We have a Stephen with us but we know he isn’t a Saint (even though there are a bunch of Moyles’ who think he is). But it is his name day (as they would say here in Europe). He didn’t get any special treatment today except that he was able to go skiing. When we woke up this morning it was evident that it had snowed overnight higher up in the mountains as all the trees were dusted with snow. It was also quite misty but as the sun came up the mist cleared. It was much colder today at around 1 degree C. The boys headed up First today with their instructor to do some real skiing. Here is an idea of the routes / mountains around Grindelwald (if you are interested):
As you can see the chalet is at 1035m and they went up to 2170m to ski today. There was fresh powder of around 5cm up where they did their skiing. Helen went to Bodmi again today for her last lesson and it also had snowed up there. We fetched Helen at 12pm and it was clear that her skiing ability had improved dramatically. The boys also called to say they were on their way down in the cable car and so we picked them up on route back to the chalet as well (in fact they dropped off Chloe and me to do some shopping so there was sufficient space in the car for everyone + skis + boots).
Michael was keen to go and ski at Bodmi again this afternoon which he did (he clearly is enjoying the skiing), Stephen fell asleep on a chair in the lounge and Chloe, Helen and I went into Interlaken to do some chocolate shopping. Given that I am posting maps into the blog here is another one of the region so you can orientate yourself appropriately:
As you can see, Interlaken lies in the valley between two ‘Lakens’ (clever name). It is about a 30 minute car drive (or train trip) down to Interlaken. My Dad entrusted me with the car keys for the first time this trip and I managed to safely negotiate the road down and back to Interlaken without (knowingly) damaging the car. The afternoon had turned out to be absolutely beautiful. It was still cold (around 5 degrees in Interlaken) but was totally clear. We did what all good Europeans would do and sat outside and had a coffee & hot chocolate. I would never consider sitting outside in CT at 5 degrees but somehow it seemed the right thing to do. It was lovely just sitting there watching everyone walk past and enjoying the sunshine. It was lovely right up until they brought the bill which came to R150 for the 3 drinks. I was reminded again how expensive Switzerland really is.
The other thing that strikes me about Switzerland is how little change there is. We were last here 4 years ago and very little has changed in this area. The restaurants are the same, the shops are the same. It isn’t that they is no progress (the internet connection in the flat is running at 26Mb versus the 2.6Mb we get at home), it is just that nothing really changes from a structure point of view. And I guess why would it need to change when everything works fine. The other thing that I was struck with today was how beautiful this place really is, especially when the sun is out and there are snow covered mountains all around. If you’re in doubt have a look at the photo at the bottom of this blog that we took this evening from the chalet. If you’re still in doubt, come here yourself and you will be persuaded – there are a few of our friends we would love to share the experience with … not all of you … just some of you 🙂
We ate Xmas day leftovers for dinner followed by some fantastic chocolate flans for desert. I remember eating something like them as a kid growing up (they were called chocolate Flanbe’s) and these brought back memories. Fortunately there are still 3 left so I can reminiscence some more over the next few days.