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Bean makes strange and inspiring discoveries in Switzerland « Caroline Koll's Blog


Bean makes strange and inspiring discoveries in Switzerland

So the Bean left Africa to get away from the misery that is winter. Funny, what is winter in Africa is summer in the Alps of Switzerland…
For those that are aquainted, they are well aware that the Bean has a serious allergy to cold and is likely to dress up as the Michelin man just to eat an ice-cream! Well, wanting to pack “light” and demonstrate to the Wongstar as to how it should be done, I went minimalistic when it came to warm clothes – I mean you shouldn’t need more than a light fleece in a Swiss summer would you?? As I have come to realise, it is cold most of the time in the Swiss mountains, so my wardrobe is mostly limited to my track pants, one pair of tights and “the fleece”. As for training clothes, I had resorted to using newspaper barriers and sandwich bags on my feet!


Luckily, Swiss athlete Nicola has taken pity on me and my roommate LC (from the Philippines) and sent us a big box of WARM training clothes with instructions as to how to install the shoe covers! Thank you Nicola… we will lend you some flip-flops when you come and visit us!

So, some of the strange and amazing discoveries that I have made in Switzerland so far:

The Trolley:
When I first arrived I got on a two carriage “chocolate and cream” (as the Boss calls it), it was all cute going through the town, until I realised that we were going to go up the mountain (a 80% gradient it seemed…) in it! I clung to my seat for fear that we might roll backwards! On closer inspection I noticed that it is a major engineering feat – it actually works on a series of interlinking grips, and it hooks its way up the mountain – amazing!!!



Given that South Africans never see snow, this was a big one for me! I mentioned to Erika on a run the other day that I just had to make contact with the stuff that adorns our Christmas cards. On this particular day, it was rather warm and all of a sudden, Erika points at some grey stuff, that I thought was concrete stuck to the slope, and says “That is snow!!” Well, the Bean was amazed at how it could still be there and it was well over the 25deg mark? I also realised that you cannot walk on frozen snow with Avia Bolts and so I skied 30cm!! Erika assured me that it was very poor quality, but Bean was in AWE!!


Found this one very amusing – one of the neighbours had this outside his house – a pile of perfectly good (and new!) sports equipment outside his house with the sign “help yourself!” . This would not last 1 minute in South Africa! I was tempted to take a pair of ski’s that still had the price tags on them…


The Horse Shoe:

Ok, I have a sentimental streak, but I always think it there is no harm in hanging on to serendipitous finds – who knows what charms they carry? So, when I tripped over a horse shoe while running the trail with Scott, I insisted there and then that it could bring me some luck and I was keeping it! I must tell you that a horseshoe (covered in cow poo and mud) is quite a weighty object to carry for 6k in your hand! I have now cleaned it up nicely, and I am sure there is significance, given that the Boss used to train horses!


The Large Hairy Animal:

Missing my usual contact with my animals, I went on an exploratory run to find what furry friends Switzerland beholds. I found this guy just down the road – not sure exactly what he is, but he was massive, very hairy and was eating grass. So, all I can say is that he is a very muscular vegetarian??



This is a fantastic Swiss drink that I have when I don’t need the Red Ambulance (Coke). No one can explain as to EXACTLY what it is made from, but the best explanation is that it is made from milk serum?!? It really tastes like any great cold drink, has bubbles and is apparently quite good for you!


Ovaltine Spread:

Being a hard core Nutella fan, I was a bit reluctant when Swiss Nicola pointed out this one in the supermarket. It is pure heaven! It is like Nutella but has delicious Ovaltine crunchy thingies in it that make it just that much more delectable. I try to spread it on toast, but generally I just eat it out the jar!


Living in a cloud:

When I open my balcony door in the mornings, I often feel like I am living in a cloud! Life is for dreaming, experiencing and doing what you want. When people tell you that your dreams are nothing more than living on a cloud, look up because that’s where I am!


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