We made at least 7 trips to Switzerland in the 4 years that we were living in the Netherlands, and it never got old. Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, with the snow-capped Alps, and gorgeous meadows and valleys, it is natural beauty at its finest.
#1 - Skiing in Disentis
#2 - Viewing the Matterhorn
#3 - Sledding in Saas-fee
#4 - Making pizza in Bu
#5 - Valley trekking in Bu
#6 - Racing downhill scooters in Beatenburg
#7 - Mountain biking in the Lauterbrunnen Valley
#7 - Bicycle crash
#8 - Ski crash
What to do next:
#9 - Ski other Swiss mountains
#1 - Skiing in Disentis - There was a couple at the school where the children attended in Wassenaar, American School of the Hague (ASH), who had been organizing a family ski trip for the past 25 years. The trip was all-inclusive, with overnight bus transportation, hotel, food, ski equipment, ski passes and full-time ski instructors. They even brought counselors so the children would have organized activities at the hotel in the evenings. It was well-planned, well-attended, and a total blast for the whole family. With a week of non-stop skiiing, all the children learned to ski in the first year, and improved every year thereafter. We don’t often repeat vacations, but we did this one three years in a row, it was that fun and that worthwhile.
#2 - Viewing the Matterhorn - We spent a few days in Zermatt one summer, and the Matterhorn is a stunningly beautiful mountain, especially when it’s covered in clouds, and only chooses to reveal itself on occasion while you’re there, making the view even more special and rare.
#3 - Sledding in Saas-fee - Our friends the Aepli’s have a cabin in Saas-fee, and one winter they invited Megan to come skiing for the week with Megan’s friend Manon. We obliged, and sent Megan, on the condition that we were able to come as a family too. It is a charming village, without cars (like Zermatt) and one afternoon, we found a brilliant sledding hill, and spent most of the afternoon making downhill runs with or without sleds.
#4 - Making pizza in Bu - Our other friends the Overstolzs have a home in Bu, which is a tiny village in the Semione valley. We visited them for a week, and a highlight was an afternoon we spent making homemade pizza, and firing it in their stone pizza oven in the backyard. I have to admit, I did all the fire-making and oven prep, and those pizzas were about the best I ever ate.
#5 - Valley trekking in Bu - Up the valley from the cabin, there was a dam, and in the catchment valley was a charming hike. To drive there, we needed to drive through the construction tunnel, which had been dug in order to get construction equipment up to the dam site. The tunnel was still in use, but it hadn’t been fully improved, and was so narrow, that you could reach out your window and touch the wall, while still sitting in the car. It was superfun, and nerve-wracking to drive through it. Once in the valley, we toured a tiny cheese farm, and hiked and built a fire and roasted sausages and marshmallows. It was a wonderful memorable outing.
#6 - Racing downhill scooters in Beatenberg - I have made some excellent accomodation choices in my life, but I must admit, I’m not always the most thorough or careful planner. I was choosing an airbnb home in Interlaken, and one looked excellent, and inexpensive. While not in the center of Interlaken, it also wasn’t far, only a few miles away as the crow flies, so I booked it. When we ended up driving there, it was already late and dark by the time we arrive in Interlaken, but to our surprise, the airbnb was another 40 min drive away, up the steep, switchback road to Beatenberg.. Whoops! It wasn’t close at all. It was so far away in fact, that I had no desire to go back to Interlaken the next day, so we stayed in Beatenberg, and took the chair lift up the mountain to rent push scooters and ride down the trails to the bottom. I had no idea it would be that much fun!
#7 - Mountain biking in the Lauterbrunnen Valley - We rented mountain bikes, and rode them through the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and took them up the chair lift to then ride back down. The valley is gorgeous, with mountains, waterfalls, meadows, the works. There are spectacular views of Eiger mountain, and the two other peaks in the series.
#8 - Bike crash - While mountain biking, Tera and Megan got a little too close and Tera went over the front, crashing on the highway. She broke her little toe and had bruised legs for months afterwards.
#9 - Ski crash - One year, I was a little ambitious with Jacob on the racing run, and twisted my knee pretty badly. I went down the mountain in a stretcher and wore a brace for a few weeks after that.
#10 - Trampling meadow grass - in the Lauterbrunnen valley, our airbnb was nestled amount beautiful fields of wildflowers and grass. The kids had an absolute ball running through it, and playing hide-n-seek. Until the neighbor farmer came charging out of his house like a bull, yelling at the kids to stop, and throwing obscenities at us, which we didn’t understand, becuase we don’t speak German. Turns out he harvests those wildflowers. Sorry . . . .
What I would do next:
#11 - Ski other Swiss mountains - As much as I loved skiing in Disentis, the mountain felt a little small after three years, and I would love to go skiing elsewhere.