Tag Archives: Holiday

Happy New Year!

For my first post of 2017, I would like to convey to all my readers the usual good wishes for a healthy, happy and successful new year. More specifically, I hope that the next twelve months will bring you defining moments to take you closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.

I decided against writing a post about my goals this time. Mainly, I want to build on the ones I have set my heart onto in recent years and our stay in the South of France a the end of December gave me the opportunity to reflect on different, untried angles to achieve them. I also realised that a change of attitude was in order. I may later on share with you on that chain of thoughts!

For now, let’s go back in time… 2016 was a funny year, one when I often felt held back, and this applied to my blog too. Having gone to Italy last July, it took me until November to finally tell you about it. Today, I am indeed taking you to France but it will be all summery and bright. As always, the whole gallery is available on Of Lens And Pen, should you need a higher dose of sun and colours – with a hint of black and white!

I would love to hear about what you got up to during the festive season and your objectives for 2017. Do tell me!


Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen


Back To My Roots

I had not been back for nine years. My Grandmother’s native village in Piedmont. A small place built halfway up a mountain, with narrow, cobbled streets and stone houses. A short drive from beautiful Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands.

I spent a lovely “generation” holiday week there in the summer with my Mum, Auntie, sister and my two daughters. Cute Doggy was the only male representative! 😉 We went for walks around the village, to the nearby forest and to the “summer” hamlet, an hour’s hike up the mountain. We caught a boat to cross the lake and visited a market on the other side. As other family members were present at the same time, we had lovely meals together. Simple moments but lasting memories.

On a walk alone with the dog, I realised how much I had missed Italy. Or should I say my roots? I have always felt more Italian than Swiss. That family spirit, the love of people and spending time together with relatives and friends, often around the dinner table. I came back feeling re-energised.

I have to go back. Soon.
Piedmont - Italy - Church
Piedmont - Italy - Nautre
Piedmont - Italy -  Valley with river
Piedmont - Italy - Roman stone bridge
Piedmont - Italy - Religious painting
Piedmont - Italy - Oratory
Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

Do Not Let Your Travel Be Ruined |
Follow These Rules

Planning your trip

Source: Pixabay/Unsplash

Travelling is never a waste of your time. Even if some things go wrong, you can still learn something new. However, you want to minimize possible problems, even if you cannot avoid all disasters. Sometimes, something might happen that you could not have predicted and you have to adjust. But there are also many things that could ruin your holiday that you have a better chance of preventing. Often, something happens because you have made a mistake when planning or executing your trip. If you want everything to happen smoothly, you have to plan properly. Here is how to avoid a ruined holiday.
Make Sure You Feel Great

One of the worst things to ruin a holiday is feeling under the weather. You do not want to spend your trip in bed or have to find a doctor. It is not always easy to prevent illness when you go travelling. It can be unpredictable and you cannot have complete control over how you feel. However, you can take some steps to improve your chances of being strong and healthy. You should start by checking any health information for your destination. You might need vaccinations, or there could even be a current health crisis. Some women might want to take norethisterone tablets to delay their period. You do not want cramps and bad moods to get in the way of your fun. You might also need other precautions, such as pills for altitude sickness.
Preparing for travelling

Source: Pexels/Unsplash

Plan Everything

The secret to any successful trip is to plan, plan, plan. While being spontaneous can be fun on occasion, it is best to have some idea of what you are doing. At the very least, you need to plan the first leg of your trip. You should know how to reach your destination and preferably have somewhere to stay for the first night or two. When you are planning, you can ensure everything is taken care of. This can range from checking the entry requirements for the country you are visiting to booking activities. It is better to get organised than to leave things until the last minute.
Choose Travel Partners Carefully (and Learn to Keep the Peace)

Going travelling with your spouse or your best friend might seem like an excellent idea. But they will not always be the best person to take with you. Before you invite someone to come along, you need to think about whether the trip will be suitable for them. Even if they seem excited about the idea, the reality could be that they have other expectations than your own. You need to consider whether your travel goals match up. Do not be afraid to travel solo too. If you do take anyone with you, making sure you get along will improve your trip. While you cannot prevent other people from picking fights, you can find ways to keep the peace and ensure everyone is happy. One of the best things you can do is keep communication open. If something is annoying you, do not bottle it up. You can discuss it calmly and resolve the issue, but make sure you return the favour if anyone else has a problem with your behaviour.
Travel with someone or solo

Source: Pexels/Anamoul Rouf

Meet New People

Another way your travel partners might contribute to ruining your trip is if you only hang out with them. While it is not their fault, spending too much time together might not be wise. It is a good idea to make an effort to meet new people. You do not have to do this alone if you do not want to. You can still socialise with your travel partners while meeting new people together. You could make some great friends to spend time with while you are there or stay in touch with when you get home.
Stick to Your Budget

You have run out of money and you are only halfway through your trip. You are going to have to spend money that was not marked for your holiday or maybe even borrow some. Perhaps you will have to use your credit card, which means paying fees. You can avoid ruining your trip by setting a budget and sticking to it. Think about your budget before you make any purchases. Try to plan for anything, whether it is an ice cream on the beach or a tour of the city. Small purchases can add up until you have spent much more than you intended to. Even if you want to buy things spontaneously, you can still set a budget for how much is reasonable.
You do not want to ruin a holiday that you have spent time and money on. If you plan appropriately and have the right attitude, it should be a success.
Disclosure: This post has been contributed.

My Love For The UK

I had planned to write a post about my visit to my lovely friend Sarah at the end of May. And then Brexit happened, so I felt that I had to share some of my thoughts on this too.

I first set foot in the UK twenty-five years ago, when I came as an au pair to learn English. Back then, being Swiss meant that the family I was going to work for had to get a permit for me. The many reasons I fell in love with the country I described in my Manchester – An Anniversary post, if you want to have a read. I spent a year in England and came back, intending to stay, a year later, having in the meantime lived in Vienna to learn German, gone to Australia and worked in Switzerland. I did apply for jobs, but again, my nationality was a real obstacle. My only hope was for the December 1992 Swiss referendum to join the EEE to be accepted. 78,73% of the population voted and it was refused by 50.3%… Sounds familiar? My last hope had been crushed and I went back to Switzerland, both angry and heartbroken.

Of course, in the greater scheme of things, my personal experience is not that important. But now that my two daughters have lost overnight the “European passport” they had thanks to their British father, it makes me really sad that they, like thousands and thousands of other young people, might experience the same disillusion. To encounter difficulties in getting a university spot or a job in the country of their choice, or worse, to see their dream disintegrate should not have happened, in my opinion. And for the moment, I am clinging to the hope that somehow, it will not.

Meanwhile, my love relationship with the UK continues and I am looking forward to making more and more memories. Like the ones created during my recent trip: going to a charity barn dance, walking along the sea on that gorgeous South coast, and eating fish and chips in the pub. Or having cream tea in the gardens of Highcliffe Castle and sharing tapas, wine and laughs with friends in Bournemouth.

Until next time.
Going to a barn dance with our checked shirts and cowgirl boots
Healthy juice for brunch
South Coast of England
Enjoying a walk along the sea in the UK
Arriving at the beach in the UK
HighCliffe Castle UK
Carved wooden bench UK
Pretty courtyard in Lymington UK