Faits divers

Summer is in full swing here in Central Switzerland. It feels like our first real summer since moving here two years ago. People are back to pre-pandemic life and the lake is buzzing with tourists and locals. Compared to last summer, the weather is heiss. Hot, hot, hot!

We are fortunate to enjoy a bit of cooler air in the evenings with temperatures that are generally a couple of degrees lower than many of our neighbouring cities and countries. My father-in-law in Lyon, France, reports temps topping 39 degrees Celsius, while we are sweltering at only 30-32. Fortunately Raymond has air conditioning in his apartment, although like most French people he uses it sparingly. But at least he can keep cool through the worst hours of the day.

I took the boys out for a walk this morning just after six a.m., when it was still cool enough for them to enjoy sniffing around. They are coming up to 10 years old and, like many seniors, suffer from health problems. Even younger, Frenchies do not do well in the heat so we are careful to keep them as cool as possible.

Not a lot happens in our postcard of a Swiss town. But a couple of Sundays ago a fait divers* saw Brunnen in the news. As we relaxed by the lake, variously known as the Vierwaldstättersee, the Lake of 4 Cantons or Lake Uri, a helicopter cut across the sky to a mountain top and hovered there before taking what looked like a suspicious plunge towards the other side of the lake. In the meantime, we heard the ‘pam pom’ of sirens. Nothing so unusual in that as choppers often bring people who are injured or ill to waiting ambulances.

It turned out that while we were lounging around on our beach towels, a car had gone off the road that runs alongside a rocky cliff on the road to Brunnen and plunged 50 metres into the lake. For several days it remained introuvable, until a week later it was found by a camera boat at nearly 200 metres depth. Needless to say there were no survivors. The wreckage was impressive.

*Fait divers: ‘Brief news stories, as those typically found in some French newspapers, that are sensational, lurid, etc.’

We were treated to some spectacular fireworks off our terrace on August 1st, the Swiss national holiday. I was spoiled, as it also happens to be my birthday. Especially as it was accompanied for the first time by a visit from our grandson. Which called for champagne. And cake!

Happy brithday, old girl!

We are soaking up as much of ‘Sommer’ here in Brunnen as we can. Sadly, it will be our last. I mentioned in an earlier post that we will be moving next year, but I’ve been waiting to have the official date in writing before sharing more. As with most construction projects these days, there have been delays due to the pandemic and supply shortages related to the war in Ukraine. Our builder has assured us we will have the schedule in writing by mid-month but I’m not holding my breath. Best guess is we’ll be moving by early March. Hard to believe as this is what it looks like now:

I will be sad to leave our current location but there are a few things I won’t regret. Our beautiful view here is offset by the noise from a road just below. And my inability to speak the local lingo is definitely not fun (I’d finally started to get a little momentum going last year but when we decided we’d be moving, my motivation to learn German went AWOL).

Our new home will be located in a small town above Lake Geneva in the Lavaux wine-growing region above Vevey, just a short drive from Montreux with its famous ‘smoke on the water’ jazz festival. Also known as the Vaud Riviera, it is famous for its terraced vineyards, which have been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Best of all, we will be close to family on both the Swiss and French sides of the lake.

A suivre…


  1. margaret21 · August 4

    Your prospective move sounds wonderful, and exciting. Good luck. The next few months may be difficult as you have little incentive to integrate I guess. Belated birthday greetings. It was Yorkshire Day too, so August 1st is clearly important internationally!

    • MELewis · August 5

      Thank you Margaret! Yes, we are sort of living in a bubble here without integrating much. But it’s still wonderful! Happy Yorkshire Day, then, belated. Clearly I am in good company! 🥳

  2. Dale · August 4

    I can imagine you are torn about leaving but to be closer to your family, your grandbaby… it tips the scales, I should think. And frankly, you are leaving one paradise for another!

    Wow! That car! What a sad story.

    And happy belated birthday! How lucky to have fireworks just for you 😉

    • MELewis · August 5

      I certainly can’t complain about the celebrations this year. And while I doubt we’ll have a display quite like that next August, as you say Dale the proximity to family and grandson will be reward enough. Besides, we are trading one amazing location for another, and buying our own home to boot. Fingers crossed all goes well!
      Hope you’re staying well this summer…it’s a hot one in Canada too I think!

      • Dale · August 5

        No, you can’t 😉
        Fingers crossed for the move and all that.
        Yes, it’s been hot and sticky with heat warnings often…

  3. davidprosser · August 5

    Spectacular fireworks Mel, strange how they knew about your birthday., the other day being too minor to celebrate.I hope you had a big cake. What a shocking accident, I hope there were no children involved.
    Huge Hugs

    • MELewis · August 5

      And to think the Swiss Confederation is only a few hundred years older than little moi! 😁 The cake was magnificent too, made to order (peanut butter and chocolate) by my personal French chef.

      Leave to you, David, to think about little ones but thankfully, the only life lost was that of the driver, a 63-year-old man. Still tragic and a terrible way to go…🥲 Big hugs back atcha!

  4. Suzanne et Pierre · August 5

    Happy Birthday to you and glad to hear that the city put out fireworks for you! Construction projects are fun and not fun…and I see that you have both in your project. I cross fingers that it will get done quickly and that you can move soon. Enjoy your view for now but I see that you will have another nice one in your new home. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · August 7

      Thank you, Suzanne! I am lucky to feel celebrated on my birthday now that we live in Switzerland. For many years in France it was quite the opposite, as everybody had gone away on holiday and everything else was closed. And yes, it’s a year of change for us again, which is exciting but a little exhausting as we currently live 3 hours’ drive away. Our new view will be compensation even if not as spectacular as the current one.

  5. Kiki · August 5

    Oh you share your birthday with the whole of Switzerland 🇨🇭…. Happy belated birthday 🎂
    Mind you. *I * be swapping a Brunnen location with the Lavaux in less than a heartbeat! I had my paradise for a short 2+yrs in Lutry and I still am sad that I won’t live there any other time.
    I am glad that fireworks were forbidden here and I think of all the pets who surely were happy too. We had a few loud bangs but fires and fireworks 🎆 were strictly forbidden. We spent the day on Lake Zurich on several ships, had a lovely meal with a brilliant waiter, a student of business administration jobbing and giving us much to discuss and be joyful about.
    You will be much happier at Lac Léman and ‘man’, you’re so darn lucky to have your own home…. we have become lodgers again after our return to Switzerland, ‘thanks’ to our …. well let’s not talk about it again
    btw, Margaret mentioned that it was also the Yorkshire Day AND the birthday of a friend of ours. One date I never miss…..

    • MELewis · August 7

      Lucky me, eh? 😎 I fell in love with Switzerland even more when I learned that we shared a birthday. We are slipping back into the home-owning game just under the wire as we prepare for retirement. Fingers crossed that we keep our jobs and all goes well for the foreseeable. It will be very exciting to be back in the Léman region. Thanks for your wishes, and I do hope to make that meeting in canton Zurich with you before we go. 🤞🏻

  6. acflory · August 5

    Happy Birthday, congratulations on your grandson and good luck with the build! From what I could see from the photo, you’ll have a spectacular view from the new house as well. 🙂

    • MELewis · August 7

      Thank you, Meeks! Not too shabby. 😎 We are facing a mountain on one side, so the view is only partial. But I think it will feel nice to be at least partly sheltered from the sun that is increasingly brutal.

      • acflory · August 7

        Watching what’s happening up your way is making me anxious about the summer we’re likely to have. Seems we’re lurching from one crisis to the next.
        Fingers crossed you’ll be in your new house soon. 🙂

  7. Colin Bisset · August 6

    How exciting. While it’s obviously been fascinating being where you are, the sense of not being quite where you want to be has been palpable. Such a gorgeous location you’ve chosen to be, basking in the sun year around and accessible to so much. (And of course I shall expect you’re eager to visit the villa in Vevey that Le Corbusier built for his mother…😉). Can’t wait to read the next installment!

    • MELewis · August 7

      Leave it you to be my tour guide in our new location, Colin! Once we are past the point of needing to meet with the builder and his suppliers on every occasion, I look forward to discovering Vevey (and will watch out for the famous villa!) It seems to be a small but happening kind of town.

  8. Garfield Hug · August 6

    Happy Birthday my friend! Sorry to see the wreck and even sadder to learn that there were no survivors. Around the world, post pandemic we are all still struggling with construction delays. Ukraine – Russia conflict has not helped. I hope you can get all the materials for your new home to enable the completion of the project. Take care, time flies and it has been 2 years since you moved to a new land.

    • MELewis · August 7

      Thank you, Garfield! Hope you are staying well despite all the ‘hotel’ visits. 😉 Time certainly does fly! Our problems pale in comparison to what else is going on in the world. The other week I was able to give an old computer to a Ukrainian refugee, and it made me happy to help yet I realize how incredibly fortunate we are. The poor fellow driving that SUV was unlucky indeed. 🥲

      • Garfield Hug · August 7

        Nice generous act you did with old computer!! Let’s try and help the less fortunate always.🤗🤗💞

      • MELewis · August 7

        Right you are! If we can, we must! 🙏😘

      • Garfield Hug · August 7

        *high five*

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