Happy birthday Switzerland! We celebrated by hiding indoors all day to avoid today’s oppressive heat and humidity.
But after dinner we headed downtown to watch the fireworks. And they were great! There’s nothing better than a small town for fireworks, because we were able to get really close and still had plenty of room to sprawl out on a blanket and drink wine until the sun set. Friends brought some firecrackers that kept the kids busy in the meantime.
The show started with a bang – haha, literally – but more actually with a Céline Dion song, thanks for the hometown nod, Switzerland. The fireworks made their way around the lake from Geneva, timed to start and end in each city along the way for a traveling “wave” of celebratory ‘works. We stood right under ours and felt each bang like a gunshot and a rumble in the ground. And the show capped off by lighting a huge bonfire on a barge in the lake. To represent… I’m not sure what. But it was impressive.
Afterwords the fire brigade let all the spectators with their own fireworks set them off safely from the same official location. A few hilariously blew up or plummeted into the water, which is always the best part of discount explosives.
Here’s to another year, les suisses!
Giant chip bag art at the castle. Because everyone needs giant chips
The barge that will be lit for the bonfire later
Setting off some pre-fireworks fireworks
Taking a wefie by the light of the fireworks
The bonfire has been lit!
Switzerland takes its seasons seriously. Quite literally, on the day of the summer solstice – the first day of summer – suddenly the weather changed. Nearly overnight it went from damp and foggy to sunny and clear. And the season was glorious: every day was blue skies and golden sun, flowers blooming and green trees, warm evenings and incredible sunsets.
And making the most of this weather is no joke. Everyone goes to the beach for a dip and after-work drinks every evening, and the cities come alive with festivals and outdoor activities every weekend. We did our best to copy them.
A strange thing – all through the early summer, we would find these baby birds on the ground – my guess is they were being stolen from their nests by crows and dropped mid flight. Anyway, we probably saw about 5 or 6 of these around our yard. This poor little guy fell beside me while I was relaxing on the deck.
Summertime means skatepark time
The kids like to bring their scooters and skateboards when we go shopping in France, where this park is.
She loves the park!
Sunset from our deck. We spent many evenings out here.
And plenty of rainbows too!
The Mall brought in a pinball festival – free to play!
There were lots of classic pinball machines
Lots of kids’ centers have these bubbles where the kids can go in and float around on the water like a hamster ball.
Picnic at the beach
Enjoying the sunny picnic
The boardwalk along the beach was a great place to enjoy the summer
Summer view of the lake
I made the most of summer by biking to work, this was my route.
Nothing says summer like sunflower fields!
Watching the sun go down, happy summer!
We also made it out to several weekend festivals. Early in the summer, to celebrate the anniversary of the steamboat fleet on Lake Geneva, we went to a little town called Morges and watched the boats parade by with thousands of colored balloons to release at once. Don’t worry, the balloons were biodegradable. Too bad we didn’t get to actually see that part of the parade, because the kids were too hot in the sun and spent most of the time being fussy. It was a nice idea, though.
We stopped here first and had a picnic with our friends. There was a couple nearby who was getting VERY friendly, so we had to leave before the kids saw something too inappropriate.
We think this was part of boating school – a little parade of sailboats.
Other boats in the parade included this sailboat. It would later set off some pirate canons from the deck!
Each steamboat had a different color of balloons.
The boats passed us in formation, coming by the marina for the crowd to see.
Each steamboat has its own horn sound, and many people here can identify the boat based on the pitch of its call.
There were about 6 or 7 steamboats in all.
A closer look at the pirate ship.
This face was the main reason we left early.
And a photo of us walking back to the car…
In August, it’s Swiss national day, so we went to celebrations in both Geneva and Nyon. We thought the event would be huge and exciting in Geneva, so we headed down to the city in the morning to see what was happening. Not much, as it turns out. There was just a little event in the park with some fife & drum bands, a kids’ climbing wall, and displays of Swiss wrestling. Schwingen, which involves wearing giant shorts and trying to literally lift the other person by their shorts and throw them to the ground. Worth it.
Later that night we headed to Nyon to watch the fireworks over the lake. They were timed so that all the lake cities set off their fireworks in order, so we could see them in the distance along the lake over about half an hour. It was neat! But it was no Canada Day celebrations… Anyway, thanks for the nice summer, Switzerland!