It’s Sunday here in Yorkshire so it must be time for our weekly trip down memory lane to alpine heaven. It’s time to visit Switzerland. Or should I say water heaven…
For a completely land locked country Switzerland has a lot of rivers and lakes. Boats are just part of the landscape here.
So much water. There are an estimated 7000 lakes here. Even hotel balconies can bring you close to the lake edge.
I’m a climber (‘was’) so I naturally gravitate to the peaks, the mighty Alps. But there is something about spending a relaxing for few hours slowly crossing a peaceful Swiss Lake. The stresses and anxieties of life are quickly forgotten here. What would I give to be there right now.
It’s just about Sunday morning here in Yorkshire. My mind is wandering in a land which is 1000 miles from here. A land of lakes, valleys, alpine meadows and mountains. A land which can be both peaceful and exhilarating. A place where my Heart wants to wander while living out its best dreams. I give you Switzerland.
It’s very early Sunday morning here in wet and windy Yorkshire. A storm is raging and the central heating is on. But I’m awake and dreaming. Dreaming of what is still to come. I’m smiling.
It’s been far too long since I’ve stood on Swiss soil. A place which has been a huge part of my family holidays for years. It is such a place of dreams. So this stormy morning I will dream and yes many of those dreams will be set here.
Another early start. This time a seriously early one. A perfect insomniac storm. 3am. Hawklad has woken and can’t sleep. I have not been to bed yet and sleep feels a million miles away.
Hawklad wonders if we can see the dawn brake. On the coast.
So a few moments later and after I had sampled the meanest of espressos, we are driving. Driving past badgers, foxes and owls. Before 4am we arrive at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. It’s still pitch black and we have the site to ourselves. It’s such an eerie feeling walking in the complete absence of light and sound. Even to early for the thousands of seabirds perched precariously on the cliffs. No wind and even the sea was strangely becalmed.
In perfect time to watch dawn brake. No thoughts of an Albatross who was apparently out at sea. Who needs one bird when you get to watch all this unfold.
The dark was a challenge to my iPhone camera but it gave it a go.
By 7am a few people had started to arrive, mainly here to take up prime spots and wait. Hoping on catching sight of one particular bird. They had no idea what they had just missed. The deafening sound of seabirds hides the peace that existed just 2 hours ago.
We were back in the car and driving a few minutes later. The site had lost its appeal to Hawklad. Even a handful of strangers proving too much for him. But he had got to see a spectacular show first hand. Just the two of us so without his anxieties. He slept during the ride home.
Yes it was a ridiculously early start. Yes I went more than 24 hours without sleep. But it was worth it for those couple of hours when Hawklad felt that he had the world to himself. I suspect it won’t be the last time we do this. Yes there will be time for trips out to build those social bridges but those come with anxieties. We all need these times and places of sanctuary. Hawklad does. Yes even a worn down parent needs them.
You might have realised by now. I’m kinda fond of Switzerland. Is started when I was young. As a teenager I was seemingly stuck in a North East English seaside town. Surrounded by pollution and poverty. The world seemed so far out of reach. Yet virtually every Saturday morning I spent so many hours looking at the photos in a battered old climbing book. One of the few interesting books in the town’s rundown library. The book was a gateway to a far off wonderland called Switzerland. Fast forward many years and regular family holidays confirming just how amazing this wonderland was in reality. The perfect location for adventures and living out big dreams.
It’s now been 6 years since my last visit. It does feel like a far off land these days. But I need to go back. I need to experience Switzerland again. I need to remind myself that this world is still a place of wonder.
It’s Sunday. On Sunday’s my mind wanders to a special land. A place of many family holidays. Of epic mountains, beautiful lakes and peaceful valleys. Walks across wild flower meadows. A place of awe and adventures. But also a place to recharge and find yourself again. Time to visit Switzerland. Time to dream big.
It’s Sunday morning and my thoughts drift to a relatively small country in Europe. I’m suddenly surrounded by a perfect landscape. I’m wandering in The Alps. Sailing across the lakes. Sat amongst the alpine flowers in rolling wild meadows. Breathing in the crisp mountain air. Listening to the peaceful sound of church and cowbells ringing along the steep valleys.
I’m back again in Switzerland.
Our last actual visit was back in 2015. A lot of life has happened since then. Our family has changed. I have changed. Hawklad is now a teenager. But we still want to travel back here. It means so much to us.
Time to dream. Time to dream about what is still to come. I’m smiling. Are you.
It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to Switzerland. A country we have visited so many times. A country that generations of our family have been having adventures in for decades. It’s definitely alpine heaven.
It’s now 6 years since our last visit. It’s not so much money that is the limiting factor. It’s life. It’s single parenting. It’s Aspergers and social anxieties. It’s a pandemic. But we are committed to trying again. A plan is forming for 2022. Obstacles are difficult but potentially not insurmountable.
Dreams and adventures are there. We just need to find a way of reaching out and seizing them. It can still be such a wonderful life.
It’s just about Sunday. Surely it’s time to spend a few moments remembering some wonderful family visits to one the best places on our planet. A place of stunning mountain landscapes, peace and wonders. It’s time for Switzerland.
Three generations of family holidays to this little bit of alpine heaven on earth. But now it’s all changed. The family is much smaller and less mobile. That family connection now falls on just Hawklad and me.
So we are going through old photos. Imagining again what it’s like to spend time in Switzerland. The sights, the sounds, the tranquility. We will find a way to make it back. We want to. We need to. It’s now in our family DNA.