There you go. My one word of Swiss German. Which rather conveniently suits the circumstances. Its means ‘Greetings!’ in local parlance.

The situation should start to improve next week when I begin a 7-week language course to kick-start my German communications skills. I have no ambition to become fluent as I am in French but at least I should be able to function better without relying quite so heavily on Google Translate.

It has taken a good month to feel like we have well and truly landed here. Things are still falling into place, and the transition is not without its ‘hics’ (see, I still think in French: hitches, catches, problems). But despite some moments of doubt and the huge emotional turmoil of moving, I am feeling at home enough here to want to introduce you to our new  town.

View from our balcony

Brunnen, in Central Switzerland, is part of an area called Ingenbohl, population around 9,000. It is just next to the bigger town of Schwyz, which is the capital of the Canton of Schwyz. Our canton, as I now think of it even though I’m still waiting for my official residence permit, is one of the founding cantons of Switzerland. The Swiss federal charter signed back in 1291 is on display nearby in Schwyz.

Brunnen is famous for a few things. The most notable for English speakers is that Winston Churchill spent his honeymoon here. Not a particularly romantic reference but perhaps an indication of its appeal for tourists. Because if most of Switzerland is postcard perfect, this place has it going on in spades.

So now to what really drew us here: the scenery. Brunnen is at the funny bone on the elbow of the Vierwaldstättersee, the German name for Lake Lucerne. This oddly shaped lake has several crooks and arms. Essentially what is means for us is splendid views to the mountains all around and two branches of the lake. It also means access by the famous Swiss steamboats to various destinations around the lake. You can even go to Lucerne, although it’s not the fastest way to travel it is certainly the most scenic.

Last weekend we took advantage of both the nice weather and our son and his partner’s visit to take the boat across the lake from Brunnen to Treib and a funicular up the mountain to Seelisberg. Then we walked down. It was my kind of hike: all the views and none of the pain. We were able to see up close the church that is visible way up high on the mountain across from our balcony. It felt like a fairytale, but then again it feels that way here a lot of the time.

Brunnen itself has a lot to offer, more of which I’ll be sharing in the weeks to come. It even has a small language school where I’ll be able to attend German classes in a group of six beginners. (At least for now, as it seems the virus is keeping a low profile around here…)

And in a positive turn of events after last month’s unexpected hic, it looks like our house sale in France will finally go through at the end of this month. That champagne will come in handy.

What’s new in your part of the world?


  1. midihideaways · October 8, 2020

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your house sale!! And what a lovely spot you live in – definitely picture postcard perfect!

    • MELewis · October 8, 2020

      Thanks, Andreas! I will probably come to take the surroundings for granted, but for now it feels like heaven. I am sure you often feel the same way about your part of France…

      • midihideaways · October 9, 2020

        Oh yes, we can always find a bit of heaven, if only we look for it!! 🙂

  2. Ally Bean · October 8, 2020

    Your photos show a beautiful place to live. I’m glad you’ve landed safely and plan on enjoying your scenic views in the future. Nothing new around here. It’s same old, same old– which is okay in 2020. We are healthy.

    • MELewis · October 8, 2020

      There is something appealing about ‘same-old’ at the moment, right? We are still acclimatizing (especially to sharing an office space at times!) but the views are the silver lining indeed. Will be happy to share more!

  3. margaret21 · October 8, 2020

    This does indeed look like a permanent holiday. I wonder if the gloss ever will wear off – it looks too idyllic for words. Fingers crossed for that house sale!

    • MELewis · October 8, 2020

      I think that’s thing: no place can be a real permanent holiday as we do get used to anything, however wonderful. But there are worse places to get tired of. Thanks for your wishes — it’s looking good but it will be a relief to have it done.

  4. Dale · October 8, 2020

    How wonderful for you! Love the pictures…my goodness…to have such views at the tip of your fingers. Chanceuse!

    • MELewis · October 8, 2020

      Cheers, Dale! My first reaction on seeing the place was, ‘How will we ever be able to live anywhere else?’ Maybe the answer is simply never to move again. I for one would be happy with that! Hope you’re well and will be able to travel again soon!

      • Dale · October 8, 2020

        Cheers, Melanie! No kidding. My goodness what a fabulous view…
        I am travelling to the States the week of October 24, to visit my special someone…

      • MELewis · October 8, 2020

        Glad to hear it, Dale! 🥰

      • Dale · October 8, 2020


  5. Mary Katherine · October 8, 2020

    Sigh – what a treat! I’m looking forward to more of these posts, as we enjoy your new locale vicariously. I spent a few days in Lucern in my youth and have always longed to go back. Fingers crossed on the house sale! Then you’ll start to feel REALLY settled.

    • MELewis · October 8, 2020

      Thanks, MK. For sure the house sale will help us feel settled. As for Lucerne, I also spent time there my first time in Europe (probably around the same time as you!) and several times since and it has always been a huge draw for me. In fact, we were first looking there for awhile but ended up a bit further into Schwyz. Am going to test going there for an afternoon soon!

  6. Katherine Wikoff · October 9, 2020

    Beautiful! And congratulations on the pending sale of your house. It sounds like you’ve worked hard to make all this happen, and now at last everything is falling into place.

    • MELewis · October 12, 2020

      Thanks! It does feel like things are finally falling into place. Fingers crossed that they don’t impose a quarantine again between borders as COVID cases are through the roof in France at the moment. 🤞

  7. Colin Bisset · October 9, 2020

    It looks divine, something to nourish you at every turn. When I moved to Sydney some British folk warned me, ‘You can’t live on sunshine’ in that very British way. But guess what, I think sunshine and views are essential for happy living. Bonne chance with the house – it’s just one life’s little jokes, shaking you up for a moment but soon over.

    • MELewis · October 12, 2020

      Thanks Colin. I guess this entire year is a joke on us, collectively. A good thing we had no inkling of what lay ahead in 2020 or we would never have chosen this year to make our move. But you’re right: an inspiring setting makes all the difference! 🙌

  8. Becky Ross Michael · October 9, 2020

    So lovely!

  9. acflory · October 9, 2020

    I’m still boggling at that incredible view. And the town is so picturesque it should be illegal! lol Good luck with your German classes and fingers crossed for that settlement. 🙂

    • MELewis · October 12, 2020

      It is pretty amazing…still waiting for the disappointments and expected moments of frustration with my new location but so far they are pretty few and far between. 🤩

      • acflory · October 12, 2020

        Sssssh! lol don’t jinx yourself. 😀

  10. Suzanne et Pierre · October 11, 2020

    Such a lovely place you have picked to live…I am thoroughly jealous now. Life in Montreal is quite boring these days so it would be nice to be able to explore new areas like you are doing. Good luck with the house sale (crossing fingers that it will work for you) and good luck with learning German…P.S. I think we may have driven through Brunnen on our way to Liechtenstein on our visit to Switzerland in 2014. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · October 12, 2020

      That could very well be as it seems to be a pretty direct route from here to Liechtenstein. Only 1.5 hours! Thanks for the inspiration — maybe we’ll go there for a weekend one day. We are indeed blessed with this location. Having Zurich and Lucerne nearby means that the bigger city attractions are also within reach. I imagine that the frustration of living in Montreal (and other big cities) these days is that all of the usual cultural and urban attractions are off-limits: museums, shows, bars and restaurants, etc. I just wish we could get the damn virus behind us! 😩

      • Suzanne et Pierre · October 12, 2020

        Liechenstein was lovely; lots of mountains but that isn’t so different from Switzerland. The capital wasn’t very impressive but there were lovely villages along the route.

        You are totally right about life in the big cities these days: no museums, no theatre, no restaurants, no bars (though I am not one to go to bars so I don’t miss it), library, gym, swimming pool, etc. Shops are still opened though as I am not a big shopper it doesn’t provide much of an activity. Also, as the case numbers are going up again, we are also asked not to travel between regions so we are pretty much stuck at home…we are getting very exhausted by this lack of activities.

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