The perfect start to 2015 – Switzerland

After a late night or should I say early morning there was minimal movement in the house until about 10am.  Beth and Shaun had stayed over as they live an hour and a half away in the Jura.  We had a lovely and typical Swiss breakfast – warm Zopf which is a braided loaf of bread, lots of different cheeses and cold meat.  We also enjoyed Elvis’s Mum’s homemade yoghurt and Bosnian honey.  Perfect : )

The plan was to go snow shoeing above Burglen which is next to Altdorf.  Steve decided his snow shoeing career was over for now so he stayed home.  There was a lot of low cloud but according to the webcam at the top of the Ruogig Gondola where we were heading it was a picture perfect day so off we went.

We had to catch two gondola’s up – the first one only seated four so we had to go in two lots.  The second gondola took six so we could all emerge out of the see fog into the glorious sunshine together.  It was magical.  I knew then that I truly am the SUNGRL – my heart sang as I felt that warm sunshine on my back : )

We got kitted up and off we went – it was a popular spot so the tracks had already been made.  It is still a good work out though.  We had about 2 hours of sunlight left so we did a loop up the valley and back down.  Shaun encouraged me to go into the deep snow and cut a path – it was so much fun.  I then fell over and could not get up so it was Karin and Shaun to the rescue.  We stopped for a drink near the top and I was so hot I stripped down to my singlet.  It didn’t take long for the sweat to get cold though so it was a short sharp cover up again – not before the odd pose though : )  On the way down we had some fun off trail running down in the soft snow – I also fell on my knees at one stage but managed to get myself upright again.

It was rush hour on the gondolas when we got back about 4.15pm so we had to wait a little while before we could descend.  It was nice to see the sun glow behind the mountains but this also meant we got chilly pretty fast.

Thanks to Paparazzi Elvis the pictures say it all…..

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We got back home about 6pm and farewelled Beth and Shaun who were heading home to the Jura. Our day was not over yet though – it was a quick change around of clothes and we were off sledging by moonlight. Steve had had all day to prepare himself.

We drove about half an hour to Melchsee Frutt in the next canton of Opwalden. It is a ski resort. The carpark is about 1,000 metres up and you then catch a gondola up to approximately 2,000 metres. There are hotels and restaurants up there. We had dinner at Hotel Posthuis which was a bustling metropolis on New Years night. Karin, Elvis and I opted for the fondue – when in Switzerland and all. Steve had a schnitzel. We hadn’t had lunch so the bread and hot runny cheese went down a treat although I didn’t know when to stop so I think I will be off cheese for a while now : (

We had bought the sledges up with us on the gondola and parked them in the sledge parking lot outside the restaurant. We got kitted up and ready for our adventure. Elvis gave us some wise words of advice and off we went – we were sledging back down to the carpark, effectively 1,000 metres. The trail winds itself down the valley and is well prepared. We took a little bit to get used to steering and stopping but it was so much fun. We had lamps but we didn’t use them as the moonlight was perfect and our eyes adjusted accordingly. We had a number of stops down the valley just to take in the breathtaking scenery and stillness of the night. No words or pictures can describe it – the images are securely locked in my memory.

There was a group of about 6 young people hooning down the trail so we let them pass. They had lamps on – wussies! Anyway we came across them a bit further down and two of them had failed sledging 101’s first rule – don’t let go of the rope on the sledge! If you fall off, the sledge will invariably keep going – they had to climb down the side of the trail into the abyss to retrieve their sledges. They soon caught us up again and we let them pass – it was too perfect a night to share it with them.

It took us about an hour to get down – it was fantastic and if it hadn’t been 10pm which is when the trail closes I would have done it all again as would Steve who also had a ball. We then drove home to begin the task of packing for our journey home……

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This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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