• Alpine Property
  • ASC Breakfast French
  • Key English School

Below you will find a selection of the most recent entries from bloggers in our Leisure section.

To view the entries from individual bloggers, click on the links below:

  • Rachel Beacher is a British journalist who would be ready to backpack around the world tomorrow if she could find an easy way to carry two small and unruly children. She most enjoys travelling to places that are family-friendly, and easily accessible from Geneva. Before becoming an expat in Switzerland, Rachel was a writer and editor for UK newspapers and magazines. She moved to Lausanne in early 2013, speaks passable French, and has been writing travel articles for nearly 15 years.

  • Dean Marriott
    Dean works in Switzerland as an actor, voice-over artist, and onscreen presenter. In his quest for leisure activities, Dean keeps one key thought in mind: if Shakespeare’s words are true and ‘All the world's a stage’, we shouldn’t have to look far in order to be entertained.  We just have to make the time to appreciate it. If you are searching for an element of entertainment in your leisure pursuits and have a desire to look beyond the obvious, then Dean will use his artistic eye to point you in the right direction. 

  • Nicola Ogilvie
    Through her business, Just Sew, Nicola shares her passion for sewing with a new generation. She runs workshops, mostly for children, and teaches in the after-school program of a local international school. She loves the fact that even the youngest get a great sense of satisfaction from their completed projects. After a number of requests, she will soon be offering courses aimed at adults.

  • Oguzhan (Osan) Altun
    Oguzhan (Osan) Altun is a freelance photographer based in Geneva, and one of the founder members of the Geneva Photo Club. He specializes in landscapes, portraits and event photography. His teaching style combines 10 years of training experience in corporate life with contagious passion for photography and the best training materials available online on the net. He is crisp, to the point, and focused on getting the participant practice what she/he learned.

  • Yvette Evers
    As the founder of "fraiche air", a local club providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism in English, Yvette has hundreds of ideas for exploring the region including activities such as hiking, showshoeing, powerwalks, ski-touring and family days.

  • Lisa Gibson
    Originally from South Africa, Lisa moved to Switzerland in 2011 with her fiancé. Currently based in Lausanne, she's a freelance and feature writer who started her personal blog as a means of documenting her travels (both in Switzerland and around the rest of Europe) and as a way to share the expat experience with friends and family back home. The saying “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” could not be more true for her.

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By Micaela Crespo, Expat Lifehacks

Yes, I’ve come to terms with the fact that we cannot rely on our families to take care of simple logistic tasks. We can’t count on our expat friends and connections in our host country, since they’re probably in the same situation than us. I therefore use planning, automation and delegation to take care of these things.

And yet, I always make a small group of friends every time we move to a new place.

And that’s because there are two things that I’ll never be able to obtain from systems and planning: peace of mind and human connection.

When I became a working expat mum in the UK with dad travelling 2 weeks a month, the nights were terrifying. I would dwell in bed reeling over the things that could happen while I was alone. What would I do if anything happened during the night?

When I told a friend I made about my fears, she automatically offered to be my emergency contact and told me I could call her at any time.

This was priceless to me. I had recovered my peace of mind, and I could now sleep again. I felt less alone.

I never had to call her in the middle of the night – fortunately – but I am still extremely grateful for her availability and friendship. Other mums offered the same over time, when I told them what my life looked like.

This gave me a deep sense of human connection and community, even outside of my birth country and family.

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Port de Pollença

By Rachel Beacher, Journalist

Flight bookings have just opened for this autumn and winter 2017/18. For people planning how to spend the colder months, where better than a picturesque Mallorcan port?

'Everyone – the English, the Americans – they all came to Mallorca in the winter.'

So observed the thriller writer Agatha Christie in 1935 in her short story 'Problem at Pollensa Bay'. Indeed, at the time, the major towns of Mallorca were so busy that the author's hero sought refuge towards the less popular north east coast of the island and by chance came across a pretty and bohemian bolthole – Port de Pollença.

I visited Port de Pollença during those pesky school holidays in October, when the weather is usually failing in Vaud and it is still many months until ski season.

I found it to be enduringly enchanting and unmistakably recognisable from Christie's pre-war portrait.

She describes how a private detective, attempting to escape from his work and from the bothersomeness of people in general, falls in love immediately with 'a small hotel standing on the edge of the sea looking out over a view that in the misty haze of a fine morning had the exquisite vagueness of a Japanese print.'

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Having booked our Christmas holiday to Saas-Fee in July 2016 with the knowledge that it was probably our last Christmas in Switzerland, we had no idea that it would prove to be such a poignant visit.  

Looking back over 2016, we can’t help but find ourselves reflecting on the many celebrities who passed away.  The death of George Michael on Christmas Day was one of these sad moments.  It was only upon arriving in Saas-Fee on the morning of 26th December that I heard the news.  It soon became apparent that Saas-Fee had a strong connection with the singer, and after a quick internet search I discovered that the music video for  Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ had been filmed there back in December 1984.

Originally planned to be shot in the Canton of Bern, a last-minute change of location occurred due to a lack of snow, and Saas-Fee became the new setting. In case you are curious, the group and crew stayed at the 5-star Hotel Walliserhof, now renamed the Hotel Ferienart.  Another piece of trivia is that the well-known scene in front of the open fireplace was actually shot in the current culture centre, rather than the chalet shown in the video.

With this knowledge in mind, and having watched the video again, our stay in Saas-Fee took on a new meaning.  Although I cannot claim to have been a huge Wham or George Michael fan, I cannot escape the fact that they were a constant part of my teenage years, and thus, were indeed a part of my life that had come to an end.

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Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival 2015

By Rachel Beacher, Journalist

This weekend the UK will celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, the closest thing the Brits have to Swiss National Day or the Fourth of July.

The fireworks-themed festival commemorates the eleventh-hour capture of a gang of traitors who were attempting to blow up Parliament with 2,500kg of gunpowder. People today burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the group of Catholic plotters, because he was found hiding in the cellars of the House of Lords on 5 November, 1605. Each year there are thousands of public bonfires and fireworks displays held across the country – with the biggest and most breathtaking events in London, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Also known as Bonfire Night, the events are generally extremely family friendly, with children always expected. Tickets, usually free or inexpensive, are required for entry to most events, with the exceptions of Victoria Park and Blackheath. But the shows can be seen from miles around and there are even special viewing cruises along the Thames.

With the plunge of the pound since the UK's shock Brexit vote, it's a great time for people from mainland Europe to head to London for sightseeing and shopping.

swimming blog Dean 1

Exercise has always been promoted as an essential component for both our physical and mental wellbeing.  However, exercise is a broad term and what works for one person may not work to the same degree for another.  

Recently, I have taken up swimming again; not in a pool but in the lake.  My target each day is to swim to a carefully selected ‘orange buoy’, and, of course, back again.  This takes between 30 and 40 minutes depending on the conditions of the lake and the force of the current.  As Lake Geneva lies on the River Rhône, the source of which is the Rhône Glacier in Valais, there is a current that varies in strength on a daily basis.

I have discovered a huge difference between lake swimming and pool swimming, and it’s not simply the absence of chlorine.  The fact that I have no opportunity to rest at the end of each length has caused me to experience something quite exhilarating.  I have a very active mind, and find it hard to ‘switch off’ and relax.  Many of us experience periods of stress which prove a challenge to manage.  Going to the gym helps me.  However, at times I find myself lost in my thoughts between exercises, and although I indeed benefit physically, my mental state is still somewhat neglected.

When I swim in the lake, I am able to detach from my thoughts and simply focus on the activity: regular deep-breathing, coordinated stretching of the arms and legs, navigating my passage between boats and dinghies – in fact, I truly live in the moment.  I am not worrying about the effects of what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future.  Nothing stands between me and the environment in which I find myself; we become one.