(Pommie readers will find their reading of this post significantly enhanced by listening to this music while reading the post:
Thanks to the generosity of my parents-in-law we were able to spend a wonderful white Christmas with M’s family near Interlaken, Switzerland. We were staying in the alpine resort of Wilderswil with a view from our hotel window of the legendary Eiger and Jungfrau peaks.
I’ve never spent time in the Alps before and I was absolutely blown away by the staggering beauty of the place. Snow and ice made delicate patterns everywhere you looked and the imposing mountains evoked the awestruck aspect of the sublime that I learned about when studying the Romantic poets.
The great cliché about Switzerland is efficiency, and we came to value it greatly. The railways going up to great heights, often tunnelling through the rock itself, were extraordinary feats of engineering and we were never late by a minute. Then there were the ski fields with the supremely well run lifts to take you exactly where you want to go for your fun that day.
We don’t ski or snowboard, so we went for the muppet option of hiring a sledge and hurtling down the slopes on a barely controlled lump of wood at high velocity. The bloke at the hire shop had blithely assured us that it was easy and that taking the Bs would be no problem, so off we went with them on our laps. I started with B2 on my sledge, and within a couple of minutes his weeping face was entirely caked in snow and he had heard me swear more in a few seconds than in his entire life hitherto.
After a reorganisation, B1 went with M and B2 with Karen while I went solo. That went well during the more forgiving stretches of the path but then we missed a rather important sign that read “Run Closed”. We realised we were in grief when we found ourselves sledging down a road with a bus coming in the other direction.
Then, after crisis talks, we decided to try and descend on a ski run. Bad idea. I will never forget hurtling along and seeing my wife, sister-in-law and both children slam into a wooden fence as I sped past. I had to stack myself and run back up, in genuine fear for my family’s safety. Luckily everyone was fine although both kids were very shaken and B1 ended up crying about “the worst day of my life!” through a bleeding lip.
Anyway, we got down okay in the end, and next time we put the Bs into kid’s club and had a fantastic day. sledging without them. Now we’re talking about learning to ski as a family once B2 is old enough.
Lots of photos over at the Flickr site.