It’s Sunday. The world has gone completely bonkers. This morning I so need my few moments of peace in beautiful Switzerland and I invite you to join me.
What I’m about to say might get my British Nationality revoked but here goes. I’m not sure I love my country anymore. I certainly love Yorkshire and the North East. I could see myself being happy in the Scottish Highlands. But increasingly my natural home feels like Switzerland. Not sure about the practicalities but maybe one day.
Today I would certainly settle for just another week there. It’s been four years now. So this morning it’s the next best thing – a virtual visit.
Remembering what it was like to walk in The Alps.
Remembering the colours.
Breathing in the sweet, fresh mountain air.
Listening to the calming soundscapes.
Be safe out there my friends and remember. It’s still a beautiful world.
It’s Sunday so it must be time for a bit more Switzerland.
Switzerland certainly does mountains but it also does some mighty fine lakes as well.
For quite a small country Switzerland has over 7000 lakes.
And they are often not small ones. The lakes can be over 1000ft deep.
Most of the larger lakes have regular boat services. Some are still the luxury old steamers.
Lakes and mountains always create such a beautiful atmosphere. Unbelievably calming.
In the above photo you can see a road cut into the cliff face. It’s a stunning yet precarious lake view from there.
One of the other things you immediately notice about Swiss lakes here is how clear water is.
A wooden rocking horse provides one of the finest lake viewports. You know what – he never gave me a go….
It’s Sunday so it’s time for a bit of Switzerland.
Once on every visit to this great country I would try to go for a run. While the rest of the team where having an extra hour in bed I would quietly sneak out for an early morning run.
It was always the same run.
Not a long run. Just about 1 hour.
An hour punctuated with polite ‘Grüessech‘ exchanges with passing runners and walkers.
A stunning lake side run. For most of the route you are running within inches of the water.
With just the sound of the lapping alpine lake water. The occasional passing passenger boat.
Stunning Alpine scenery.
To me it’s the best run ever.
It’s Sunday so it’s time for your weekly fix of Switzerland.
Let’s start off with two really important facts about Switzerland
- They invented milk chocolate,
- They consume more chocolate per person than any other country.
Got to love them….
Another couple of random facts about this great country. As the country is completely land locked water is not something you necessarily associate with it.
But it has over 1500 lakes.
Water accounts for about 4% of its surface area.
It’s lakes and mountains just go hand in hand. To create wonderful, dream like world.
Chocolate, lakes and mountains. What a country.
It’s time for another slice of that wonderful country – Switzerland.
One mountain in particular towers over Spiez. Where our hotel base was. Beautiful Niesen. Son calls it the pyramid mountain.
It’s the northern edge of a spectacular mountain ridge and is 7749ft high (2362m). A short train journey takes you to the base of the mountain. As son was still quite young we were restricted on walking distances. Plus it was often a few steps of walking then more time to dream.
So we got off the train at Frutigen and walked along the lovely Kander River. Eventually arriving at the Mulenen and the Niesenbahn.
An old Funicular will carry you to the top. In places it is scarily steep. For the mad ones amongst us – once a year – you can enter the mountains stair run. A stairway follows the route of the Funicular to the top. Comprising of 11674 steps. It is the Worlds Longest Stairway. Really unfortunately the day we went up was one of the stairways closed days – that’s a shame….
As the Funicular moves above the tree line the views open out.
Next week we will continue the story on the summit. It is truly one of the great views. As good as I’ve had the privilege of seeing.
Although England does do an awful lot of water it’s not blessed with that many truly epic waterfalls. But we do have the occasional spectacular one.
High Force in Teasdale.
The Falls are about an hours drive from us. We haven’t been since our world changed. We had planned to go there as part of our school holiday road trip. But as I was packing up the picnic
Dad I’m not sure I’m ready to go there yet.
I can so understand. It had suddenly dawned on our son the importance of the memory associated with High Force. It was 2016. The three of us spent a lovely hour walking around the waterfall then we ended up in the local pub for lunch. Son had sausages and chips. We had soup and fresh bread. Finished off with some highly calorific sweet. It was the last time we went out for a meal as a family.
This had completely slipped my mind. Not the forensic mind of number one son.
“It’s a long drive son.”
It’s a very long drive, probably bad for the environment.
“Its raining and very grey. Probably going to be cold.”
It’s very wet Dad.
“What do you fancy doing then.”
How about having the picnic in front of the television while watching the new Scooby Doo movie.
“That sounds a cracking plan Son.”
So we enjoyed sandwiches, crisps, fruit and cakes watching Return to Zombie Island. Yes a change of plan. But the right change of plan. We will visit High Force one day. But not this wet Friday.
It’s been several years since we fed the ducks. It’s back to a time before our world changed. A family of 3. Every Sunday we would go to the lake armed with food left overs from the week. Often our son would be surrounded by hundreds of ducks and swans. He would carefully try to ensure all those impatiently waiting received a share of the food parcel. Then we would go to the local cafe for a freshly baked cheese scone. So many great moments sadly stopped one August three years ago.
Maybe this weekend will be a good time to rectify our absence. It wasn’t the birds fault that the bad stuff happened. Maybe we can rekindle some of those feelings. Maybe we will create new feelings. We won’t know until we try. I suspect the ducks won’t mind us trying.
So I’ve started filling a large bucket with out of date oats, some cheap tinned sweet corn, seed and of course a little bit of bread. Even ducks need a balanced diet.
While trying to find the old duck feed bucket I came across a couple of old concert T-shirt’s and ticket stubs. Days of hair, tight trousers and Thunderbird Cider. Looking at the names on the shirts it was very sobering. Many of those I went to see are sadly not with us anymore. So while I worked this afternoon I listened to a music from these fallen heroes. I tried to recall seeing that person on stage – in their prime. How they should be remembered. The roll call included
Ronnie James Dio
The more I think about it the more heroes I can add to the list. That’s really sobering. As you get older more and more of your heroes depart. But they have left so many lasting memories for us to enjoy. They left a positive mark on this world. That’s a life well lived. I will leave the last words to Lemmy.
“Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good“
The last post left the unscripted day trip deep in Kielder Forest.
Right Dad it’s time to have a closer look at one of Northern Europe’s largest man made Lakes. Rutland is larger but Kielder holds more water. Don’t worry I’m not expecting you to go swimming. The water will be too cold.
That’s a good job as a I can’t swim and I don’t fancy a bout of frostbite. I later checked those facts. Apparently Kielder holds 44 billion gallons of water. That’s an awful lot of trips to the toilet. It tends to be full at all times. It has a number of natural springs feeding it plus let’s not forget the weather.
With the autumnal like wind whipping across the lake and the breaking waves – it did feel like a seaside walk.
I’m guessing it is just under York Minster deep. That’s about 235ft. I’m going to say about 70 metres as Boris Johnson will hate that. He hates everything from Europe or that is what he wants people to think. Some people will fall for that.
Ok can’t miss a bit of of annoying our Buffoon of a Leader – so Kielder holds 200 billion litres.
Wouldn’t it be great if Kielder had its very own Loch Ness Monster. Ok it’s a manmade lake built in 1982. But the monster could have migrated here. What do you think Dad.
How about a Megalodon.
No legs or wings so it’s not migrating in a hurry. I’m seeing either a Spinosaurus or a very large otter.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the monster otter concept as suddenly a large military plane swept low over us and across the lake. My ancient mobile didn’t do it justice.
Dad what time is it. Have we got time for one more place. We are on a roll now.
It’s 3pm let’s see what we can find. So back at the car. Is it Left or Right.
Final part of the road trip takes us back in time.
I took the mad dog for his morning constitutional walk. We pass a couple of streams and a small lake. Just very grey. Got me thinking. Even in the summer they are always just grey. No colour.
Suddenly my mind wanders to happier times. European Holidays. The two things that immediately strike you when you visit Switzerland:
- The staggering beauty of the Alps
- The beautiful colour of the Lakes. This photo does not do them justice.