Looking out on a Yorkshire evening scene and the clouds are rolling in. Yes it’s been sunny at times with blue skies but it’s just not a Swiss sky. It’s something Hawklad talks about, just how BLUE a blue sky is in Alpine heaven.
It’s a breathtaking colour with seemingly so little air pollution to cloud the view. Now I’m thinking about the clean fresh air, I know it sounds strange to say this but breathing in The Alps is just seems better, healthier.
And even when the weather closes in, Switzerland is just perfect. I so hope it’s not too long before we get the chance to experience these special gifts again real soon.
Must be time for another Sunday walk down memory lane. A virtual trip to alpine heaven. SWITZERLAND. This one takes us back to 2012, where did those years go.
A family adventure started with a certain young child wanting to try this cool looking drink, available at the train station. I can’t think why he wasn’t allowed it….
The spectacular Aare Gorge is a just under 2km long with a narrow, raised walkway along one side of the vertical cliffs. It lies just a short distance from the infamous Reichenback Falls where Sherlock Holmes fell into the abyss with Moriaty. At times the Gorge narrows to just a few feet wide. All this accompanied by the sound of a deafening river, crashing through the the narrow rock gap below. Definitely not a place for claustrophobics, but definitely an absolute thrill ride. At night it must be a truly terrifying place. Tiny Hawklad absolutely loved it, he was convinced that monsters and sea creatures must live here, sadly he didn’t managed to capture any on his little toy camera. But it’s still a location he talks about today. Maybe soon he can go back again. Let’s hope so.
It just seems appropriate to recount this one small tale from a wonderful country called Switzerland.
I think it was back in 2010 and we find ourselves on a quite busy train heading to Geneva Airport, after a family holiday in alpine heaven. The Guard appeared and went along the carriage checking tickets. I’m always amazed at how effortlessly they switch speaking between German, French and Italian. When he got to us, I remember him looking quite sternly at us, then saying ‘oh from England, sorry my English isn’t what it should be. I will come back.” Sounded like we were in trouble for some reason, did we have the wrong tickets…..
After several nervous minutes waiting to be hauled off the train, he returned with an English Translation book in hand. He sat down in the spare seat next to me and with a smile said ‘The rest of the tickets can check themselves. I’m learning English so it’s good to get a chance to try it out”
Did he really say his English ‘wasn’t what it should be’…. For about 20 minutes he talked better English than I could ever manage. And what did he talk about, ask questions about. The Queen, he really respected her. Admired her dedication, her unwavering civic duty and respect for others. He hoped one day to meet her, maybe that was why he was so focused on learning another Language.
Finally he looked at his watch and said the next station is approaching. With that he left toddler Hawklad with a train badge and was off.
I wonder if he ever did get to meet The Queen. I hope so.
It’s Sunday so it’s time to dream. Dream about family holidays to Alpine Heaven, to beautiful Switzerland. It’s been a while now but maybe that time will come again.
I was listening to the radio when the Presenter talked about how difficult it was to find new holiday ideas because travel blogs were getting longer and longer. More detailed. The choice was getting tougher.
So an idea popped into my head. SEVEN word only travel blogs. Just 7 words to describe a country, a city or a tourist attraction. So we tried it on Switzerland. Hawklad went for
Last week I was asked when was the last time I was in Switzerland. Instantly I responded.
The follow up question was much tougher. Back then did I realise it was going to be my last trip, certainly for many years.
Not officially. Some vague discussions briefly mentioned about another family trip in a years time. Maybe that next time we could take Hawklad’s Granny for one last visit, her husband’s ashes are scattered here. But this time it felt different to me, it felt like times were changing. Some things can’t be avoided for too long. So I walked those Swiss paths and kinda realised things might be very different if another trip happened.
Hawklad’s mum clearly had things on her mind as well. Without any warning, on one walk she pointed to a spot and with a matter of fact tone, quietly whispered. “You can scatter some of my ashes here one day”.
A day later on a Swiss train to Grindelwald she mentioned another place in Switzerland where she wanted Ashes scattered. Same location as her Dad.
You sometimes never join the dots up…
Now the next trip will be very different. But one day when Hawklad is ready, we will venture back. A very different family now.
I’m writing this post sat in our little back room, which in the great tradition of Yorkshire reasoning, is actually at the front of the house. A room which six years ago was mostly the reserve of Hawklad’s mum, I rarely ventured in there. It was her quiet room, a place she could escape from parenting and ME. It was filled with her clothes, her work files, her pictures and her books. Time moves on and it is a very different room now. Yes some of the pictures on the wall are reminders of the past but most of her things are now gone. Her wardrobe made way for Hawklad’s Xbox. The work files on the old desk replaced by my old battered record player. The sound of typing and silence now replaced with the latest FIFA game and my terrible taste in music.
Hawklad’s mum loved the sound of silence, that’s why she loved Switzerland and in particular one small town. Spiez is located around a small bay on the banks of Lake Thun, just on the edge of The Alps. It was a gateway to so much yet was very peaceful. Yet the peace was sometimes broken by the sound of excitement, much to the consternation of Hawklad’s mum. But all very exciting to others….. International Beach Football matches, Speed Boating, Sky Diving, Bollywood Movie Filming and Music Festivals. Not often, but sometimes the town came truly vibrantly alive for a few brief days before the peace was restored.
So this Saturday night, while a David Gilmour vinyl crackles away, I’m thinking of an anything but peaceful Spiez. Tonight is the second night of the annual Spiez Seaside Music Festival. That’s some Yorkshire logic right there as no part of Switzerland is anywhere near the sea….. The closest sea is 160km away. So right now, the concerts will be in full swing. I’m guessing a Swiss Music Star, Stephan Eicher will just be finishing before TOTO close out. It’s decades since I saw Toto support Tina Turner. Hawklad’s mum would hate the loud music whereas Hawklad and his muppet dad would be somewhere in the crowd. But then by Monday the peace of this small beautiful Swiss town will be restored.
And let’s not forget that Spiez is a TWO Lolly kinda place…
It’s now been over 7 years since our last family holiday to PERFECT Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Perfect for relaxing. Perfect for adventure. Wonderful food and drink. With its precision perfect public transport, no need for a car. Friendly. Polite. Safe. Cultural. Healthy. I could go on and on. But there is another reason that it’s PERFECT for our FAMILY. Asperger/Autism Families often find travel difficult. Ours most definitely did. Holidays can be a logistical nightmare. For an enjoyable holiday, so many factors often need to be carefully controlled. Routine is important. Does Hawklad feel safe, relaxed, happy. He needs so many factors to be in place to enjoy a holiday. It’s so easy for things to spiral out of control and you end up just wishing to be back home. Back home to that safe, predictable and controlled environment.
But here’s the thing about Switzerland. He is always happy here. Yes the trip part way across Europe by plane or train was usually a nightmare for Hawklad. Yes a logistical nightmare which needed precision planning. But every single time we crossed the border into alpine heaven, he was relaxed and happy. Everything seemed to be in place for him and worked just right for him.
Switzerland is one of those special places. Breathtaking views, fresh mountain air and a wonderful life feel. Every single time I crossed the border into this wonderful land, I could feel peaceful calm drifting over me, the stresses of my life quickly forgotten. Looking at the photos, replaying the memories, I can clearly remember just how different I feel while I’m in this alpine paradise. I could do with that right now, definitely could.
It’s Sunday so why don’t we have a walk down memory lane to family trips to alpine heaven, to beautiful Switzerland.
We haven’t made those trips since the summer of 2015. So much has happened since then, to the world, to our family. But it’s still can be such a magical wonderful world. Switzerland is still there, the Mountains and Lakes are patiently waiting. We are so ready for an adventure.
Back about 10 years every time we ventured out, animals had to come with us.
As a child living in what felt like a remote, cut adrift Yorkshire seaside town, life felt very restrictive. I knew a world was out there but only via a black and white TV, the town cinema and books. Money was tight in that grey misty town, few had cars, holidays were taken locally. Normally any holidays revolved round a visit to another seaside town a just a few miles up the coast. No one I knew ever got on a plane and went abroad.
How times changed in just a few years ……
But back then I so wanted to escape. To travel. I especially loved the idea of mountains. They looked unreal on the screen or in books, I had never seen a proper mountain, just small hills. I loved the idea that each mountain had its own name, it’s own personality. One mountain in particular stood out, the fearsome EIGER. I dreamt of standing below it and looking up.
Years later, holidays to Switzerland, to The Alps. Who would have thought that my son would end up standing next to that might mountain I had dreamt about when I was his age. Hawklad was capivated by the local fairy tale about 3 the great local mountains. About a Monk (The Monch), an Ogre (The Eiger) and a young girl (The Jungfrau).
Switzerland is that kinda place. A place of adventure, dreams and wonderful memories.