Capener family-- life in Switzerland

This is our attempt to keep friends up to date with our life in Switzerland. You can comment here or email us at or

Friday, December 31, 2010

A couple of shots taken from our apartment window in Siena. We were right on the main square in a building that had been there for 1000 years. The shower worked like it was that old too. Because I am a pitiful blogger, these pictures are in opposite order of our trip to Italy.

These guys got a few francs from us for the effort.
The Duomo in Siena is made of alternating bands of dark and light stone. Very ornate and reminds of a time when this city rivaled Florence. Too bad the Plague pretty well wiped it out in the 1300's.

On our second day in Rome at the Forum
An artful shot by Rikki at the Forum
Abby always making friends with strays at, where else, the Forum.

Sam looking relaxed in the amazingly clean and efficient Roman metro.

We picked up Rikki from the airport after it took her 48 hours to finally get here from Utah. Quite a trip for her first time solo traveling. We jammed her in our little volvo wagon and drove 6.5 hours to Rome. The GPS is my most trusted friend. We spent several days there before heading back home with a stop for 2 days in Siena.

Strolling through the streets of Rome on a festive but wet night.
The view from the top of the St. Peters Basilica dome. The scale of that cathedral is breathtaking.
One of my favorite paintings in the Vatican Museum. I think of Cindy Phillips when I see it as she first told me to look for it a decade ago when I first visited the museum.
Can you imagine Sammy getting cultured? Naw.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here are some shots of Bern. It was a gray day and quite cold, but we found the town to be very walkable with an amazing variety of small shops. The town is famous for their Bear park where I took a picture of this little guy. Having taught about Einstein for so many years, it was moving to be in the town where he did his amazing work in 1905. One shot is of the river Aare that weaves its way around the town and has running paths all along it. In the summer people just float down this tame river as they encircle the town.

A few weeks ago Peggy and I were able to visit Lucerne and Bern without the kids. Always a treat. We hit Lucerne on a brisk sunny Saturday morning and the market vendors were in full force. Peggy was in her element. It was Europe in all its charm and splendor.

I took the kids 90 minutes north to Andermatt for a day of skiing. The skiing here is mostly above treeline. This was a cold day, with flat light, and I must say I was missing the Wasatch Front. Fortunately there a many more days ahead in which to convert me over to Euro snow.

Here are some shots of our soccer trip to Portugal. We swam in the Atlantic in November. Africa was about 100 miles away. One of the teams was from Morocco, and another from Egypt. The soccer was mediocre, but culturally fantastic.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lastly is a statue of Dante in Verona and Abby with some angels in the square. Next week Peggy, Sam and I go to the southern coast of Portugal for a soccer tournament. It is supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny. I'll update with photos. Abby is staying behind with friends, so I hope someone takes the pictures.

The woman in blue in the middle is Paola Pezzo, a local from Verona, who led us on the ride. It turns out in her prime she was the first Olympic gold medalist in mountain biking and was world champion several years. She is so famous in these parts that a local trail is named after her.

Forgot the lake and Mountain biking shots in Verona.

For the Fall Academic Travel week the Soccer team went to Verona and trained at a very nice soccer facility. While there, we went mountain biking and toured the city and nearby Lake Garda. Peggy and I definitely want to go back to this lake region for some more biking. Verona has one of the few complete amphitheaters in Italy. It used to have a third tier, but an earthquake took it down in the 1200's. It was built around 50 AD. I think that was the Bauhaus period, with a hint of Frank Lloyd Wright. Also in this group, are shots of Juliet's balcony. Shakespeare's story has made this quite a tourist spot, despite being all fiction. Abby poses with Juliet's statue.

Abby had a class trip in which they hiked up on of our local mountains. Here are her shots from that day.

Recently we took the train up to Zurich. (2.5 hrs) The town was very comfortable, more cosmopolitan than our region. Also more English was spoken in the German part of Switzerland. We went to a few movies in English, and visited a fine art museum. The cast iron gate was at the museum and was done by Rodin, entitled the Gates of Hell. Abby has become our photo taker.

Here is Abby's Halloween costume. The locals are not into it, but the school tries to keep the tradition alive.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Val Verzasca

One more photo of the hike and a shot Abby took right around campus. She seems to have an eye. I keep getting the format a little off, but you get the idea.

Here are some pictures of our hike. The top of the hike was a small waterfall and freezing cold swimming hole. Abby and Sam were one of the first ones in. There are tiny little enclaves along the hike that people live in, even though the only way to them is a 45 minute hike. They have a zip line type apparatus that they use to haul heavy items up the hill. At the bottom of the hike, in the valley, is a charming river that flows over large rock formations. The roman looking bridge is a popular spot for jumping in. Its about 35 feet, so not for me, but I did jump from 15-20 ft. The scariest part was the water temperature. Wednesday, I go on a different hike in the area, so I will hopefully have some new photos.