Sunday, 25 August 2013

More adventures in Switzerland

What a great time we had in Switzerland, beautiful mountains, picturesque countryside, gorgeous little villages plonked on the side of the hills plus really, really good chocolate and Icecream! By the end of the holiday we were starting to relax and just being able to enjoy the environment rather then having to be busy sightseeing - morning walks, playgrounds, gondola rides, bike rides for James and Jasper and playing scrabble were a few highlights.

Jasper and Jasper's four hour rainy walk adventure!

Cows with Cow bells

James bike on the cable car.

We also managed to solve the ultimate Switzerland puzzle which is how do they mow the grass on the side of very steep hills! There is a special mower with metal wheels with spikes on it - I guess the person pushing the mower also wears shoes with spikes on them so he does tumble down the hillside! Penelope thought they should just attach a mower under the gondolas and mow the grass that way. Another suggestion would be to do it the kiwi way and use sheep! I guess though that the sheep would spoil the pristine hillside as they are a bit messy.
There was a lot to do and see around the village of Klosters. The day after we went to Zurich we decided to go up the gondola on the other side of the valley to Madrisa land. This is a lovely outdoor adventure park with animals, slides, rockclimbing, bouncy castles all with a bit of a swiss twist. The kids spent a couple of happy hours playing on all the games and slides and Jasper especially loved the rock climbing walls.
Gondolas going up to Madrisa land.

Jasper doing a spot of climbing

On the sandpit area

Bouncy castle

The cafe at Madrisa land was perfect for a drink!

We were going to walk down the hill to the car but a text from Sue informed us that it was very steep and that catching the gondola would probably be better. Just to confirm this was the right decision the pony stood on Penelope's foot and although it was not bad she didn't feel like a two hour walk!
The next day we decided to stay local again and caught the train up the valley to Davos. James and the kids hired a paddle boat and went out into the lake while Sue, David and I relaxed on the shore with coffee.

Jasper decided to do a bit of lake swimming off the side of the boat egged on by his father! We then walked around the lake heading back to the station. James decided he would like to walk home and convinced Jasper and Penelope to go with him. We thought we would beat them home as we only had to walk round the lake then wait for the train. We were really surprised then when we got home to discover them already there. It was only a bit later that James told us that they had been walking along the path when they saw the train coming and decided that they had had enough walking and ran to jump on it!
Pristine hillsides

That grass needs a mow!

The following day we decided to go a bit further afield and head to St Moritz. The ticket seller at the train station recommended going the quick way there and come back on the Abula pass which is a world heritage sight as the track bends back and forth round and round down the mountain side. St Moritz was very glitzy with only very expensive shops all very much out of our price range. I did find it a bit odd that in a small mountain resort there was Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier etc but we only saw one outdoor clothing shop.

We found a more laid back cafe for lunch then headed down to the gorgeous lake for a walk.

By the time we walked around the lake it was time to catch our train. The ride back was spectacular, definitely worth it!
That night James and I had the perfect end to a wonderful day by going out to dinner at the gorgeous "Steinbock" restaurant - fantastic food and great service. Although, we almost missed out as we had not realised that unlike the French the Swiss eat early and so by the time we had had a drink and wandered around looking at all the options lots of the restaurants were closed!

One that about living in Europe that I don't think I will ever adjust to is being able to just drive to another country. It seems crazy that we can all just jump in the car and then less the an hour later we are in a completely different country without having to go through border control or anything. David was very keen to have a look at the very small country of Liechtenstein which borders Switzerland. It is a tiny country on just 23 000 people and has a King and Queen and is a tax haven. It is only 12 km long (Jasper reckons he could walk it). We headed there on our second to last day, making our way to the main city of Vaduz. We eventually found a park on the street after going in and out of car park buildings which seemed to have all private parks. Vaduz is a lovely little town with lots of shopping and cafes!

We got some great souviners and also had a yummy lunch of Chinese and Thai food for James, Jasper and me. We then walked up the hill to get a closer look of the palace although couldn't go in as it is still in use.

Interesting architecture in Vaduz

The lookout at Vaduz

On our way we stopped at the Swiss city of Chur where the hideous apartment blocks on the outskirts hid the beautiful city within.

A treehut playground in Chur complete with its own bar - check out the cute barmaid!

Our last day included us cramming all the things in that we had not quite got around to yet including a morning walk, hiring a bike for Jasper and going to the swimming pool.

The beautiful Swiss countryside (yes those lawns have been mowed!)

Where two rivers meet.

Our last meal at Klosters - raclette very Swiss!

The next day we reluctantly packed up the car and left our perfect Swiss holiday home - thanks so much Veronica and Les xx

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