Switzerland!

Hello again friends!

We traveled to Switzerland last weekend and it was glorious. We started off early Thursday morning and Laine got to ride on a real train for the first time. When our train arrived in Brussels, we were greeted by a friendly attendant who informed us that we didn’t need to buy tickets for the kids. She directed us to the counter for a refund. I love Belgians!

Our flight was delayed a bit, but we landed, collected our car, and were on our way. This was the view from the car as we were leaving Zurich and headed east.

On the road again!
Looking over the buildings across the street from our AirBnB

Our timing was absolutely perfect as we were staying in town in a little valley (Bad Ragaz) and then heading up the mountains to hit the slopes. It was spring time at the foot of the mountains and still wintry at the top! We skied/sledded on Friday and Saturday. The kids were in tee shirts and snow pants for their ski lessons on Saturday morning!

We were just in awe of the mountains surrounding us. Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. You can see the mountains from absolutely everywhere…

This was the view from our window. I told you we could see the mountains from anywhere!

We found a delightful little play area just up the road from our apartment. It was part of a primary school and had lots of places to climb and balance.

Balance board and balance rope
Meanwhile, I was soaking up this view…

We headed up the mountain on Friday to try to figure out skiing. At some point during the day, Isaac told me this was the most snow he has ever seen in his life. I assured him it was the most snow I’d ever seen in my life, as well!

View from the lift headed up the mountain… We saw several gliders and parachutes who may have started from the little airport here.

We weren’t able to get ski lessons on Friday, but we taught the kids a few basic things (Pizza vs. French fries for those of you with young skiers).

Warm day on the slopes!
Blue skies and sunshine on our smallest skier

Then we decided to try something truly daring. We rented AirBoards. Think inflatable sled. Basically, you throw yourself on the sled and go HEAD FIRST down the mountain. Totally safe. Definitely not utterly insane. But!!! It was everyone’s very favorite thing we did. In theory, you steer by leaning your body and dragging your feet, so we wore our ski boots because they’re more rigid. In reality, however, you can only steer a bit. My method was to crash fairly frequently as speed control. Isaac was completely fearless and basically stopped periodically to give us a little peace of mind before he’d be off again.

AirBoards were so much fun!

The first trip on the AirBoards was taken a bit more slowly as we figured them out. We stopped to take a chocolate break part-way down the slope.

I crashed before everyone else did, so I’m farther up the slope. LOL!

Lunch breaks on the slopes were stunning. The first day we ate inside, but the next day, we were able to score a table on the deck.

Prost!
Fun in the snow!

At the end of both days on the slopes, we were toast! We took the long lift-ride back down to our car at the bottom of the mountain to find dinner and rest a bit.

Back down the mountain we go. We look beat!

Our last day in Switzerland, we decided to go explore. We headed South by Southwest (see what I did there, Austinites?) to Davos, which is the highest city in Europe at 5,120 feet. A few photos from the road:

Persistent blue skies, but still with snow on the peaks.
A glimpse of Swiss architecture
Sunshine on snow!

We stopped along the way several times. The first stop was for a romp in the snow and a snowball fight. We paused on a bench just long enough for a group selfie.

We loved the snow!!!

We stopped to have a picnic lunch at Burgruine Belfort – which is a ruined castle in Switzerland. Firstly, the view was amazing. We took a short hike up to the castle. I was reminded of several of our Treehouse friends (and our director Traci in particular) as we walked up past fast-flowing waterfalls, clambered over downed trees, and soaked up our beautiful surroundings. When we got to the castle, we found an IBEX resting quite comfortably along the top of the wall. We were so surprised! We took a few photos and tried not to disturb him. He was pretty sure he could take us out, though, so he wasn’t too concerned.

Can you find the ibex near the center of this photo?

I also managed to take my favorite group photo at the end of our lunch:

The Walters: Todd, Heather, Isaac (8 11/12), and Laine (6 364/365)
T&H
Switzerland definitely captured my heart.

Once we arrived in Davos, we decided to play in the park. The 4 of us had a TERRIFIC snowball fight and had to pause a few times so as not to take out innocent pedestrians. There are no photos of that as I was busy defending myself. Laine also finally got to build her snowman.

Snowman complete with “hat”

Our last stop of the day was sheer accident. We decided to follow the road up the mountain until it ended. We ran out of snow-cleared roads (and weren’t willing to brave anything further in the Alfa-Romeo rental car) at the perfect Swiss restaurant. I’d added fondue in Switzerland to my list of things we had to do. Todd and I got an order to share, but the kids quickly decided we had made a good choice and helped us finish it off.

One of the happiest food-related moments of my life

The next day we left Switzerland bright and early, but that’s a post for another day…

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