, typical places where I take my visitors… Most visitors that come on a regular bases have seen quite some things on our end now, but I guess I mostly take them to Geneva Old Town, to Annecy in France (which is a half an hour drive only), walking in the Jura mountains, markets on the French side, the town Nyon, or Yvoire across the lake, and a bit further to the Lavaux vineyards. With my friends who were just here we also took a peek at Lavaux while driving back to Geneva from the Valais. It’s such a beautiful place with an incredible view on the lake.
Oh yes, complicated those public holidays! Maybe they do try to have the same number of public holidays between the Cantons so that all the Swiss enjoy an equal amount of free time, and that’s why some have chosen these days off or other days while sticking to a maximum
It is wild season, yes. I actually don’t like the taste of the meat, it is quite peculiar and strong. I also don’t really like the fact that there are real hunters around in the forest and it makes us ‘very aware’ when we go on hikes. There are for sure different rules on the French and Swiss sides, but I find it impressive if we go and hike somewhere with our kids that you could see signs saying that a hunt is in progress.
I do however just like you love barley soup!! Yum! Have to make that again soon! Another Swiss soup I like is the Soupe de chalet from the Fribourg region, with cream and wild spinach. Delicious to warm up after some time outside. Do you also eat this soup sometimes?
I have to go now Dear Kristin. Our October break only starts this Saturday and I haven’t packed anything yet! We’re going back to Holland for a week and we’re super excited to go! When we went in summer, my husband couldn’t come with us and he does miss the Netherlands as well, so we decided to go back with him this month. We will also have a real vacation, and not only visiting family. We rented a holiday home close to a National Park. I will tell you all about that in our next letter!
Make sure you read Kristin’s October letter here.