On Saturday 22nd of June I started my journey to Zurich, Switzerland from Launceston Airport. After 3 flights and 24 hours of travelling I arrived in Zurich to a beautiful and hot summer day. I then started my exchange in Amriswil, near the beautiful lake of Bodensee (translation - Lake Constance) which divides the Swiss, German and Austrian boarders, (all meet in the middle of the lake).
I spent a week with Willi Honold as my first host on a horse farm, riding and caring for the horses through the week. This was also the start of a very big heatwave for Switzerland reaching 35 degrees (equivalent to a 38 degree day in Tasmania).
On the 28th of June I went to the incoming weekend to meet the other exchangees and organisers of the IFYE program (International Farm Youth Exchange). It was incredible to meet over 30 other exchangees from so many different places, all over the world. We spent the weekend learning about the different countries and traditions of all exchangees, as well as hiking, learning to cook some Swiss food and learning some Scottish and Irish dances (with a few drinks of course!).
On the 30th of June I moved to my second host and spent the next 10 days in Remetchwil with the Wettstein family. I was able to learn a little more about their crop farming, traditional Swiss wrestling (Schwingen), Swiss cooking, explore Zurich city and make use of some beautiful lakes to survive the heatwave.
On the 10th of July I jumped on a train to Thun (near Bern) to stay with Marianne Gasser, an exchangee that my family hosted for 2 weeks in Tasmania 7 Years ago. Having the opportunity to catch up with her again has been honestly life changing and I’m so thankful that I have been able to have that friendship. Whilst staying with Marianne and her family, I went to a Swiss wedding (Marianne’s sisters wedding), topped off with some horse riding and we ventured to see various lakes and mountains including the Stockhorn and Niesen.
On the 15th July Marianne drove me through the alps to my next host family in Sarnen, of course stopping at the Kambly cookie factory along the way! I have now been staying with the Windlin family for a month where I have 4 brothers and sisters all around my age. The last month has been absolutely amazing learning how they farm in the alps and make hay on the sides of a mountain, although very steep and at times also quite scary. I have definitely seen a lot of the beautiful scenery in Switzerland. The Windlin family also have horses so I have been lucky enough to continue riding as well as see a few music and traditional Swiss festivals. We have also been exploring Lucerne, the Gelmerbahn (tallest roller coaster in Switzerland), The Frey chocolate factory, the Swiss alps and doing a lot of hiking!
~ some fun facts ~
- the average farm in Switzerland has 32 cows.
- The largest independently owned farm in Switzerland has about 300 cows and this is considered very big.
- Most farms in Switzerland aren’t much bigger than 10 acres however my second host have a farm of 120 acres and this was considered very big also.
- It is very unusual for the Swiss to refrigerate any drinks (yes, they do drink warm beer).
- The average Swiss person eats 12.5 kilos of chocolate every year.
For now, Güeta mörga from Switzerland und Bis mein nächster Bericht, hoffe ich, dass die Tassie Coldet dich gut behandelt.