Drive Less – Live More!

… could be described as our current motto. After Uzés we spent a whole week with our former neighbors and very good friends in Winterthur. It was strange coming back after 8 months to a place where we lived for 13 years. We still love Winterthur but it was also clear to us that we will not return. Summer already embraced Switzerland and we used those days to meet (and have dinner) with friends and take our beloved Defender to Anna Oettiker, owner of 4×4 Manufaktur in Dürnten. Anna and her team specialize on Defenders and did a major check-up on “Matschig Mike“. Now he’s fit to take us wherever we want to go. While staying in our old neighborhood, Camilla organized an evening walk with Joiz’s first love Ruby, a chocolate colored Labrador. Gordon, the owner brought along Scott, a friend, business partner and CEO of Milden, a manufacturer of handcrafted, sustainable leather boots. I love their philosophy motivating people to invest more in a pair of shoes that will last a very long time versus buying cheaply manufactured shoes that are thrown away after a short time increasing the load on environment. Two-thirds of the carbon impact from a single pair of cement-constructed shoes comes from the manufacturing process, not the raw materials. A significant amount of energy is needed, and too much waste created. From manufacturing to disposal, a typical pair of shoes generates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions With 20 billion pairs of shoes produced annually; the world does not need another pair of shoes. At the end of our walk I was asked to become the ambassador for their Mountaineer boot which I could pick up in a Winterthur Store the next day. Which I did. I admit that I never owned such perfect boots before. They are worth every cent and I look forward to road-test them in the months (and years) to come. Thanks Gordon & Scott for this opportunity.

During our stay I had to chance to visit the Otter & Hat pop-up wine bar before it closed on June 2. I love the concept of the pop-up wine bar and the way that the wines are selected and presented. At Otter & Hat they offer 3 red and 3 white wines ranging from light via medium to full bodied. The wines changed weekly and the guests could rate which wine they liked the most. During the last week, the winner in each category of the previous weeks was presented. My favorite was a red wine from Toscany, the Mouth Bomb by Winepunk. On the last day of May we even managed to have lunch at Elle’n Belle, the best vegan restaurant in Switzerland. Unfortunately Elle’n Belle closes down due to a renovation of the building. What a loss for Zurich. Elif and her sister created a vegan restaurant that convinced even the most meat loving person that vegan is a viable alternative. I hope that this success story will continue at another location.

The week in Switzerland came to an end as family matters drove us to Germany. On the way to Pirmasens we spent a night in Basel meeting with Renate and Hans-Peter, a couple we’d met 3.000 Kms further south in Zagora/Morocco. They happened to be on a campground in Basel and it was a perfect intermediate stop on our way. A heavy thunderstorm in the evening forced us all under the roof an open sided cabin. It was wet but got us all closer together.

From Basel it’s roughly 280 Kms to Pirmasens so we decided to skip the highway and drive on secondary roads along the Alsace mountains. Colmar, despite being a major tourist attraction is worth taking a break. After a French breakfast and a stroll through the old city we continued to our next stop, the Haspelschiedt Lake . Less known, the lake stretches out between the green hills of Alsace-Lorraine, close to the German border.

Now we are at my brother’s place at the edge of the Palatinate Forest (Pfälzer Wald) taking care of some family business before well head for the Dachzelt Festival on 21-June.

Life is great – One Life. Live It!

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