Swiss Sunday

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

This week let’s find the usual alpine landscapes mixed with a few animal ones as well. All from wonderful Switzerland.

As a toddler son loved animals. He still does… One day he would love to have a falconry or zoo. I so hope he does.

Every visit to Switzerland gave him an opportunity to get close to animals.

AND as we always arrived on a Saturday a trip to his favourite shop in the world on the Sunday. A shop in Interlaken with a huge range of Schleich toy animals.

He would get to buy 4 new ones. He was always careful to pick toys which he couldn’t get hold off in tour Yorkshire shops. Then the new members of the team would then get a 7 day guided tour of Switzerland.

A guided tour which would take in at least one zoo.

Happy days and definitely hungry work….

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in Yorkshire. It must be time for our weekly trip to the country which means so much to our little family. Beautiful Switzerland.

A country which is just under 850 miles away to the south east of our little Yorkshire bungalow. Actually 850 miles doesn’t sound that far away when you say it quickly. Ok 2020 will sadly be another year without breathing in that alpine air but 850 miles surely is doable in the near future.

My partners family has been visiting Switzerland since just after the Second World War. My partner fell in love with the country as a young child during the seventies. She introduced me to Alpine Heaven 20 years ago. Our son made his first trip here when he was one.

850 miles doesn’t sound so far. Just short enough to give us a few travel options. The air option is convenient. Either a direct flight or a quick change in Amsterdam. These days you spend more time going through security than actually in the air. Flight time is less than 2 hours.

The second option was by train. Super relaxing but much longer. A 6am train to take us into London. A two minute walk to the Eurostar terminal. Navigate the security which is completed in minutes then wait to board the tunnel train that takes you under the sea into France. Just over two hours later your stood in a Paris station. Then it’s a short walk or a subway journey to a connecting station.

You now have three options. The first option is a train journey to Strasbourg then a short train journey into Switzerland.

The second option is a HGV bullet train to Basel in Switzerland.

The third option is to stay in Paris for a couple of days to allow a visit to Paris Disneyland. Definitely fun….

The train to Switzerland option is long one, especially if it involves a trip to see Mickey Mouse. It’s a full day of travel but incredibly relaxing. Another option does exist. It’s to drive. Never tried it but it might be the best option for our son. It would be about 12 hours including an hour on a tunnel train. Driving through The Alps does sound fun. If only we had a Aston Martin to cruise in.

Until next week. Take care everyone. Remember to live and let’s see how far our little legs can carry us.

A trip many moons ago

I stumbled across a few old photos. From a time before parenting. Even before my first ever digital camera… A time when my body was still young and I could run up mountains. A time when the wind would still blow my thick long black hair across my face.

A trip to the West Side of Northern England. To the Lake District and to one of Englands most famous mountains. The Old Man of Coniston. It’s not a huge mountain standing at just over 2600ft. But it’s steeped in history. It’s positioned next to the beautiful Coniston Water. The walk to the top takes you through old copper mine workings. Alongside a couple of stunning little tarns. Then finally onto a summit with sweeping views.

Hopefully one day I will return to the summit. A summit climb with considerably less hair. Which will take much longer this time and feature many sandwich stops..

Swiss Sunday

Now that’s a view from a train station. It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to stunning Switzerland.

Some wonderful news. Switzerland is now open again to most of the world. Hopefully soon the good people from the US will be able to get there as well.

We have not been back to this Alpine Heaven since the summer of 2015. It seems like an absolute lifetime. So much has happened.

Yes we have so many obstacles to overcome but one day WE will return.

Switzerland is just part of us now. Feels more like Home than England. That feeling gets stronger each day.

We still have my partners ashes to spread here. The view across Lake Thun with the snow covered mountains in the background is one of the places she wants to become a part of. Her Home. Our Home.

So yes these virtual trips feel like a return to what should be our home. One day just maybe that will happen.

Good to see someone maintains a balanced diet when he visits his future home…..

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for a virtual wander to alpine heaven. Switzerland, a country which is that beautiful it looks like a series of stunning oil paintings.

Everywhere you look it’s another photo opportunity.

A climbing paradise. Another perfect landscape.

Even the cities provide endless postcard opportunities.

The most picturesque churches blend perfectly into the glorious Alps.

When the weather changes the real life paintings become magnificently atmospheric.

The colours become stunning.

Even the lake steamers are straight out of a painting, especially when the are surrounded by such a backdrop.

A Swiss lake boat is also a wonderful place to pull faces at your mum while she sits inside drinking her peppermint tea. That would be some portrait.

The mountain is still there

Something is brewing above those yonder hills.

I remember many years ago I was climbing with a man with a beard in Scotland. It’s always good to have a beard on a climb. Kinda reassuring. When we headed out from camp the weather was lovely in an early summer way. But slowly the dark clouds rolled in and an hour into the ascent it was getting seriously dark. Over my shoulder a similar multicoloured cloud formation formed. I remember thinking that this can’t be a great weather omen. But the beard decided to push on. Within 20 minutes the heavens opened. Torrential rain, turned to hail, then into heavy snow. Heavy snow in a June – wonderful. At that stage the beard was overthrown as team leader and we turned back. Always better to live to fight another day. The mountain wasn’t going anywhere. Always tomorrow for climbing it.

Well something like 23 years later that mountain is still there. It’s still waiting. The weather was too bad to climb the next day and that was it. We had to get back to the day jobs. Haven’t been back to that mountain since. You see fatherhood and then single parenting ended my climbing career. So many mountains left unclimbed or in this particular case, 50% climbed. But that’s life. Good things and bad things happen which change the course of our journey. Those enforced route changes do sometimes mean sacrifices have to be made. Elements of our very existence which have been core to our wellbeing sometimes have to be left behind. Maybe they can be picked up later, maybe they have gone for good. Losing these key parts of our life’s can be so soul destroying. I guess the secret is to hold onto the memories and embrace the new life

But it doesn’t stop that longing. I do every so often get out my climbing books and look at the photos. Read about the routes. Try to imagine the summit views. I can still dream. Who knows what the future may bring. And in the case of the photograph the immediate future brought Sun and another stunning rainbow.

Swiss Sunday

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

Sat here in Yorkshire, listening to the rain and wind lash against the house …. I so need my little fix of alpine heaven.

Sunday was always my favourite day in Switzerland. It normally marked our first full day here. The holiday lay before us.

We would have an early hotel breakfast and off we would go to catch the first boat of the day. Heading across Lake Thun for our adventure.

Sunday would be quiet with virtually all the shops closed. A peaceful backdrop. With just the sound of water, cow and church bells breaking the silence.

The stress of life quickly forgotten. Surely this is what life should be really about. This is still a wonderful life.

And then make our way slowly back. One last Sunday task. A quick round of golf. A perfect Sunday.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a bit of virtual travel. I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we visit one of the most stunning places on the planet. Let’s go to Switzerland.

As a child I would visit my towns library. It wasn’t very big. It had masses of a Mills & Boon books. That’s not really going to float a young boys boat. The library didn’t seem to have that many exciting books. But it had one. It was a reference book so I couldn’t take it home. So every Saturday morning I would carefully get this book. Find a comfy seat and read. This was a book about climbing in Switzerland. I would look in awe at the mountain photos and read the daring tales of the brave climbers.

Switzerland seemed like a fantasy world. Too good to be real.

How could a country look this exciting and this beautiful.

I would dream of standing on top of these peaks and gazing out into the distance. My heart racing as I am surrounded by The Alps.

Then fast forward many years and I’m there. I’m stood on some of those very mountains.

Switzerland is real. It’s actually more stunning than I ever imagined.

And next to me is a little boy. A boy starting his love affair with this magical country.

Swiss Sunday

Is it Sunday already. Where did that week go. But to be honest Swiss Sunday doesn’t come round quick enough for me. A time to remember family holidays to this wonderful country.

A time to remember the mountains.

The spectacular rivers.

The countryside.

The constantly changing colours.

The times you see a building and think how good that view must be.

The lakes and how relaxing travel is here.

Yes Switzerland is staggeringly beautiful. If that wasn’t already enough for one small country let’s not forget another thing it does so well. The chocolate….

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday – I think….

It’s May – I think….

But it definitely feels like it’s time for a trip back down memory lane to a visit to stunning Switzerland.

That building below The Matterhorn has always been a place of my dreams. Since I came across it, I have always thought that would be my dream location for my home. Maybe one day.

May 1st is a public holiday in some parts of Switzerland. On this memory journey we had headed off on the 1st to a Canton which celebrates the holiday. It’s a day for celebrating worker rights. In the town we visited all the shops had closed for the day. We watched a workers march. A very Swiss march. As they walked they picked up any litter and a few started weeding flower beds. After the march the celebrations continued with a super friendly music festival. While watching the music I sampled my first ever roesti (potato cake). What had I been missing all those years.

Sadly no photos of that day as I had run out of film for my camera (remember those days?). I’m sure if I had asked the nearest Swiss person in the crowd that they would have quickly found me a new film – it’s that sort of place.

Fortunately I eventually fed the camera and I still have photos from that holiday. Stunning walks through ancients forests set amongst the might Alps.

Leisurely boat trips across the stunning lakes.

The ever changing colours.

Glimpses of some of the worlds most iconic mountains.

The staggering water colours.

Sights and sounds which are so Swiss.

And of a toddler having the best ever time. Thank you Switzerland.