Swiss Sunday

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…

Swiss Sunday

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.

He can’t wait to go back.

I can’t wait to go back.

Yes, to our family, Switzerland is PERFECT.

Swiss Sunday

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.

Swiss Sunday

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.

Swiss Sunday.

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.

Swiss Sunday – Lasting Memories

1954…..

Way before I was an unexpected accident for my parents, the Football World Cup was held in Switzerland. The German National team based themselves in Spiez. Their football base just a few paces from the hotel that was our family holiday base. The German Team coming here was a really big thing for this beautiful small lakeside town, especially as the team went on to win the World Cup. You can still see reminders of how important that memory is to the people here.

Hawklad loved standing by one particular reminder. The German Captain standing just a few feet from the lake and it’s shoreline path.

Something like 60 years after that World Cup we got to see Germany play Switzerland here, in Spiez, in a beach soccer international. Another super cool memory.

We definitely can’t wait to return to create some more lasting memories.

Swiss Sunday

Grindelwald….and not that Harry Potter wizard version.

That’s some train station. Waiting for a train was never a bind here at Grindelwald.

I have a real soft spot for this wonderful alpine village. First time I came to Switzerland. Arrived late on a Saturday night. The first morning in alpine paradise, a time before Hawklad, we headed out by train to this very place. Arrived at this station. As it snowed, we caught a cable car and headed into the clouds. Wandered around a world that I had never experienced before. Feeling like you could reach out and almost touch The Eiger Summit. Grindelwald was the door that opened this amazing land to me.

When I find the photos from that epic first trip I will share more but here are photos from a few years later. 2013. Is it really 9 years.

That’s a golf course with a view…

Wow Hawklad was a lot smaller.

I can’t wait for that next bit of Grindelwald.

Swiss Sunday

I was asked why we often stayed at the same hotel on our trips to Switzerland. Every morning, flinging open the bedroom curtains, standing on the balcony and you get this view.

You get this view.

That’s why…….

And the view at the back of the hotel isn’t bad at all.

I wish I could have that view tomorrow morning, maybe one day soon. Let’s hope for more adventures in all our daily life’s.

Swiss Sunday

Just looking at a postcard I received this week.

One lucky soul had made it to Switzerland. Apparently it was a bit of a nightmare journey – that was just trying to get out of England. One of the many benefits of Brexit is clearly enhanced chaos and delays at the Border. A border which we had so struggled to live without for decades. I must admit a thought crossed my increasingly tired mind. We are most definitely on the wrong side of that new border. Maybe one day Europe beckons.

Looking at the postcard it reminds me that adventures are still there to be had. Switzerland is ready and waiting. Yes it will be a logistical and parenting nightmare getting Hawklad there, even more so these days. But it has been far too long since our last trip. Far too long. Wow we could do with those alpine days right now. Let’s hope it’s not much longer now.

Swiss Sunday

It’s time to spend a few moments walking amongst the lakes and mountains of alpine perfection. To remember precious family trips to Switzerland. But there is so much more. Every day I’m thinking more and more about future trips. Living out hopes and dreams there. It won’t happen today but it can definitely still happen in the future. You just know when something feels right.