Switzerland – Your Other Questions Answered

There was only one more question, but it’s a good one.

Olga Swan asked: “Did you read the article by Maureen Lipman, who said she’s never going abroad again, saying airports (esp LHR) are hell on earth? How did you cope?”

I hadn’t read the article, but I found it here and read it. While I sympathise with Maureen’s trials and tribulations (probably somewhat exaggerated for effect), I didn’t experience them. First of all, she went for five days. We’d already decided that short hops are no longer worth doing, unless you want to spend half of the time taking PCR tests, checking for updated rules and filling in forms.

Maureen’s other main problem was with the crowds and hassles at Heathrow Airport. We’ll think twice about landing at Heathrow if we ever make it to the UK. Ben Gurion and Zurich airports were nothing like that. Zurich airport seemed almost normal. They checked our vaccination certificates and entrance forms quickly and efficiently and we were soon out of there. Before the return flight, they checked our required PCR results, again with no trouble. At Ben Gurion, everything seemed normal going out. When we returned, we were pleased not to get stuck behind family members greeting each other and blocking the exit. (Anyone not flying is no longer allowed inside.) Instead, we had to go for our tests, but they were done very quickly and we soon found ourselves outside the building.

The (negative) results of the PCR tests arrived in plenty of time for me to go to folk dancing the following evening.

Travel, these days, isn’t what it was, but most of us don’t have the awful experiences that make it to the news.


Switzerland – Your Unvoiced Questions Answered

On 20th August, after completing all the usual preparations and some extra ones, David and I were delighted to be sitting in a plane about to take off.

About four hours later, we landed at Zurich Airport, ready to spend two glorious weeks doing what we love to do – hike, admire views, travel in boats.

You: Why did you go?

We needed a rest, a break from routine.

You: Why did you go abroad?

We live in a small, crowded and tense country. There’s plenty that we love about our country and what it has accomplished. But sometimes it’s nice to get away and experience something different.

You: Why did you choose Switzerland?

We’ve been there many times. We know what to expect. It’s perfect for hiking, with lots of footpaths and excellent public transport. The views are amazing. Our first choice would have been the UK, where we have family and friends and are at home with the language. But current restrictions there are too complicated and limiting.

Let me ask you a question. Why are you asking so many questions?

You: We’re still in a pandemic. Don’t you think you should stay at home?

We stayed at home for nineteen months, most of it literally at home. When we tried to visit places, we found we had to book, and the places we tried were always full for the times we wanted. The pandemic, we’ve realised, isn’t going away soon, so it’s time to get out and enjoy ourselves, taking whatever precautions we can.

You: What did you notice in Switzerland regarding the pandemic?

In general, people are good about wearing masks. The ones who aren’t, in our limited experience, tend to be young men, who sit in a train carriage for the whole journey with their can of drink, presumably so that, if challenged, they can claim to be drinking and hence exempt from wearing a mask.

Even in Switzerland (but less so than in Israel) we saw masks discarded on the streets and on footpaths – even on this path high up in the mountains.

Any more questions?


2015 A to Z Challenge: J is for JOURNEYS

A-Z Challenge 2015

Two very different sorts of travelling could feature in your story.

The characters will probably need to get to other places at some point – places that are too far to reach on foot. The time and place will determine the mode of transport they use. Obviously they won’t travel by car or bus or train in the sixteenth century. But it’s not enough to plonk your characters in a carriage. You have to know what the carriage looks like, inside and out. You have to know what it feels like to ride on the roads of the time, and how often they stop to give the horses a rest or to leave the horses behind and continue with refreshed horses.

By Sipyardbelize (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Sipyardbelize (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
They might ride on horseback. In another part of the world, they might ride on camels or elephants. Have you ridden on those animals? I have. When the camel gets up, it feels as if you’re at a fun fair and about to be turned upside down.

Then there’s the other sort of journey that traverses time. For some reason I haven’t managed to find the answer to this question: in a time-travel novel, who or what does the travelling? Is there one character (or more) who starts off in one year and find herself in another? Or does the story do the travelling by showing two or more different eras in which the characters are connected in some way? Could someone explain, please?


Book review: Vultures Overhead



With vultures of our own overhead, I was happy to let Jo Carroll transport me to a place I’ve never been to and might never see. Even if I do go there, this book won’t reflect my experience. Jo makes this very clear. The book describes her journey around Cuba as a lone traveller in January 2014. Another visitor, travelling at a different time, in a group or even with one other, hiring a car, staying at different places, meeting different people, will experience something completely different.

Having read two of Jo’s previous travel books, I expected to be entertained, captivated and enthralled. I wasn’t disappointed. I was taken for rides on old buses, a horse and a bicitaxi. I met a wide variety of people – Cubans and tourists. With her usual perception, Jo paints a vivid picture of all she saw, peppering it with the thoughts and feelings of a brave, sincere and articulate woman.

You can find out more about this book here.

Blogging Books

My Blogging Year

In 2013, I blogged about

  • memoir writing, from which I learned a lot
  • my three trips abroad
  • writing courses
  • various aspects of living in Jerusalem
  • a couple of books in review
  • social anxiety
  • snow

and more.

And I tried various challenges:

  • 100k in 100 days
  • A-Z challenge
  • 100 word challenge
  • NaNoWroMo

WordPress sent me my stats for 2013:

  • I posted 91 posts. This must be number 92.
  • My visitors came from 79 countries.
  • My 5 most active commenters were:


Thank you, Angela, Jean, Rachael, Rosalind and catdownunder and all the other commenters and visitors. Without you I wouldn’t be here.

And so, as 2013 draws to a close, I have to make a decision: will I attempt the 100k words in 100 days challenge again, starting tomorrow? If I do, I’ll have to come up with more ideas of what to write. Hmm….

What I’m sure about is that I will continue blogging in 2014 as long as I still have visitors.

Happy New Year