Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which we haven’t been able to visit in a few years but which still holds a special place in our hearts.

Someone asked why we love this country so much. Well the first thing is that is has so many links to our Hawklad. His mum’s family have had links to the country for nearly 80 years now. That’s so important to our son.

Another reason is how the Swiss villages just look so perfect in the alpine landscape.

Another reason is the country’s beautiful lakes. They have a magical quality.

Another reason is those walks through the wooded mountain valleys. They are simply breathtaking.

We hardly get much snow these days where we live. The excitement of coming to land where the snow is always there. Even in summer.

The mountains are nothing short of epic.

Finally its not a bad place for an 8 year old to have breakfast.

Lost in the snow

I found this old photo just randomly lying in the bottom of a box of all junk. I don’t know why I kept it. I’m thankful now as it reminds me of a long forgotten memory. I can’t remember which mountain it was. Not sure even which country it is in. Anyway it’s from over 20 years ago. I had been solo climbing . Not a difficult climb but it took a few hours of hard work. Definitely needed ropes and was very definitely vertical. Best described as a 200ft cliff. At the top of the climb it immediately opened up onto the summit top. A large and very gentle dome. As I scrambled over the edge I saw a figure stood in the distance. No idea why but I took a photo. He turned and watched me slowly walk towards him. I must have been a sight. Full winter climbing gear, ropes, ice axes. Completely sodden with all the wet snow. Steam rising off me. I had some blood dripping onto the snow from an encounter with a particularly sharp rock. I felt bad about staining the snow.

Next followed one of those conversations that just stay with you.

********

“Hello, it looks like you have had fun”

It was hard work but fun. It’s very, very steep.

“Your bleeding”

It’s ok, looks worse than it is.

“I’m lost, I’m trying to work out which way it is back down”

Where are you trying to get to.

“I want to get back to my car. Is the way down your way?”

No, no, no, no, no. Most definitely not that way.

“Oh I wonder which way it is then.”

At a guess with the position of the sun, the time and the atmospheric conditions. It’s that way behind you.

“Wow you good, how can you tell from that”.

I really can’t but I can clearly see your footprints in the snow. I’m guessing you just need to follow them all the way down.

*********

And a few seconds later he was off retracing his footprints. Now I could go on about the risks of winter hillwalking when your clearly not properly prepared. But actually how often do we all find ourselves in that position. Rapidly out of our depths, lost, confused, unprepared and probably very tired. Not forgetting how close we are to potentially walking off the cliff edge. I certainly feel that way quite often.

Yes I’m glad I kept that photo.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to one of the worlds most beautiful countries. It’s time for a little bit of Switzerland. So while we are wandering amongst The Alps let’s consider a few random facts about this wonderful country.

  • Switzerland is one of the main filming locations for Bollywood movies,
  • Einstein’s most famous equation about Energy was developed while he lived here,
  • Guess where the Swiss Army Knife was invented…..
  • It has the largest nuclear shelter in the world,

  • The majority of the world’s luxury watches come from Switzerland,
  • It has four national languages. Romansch, German, French and Italian,
  • Most transport announcements are also made in English,
  • It has its priorities right. Education is really well funded and teachers are well paid.

  • It’s original name was Helvetia,
  • The country does not have an official animal. Many think it is the bear but actually if you spend anytime here then you will quickly realise that it should be the Cow,
  • Monte Rosa is its highest mountain at 15203ft,

  • Switzerland has many laws protecting animals. Dogs can eat in restaurants. Social animals must be kept in pairs. If one of the pair dies you must replace it. This applies to small animals like Guinea Pigs,
  • Switzerland is always in the top 3 countries for life expectancy,
  • The worlds largest particle physics laboratory lies beneath Switzerland,
  • The Swiss love chocolate. They eat over 11 kilos of chocolate per person each year. Yet they have the least obese population in the whole of Europe,

The final random fact. Many believe that Scotland is the home of golf. Wrong. It’s Switzerland.

Friday memories

This is a photograph that I always keep coming back to. Especially today. It’s a photo that can take me in two different directions. Sadness or Happiness. Currently it’s in the direction of happiness.

A meal and a drink outside while gazing upon one the worlds most epic mountains, The Eiger. Then a walk from Kleine Scheidegg down to Lauterbrunnen. Snow on the tops but wonderfully warm. Walking down listening to our son talk about Dr Who and monsters. A two hour walk was just not long enough for him, he only scratched the surface of his Time Lord memory banks. Listing to my partner laugh at our sons numerous monster jokes.

Yes a beautiful day. All flooding back thanks to a treasured old photograph.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland🇨🇭. A country which means so much to our little family. We haven’t been since 2015 but it definitely still feels like home.

This week we won’t be venturing too far away from water. All the photos feature beautiful Lake Thun.

It’s a wonderful deep blue coloured lake that sits on the northern edge of The Alps. So it is surrounded my imposing mountains and rolling hills.

Deep snow does not often fall here even during winter. But you are often surrounded my snow covered mountains. So very close. During the summer it is often very warm here. Then the cooling lake waters are such a delight.

During the summer months it is popular with those who sail, windsurf and swim. Lake steamers take tourists on relaxing trips across the waters. Those who like to fish come here all year round. It’s also a hikers and runners dream.

Lake Thun and the little town of Spiez are just so stunning. It’s tempting to spend all your holiday here. Why travel when you have all this.

Lake Thun also has one of the most beautiful little playgrounds in the world. Definitely one of Hawklads favourite places ever. A great place to dream.

Rain

It’s raining. I mean really raining. It’s so dark that I can’t get a photo….

So here’s one from a few years back. A duck getting wet. A Swiss Duck. A Duck that Hawklad would feed on a morning.

So imagine that weather but then think Yorkshire. Maybe replace the duck with some Rhubard. Now you get the picture.

Living in Yorkshire we are kinda use to the rain. I was bored this morning so I counted. It’s a thing us Accountants do. We can usually count to TWO without too many errors. So yes I counted the anti rain contents of our small house.

9 umbrellas – NINE – all of them boring. I need a cool one.

8 waterproof coats – EIGHT – plenty for any visitors needing a spare one.

4 pairs of waterproof trousers – bizarrely all the wrong sizes for me and Hawklad. One pair is so massive it’s even too big for me. The kind of trousers that you would need to take several steps before they moved.

3 waterproof hats – so one spare for a visitor. Some Yorkshire rain can seem to travel upwards so an extra layer of protection is needed in addition to an umbrella.

3 Wellington Boots – THREE – we are missing one. Stern look at the dog. But ok for a three legged race..

Add to that various waterproofing and anti rust products. It gets that wet here that sometimes even the skin needs even more help with the wetness. Maybe that’s the reason I have a face perfect for radio.

Now it’s time to try and mop out the pool forming next to the back door. We always have a bucket and a mop positioned there.

So completes another brilliant advert for the Yorkshire Tourist Board….

#itsabeautifulplanet

Ok I know I go on about Switzerland. How I think it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. But I need to set the record straight. In my eyes we are so lucky to live in a world with so many wonderful places. Every country, every region will have at least one place. One special place. I’ve been so lucky to actually visit many of those places in Yorkshire, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Congo, South Africa and yes Switzerland.

Yes today Yorkshire is separate from England – must be time for the next King Richard III to take us out of the place which has became the play thing for the Madness of King Boris.

If I can’t physically visit places then I can see the beauty through virtual trips.

Yes we live in a world which can still be beautiful. It can still be a wonderful life. Surely it’s time for us to not to always focus on all the ugliness which fills the news these days. Time to focus on the beauty. Time to delete the #itsanuglyworld and get behind something like #itsabeautifulplanet. Time for us to promote those special places. To give others a glimpse of what is truly out there.

So I will give you my first offering. I give you Northumberland.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland.

We have been so blessed to visit Switzerland so many times. The weather has virtually always been with us. Just stunning. But occasionally the weather closed in. One day it poured down. Rather ironically it was on a trip to Meiringen. To see the location of the the final battle between Sherlock Holmes and Moriaty. The village is a homage to the great detective. A little bit of England in The Alps. Of course it had to rain. Through the rain clouds the infamous Reichenback Falls can be seen.

But normally the sun shines and the views are almost to perfect to be real.

If anything these photos don’t do Switzerland justice. It is the most beautiful place I have ever visited.

Always something that takes the breath away.

But let’s not forget that as beautiful as the views might be……It’s always time to play with animals. Especially new ones freshly acquired from a lovely shop in Interlaken.

It’s always ice lolly time.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. Today takes us back to 2011. We had the same routine for every Sunday we had in this stunning country. Up early to catch the first boat to Interlaken. So the day would start with breathtaking views from the hotel room.

After breakfast it was a short walk to the boat stop. Spiez always has the most stunning flower displays.

The Lake Thun trip lasts a couple of hours and is just the most relaxing thing I have ever experienced.

The views of the The Alps are never ending.

It’s amazing how the Swiss manage find the most amazing places for roads, tunnels and buildings.

The lake is deep, very deep and it’s almost hypnotic. The colours are frequently breathtaking.

Eventually the lake narrows as we arrive in Interlaken.

Hawklad would always love to spend his trip outside, watching the mountains slowly drift past. He also loved listening on this trip to the traditional Swiss Choir.

Then it’s back to the hotel for a balanced diet of Heinz Tomato Ketchup with some optional food.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to Alpine Heaven. Stunning Switzerland.

Switzerland is a place we visited many times as a family. Not been there since 2015 but it’s still a special place for me and Hawklad. This Sunday we are going to revisit one of our finest memories. The trip to the Gonnergrat.

The Gonnergrat is a rocky ridge that stands at 3135m (10285ft). At the top the you find a gothic looking hotel, a beautiful chapel, restaurants and two astronomical observatories.

The train trip from Zermat to the top is truly epic. Its Europe’s highest open air railway. It’s a nice feeling to know that the electricity it takes to climb the mountain is generated by the trains breaking system on the way down.

The summit has a stunning alpine panorama but the jewel is being so close to one of the worlds most iconic mountains, The Matterhorn.

The Gonnergrat overlooks two glaciers. The glacier system is the second largest in The Alps.

It’s just the most glorious place. It has the most amazing atmosphere, the air is staggeringly fresh. It’s as if you are almost able to touch heaven.

In places the Gonnergrat has an out of world look which contrasts with the stunning alpine valleys below.

So I give you the Gonnergrat. A truly epic place. A place which is currently our highest ever location. It is 41 times higher than the hill we live on. That fact is very important to Hawklad. He likes that fact very much.