Monday May 23rd, 2016

Gurten Park – in Wabern (Bern)

Re-post from last year. Originally published May 2015.

My kids and I have often been in Bern within last few years as a close friend lived there. In fact, Bern had been our main destination for many school holidays. And we could never skip Gurten on a sunny day and it remains one of our most favorite spots in Bern. Bern is close enough from Lausanne to do a day trip (around 1h one way by train or car), and we could totally spend a whole day at Gurten alone.

Gurten for Bern is like Ouchy or Sauvabelin for Lausanne, it’s the place where the locals let go the busy city and breath the fresh air. But unlike Ouchy where we go down to the lakeside, Gurten is located at the top of the hill above Bern, and not accessible by car. There is a train station (Wabern, Gurtenbahn) at the foot of the hill as well as car parking. Then everyone goes up the hill by climbing the stairs (free) or with the funicular “Gurtenbahn” (for a small fee).  Strollers can be brought in at the end of the funicular, and as far as I know, most (if not all) areas are stroller- and wheelchair-accessible.gurten-viewbelow

Once you get to the top and out of the funicular, you will be greeted by a view to the city of Bern, lots of greenery, and grazing highland cattles. Ahhhh…

A few steps from the funicular stations starts a huge space for younger kids, with tons of fun activities. My kids usually directly go to the kids cars (fueled by CHF1 coins. In the warmer months only)

gurtenpark-car1

gurten-car2

My oldest also love this hands-and-feet-on huge rolling ball tracks (below) where she can move a ball through the complicated tracks by using the tools correctly. This involves lots of pulling, pushing, pedaling, and lifting. A really amazing thing.

gurten-tinguely

There are also a huge climbing frame for the bigger kids as well as a smaller one for the tots.

gurten-climbing

And then… this super cute paddling pool “Aquaris”. The water may look very green but that’s because the pool quality is maintained naturally and organically. Yes, kids may sometimes chance upon a frog here.

gurten-pool1

This raft alone makes me want to be a child again. How fun it is!

gurten-raft

While we have only tried the parts of the park that were designated for younger kids, there are so many other things that people of all ages can enjoy here, including walking and bike tracks, outdoor live music and many festivals during the warmer months. In winter, when there is enough snow there are sled tracks and children ski schools. We always eat a picnic there but there are restaurants and food carts to go to when hunger strikes.

There is also a mini train that my kids have always had to sit on, but somehow I couldn’t find a photo in my computer. But you can see the photo of the mini train and many more on their website, or check the video below of the play area of the park.

 

 

The best of all, is that you don’t need to plan too much to go here. Just pick a sunny day to go to Bern and go up from the city!

 

Gurten_rauf

 

More info:
Gurten – Park im Grünen
3084 Wabern (Bern)
+41 31 970 3333

Tuesday May 10th, 2016

Spring Cleaning: Selling Your Stuff

books-sold

When things start to pile up, it may be time to declutter! The good news is, there are few things more rewarding than receiving money for things you just want to rid of the house. There are many ways to sell and you may need to go through different ways for different items.

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Monday May 2nd, 2016

What Your Child Needs for the First Year of School

school-need

I learned that many parents (I was one) were eager to get the official list of items their children would need for the first year of school early. One of the reasons is usually to buy those things cheaper while they go on summer holiday abroad.

But the truth is, the “official” things listed are not many. And all can be bought here inside CH inexpensively. The list usually short and consists of:

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Thursday April 21st, 2016

Summer Holiday Activities in Lausanne and Around (2016)

ouchy-summer

Now that the warmer (though rather wet) days are here, it’s time to think of school summer holiday! :)

For those not yet familiar with the school here, school kids in Switzerland have holidays often, approximately every 6 weeks (find the list here). This may create headaches to many parents, especially ones who are employed. Chatting around, I found that most employed couple rely on help from grandparents or families (who sometimes fly from another side of the planet). Or hire a temporary nanny when they can afford one. Or they take turns taking off days from their office. But considering the active life of kids, even the stay-at-home parents need programs to keep those little ones and teens happily occupied.

Below I complied different kinds of activities and camps that are offered during the school holidays in Lausanne and surrounding areas. Please click the links for more info.

As a general rule, the winter holiday after Christmas and the Relâches (February) are considered ski holiday thus most of the sport camps offered concentrated into this. For other holidays, activities are more varied.


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Tuesday April 12th, 2016

What You Must Know: Photographs of Identifiable People in Switzerland

With the warmer months coming, and especially the outdoor swimming pools to open shortly, I feel the need of a re-post as this is a topic that needs to be known and remembered.  (Original post dated June 2015)


photo-people-CH

On Saturday 24heures ran an article on regulations of photographing people in public space, in this case within the area of public swimming pools. Yes, that includes photos of own children. Based on this regulations, dated back to decades ago, it is forbidden to take photos at all – though the article also explains that in practice it really depends on the circumstances (Does the child wish to be photographed? Does the child know the photographer? etc)

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Tuesday March 22nd, 2016

Second-hand Shop: La Boutique Terre des Hommes in Flon

If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably know my love for second-hands. The boutique of Terre des Hommes in Flon quickly became a favorite. For those who are not familiar with Terre des Hommes (TdH) it is an international children’s rights organization that was founded in Lausanne in 1960. It is a charitable organization thus the boutique is run by volunteers and proceeds from sales go to finance TdH projects.

boutique-TDH-1

The boutique is located in the basement so even if you had been in Flon many times, you may have missed it. They share the same building as the restaurant “Bistrot du Flon”, you just need to find the elevator or stairs to reach the basement.

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Friday March 18th, 2016

Children’s Party Suppliers (Decor and Food)

This is not a sponsored post*
This is an updated post, originally posted in October 2015

Questions on party supplies, especially helium balloons, frequently surfaced between parents in Lausanne. So I listed here what I know or had heard of, and included my own experience and favorite suppliers. This post was written with kids’ parties in mind, so no wine suppliers, sorry. Hope you’ll find this post useful nonetheless! 😉

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Balloons

Few balloons

For only a few balloons, you can go to Franz Carl Weber in Lausanne. From the info I heard, you can either bring your own balloons or buy from them. I heard that Manor in Lausanne center also had a tank but I haven’t tried it myself.

Up to 30 balloons

The helium tank from Coop Brico+Loisirs (photo below) has been my personal choice. It’s more economical as it’s smaller (2.2 liters for approx 20-30 balloons) and thus cost less (around chf40). The tank is “disposable” and according to the label the gas can be used up to 5 years from the filling date. I actually bought one on sale earlier this year (then it cost around chf27).

heliumtank-brico

I have used half a tank for my daughter’s birthday party this month and could keep the rest for later. Once emptied, the tank can be disposed safely on metal recycling bin at your local déchetterie. Finally, as there are many Coop Brico+Loisirs shops, it’s easy to grab a tank. It’s not big nor heavy, I put it in the basket under our Mclaren stroller for easy transport.

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Thursday March 17th, 2016

Swiss Vapeur Parc in Le Bouveret

The Swiss Vapeur Parc will re-open for this year on 19 March 2016, so that I brought this post (originally published Aug 2012) back for those who haven’t been there. Both my kids looooove this park and I’m sure we’ll spend at least a day there this summer. Choo-choo!


I had been meaning to do this post for the last 2 months. Life’s surely busy with 2 kiddos around.

We (hubby, 3.5-y.o. daughter, 1-y.o son, and I) went to Swiss Vapeur Parc on a Saturday, in end of May 2012 (also the Saturday of the Pentecôte weekend). We “had” to go there as I bought a voucher from BuyClub.ch and it was to expire by end of the month.

We took the train (station: Bouveret, approx. 200m or 5 min walk to the park). From Lausanne it took 1 hour 12 minutes, including a change of train in St-Maurice. Very easy and relaxing, and the view from the train (the mountains and valleys of Valais) was breathtaking. FYI, during spring and summer, you can also take the CGN boat from Villeneuve.

We arrived at noon and expected a crowd. There were many people, but it was far from packed. There was an area to leave strollers, and we did so. Our 1-y.o. moved into the Ergo carrier. Stroller doesn’t really work there, as there were bridges, although you can keep it with you.

The queue to board those mini trains was not bad. The “stations” located more in front of the park were the most crowded, but even there we only had to wait for the next train. Some “stations” only had a few “passengers” waiting. There were many trains with different styles, really cute. The train rides were longer than I expected. The mini trains really went everywhere around the park, yet we saw something different each time. And to enjoy the view of mountains surrounding us, with the blue sky we had that day, was awesome.

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Wednesday March 16th, 2016

Oh My Cake ! – Baking Supplies in Lausanne

Sponsored Post*

Oh My Cake ! has only opened in Lausanne for a bit more than 3 months. Yet it’s quite busy and I could see why: It is one that we had been waiting for all these years to finally fill the void – the lack of large range of baking supplies in Lausanne!
ohmycake-shop

To be honest, I don’t really bake. If I did I used mix from the box and decorated only when I really needed to (i.e. my children’s birthdays). Yet I was super excited when Clélia the mompreneur behind this shop contacted me in December. Last week I finally visited the shop and it fulfilled my expectations. Later that day I posted a photo on facebook, and the response it received from Lausanne Mom’s facebook followers confirmed that there was a sort of euphoria among the baking parents in Lausanne area.

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Tuesday March 15th, 2016

What to do with Kids: Easter 2016

easter2014

  • Marché de Pâques & Salon de l’oeuf décoré in Nyon, 19-20 March 2016 (info)
  • Pâkomuzé offers many programs during the Easter weekend. Registration for most activities starts today – 15 March 2016 from 12:30pm! (info)

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