Blogs from North-East, Switzerland, Europe


Europe » Switzerland » North-East » Zürich » Zürich May 8th 2021

After 66 Blog entries, with over 65'000 words and 2'000 pictures, we have completed our sabbatical or you can call it extended honeymoon travel blog. 11 months ago we packed our bags, quit our jobs and headed into an adventure which turned out much less predictable than originally envisaged. Despite all sorts of Covid related travel restrictions, limitations to places we wanted to visit (museums and concerts were really a no-no) and health related conditions - we were tested 7 times during our travels - we managed to do unique things, see astonishing places, witnessed memorable events and above all spent 11 months together in all this. An unique, rich and unforgettable time bringing us closer together. Allow us to summarise and reminiscent our impressions. First step was disconnecting from the cute, luxurious Bangkok life-style, saying ... read more
Good bye Sole Mio
Good bye Bangkok
Getting married

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » St. Gallen November 25th 2020

After our arrival in Base Camp Wil we slowed down quite a bit. We wanted to spend time with Nenad's parents, who at the age of 92 and 87 still live by themselves in a lovely house on a hill. So assisting them with their limited mobility by driving them and with works in and around the house (wherever they would let us), was the plan. And just spending time with them, taking them out to lunches, having coffees and enjoy the Dalmatian wines we brought. Nui discovered a Thai ingredients shop in Wil and started cooking for all the Benko's. She also signed up with the Goethe Institute for an on line German language course, which she tackled with an enormous energy and diligence, locking herself up in the study for hours on end. Nenad ... read more
Hiking in Amden
Cold air clear views
Now that's a cold idea

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » Brunnen July 18th 2020

Our next stop in Switzerland was the center of the country, more precisely the town of Brunnen, which lies at the Eastern end of the lake of Lucerne. Central Switzerland is known for its beautiful lakes (like lake of Lucerne, lake of Zug, etc) and its low taxes. But what many people do not know it is also the cradle of the Swiss nation. Switzerland of today has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland however was established as a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century (1291), forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries. In 1291, so the legend goes, farmers communities from the three central cantons Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden swore an alliance at ... read more
Ready for bicycle adventure
Around lake Lauerz

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » Glarus July 13th 2020

The next step in the Switzerland discovery for Nui and the rediscovery for Nenad was a stay in the hamlet of Arvenbuehl located about 10 min drive up the mountain from Amden, which itself is positioned high up overlooking the Walensee. In Arvenbuehl we stayed in a chalet with innovative architectural features, very unusual for this region. No wonder it was build and is owned by a retired teacher from Seattle, USA, who runs it as a B&B. Its called 'Mountain Chalet' and has the most amazing mountain views from your bed. A cool way to wake up in the morning. Nearby is the Hotel Restaurant Arvenbuehl, who has an amazing cuisine, especially a Roeschti (a local potato dish), which will make you jodle :-) Arvenbuehl sits at the end of the mountain range called Churfuersten, ... read more
Nui loves flowers
This guy is still here
Steven from Seattle, our host in

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » Appenzell July 8th 2020

The Alpstein is a mountain range of incredible beauty. It is located on the territory of the canton St. Gallen and Appenzell, in the North East of the country. Only 50 km away from Wil, Nenad considers this almost his home turf. Raw, wild nature of the Alpstein mountain range is presenting itself to the hiker upon arrival. Although not too high in altitude compared with some other areas of the Swiss Alps, the Alpstein impresses with steep hikes and challenging ascents and descents. Its highest mountain is Saentis, with 2502m altitude. To climb it we chose to start in Wasserauen, located at 860m. This meant to climb 1650m altitude in rough terrain, crossing ravines and snow fields. Nenad did this more than 35 years ago (outch). Nui is facing this challenge with her usual smile, ... read more
one starts easy and slow
getting tougher
Raching Meglisalp

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » St. Gallen July 3rd 2020

Despite the March cancellation of our initially planned wedding, due to travel restrictions, lock-down and virus dictatorship, we have finally been able to say "yes" on July 3, 11:00 AM in Wil, Switzerland. Nui has decided to be called Butri Benko, keeping her nick name Nui of course. And I have also decided to continue to be called Benko :-). We are pleased to send you some pictures taken at the wedding. It was a small ceremony (bigger ones are not allowed yet anyway) with close friends and family. Alfred Koecher a friend Nenad knows since 1986, acted as Nenad best man, Sirinya Hauser, a university friend of Nui, was her bridesmaid. It was absolutely lovely to see the two Thai ladies being dressed in their traditional silk robes, something the Wiler community does not get ... read more
With Carmen and Thomas
Brunch with the guests
Father and daughter

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » St. Gallen June 29th 2020

After several farewells in Bangkok and Buriram, with an especially emotional farewell in Sole Mio Restaurant Bangkok, we have packed up and left 28th June with 8 check in bags and 4 hand luggage on Swiss LX 181 to Zurich. An near empty flight allowed us to get away with no extra charges on our 180 kg check in mountain. With us came a cuddly Aussie called 'Neno Baer', Nui's companion of the last 7 years and Nenad's first present to her. After the lock-down and all the Covid craze, going for a commercial flight became a weird experience. An empty Suvarnabhumi Airport, usually teaming with life, fare welled us with wide open spaces and a spooky atmosphere. Zurich awaited us with summary temperatures. The reunion with Nenad's parents and Carmen was special. Never before was ... read more
good bye friend
Sole Mio "Americano"

Europe » Switzerland » North-East May 31st 2020

Pfingsten und super Wetter, was will man mehr. Wir benutzten den Pfingstsonntag für eine kleine Wanderung zum „Biotop Uehlinger“, welches im Wald oberhalb von Neunkirch liegt. Die kleine Wanderung starteten wir an einem Wanderparkplatz im Wald, von dem aus das Biotop in Rund 40 Minuten zu erreichen ist. Die ersten 20 Minuten führen über einen schmalen Trampelpfad, der als Wanderweg markiert ist - was aber die Mountainbike Fahrer nicht abhält diesen auch zu befahren. Die restlichen 20 Minuten führt der Wanderweg über eine nicht geteerte Waldstrasse. Da man (glücklicherweise) nicht bis zum Biotop mit dem Auto gelangen kann ist man dort meist alleine. Im Biotop befinden sich viele ehemalige Bohnerzgruben, die durch das ausgraben von *Bohnerz im vorletzten Jahrhundert entstanden sind. In diesen sammelt sich nun das Regenwasser und lässt so kleine Teiche entstehen. In denen ... read more

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » Zürich November 17th 2019

Safely at the airport, watching jets steam into the fog and rain, trailing dragon wings of mist. Dramatic as all heck, and impossible to capture on my little phone camera. We have paid for lounge access so Susan can swill tomato juice and watch the planes. I note that, in spite of the downpour, the airport is letting its automatic sprinklers water the infield grass. So efficient, these Swiss. We board in two hours, then Montreal a little after 3 Quebec time. See you soon!... read more

Europe » Switzerland » North-East » Zürich November 16th 2019

When the hotel wrote me last week to say they were having a big private do tonight, restaurant closed, lots of music, "expect some noise" until 2 am. I sorta flipped out. Expect noise? At their prices? So I asked, and they promised a room Higher up, quieter. Top floor with private terrace at the same price, thank you very much indeed. That will do nicely. Maybe I shouldn't have asked so fast. Half an our ago, as we lay here reading, somebody started up a muffled, big band version of "Heartbreak Hotel". (oh, dear.) I opened the window. It WAS a big band. A pretty good one, playing in the square just below us. Next we got Begin The Beguin, followed by about six other numbers. They are gone now, but we enjoyed our private ... read more
Checking out the Zurich Waterfront
Talk about disappointments
Old Town, Zurich

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