January 8, 2017

We woke yesterday to a snow-covered Grindelwald. You might think that was to be expected but until a few days there was hardly any snow in the area. Our wider family had been here over Xmas and they hadn’t been able to ski because of the lack of snow. Given that the 4 of them (S, L, M & O) are here to ski and snowboard, this was obviously a great sight.

As we had arrived so late on Friday, I went down to the supermarket with Daniel (my nephew) to buy some breakfast items. I know it is really easy to comment on prices in Switzerland but it really struck me how much more expensive it was to Portugal (let alone to SA). For instance, mangoes (imported from SA no doubt) were the same absolute price in Switzerland as they were in SA – just a different currency which makes them about 14 x more expensive here! That is a staggering difference because there is no way importing them should result in the price being 14 x more. I wonder who is making all the profit out of them along the chain of supply?! In case you need help translating that it was over R100 per mango.

The kids went later to have a walk around Grindelwald and then we met them at the supermarket again to do a bigger shop for the next few days.  The bill for that shop came to almost R10000 for a full shopping trolley. That is probably 3-4 x what we would pay in SA for the same thing. It really does amaze me in a world that now has a global economy how one country could be so much more expensive than the other countries surrounding them. I travel regularly to Germany and while Switzerland borders Germany, I reckon Germany is at least half the price for the same things.

It is pretty cold here. When we arrived Friday night is was -15 and yesterday the temperature rose to -3.5 degrees. There are some advantages of this in that if the fridge or freezer is full all you do is put the items outside. For instance, the cooldrinks weren’t cold when we got back from the shop so Stephen simply placed them outside and surrounded them with snow. Problem solved in that about 10-15 minutes later you have cold drinks.

After lunch, Michael and Oli went to get their ski boots and ski’s fitted and then we all went up to Bodmi (small village just above Grindelwald where the ski school is located). There are a few gentle slopes to practice on and given Oli hadn’t ski’d since she was 6, it was a good place to start. She seemed to pick it up quite quickly again. Michael looked remarkably comfortable on ski’s despite not having ski’d for 2 years. The rest of us  decided to toboggan and everyone had great fun coming down the short slope. There were probably 20 people doing the same thing so the biggest challenge was ensuring you missed the other people. Michael & Oli decided to ski back to the chalet and Daniel tobogganed back with them and the rest of us drove back down again. Everything closes at about 4:30pm as the sun sets just before 5pm so there is no point in staying out after that (though there was some snowball throwing before we headed back).

Everyone was pretty tired by around 10pm last night and headed for bed.

Until later today (or tomorrow depending on how I feel) …

P, S, L, M & O

(PS: Helen and Chloe arrived home safely yesterday afternoon and told me they were swimming in our pool at 28 degrees C … bit of change of climate!)


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