September 15, 2012

When “bad” is Good

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:22 pm by newsurroundings

Spas are big in Europe.  Thermal baths with mineral water, sure to cure all that ails you, are very popular.  I finally figured out that any city with the word “bad” in it is a spa town.  (I know, I’m a slow learner.)  That is, if you’re in a German-speaking area, since “bad” means bath in German.  We have visited a few spas, but I think our favorite was in Leukerbad, Switzerland.  Leukerbad is in the canton of Valais, in the Alps.  We went at the end of August and, though it is always much cooler in the mountains than in Lugano, we were caught off guard by the weather.  We ran into an area of snow on the drive up and when we got to Leukerbad, it was raining and 3 degrees C (37 degrees F)!  We had thought we might do some hiking in the area, but with the weather so bad, we had no choice but to head straight for the spa.  We went to the Linder Alpentherme, which has an outdoor and indoor pool heated to 36 degrees Celsius and a large sauna area, along with a wellness center that offers all types of massages and treatments.  We spent several hours at the spa, mostly in the outdoor pool, surrounded by the scenery of the Alps- not a bad way to spend a cold, rainy day.

I didn’t get a picture of the Lindner Alpentherme, but I took these of another spa, the Burgerbad Therme.   The picture above was taken when we first arrived in Leukerbad.  We spent a couple of hours at this spa on our last morning in Leukerbad and enjoyed it also, though it’s more geared toward families.  As  you can tell in the pictures below, the weather had greatly improved .  The water felt almost too warm in the hot sun.  When visiting thermal baths, bad weather can be a good thing.


September 13, 2012

Have Cat- Can’t Travel

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:02 am by newsurroundings

Traveling is great, except for the fact that we have a cat and cats don’t travel well.  If we had a well-behaved dog, it would be no problem.  Sometimes I look around in restaurants and there are almost as many dogs as there are people.  Someone told me recently that all dogs in Switzerland must attend obedience training.  This country is determined to make everyone behave.  If I was a dog, I think I’d want to live in Europe, where I would always be welcome.  But, I have a cat and he does not appreciate being left at a kennel or at home by himself when we travel.  We found what I thought would be a nice kennel for him.  The owners seemed very nice.  On our first visit there, we walked in to the area with all the cats in cages and there was a harp on a stand in the middle of the floor.  I thought, “How nice, Biscuit will get to enjoy free concerts”.  But, for whatever reason, he hates it there.  The owner even told us that he is not happy there.  He knows that because Biscuit refuses to use the litter box.  That’s his way of getting back at everyone- by messing up his own bed.

I got the names of a couple of English-speaking college students living in Lugano.  Two girls have agreed to come “meet” Biscuit and it will give me the chance to talk with them.  I have been thinking, “What would Biscuit want me to ask them?”  I think I know the answer to that- “What would you do if Biscuit comes up and hits you with his tail?”, or “What would you do if Biscuit hides under the bed and ignores you?”, or “What would you do if Biscuit purrs or meows?”.  The correct answer in every situation would be, “I would give him another can of food”.   Those are his questions.  Now I need to come up with a few of my own.  My daughter, Erin, who is to cats as the dog whisperer is to dogs, has given me a few tips.  So, I’ll take her suggestions and see how it goes.  I am hoping this will lead to less stress for Biscuit and worry-free vacations for us.

Doesn’t he deserve the very best?