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….
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….
A late afternoon walk around Spiez and to the banks of beautiful Lake Thun. Warm but still with snow on the mountains. A perfect time to visit Switzerland. Looking at the date stamps on the photos, is it really 11 years.
As the sun started to set behind the mountains the lighting became truly magical. A perfect time to breathe.
After the evening walk, time to properly concentrate on getting as much tomato ketchup on Fries as is humanly possible.
So many beautiful deep blue sky family days in Switzerland. But every so often the weather closes in. For me that just makes this special place look even more special. I’m definitely dreaming about family trips here again, just need to wait for the right time.
As I was trying to bake something just slightly edible for this weekends Great Bloggers Bake-off, my mind wandered to Switzerland. Memories flooded back in. Just how much we enjoyed the food there. Hawklad could be a really picky eater when he was a toddler, but it was never an issue in Switzerland. He loved the food there. He is not a great chocolate or cake eater but there he loved them. After every trip out from Spiez, we would walk past a small bakery restaurant on the way back to our hotel. Binoth on Seestrasse sold the most amazing cakes and confectionery. Hawklad would sprint into the restaurant to see what magical things he might try. They always had cakes designed like animals or really fun things. Happy memories. Is it really 2015 since we last tried those baking wonders.
There is something about having a beautiful walk then finding a wonderful cafe to sit outside, relax and take in the Alpine views. Definitely could do with that right now. New dreams are there to be had still.
I see the restaurant is temporarily closed at present … it better be open when we get back there……
Check out Mel’s wonderful site for more on the Great Bloggers Bake-off.
No sign of any teaching coming from School so might as well go for a walk around Castle Howard. A quiet, beautiful walk.
Quiet, well until an international meeting.
Walking along a path and we came across a clearly confused couple looking a tad bit lost. As we approached the chap spoke, spoke in the deepest of Australian accents.
“Excuse me Mate, but we are trying to find the CASTLE”
Apparently they were on a driving holiday around the UK and had seen Castle Howard on the map and thought, let’s visit one of those King Arthur kinda places….. They had been walking around the Estate for ages and hadn’t found the old stone castle yet. Sadly I had to disappoint them.
‘See that big old house, that’s the castle”
After a few choice Australian words ##@##*#ocks, they asked if
“I knew of a proper castle round here…”
A few minutes later they had directions to three more castle like castles.
That was my third ever conversation with someone from Australia. All have been completely random affairs. The second chat was in Switzerland. We were walking in Interlaken when a family approached us and asked.
“Do you speak English, we heard you (me) singing Yellow Submarine”
Wow was I that loud…. Having confirmed the English thing, the conversation went very south of the equator.
“Do you know if there is a shop here that sells Swiss Cuckoo Clocks, the kids want to see some and we can’t find a phrase for that in our German helpful holiday phrase book..”
No I suspect it’s not a common phrase. Maybe it should be, maybe the first one the phrase book should tell you. Just like the phrase book Aliens like ET or Thanos need when they visit Earth. The first phrase being a translation of ‘take me to your leader’. Currently in the UK an alien would need to use the phrase ‘take me to your useless numpty’. Anyway the bizarre Australian conversation went even further south when we confirmed that we had just been in a shop looking at a shed load of those wonderful clocks. Once again Australians left with helpful directions.
My first Australian conversation was just as odd. I had just left Warwick University to finally earn my keep. I was working at a computer installation and I had drawn the short straw – I was covering the night shift. Well after midnight, Reception put through a call from Sydney. I took the call and happily said
– whoever Sydney was. At the other end of the line was an equally happy lady with an Australian accent. Opps. I apologised.
‘Sorry, I thought the call was from someone called Sydney, not actually from Sydney…’
“No problems, I am from Sydney, but I am also called Sidney”
I found out that she hadn’t been named after the city but after the actor Sidney Poitier. Apparently her parents were huge fans and had hoped for a strapping Aussie Rules playing boy who would also be an actor just like their hero. Apparently a short, ginger haired girl who was in love with George Michael didn’t quite suit the Sidney Poitier name.
I’m actually looking forward to my next Australian conversation. They are always so bizarre.
As a kid, I felt trapped in a northern costal town. A town surrounded by sea and industry. Back in those days, travel was a rarity in this hard working environment. Money was tight, dreams confined. Like many from that windy, smokey town, we felt cut off from the world. The only world we had was what we could see and touch, which wasn’t much.
But one snotty nosed kid with big Joe 90 glasses (look that one up 🤣🤣🤣) would walk into town every Saturday morning. Armed with money from Dad to buy cod off the returning fishing boats. He would spend some time waiting for the boats to land on the beaches in the Amusements. Watching other kids play the latest versions of Space Invaders or PAC-MAN. But before that he would be found in the Town’s library, sat by the indoor goldfish pond (yep the library had one). Looking at pictures in mountaineering books, of exotic places, of exhilarating adventures. A life completely different to that found in this isolated, grey place. One place really captivated him. A magical looking place called Switzerland. One mountain hooked him. It looked ominous, it looked foreboding. Reading tales of heroism and tragedy on its sheer ice filled walls. He dreamt of being there, standing next to The Eiger.
Never in his wildest dreams did that kid ever imagine that decades later that seaside town would be history. He would have visited on many occasions that magical Swiss landscape, it was even better than he ever imagined AND his son would stand under the mighty Eiger.
You just never know what paths will open up when the time is right.
A family break to Wonderful Switzerland during the October School Half Term. One morning where the clouds dominated. We caught a bus to a remote village a few miles away from Lake Thun. That bus ride made me smile so much. Every time someone got on the bus they greeted everyone with a cheerful hello as they found a seat, I could get use to that. After the bus ride we found ourselves walking through farmland, rolling hills, heading back towards the Lake.
We found eventually ourselves at a lakeside hamlet just in time to catch the ferry for a leisurely trip back towards Spiez.
Definitely a good day, but was it really 9 years ago.