Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual visit to beautiful Switzerland. A country which means so much to our little family. To me. Life happens and it’s meant that we haven’t been able to get to our little bit of alpine heaven since 2015. Our next visit can’t come quick enough.

I’ve been thinking about what it will feel like when I’m finally back there again. It’s going to be at least 7 years since that trip in 2015. Maybe it will feel like the return of a wonderful friend or maybe it will feel like the first time. I still remember what it felt like on my first trip. A flight into Zurich and arrive at the hotel in the early afternoon. Cold and cloudy. The mountains shrouded in mist. But that fresh alpine air. Wow.

Then the next day we headed on the train to Grindelwald. All those books about the massive mountains I head read since childhood, suddenly they were real. I was amongst them. Then a trip up my first Alpine Peak. Not a big one, in fact it’s only a minor summit. But now always a special one to me. The First. On that a Sunday I was up high surrounded by giants like The Eiger.

What a great name for my First Swiss Mountain. FIRST. Yes to me it’s a Mountain. Always my favourite mountain now. Just one of the most uplifting and exhilarating feelings of my life.

Yes the next time I visit Switzerland I hope it feels like the FIRST time again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly visit to a little piece of alpine heaven. To a stunning country that our little family has not been able to visit since the summer of 2015. It’s time for Switzerland.

On every visit we would find ourselves spending a few minutes window shopping. Window shopping at the Property Agents. Looking wishfully at all the houses for sale. Dreaming of what could be. Definitely thinking about buying maybe one lottery ticket or suddenly finding that hidden masterpiece in the loft. What a place to live. A place to really live.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. This wonderful little country has been a special holiday destination for our family for a couple of generations now. Life has happened and that family is much changed now. Much smaller. Now the baton of Alpine Trips is really just lies with Hawklad and me. We must find a way of keeping that tradition going. Why?

Because family tradition is so important. Once it’s gone it’s gone….

Because Switzerland is so special and so worth it…..

Sadly 2021 doesn’t look like being a year where we can venture those 1000 miles again. It’s been 5 years now since our last trip. So let’s keep those memories strong until life opens up again and once more a family trip to alpine heaven can happen again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country that is 900 miles away from our house in England but actually feels more like where our hearts want to be. One day we will return.

Today we are going back to 2015 and our last trip to this alpine wonderland. It was the second last day of our holiday and the weather was glorious. So we went on a bit if an expedition. We went to the Zermatt. From there we caught the mountain train which took us to 10285ft (3135m) to the top of the Gonnergrat. The train is an experience as it’s Europe’s highest open-air railway.

The top is a huge rocky ridge with a luxury hotel, restaurant, shops, astronomical observatories, a beautiful stone chapel and views of The Matterhorn. It overlooks a stunning glacier and has views of 29 4000m mountains. It’s a truly epic place.

After a few hours at the top we walked down most of the way. Poignantly this would prove to be our last long family walk as a team of 3. So it’s extra special to me and our son.

I give you the Gonnergrat.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country we haven’t managed to visit for 5 years but is very special to our family. It might be 800 miles away but it feels so much closer.

Yesterday I was talking to our son about visiting this wonderful country again. Without promoting he simply said ‘shame we can’t just move there’. I’m so with him on that. Imagine waking up everyday in a country that looks this good. Imagine that clean, fresh mountain air. A country which is so friendly, where everything works perfectly and one which still feels so safe. Living there would be a dream come true.

Swiss Sunday

We haven’t been able to visit Switzerland since 2015 but it still remains very special to our little Yorkshire family. One day we will return but in the mean time let’s take a virtual trip to this beautiful land.

In these troubled times there are certain thoughts that I cling onto. Thoughts that are so dear to me that they always part the clouds and make the sun shine. One such thought is that Switzerland is there. It’s still there and is most definitely still that beautiful.

Moon

Another one of those dark days. But at least it’s not like yesterday…

It’s definitely one of those days that it’s difficult to work out how far we have got through this week. Think it’s Thursday. Possibly.

I was outside this morning trying to do my yoga session. I’m sure the yoga vibes lose a bit of meaning across the miles. I follow someone who leads yoga instruction from Austin, Texas. Often she is on a mat outside in the blazing sun. Meanwhile I load up the video desperately trying to keep the iPad dry in the driving rain. The yoga mat is covered in puddles. Any exposed skin is risking frostbite and I’m thinking that two wooly hats was definitely not enough. Don’t you just love Yorkshire. Inside is not a viable option as I can see a dog and cat looking through the window, just waiting to excitedly pounce.

We were outside last night having a late night chat. It was dark, cold, windy and damp.

Dad why on earth do we live here?”

Absolutely no idea son. I was thinking exactly the same thing.

We could be sat outside somewhere with T-shirt’s on. We could even be in The Alps walking about in beautiful snow.

Meanwhile Hawklad we are grimly walking around trying to keep warm while wearing 9 million layers. The waterproofing on our coats has long since been jet blasted off.

Dad we sound like a right couple of misery heads…..”

I think it’s a Yorkshire thing. That’s why Wallace and Gromit always sound so depressed and seek solace in Wensleydale Cheese.

Dad NASA are about to make a big announcement about the Moon. Wouldn’t it be funny if Wallace and Gromit were right and the Moon was made of Wensleydale or Stilton cheese.”

Maybe they have found intelligent life there. That would confirm its alien not human…… No one intelligent would choose to live in this weather.

Dad well it’s better than living on the moon. I hear the atmosphere is quite bad there!”

Return

This is the first hill I ever walked up. Walked up it more than any other hill. Roseberry Topping is not a big hill. It’s only 266 ft tall. It sits on the northern edge of North Yorkshire and is a part of the Cleveland Hills. At the top look south and you see beautiful moors. Look north you see an urban sprawl and industry. Those with good eyesight can see where I was born and the sea.

For such a small hill it so loved. Alan Hinkes the first Britain to climb all 14 highest world mountains talks so fondly of this little piece of rock.

“I saw K2 and thought: that is the mountain to do; it’s nearly as impressive as Roseberry Topping”

Here we often refer it as the Yorkshire Matterhorn. Our version of the Swiss Matterhorn.

Our version is certainly not as big. Not as snowy. Not as steep. Not as scary. Not as famous. But it’s certainly way more Yorkshire.

My mum when she was young apparently scrawled her initials in a rock near the top. Many did that. I’ve still not found her carving but I do look every time I visit the hill.

As a teenager it would always feel a little claustrophobic where we lived. A small grey town. On one side the cold dark North Sea. On the other side one of Europe’s biggest chemical and steel works. It often seemed that the rest of the world was blocked off from me. But get on my bike and ride 2 hours through the industry. Suddenly I was at the base of our Matterhorn. 30 minutes later I was on its top and I could breathe. I was finally in a different world. I could experience what it was like to be in The Alps. To be an adventurer. I could think clearly on the top. I could calm the internal storms. I could visualise a better life.

All these years later and I still love this little hill. My hill. I so want to be there right now. I need to be there. 2020 will probably be the first year since I was a wee bairn that I won’t have stood on Roseberry Topping. That’s a sad thought. But it’s patiently waiting for me. Waiting for me to return.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for another virtual trip to stunning Switzerland. It might be four years since our last visit but the memories are still so strong.

Memories of vineyards, castles and walking through alpine meadows. The spectacular Alps always in view.

Walks along crystal clear lakes and through spectacular mountain valleys.

Beautiful towns and dramatic rivers.

A walkers and climbers paradise.

Some of the best views on the planet. And let’s not forget the weather.

Sometimes the weather in Switzerland demands two ice lollies. That means poor Dad misses out. The question is – how cold are the lollies.

The answer – VERY COLD.

But definitely worth it.

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.