Saturday, May 16, 2020

Unexpected Consequences of Remaining Home

With the pandemic in full swing and lockdowns almost universal, plans change.  We try to schedule international travel during the shoulder seasons which typically means either May or September.  Having traveled to Switzerland in both May 2017 and May 2018, a return trip was on the travel schedule for May 2020.  Given the current situation, this year's planned return trip to Switzerland in May was cancelled.  Really, no other option was possible.  Our flights into and out from Zurich were cancelled by the airline.

Primarily confined to quarters over the last two months, we enjoyed one unexpected pleasure.  Frequently traveling in May, the flowering of the trees is often missed.  Not this year.  At present, we are enjoying the vibrant cascade of pink blossoms adorning the two flowering crabapple trees in the back yard.  Also in full bloom are the two lilacs that are slowly taking over two corners of the yard.  The downside of enjoying the colorful backyard besides the obvious loss of a trip to Europe?  Nancy discovered that she may be allergic to all of the pollen.  
Flowering crabapples in bloom
As a reminder of what the pandemic has taken from us, below are a few photos from the 2017 trip onboard the GoldenPass rail line.  We made the journey following a two night's stay in Lausanne on the shore of Lake Geneva to Zurich winding our way through the Alps.  Once this virus runs its course, perhaps we can return?






To add in a little military and wargaming content, a quick stop at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich brought forth the following highlights:
Pikeman with grounded pike
Although the Battle of Murten diorama is huge and quite impressive in person, the glare given off by photographing through the protective case prevents a quality shot.  The pike block in the photo below is HUGE! 
Battle of Murten, 1476
Battle of Murten, 1476

54 comments:

  1. This side of the pond has seen a resurgence in home baking (you can't find flour for love nor money) and gardening, both of which we enjoy. My garden has certainly had lots of TLC since the lockdown, aided by the weather which has been dry and sunny for nigh on 8 weeks now. All holiday plans and 25th wedding anniversary celebrations all on hold/cancelled.

    We are hoping to visit friends in Austria next year and your 'photos of Switzerland immediately reminded me of how beautiful this part of the World is. Here's hoping to better travel next year, all being well.

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    1. Flour is off the shelves in stores here as well. That result is a little surprising given the big push for a gluten free diet fad.

      We recently celebrated a wedding anniversary during lockdown. A May anniversary date is one of the drivers for May travel. Hope you get to celebrate 25 years in proper style once we get to the other side of this madness.

      Even a tentatively planned return to Peru in May 2021 looks in jeopardy.

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  2. Hi Johnathan- We cruised from Budapest to Amsterdam back in May of 5015- just spectacular rivers, places and scenery...I can fully understand you wanting to return to Europe. When this Pandemic is under control is certainly a guess...I'm thinking months and months to go yet. Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Hi Kev! We have often considered a Danube or Rhine river cruise. Good to see your experience was a positive one. European adventures may be out of reach for many months if not a year. International travel for leisure may not be likely until a vaccine is available.

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    2. The Danube cruise is on our list of things to do, once the kids have flown the nest, as the countryside it flows through is stunning.

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    3. A Danube cruise would be very enjoyable and a relaxing way to see the county. I hope you arrange the cruise once your "guests" fly the coop.

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  3. I have been fortunate to have an apartment above Lake Geneva for many years, and it's really a beautiful place ... like these photos!

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    1. Phil, you are a very lucky man to have a place on the shores of Lake Geneva!

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  4. your photos make me think i should go to Switzerland sometime as i have never been, hopefully something like normality will return soonish perhaps 2021

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    1. Switzerland is Nancy's favorite European country to visit. She has decreed that we ought to visit annually! While we did so in 2017 and 2018, we missed 2019 for a trip to Egypt. As you see, the planned 2020 trip had to be scrapped.

      It's a lovely country and I'm sure you would enjoy the adventure.

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  5. Lovely blossoms! I was working in Zurich briefly in 1989 and I think I went to that museum, I don't think there was the diorama there then though!
    Best Iain

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    1. Iain! You worked in Zurich and never visited the Swiss National Museum? With your interest in the Renaissance and Medieval warfare, I find that hard to believe. You owe yourself a return visit.

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  6. You’re missing out on the beauty of Switzerland for sure, but you have a beautiful garden. The crabapple blossom looks fabulous.

    I’m enjoying the fresher air we're getting and losing that is one aspect of he return to normality that I’m not looking forward to.

    I hope Nancy’s allergy isn’t severe. When it kicks in for me it can feel like a really bad cold or flu if I don’t medicate.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the photos of the crabapples in full bloom. They produce a dramatic effect, for sure.

      The air quality here is usually quite good unless during fire season. No benefit for us on that front due to the lockdown.

      The allergies were bad for a couple of days but she seems to be better now. Medication helped!

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  7. Enjoyed the post very much, Jon - photos of beautiful places which I can't see from my window or my front gate are particularly poignant just now. Your blossom is marvellous - we have a white lilac in our garden of which I am particularly fond, and it's coming into bloom now. Last year there was a downpour two days after the blossom opened, and it was wrecked (!), but it's looking good at the moment.

    Very invigorating - if there wasn't so much to worry about, the garden would be a real escape!

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    1. Thank you, Tony!

      Posting photos to remind one what is being missed. Seems a little cruel, doesn't it? We are fortunate that in our State lockdown did not include exercise. I am free to roam about the countryside on my bike for exercise as long as I "exercise" physical distancing.

      We have both white and purple lilacs in the back yard. When in full bloom, they are magnificent to see and smell. May and June tend toward showers here so a violent rainstorm can wreck the spring blossoms here too. Quite a disappointment when that happens.

      Stay well, Tony!

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  8. Yes this incarceration is hard. We have cancelled all of our June travel plans as well. We have to spend May getting everything going on the "ranch" so we can leave without worry later. We haven't done the sleeper trains yet, just a quick commuter from Vienna to Salzburg. It looks lovely!

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    1. Hi Vol! Riding the rails in Switzerland is great fun, easy, and inexpensive with an all-inclusive Swiss Travel Pass. While we were in Salzburg in May 2018, we never ventured beyond Salzburg and the lakes. Vienna will be another trip.

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  9. My son lived and worked in Switzerland years ago, I got him to drive me to the three 'Burgundian' battlefields. At Grandson we stopped at a truck stop and I had one of the best meals I have ever ate, I shiver when I think of what is on offer here.

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    1. That must have been a fun trip, George! Grandson was one of the stopping places when we visited in 2018. It was a drizzly day for a day trip from Lausanne but the Chateau was fabulous. If you have not seen my Grandson recount, see,

      https://palousewargamingjournal.blogspot.com/2018/04/switzerland-chateau-de-grandson.html

      The Swiss National Museum in Zurich was undergoing renovations when we visited so much of the really interesting stuff was behind lock and key.

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  10. Lol, I can see you guys now “oh look, these trees make flowers. Who knew?”

    But I hear you brother. So far we have canceled son #2 bday party, my wife’s bday party, a romantic week long trip for the wife and me, and a 4 day game convention. Listed like that it actually sounds like I have a life.

    Pretty pictures of plants / backyard. Ours is a disaster because it’s covered in kids toys. 😀

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    1. Exactly! Allergies? Who knew Nancy had allergies?

      Sounds like you DO have a life, Stew! Too bad about all of your cancelled activities. We missed a trip to Austin, TX in April and missed Daughter #2's Child #1's arrival two weeks ago.
      We won't be able to visit the new grandchild for three months according to healthcare protocols until the child's immunity system is ready for us.

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  11. I remember I knocked back a school trip to Switzerland in the 70's and wish I had gone now. Mind you, school trips are not the best for military museum sightseeing. We have Switzerland on our list for the next trip though.

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    1. Switzerland is a great destination for your next trip! When this is all over and virus contained, we all ought to celebrate by traveling. The tourism industry can certainly use some help.

      Thanks for your comment, Lawrence!

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  12. Nice images Jonathon and good to see so many positive comments about non gamiing posts...it proves we can all think about something other than toy soldiers occasionally! Here in NZ we have had several days with no new cases of covid and many of the restrictions have been relaxed. There is of course debate about whether potentially wrecking our overseas tourist based economy by closing the borders will be worth it in the long run, but people will still be alive...if you are dead, your dead!

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    1. Keith, a wargaming blog does not always have to feature wargaming. Variety is good and it gives readers a break from an endless parade of the latest off my painting desk.

      We are still in lockdown here but restrictions should begin to ease soon. This pandemic has wrecked many industries across the globe. Hope we can recover from this shock to the system. As you say, we are still alive! We will have good stories to tell to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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  13. Switzerland is indeed beautiful as is your backyard!

    Sorry to hear of Nancy’s newly discovered symptoms.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the photos of the backyard! I imagine the view from your house overlooking the Mediterranean.

      Nancy has recovered.

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  14. Funny coincidence: I was just outside in our back yard today taking shots of our crab apple tree in blossom (same as yours). I guess I'll have to schedule a trip to Switzerland to complete the parallel :)

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    1. Ed! This is a funny coincidence! I hope to see some photos of your tree in bloom. As for a trip to Switzerland, we both may have plenty of time to make travel arrangements.

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  15. We also love Europe and those shots from the train are wonderful - but look what you have been missing at home. It would make me think about timing of trips.

    Excellent shots from the museum - one to visit in the future - hopefully.

    Richard

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    1. Hi Richard! Great to see you back. Late Spring is a pleasant time here. With the river running high with spring run-off, the falls that cascade through the center of downtown present an impressive sight.

      The museum in Zurich is a good one. I need to go back since it was under renovation on my last visit. Hope you get there!

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  16. I worked across the street from the Museum for 6 months back in the late 70s. I managed to go once but don't remember much now. I always enjoyed walking through the old section of town. Going back is on the agenda.

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    1. I bet much has changed since the 70s! The old sections of both Zurich and Luzern are fascinating and great places to wander. You owe yourself a return one day.

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  17. Lovely photos of the blossom, Jonathan, but what curse for your wife to be allergic to pollen! One of the positives of the lockdown here is that with the native birds have come back in the suburbs and long may they stay. Wonderful shots of Switzerland too...brings back many memories.

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    1. I think the pollen is especially bad this year. Usually, she is not bothered much. I know many who are suffering this year.

      Pretty cool that the native birds have returned in your area. I hope they stay.

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  18. The garden looks great and some great memories in the other photos.
    I was also planning to be in Europe this month with trips to Lyon, Brussels, London, Nottingham and of course Newark for Partizan tomorrow, but that was not to be.

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    1. Paul, glad you enjoyed the photos. Most are facing some disappointment and concern on many fronts this year. Travel is definitely one of those fronts. Did I read that your stint in the USA is coming to an end?

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  19. We're just on the cusp of blooming here; lots of rain on the coast, but little sun means spring always comes late. I had some bulbs in, and am checking each morning - there's one that looks like it might open up in the next few days.

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    1. With luck, your garden will be in full bloom soon. Tulips have come and gone here in the Pacific Northwest.

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  20. Beautiful shots of the trees and Switzerland. My visit in 1974 was in May, and included performing in the stadium at Zurich. My wife would love the country, and actually has a classmate from when she was majoring in performance Violin at Indiana University who lives near Zurich and plays for one of the state orchestras.

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    1. Peter, you are due for a return to Switzerland! Of course, only after international travel is again approved and economies are back on track.

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  21. So many plans cancelled for everyone. It really has caused this year to be a bit of a downer even though the reasons for that are serious of course. I have two work colleagues who even had to cancel their weddings also! My wife and I are just thankful we were able to enjoy our honeymoon in February prior to things becoming so serious as they are now.

    I hope you’ll get to travel a little later in the year when/if this virus has ran its course. Seeing those pics makes me regret never taking up a family friend’s offer to go visit them in Geneva when I still lived in the UK.

    As to allergies, I’ve suffered from them since childhood, welcome the missus to a wonderful world of sniffling and uncontrollable sneezes! Lol

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    1. Dai, thanks for your response!

      The current situation seems singular with worldwide effect. Travel may be slow to return to normal levels. Airlines and aerospace industries appear crippled for now. This situation will pass given time and vaccines but I do not anticipate any international travel for us in 2020.

      If you get another chance to visit Switzerland, I recommend taking it. The beauty of the country is unbelievable.

      Sorry to read of your lifelong allergy battle. Nancy's bout with it seemed short-lived and she is fine now.

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  22. Great images from what I can see was a most memorable trip. Lovely weather we're currently experiencing too.

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  23. I look forward to you travelling again JF; as a guy who likes to make terrain for the war games table, I always find blog entries of travel inspiring.

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    1. I look forward to a time when we all can travel again. Travel can inspire new projects or renew interest in old ones.

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  24. I love the photos. You are very talented!

    Let's hope that we can travell next year again.

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    1. Thank you, André! Perhaps travel will be possible next year.

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  25. The trees look lovely. Our lilacs just started blooming this week.

    Zurich looks beautiful. Amanda was to travel to Europe for a conference in the summer, but it's been postponed until 2021.

    How is your leg? Have you gotten out for much cycling?

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    1. Glad you liked the photos, Tim!

      Leg has healed and I have been out on the bike regularly. Put in 125 miles this past week but the ankle remains swollen often and painful at times. It will eventually recover (I hope!).

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