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Old 12.03.2008, 10:08
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What is life like when the cold sets in?

So here I sit in 30+ temperatures in Cape Town, thinking about how my life is going to change when I get to CH in May and I must say, I am more than a little scared!

Does life change drasticaly in winter? Do people stay indoors more, are they eskimos at heart? How do you entertain the little ones?
Ok, now be honest, how cold does it get really?
How long does winter last (Post global warming), and more importnatly how long does summer last, and how warm does it get?

I will be in the Valais region which I believe has the highest average of sunny clear days.... yay for me but doesnt help if I am frozen the ground!!
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Old 12.03.2008, 10:13
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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How do you entertain the little ones?
Dress them up warmly, open the door and you won't see them for the rest of the day.
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Old 12.03.2008, 10:15
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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So here I sit in 30+ temperatures in Cape Town, thinking about how my life is going to change when I get to CH in May and I must say, I am more than a little scared!

Does life change drasticaly in winter? Do people stay indoors more, are they eskimos at heart? How do you entertain the little ones?
Ok, now be honest, how cold does it get really?
How long does winter last (Post global warming), and more importnatly how long does summer last, and how warm does it get?

I will be in the Valais region which I believe has the highest average of sunny clear days.... yay for me but doesnt help if I am frozen the ground!!

Life does change drastically in winter, I put the bicycle away and get out the ski's. I think the little ones do the same.

Switzerland is not that cold, in Zurich it is rarely below freezing. The temperature will depend more on the altitude where you live. Winters aren't cold but summers aren't particulary warm usually either. The number of 30 degree+ days are not that many. I would say an average summer day would be in the mid 20's. Weather in Zurich is mild in my opinion. But then again i from the deep cold areas of the American heartland.

Summer is from usually from June 1st to June 15th.

Okay just kidding, but it is difficult question to answer because I think we define summer differently.
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Old 12.03.2008, 10:24
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

There is a great misconception about the 'cold' in Switzerland. I'm from the UK and one of the big questions I get is "how do you get on with all that snow?" This is from people who have seen Switzerland only from a calendar, where the winter shots from mountain tops show a couple of metres of snow.

The reality is that in the lowlands snow is relatively rare and we are coming to the end of the second extremely mild winter on the run.

My parents refused to come over in the winter as the imagined how it is in the UK when temperatures at -5°C. That's when people die there.

Here buildings are designed for cold weather. My folks were amazed that they could sit in our lounge barefoot over Christmas and actually be a little too warm for their spartan tastes. Their house in the UK is a sieve to the wind and elements and is perishing when it's +5°C outside.

A winter wardrobe and sensible use of coats and gloves means that you never need suffer - and summer is wonderful when it comes...
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Old 12.03.2008, 10:34
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

What you will come to love in Europe, which you don't have in South Africa, are 4 proper seasons. It also has the decency to snow here, unlike in the UK for example. In Switzerland you have a beautiful winter landscape. It's a beautiful country in all seasons. Magical.

I love Winter, it's my favorit season. It's not freezing. Houses in South Africa are built for warm weather, as a result you get cold in winter. Here the houses are built a little differently, you remain comfortable in all seasons.

Winters here, especially in Zurich are dry, crisp and fresh, mostly. I have a good coat, which is all I ever need, I don't need layer upon layer of woolly jumpers etc.

It's not Scandinavia.
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Old 12.03.2008, 10:46
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

I know this winter has been exceptionally mild but you really don't have any thing to fear. As Gooner said a good coat and learning to tuck your vest in does the trick. As for the kids, It's always been a delight for me to see all the brightly dressed kids playing out through-out winter.

I had my niece over three weeks ago, we spent our days grilling sausages over an open fire in the woods, Ice-skating at the local open-air rink and a few trips to the mountains so she enjoy the snow.

She said she'd never slept so well!
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Old 12.03.2008, 11:15
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

Indeed. Having lived in Chicago I have to say that it doesn't really get cold here.
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Old 12.03.2008, 12:08
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

The other good thing is that it's dry cold here in winter - not damp cold like in the UK so you can easily get out and enjoy the countryside. And at least down here in Vaud there are lots of sunny days so it's bright cold not grey cold. Winnipeg Manitoba in January - now that's cold!
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Old 12.03.2008, 12:12
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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Indeed. Having lived in Chicago I have to say that it doesn't really get cold here.
LOL..
I've been there more than once in January - nothing gets as cold at winter in Chicago! the wind alone can kill you....LOL


for here....
my former Swiss colleague summed it up well...in his very deadpan and calm voice:

"There is no bad weather, there is only wrong clothing"
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Old 12.03.2008, 12:48
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

We either go sledging, skiing, swimming, or wrap up warm and go for a nice walk to a playground, build a snowman in winter. In summer we go nearly everyday to the outdoor swimming pool because sometimes it gets so hot all you want to do is jump into a pool.
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Old 12.03.2008, 13:28
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

I celebrated last week because it was cold enough to once again need my winter jacket, this has only happened about four times this year (excluding visits to the mountains). Having moved here from Canada, I was used to wearing it for about 4 months straight, so it doesn't really feel like we have a proper winter here in the city.

Even for someone for South Africa, I don't think you'll find that the cold much of a problem. As AbFab said, Switzerland's reputation for snowy winters is based on the weather in the mountains, if you don't live there then the winters are nothing to worry about.
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Old 12.03.2008, 14:09
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

I would like to stick my oar in now. I hate the cold and was really fearing the worst when we moved from Thailand. To be perfectly honest, I don't think it has bothered me too much at all. We had sufficient time to acclimatise and our flat is really well insulated, so well in fact that the only radiator we have on is in the bathroom. The only time I am ever cold at home is when I am out on the balcony smoking. The mountains are usually sunny so that is warm too. Don't panic about it, just make sure you dress appropriately. For the children it is fantastic, show me one child who doesn't enjoy running around outside rather than be cooped up inside.
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Old 12.03.2008, 16:20
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

Wow, I must admit, I wasnt expecting so many people to say "its not that cold". Pleasant suprise!!
I have worked (Outdoors) in Kentucky winter before and that was freezing! So maybe I will survive after all.
I will be in the mountains in Champex so I expect I will be a weeee bit colder than everyone else but I guess I can handle it... I am always getting laughed at cos it will be 25 degrees out and I will be the one wearing a jersey! No hope!!
Are indoor heated swiming pools a "done thing" in CH?
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Old 12.03.2008, 16:22
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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<snip> Are indoor heated swiming pools a "done thing" in CH?
I have yet to see an outdoor pool.
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Old 12.03.2008, 16:57
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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I have yet to see an outdoor pool.
C'mon - haven't you ever looked out the plane coming into Kloten? I'm always amazed how many pools there are in back gardens - particularly as they are on the flight path...
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Old 12.03.2008, 17:00
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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C'mon - haven't you ever looked out the plane coming into Kloten? I'm always amazed how many pools there are in back gardens - particularly as they are on the flight path...
I've seen them flying into Basel, but those are French.
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Old 12.03.2008, 17:11
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

My in-laws have an indoor heated pool it is brilliant for my 2 kids they love going there to stay. I also know some people who have outdoor pools which are brilliant for summer.
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Old 12.03.2008, 18:19
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

cold mate, very cold!
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Old 12.03.2008, 18:32
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

Houses here are built to last a thousand years and are so well insulated you will not be cold.
There are loads of public indoor pools so if you love to swim most towns have there own pools. Then there are all the ice skating rinks - you will find that life is great.
My sister lives in Montreal - now thats a real winter!!
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Old 12.03.2008, 18:50
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Re: What is life like when the cold sets in?

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I have yet to see an outdoor pool.
There is an unheated outdoor pool in my backyard (not really my backyard because I live in shared accommodation). The ice was a good 5cm thick for a bit in December. I only went in a couple of times last summer but other people seem to go in every day, sometimes first thing in the morning too!
This is in April



This is in December
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