Swiss Sunday

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.

Swiss Sunday

Have you ever nearly been arrested at Airport Security.

It almost happened twice to me, twice in 7 days.

Heading towards a family trip to wonderful Switzerland, we found ourselves going through airport security at Leeds Bradford Airport. I was taking a young Hawklad through the dreaded body scanner when Hawklad set the scanner off. Apparently he had an alien object in his shoe sole. Several large armed guards quickly surrounded us….

His muppet Dad had completely forgotten that his new shoes had a hidden special feature. A small Transformer like toy in a compartment located underneath the sole.

That took some explaining before we made it onto the flight……

Unbelievably as we boarded the plane, the Pilot let Hawklad look round the cockpit prior to takeoff. Not sure that was supposed to happen these days. Still Hawklad loved that and yes the pilot was asked about every button.

A spectacular week in The Alps and then trouble at the airport again. This time at Zurich.

Going through passport security, and we faced the question – ‘have you anything to declare’. Hawklad helpfully answered that one.

A couple of days earlier we had visited Zermatt on a seriously hot day. This parent had treated Hawklad to an ice lolly and for himself, an ice cold SHANDY. Hawklad was puzzled by my drink. What’s that. I explained it was mucky beer and lemonade. Dad can I try it. Mum was off somewhere and out of sight. Why not, a small sip.

So to the question, ANYTHING TO DECLARE, Hawklad decided to come clean.

YES, MY DAD GAVE ME A MUCKY BEER…

Thankfully this time I wasn’t surrounded my armed guards.

You know what, I really miss those holidays. I wish I was in Switzerland right now. I’m dreaming.

Swiss Sunday

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.

Swiss Sunday

A time just before parenthood and I was sat in Departure Lounge at Zurich Airport, waiting for a plane back to England. Opposite was a young couple clearly waiting for the same plane. As we chatted they excitedly described their first venture into this wonderful land called Switzerland. I remember them saying that they had found a wonderland. They told a story about being caught out in heavy rain while walking and a local farmer brought them into his house for a warm drink. When the rain didn’t pass he drove them to the nearest train station.

Here’s the irony. Probably during the very same rainstorm, we were walking through beautiful Gstaad and guess what, yes the heavens truly opened. Proper RAIN. We tried to take shelter in the nearest doorway. Quickly the door opened and we were beckoned inside. In Swiss German we were told to ‘come inside before we got soaked’. We were treated to Italian coffee and cake as the storm passed over. Our hosts being truly kind and nice. I remember joking that if this had been England, the door would have been quickly bolted shut with us still outside. The smiling response said it all..

“Probably, but this is Switzerland and it’s just different here…”

It so is…..

And to be fair to Gstaad, every other time we have been there the weather has been perfect. Plus they do a mighty fine watermelon….

HAPPY NEW YEAR. WE CAN DO THIS. ❤️

Swiss Sunday

We were stood outside a rather chique looking clothes shop, waiting for Hawklad’s mum to stop perusing it’s contents. Just breathing in the fresh alpine air, watching the world go by. I remember Hawklad being particularly fascinated with people on the other side of the road, playing crazy golf. The Swiss do seem to really like that great, dangerous, whacky sport. Hawklad was thinking about spicing the sport up even more by adding real dinosaurs and zero gravity. A few minutes later we were taking on that beast of a course (without additional Jurassic hazards).

He loved this place. He loved the golf, he loved the mountains, he loved the train station, he loved the ice cream, he loved the playground, he loved the cable cars, he loved that restaurant which served the best pizza ever.

Hawklad had fallen for Grindelwald.

As Christmas Day arrives, I dream of just how good it would be to spend Christmas in Grindelwald. Epic I think.

Swiss Sunday

Switzerland, a magical land of mountains, lakes and DINOSAURS…..

One of Hawklad’s favourite holiday adventures was to Aathal Dinosaur Museum, on the outskirts of Zurich. It like something from the set of Jurassic Park, well it was to me. To Hawklad it was all things Dinosaur Train. Now it would probably be the other way round, I do miss Buddy and his Dino Pals, Hawklad would be full on Spielberg and the Indominus Rex.

I remember Hawklad’s mum calling me a FOSSIL as we stood next to the T-Rex skull. Fossils have to be well preserved to make it into this collection, sadly that would rule me out then….

Hawklad absolutely loved the museum and he asked to go back again one day. I hope he does sooner rather than later and hopefully I get an invite as well.

Swiss Sunday

May 2014. Yorkshire had gone the winter without any snow. Hawklad had almost forgotten what the white stuff was like. May was leaving it late, but finally a family holiday to Switzerland saved the day.

Hawklad got his winter playground.

Happy memories.

Switzerland is a special place, it generates happy memories.

Swiss Sunday

It’s time for a trip down Swiss Memory Lane.

Back in 2011, a family holiday to stunning Switzerland, this time Hawklad’s Granny was with us. Joining us on this family adventure for a panoramic mountain train journey to Lucerne. Granny had been coming to this wonderful country since the 1950s. This journey proved to be her last visit, it was one she really enjoyed.

Lucerne is a small city famed for its historic architecture built on the banks of a beautiful lake to a backdrop of snow covered mountains.

The star attraction being The Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge), a 205m covered wooden footbridge featuring beautiful wall art. It was built in 1333 and is Europe’s oldest covered bridge.

As ever Hawklad brought some of his friends for the trip. By all accounts they enjoyed the adventure as well.

Swiss Sunday

Surely it’s time to have a wander down memory lane to family holidays to magical Switzerland.

Ask Hawklad to name his favourite playground and without hesitation he goes for the ‘one by the Swiss Lake’. It sits on the banks of Lake Thun, between Spiez and Faulensee. So many trips there. So much Hawklad happy playtime there.

Looking at the latest web photos, it’s changed so much since we we’re last there in 2015, lots of money spent on it. Now it’s called Spielplatz Piratenbucht and it still looks wonderful. Aptly given the name it’s a great place to watch boats as well.

Guess where we will be visiting when we do get back to this special country. More memories to be made, just like this photo below. The man stretching in blue had just been subjected to 10 minutes of Hawklad telling him all about Doctor Who. Poor man didn’t speak a word of English. He just stood there smiling and nodding. Trying to explain to this man what Little Hawklad had been telling him really did stretch my German. Try explaining a Dalek to someone who has no idea who this person Dr Who in a language your not entirely fluent in….

Swiss Sunday

Back to 2015 and our last family of 3 trip to Alpine Heaven, just before the world changed. A perfect deep blue sky week – almost. One slate grey day, so we heeded across the lake towards the closest mountain for a mini adventure. The Niederhorn is a relatively small mountain (6440ft) which seemed to be just below the cloud line.

A relatively small mountain here but way higher than anything the UK has got to offer. Memories are flooding back now. Chatting with Hawklad about how this mountain must kinda get overlooked sometimes in The Alps. Yet if the mountain packed it’s bags and moved to the UK it would be treasured, held in awe. Hawklad laughing at the thought of the Niederhorn needing to buy a waterproof coat for the weather in its new home.

Coats were definitely needed on this day. So was the hot chocolate and warming soup in the mountain top restaurant. But you know what, it was a fantastic adventure, Switzerland always is….