Top of Europe

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Next stop, Switzerland.  One of the greatest things about this place is all discovering it together as a family – n0one has been here before, we had little knowledge of what was to come, apart from me thinking of the story of Heidi the Swiss mountain girl and the Sound of Music!

We have truly reached a place which seems like heaven on earth!  Saskia, I can so see why you were always torn between the Swiss Alps and Bondi. It’s our absolutely favourite so far, and that’s not just us parents, but the kids as well.  [However, every place we have been to has been their favourite so far, so it will be interesting to see if any of them stick, or whether it’s just the recency effect and the beauty of kids loving the moment!]

Wengen in Switzerland was our home for 4 nights, an apartment on the middle floor of one of the gorgeous wooden chalets.  This town has no cars, which makes it super peaceful.  You park down in the valley and catch an old train 15mins up the mountain.  Engineers would love the feat of these trains designed over 100 years ago, which can climb up such steep mountains. We arrived into the carpark in near freezing conditions, to our surprise.  We literally got out of the car, pulled out bags in the middle of the carpark and raced to put on all of our layers!  When only that morning, we had been swimming in Lake Maggiore in Italy in temperatures 30 degrees warmer.

So the adventure started with our train ride up the mountain and just got better and better.  After the early snowfall which restricted our action a bit – no ski gear, no snowboots, no gloves etc – then the sun came out and the we all had so many ‘wow’ moments out loud, as the mountains emerged from the clouds and we got our first glimpses of them.  Loved the Eiger (nice work Jase!). Even the kids just loved looking up at the mountains and asking constantly (especially Arch) how high is that one, when and where does the snow fall, how can we get up there.  And now he really wants to go to Everest. Yikes, what have we done!

So our days consisted of packing a backpack with a picnic, and then exploring the mountains and gorgeous mountain villages via foot (downhill or flat paths only!) or via chairlift, bubble, train (for going uphill Kendra!).  The kids were champions walking quite a long way without much complaint which is normally unheard of.  We got to gorgeous Gimmelwald and thought of you all Wazzas.   Very cool to find an honesty shop there, doors wide open and unattended.  We loved Murren as well.

On the final day we had a great forecast and much anticipation of getting up to the ‘Top of Europe’, the Jungfraujoch, the highest point you can get to via train, at about 3,500m.  Hard to to choose a highlight up there – seeing the enormous glaciers, exploring the ice palace, the views across to Italy, Germany & France, visiting the Lindt chocolate factory up there, or the exhilaration of sledging and zip wiring across the mountain on a beautiful cold, sunny day.

We simply could not stop marvelling at the beauty of this place, it really has to be seen to be believed.  If Rome was crazy, Amalfi relaxing, Tuscany beautiful, Lake Maggiore personal, it’s hard to choose a single word for here in Switzerland – easy, organised, peaceful, stunning, inspiring, adventurous? Maybe even perfect if it didn’t feel like the most expensive place on the planet! Fair to say we all fell in love and have vowed to return.

 

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