GOS and I have been back to Switzerland. We arrived home yesterday. We had planned to have a day exploring a National Trust property enroute home after our flight landed, but unfortunately himself had picked up granddaughter’s tummy bug and we just wanted to get back. Our poor little one had quite a “sicky” day whilst we were there with them. One of the joys of playgroup I guess. She has just started going to a “musical” playgroup and grandma had to join in” pretend playgroup” her first morning babysitting. Grandma was pretty bushed I can tell you after a very full toddler fueled first day following an early flight and travel delays the day before.
The valley where the family live is a deep glacial gorge between towering, overhanging mountains. It’s about 19 miles long and widens in places; enough for little settlements to have established on the valley floor and on the slopes above. Right at the top of the valley is one of Switzerland’s most prestigious ski resorts. The family now live in a little village a couple of miles down from the main resort. We have an hour’s climb on the mountain railway from the main train line at the base of the mountains to get to them. It is a precipitous journey creeping along the side of the mountains, looking down on the river below: it has the most amazing views from the train. Just stunning.
Last week a breath of autumn had touched the mountains and morning and evenings were quite cold. Following thunderstorms the mountains, towering above us, were swathed in a thick wrapping of drifting cloud; broken occasionally, enough for us to glimpse sunlit, snowy peaks. When the sun did break through it became very hot quite quickly and the meadow slopes were alive with the sound of grasshoppers and the woods with screaming jays and woodpeckers. Everywhere along the numerous mountain tracks elder and rowan bushes bent with their burden of glowing red fruit and the grass was thick with purple autumn crocus. Truly beautiful.
The village is a jumble of very ancient wooden chalets and farm buildings (many balanced on the mushroom looking “stadel” stones) and new build, interspersed with small, very productive gardens or meadow areas. Every window and balcony, new or old, appears to be decked with boxes of flowers in a riot of colour. Picture postcard Switzerland!
There is a lane winding up to an ancient steepled chapel and mountain above from the family’s apartment block (a large new build chalet). This is lined with many of the older properties and a couple of tiny fenced off areas containing horned cows. “Little one ” was fascinated by one cow who had a damaged horn which had been bandaged and covered with an old sock. Endless questions of the “why” variety!
Between toddler sized, puddle-jumping walks, GOS and I managed a couple of good hikes. One of which entailed a 7k hike “up” to be rewarded with a very substantial Swiss lunch at the top end of our walk. Then we ambled back to our village; downhill most of the way.
However home now; all too quiet! House sitter friend had done a grand job. The sitting hen hatched one chick just before we left. This had to be extricated from the back of a huge log pile the day before we went and placed safely with Mum in a confined place. The grass has never stopped growing whilst we were away . . . . . . The horse looks fat from a week without exercise. . . . so off to do some mowing . . . . . ride out later …..