One sweet vacation day in Switzerland and I can remember Hawklad being particularly pleased with himself. He was pleased because he could speak Swiss that day. Which one of the three official Swiss Languages that was, remained UNCLEAR.
I wasn’t quite who he had spoken to and what he had said in his new dialect. Maybe it was over breakfast when he told the waitress what he wanted to eat and drink. Maybe it was to the Guard on the train pulling up the mountain. Maybe it was at the ice cream stall in the shadow of The Alps.
It’s was such a wonderful day, a train to the famous high mountain pass, Kleine Scheidegg. The location for the Clint Eastwood movie, The Eiger Sanction. Shed loads of French fries and then a beautiful walk down to the valley below. Switzerland is such a special place, a place of dreams.
Finally on the train back Hawklad revealed his language breakthrough. The Swiss Swan he was feeding in the lake that morning apparently had understood him. Glad that was finally cleared up.
One family trip to Switzerland just 9 years ago with so many adventures. On that trip we came with Hawklad’s Granny. As she happily pointed out “over the years she had more than enough adventures – thank you very much”. She was in her element just sitting on the hotel balcony, drinking Italian coffee and taking in the ever changing views across Lake Thun and towards The Alps. I can so understand that.
So here goes, one week, one hotel. This is why Granny stayed put that week. Just a snapshot, imagine the views and moods we missed when we were on our adventures.
There is something special and comforting about slowly cruising across a peaceful lake. Calming, refreshing, recharging. Switzerland is the perfect place for those dreamy boat trips, with its stunning 1500 alpine lakes. That’s such an odd thought, a completely land locked country being such a water paradise. Bizarrely I also got to watch my first ever beach soccer match here as well….
Just a few days ago I was stuck in heavy motorway traffic, going nowhere fast thinking, where was my Road to Hell cd…. Sat in the car dreaming of one of those perfect lake trips. That’s travel, that’s living.
What I would give for a few water based hours this grey, uninspiring English Sunday. A drink, a fine meal, watching the world slowly turn, surrounded by The Alps.
As I’m writing this a long forgotten holiday memory has just resurfaced. A family trip on a steamer across Lake Brienz.
Hawklad’s Mum had ordered food in German to the waitress. A waitress experiencing her first morning in this job as she nervously pointed out to us as she took our order, potentially her first ever order….. Hawklad got his beloved frankfurter and chips. I received my healthy plate of chips with a cheese and calorie loaded pizza. However Hawklad’s Mum had a little surprise. A cheese salad arrived looking a lot like the full meat platter.
I’ve never seen so much meat on one plate.
It was quickly decided that we couldn’t send the wrong order back on the waitresses first morning, especially as clearly Hawklad’s Mums much vaunted PERFECT GERMAN was clearly not so PERFECT. So what to do. My idea of secretly hiding pieces of meat in our pockets was for some inexplicable reason, REJECTED. So was Hawklad’s suggesting of hiding the meat under my baseball hat. Hawklad’s Mum decided the best course of action. She would get the pizza and I gained a full plate of meat. My first meat in about 5 years following my trip down vegetarian boulevard. The things you do to maintain a peaceful lake trip 😂😂😂😂😂.
When his mum went to the toilet I whispered to Hawklad that actually my meat option was really tasty and I was rather enjoying it. For some reason I failed to mention that fact to his mum, sticking to the ‘this is a real struggle, woe is me’ narrative. I think I pulled the deception off although Hawklad might have blown my cover when he pointed out to his mum with a cheeky grin that
‘For someone struggling so much Dad has done so well to eat all the meatand leave nothing apart from the salad bits.’
It’s early Sunday morning here in Yorkshire and my mind has drifted to happy holidays in beautiful Switzerland. It’s been far too long since our last visit.
Sundays would be bliss.
Usually the first day of the holiday. After breakfast we would catch the boat across Lake Thun to Interlaken.
First stop HOT CHOCOLATE and watching the world go by. Then it was CRAZY GOLF (they do like a good game of crazy golf here). Then a walk to a small Chinese Garden with a beautiful fish filled pond.
Walk round beautiful Interlaken and then on the way back, stop off at The EdelWeiss Gift Shop. While Hawklad’s mum looked at clothes and postcards, the two boys would look at the huge Schleich Toy Animal section and the amazing CUCKOO CLOCKS on the wall.
I never did get round to buying one of these clocks, maybe on our next trip. Let’s hope.
Then it was days spent in just the most stunning landscapes.
Most Sunday Mornings here in this Alpine Wonderland, we would make our way to this very hotel. We would sit outside, watch the world go by and enjoy the first Swiss hot chocolate of the holiday. In this part of Interlaken, ‘the world going by’ heavily featured watching paragliders landing just a few steps away, after a dramatic trip from the top of local mountains. Definitely thinking, they don’t make paragliders big enough to support my ginormous rear end…..
It’s been sometime since I’ve sat outside any cafe or hotel. It’s been 7 years since we sat outside in Interlaken. Life happens. But if life happens then just maybe it could be that a return to Switzerland is just a bit closer.
That would be wonderful.
I’m missing Swiss Heaven and Hawklad is as well. How could you not miss this special place. Let’s DREAM.
Waiting for his evening balanced meal. One night Pizza, another night sausages and French Fries. Guess what, he’s might be way bigger and older now, but the food order won’t have changed one bit. Happy Days….
Memories from back in 2014, a family break to beautiful Switzerland. I remember the days starting in the same way that trip. Sat cross legged in front of the TV with an Italian Coffee, trying to translate the German version of Dinosaur Train to an excited Hawklad. That was a test, wishing I had studied the dinosaur module of my language programme 🤣🤣🤣🤣
After breakfast it was time for a mini adventure.
A beautiful river walk takes us to the foot of an imposing mountain.
Twenty minutes later thanks to a seriously steep train ride, we find ourselves thousands of feet up. Wow the view has changed.
When the memory becomes hazy with the passing years, photographs can come to the rescue. An August Friday back in 2015 and the photos bring the memories flooding back as if yesterday. I had forgotten the trip to Bern Zoo on what proved to be our last full day in Switzerland as a family of three. The moon appearing over The Alps accompanied by an old Street Organ playing just in front of the hotel balcony window. Exactly one year later Hawklad’s mum was in a hospice and life was changing.
No more words needed, will let the photos do the rest.
Is it really 7 years since we were last in Switzerland. SEVEN YEARS. That’s a crazy and seriously sobering thought.
Is our much smaller family any closer to returning? Well we have various plans to get there but ultimately it all depends on how Hawklad is doing and feeling. It’s just about keeping the light burning brightly and being patient.
Patience is the word.
Before I started visiting this wonderful country, I desperately wanted to see two massive Swiss Treasures. The mighty mountains, The Eiger and The Matterhorn. The Eiger was an immediate success. On my first trip, I could see the mountain as the train carried us away from the airport and towards Spiez. Then the next day, a trip in Spring snow to Grindelwald, the clouds parted to reveal its awesomeness. Every holiday seemed to bring more and more epic Eiger encounters.
Then we come to The Matterhorn, the PESKY mountain. The clouds never seemed to part, the mountain never made an appearance. For years it was like that. Summer, Autumn, Spring, Late Winter, always the same result. Arrive at Zermatt and the thickest of clouds had rolled in. But with patience, eventually the clouds did part. That first time as I pushed baby Hawklad in his pushchair, trying to stop him bawling out Zermatt high street. It was seriously cloudy, one last not so hopeful look and unbelievably the clouds parted for a few brief seconds. It was so worth the wait. I so wish I could find that photo I managed to take in those brief moments . But the spell was broken and from then on, no more mountain in hiding.
So yes, let’s hope for a return to this magical land. Just got to be PATIENT.
It’s Sunday and it’s the perfect time to think dreamily of a place that means so much to our little family, Beautiful Switzerland.
I don’t know why but my mind went back to my first ever visit to this alpine heaven. We had just arrived at Geneva Airport on a deep blue sky day. I couldn’t get over seeing The Alps for the first time. Definitely even better than I had ever imagined. As we made our way through Passport Control, the Security Officer checking our ID was very formal with perfect English. He asked if this was the first time we had visited Switzerland. When I said it was my first time, the Officer looked at me and said.
We met some fantastic people on our trips to Switzerland, these stars added so much warmth to our times in this great land. The Hotel Owner from our favourite holiday base was one of these characters. A man of boundless energy and enthusiasm, someone who had packed so much into his long life. So many stories. An encounter with Audrey Hepburn. A skiing extra in a James Bond movie. A meal with a famous tennis star, bizarrely me and Hawklad literally bumped into and got a smile from a French Open winner on a street in Gstaad.
The time some American Business Men arrived at his hotel for a skiing holiday in the middle of a boiling hot summer….. Helping out on the making of a Bollywood movie. Meeting Roger Moore. I could go on and on. I’m sure we only scratched the surface of his life in the chats we would have as he watched over perfect hotel breakfasts.
The time he overheard Hawklad talk about one day going to a circus and he immediately got on the phone to one of his friends who was a circus owner. Within minutes we had tickets to a circus which was passing through the region during our week holiday.
Or the time we were in Switzerland during early June and the weather was glorious. So glorious and seemingly settled that we had suitcases filled with summer clothing only. As we sat having breakfast in shorts, he came over with a concerned look. ‘Have you any warm clothes, it’s going to snow today’. When we said no, he hurried off and brought back some fleeces, gloves and wooly hats. And guess what, within a couple of hours, the snow arrived.
Yes this is a special country with special people. I can’t wait to get back there.