Thursday 27 October 2016

Thank You Letter to Tootsie

Aberdeen, Scotland.
27th October 2016.

Dearest Doggy Godmother,

I would like to thank you and your lovely Pawrents very much for your inviting me stay with you in Switzerland, and for being such wonderful hosts. It was also very kind of you to allow Gail to come with me – I do understand that humans can be quite high maintenance guests, so your tolerance was much appreciated.

Oh and Tootsie, I laugh about it now but can you believe that on the first morning of my visit I really did think you were stealing my food! Of course, I now realise this accusation was most unjust. Tootsie, it was SO kind of you to volunteer to taste my kibble – I mean, who knows what they might be putting into these foreign foodstuffs?   Although, may I respectfully suggest that in future, it is not necessary to consume the entire bowlful (in addition to your own breakfast).

You live in such a beautiful country, and I so enjoyed our walks together. The chestnut woods on the hill near your home in Caslano are just gorgeous, despite the going being a little prickly underfoot at this time of year, and I do appreciate your diligence in performing your godmotherly role by taking me to the wee chapel near the hilltop. Truly, the spiritual side of my development has not to date received the nourishment it deserves.

One thing, just between you and me – and please don’t let Gail see this - I must tell you I felt so comfortable and safe staying with you and Renee and Daniele that I barely even noticed it when Gail abandoned me to visit her elderly family friend Vera in Luzern for a couple of days. Of course, Gail came back babbling on about how happy she was to have seen Vera again, and how she briefly thought she'd met one of Blogville's Doodz on Luzern's famous Kapellbr├╝cke, but I honestly think I was better off relaxing in the apartment with you, enjoying gentle strolls down to the lake and lots of kisses and cuddles.

Yes, all in all, it was a perfect holiday in every respect! I do hope that one day you can come to visit me in Scotland and allow me to return the hospitality.

Toodle pip!
Your loving Doggy Godson Bertie.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Images from the long, long journey home to Aberdeen

Up early to catch the train in Lugano

But not too early for the Swiss army cadets to be enjoying a beer (or several)...

As we enjoy scenic views of Lake Lucerne from the train window.

 In a park near Zurich Hauptbahnhof I meet 'Amigo', the first WFT I've seen since leaving the UK.

We change trains again in Frankfurt,

Where we are reminded of home.

After an overnight stay in Utrecht,

We say hi to a furry fellow passenger on the Sunday morning train to Amsterdam.

Gail and I are both by now feeling a little travel weary

But we are encouraged by seeing this poster.

At IJmuiden we say goodbye to continental Europe

And take the overnight ferry across the North Sea to Newcastle

Where I am less than impressed with my accommodation.

 Monday morning in Newcastle and I am too tired to go exploring (yes really!)

Finally, late afternoon, we're home sweet home in Aberdeen.

What a wonderfully brilliant trip!

Sunday 23 October 2016

'Romance' at the Castelgrande, Bellinzona

Oh gosh, I've been feeling so embarrassed about my behaviour in Bellinzona on Friday, I've even been reluctant to write about it, however much Gail says "not to worry Bertie, you're hardly the only one ever to have engaged in an inappropriate holiday romance ..."

In my defence, the Swiss Italian town of Bellinzona, with its three castles and its quaint old buildings, is surely a setting to inspire romantic thoughts, even in the most rational of Bouncing Boffins.
And I was, on the day, modelling my best Shetland wool sweater and so, at least in my own mind, was looking utterly irresistible. 

And I am sure you can understand, when you see Tootsie in her unimaginably cute wee butterfly harness, how, at least for a couple of hours, I confused my dear Doggy Godmother with the girl of my (lustful) dreams...

However, I must confess (and this is really embarrassing), that given the disparity in our sizes, I could not quite figure out the best approach when trying to, er, 'mount' her..

Rest assured, normal relations were restored when we returned to Tootsie's apartment (and Gail shocked me back to my senses by rattling a plastic bottle full of pebbles right in my face).

It was our last full day in Switzerland. But fear not, the adventure is not yet over...

Friday 21 October 2016

Friends together

It's such splendid fun hanging out with Tootsie.
Everyone should have a Swiss doggy godmother!

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Another day, another country

Staying near Lugano, we are close to the Italian border.

So when Gail told me we should take Renee, Daniele and Tootsie out for a meal to thank them for their wonderful hospitality, I suggested we pop over to Italy to dine.

I want you to know this suggestion had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me being Scottish and Italy being quite a bit cheaper than Switzerland...

So yesterday evening Daniele drove us all across the border to a wee Italian town high in the hills overlooking Lake Maggiore.

We had a gentle pre-dinner stroll through the chestnut woods before settling down at the Smerelda restaurant. While the humans enjoyed their ossobucco and polenta and porcini etc, Tootsie hid in her mobile burrow and I supervised proceedings and generally  put on a masterclass in 'perfect dog behaviour in a restaurant'.

My only disappointment was that STILL no-one has checked my passport since we left the UK. I mean, really, I so might be a terrorist or something.

Monday 17 October 2016

A rest day with Tootsie and a dip in the lake

You know I am going to be honest with you and say that I was not entirely sorry yesterday to be told I was having an enforced rest day staying at home with Renee and my doggy godmother Tootsie, while Gail went hiking in the mountains with Daniele.

I have even decided that Tootsie is a quite agreeable companion, despite her persistent attempts to steal my breakfast. After all, she is very small, and I guess she thinks if she had more to eat she might grow as big as me.

It is quite tiring, this foreign holiday business, and what's more, I have a slightly sore paw  (front right) - the result, Gail thinks, of someone treading on it a few days ago on the train to London.

Later, Gail showed me some photos of her hike, although why she imagines I would be interested in pictures of the "charming and good-looking young Italian men" they spoke to at the summit of Camoghe, I am not quite sure.
When she returned we all went for a short stroll by Lake Lugano and I got the biggest surprise of the trip so far.

Did you know that lake water can actually be quite pleasantly warm?
I had absolutely no idea!

I even, heaven forbid, considered taking my paws off solid ground and going for a swim.

Sunday 16 October 2016

A question about hiking in Switzerland

OK, so these footpath signs that tell you how long it takes to walk from A to B...

How much sniffing time do they factor in?

Friday 14 October 2016

Finally made it!

Gosh that was a long train journey, but we finally arrived in Lugano, Switzerland after dark last night. I was thrilled to be greeted by my Doggy Godmother Tootsie (whom some of my readers know as Bicontinental Dachshund*). Isn't she adorable?

I was super well behaved  (Gail says tired) all the way.
Many of Gail's friends ask her what happens on the train if I need a 'rest break'. Well I would like to point out, if this isn't getting too personal, that I had no problem on the six hour leg of the journey from Cologne to Zurich, but I did need to accompany Gail twice to the train's rather space-limited WC, and so it seems to me that us pups do rather better in this department and any questions by humans on the topic are a reflection of their species' own , er, weakness...

Bertie on  a rest break  in Cologne
*Still haven't fully mastered links using the smartphone, but is the blog you need.