Swiss Holiday Getaway

31 Dec

Happy New Years Eve, y’all! You know you’ve gotten old when you’re sitting here at 2 in the afternoon on NYE in your jammies, no make-up, hair piled on top of your head, eating gummi worms out of a bag in your lap…and no plans whatsoever to change any of it before the day is through. Although I might move over to the couch. And probably eat some spaghetti that we’re cooking for dinner. And we’ll all venture out onto the balcony to watch some fireworks tonight. 😉

But seriously, we didn’t get home last night until after 10p and we are all EXHAUSTED! Always a good sign in my book- that means it was a good trip! Ha! We’ve spent the last four days in southeastern Switzerland, right near the Italian border, and had such fun. A few hiccups, yes, but mostly fun!

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0’dark thirty Sunday morning- walking to the train station- Switzerland, here we come!

In hopes of enjoying a pleasant, relaxing and uber-scenic trip southward, we opted to train it. Six hours, three changes and a few thousand meters in elevation as we climbed our way up the Alps. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- you just can’t get any more gorgeous than Switzerland! The lush green trees, the smoky blue water, the freshness of the air in your lungs…Ahhhh…

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Just looking out the window…

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Doesn’t this cute little dining car make you want to sing ‘Hot, Hot, Hot…We’ve got it!’ (If you haven’t seen Polar Express, go watch it right now.)

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Enjoying a mid-trip beer in the dining car…

Our final destination was the small Alpine village of Pontresina. Here’s a visual…We came from Stuttgart (due north), down into Zurich, over the Chur, then on down to a little town called Samedan, and finally over to Pontresina (the red dot).

Map

The first of our little hiccups came when we got off the train and had quite the trek through the town searching for our hotel. Since Switzerland isn’t part of the EU, that means our cell phones don’t work there, which means there’s no Google Maps, no checking websites, no making reservations on the fly…

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Notice Neve’s new Trunki! It’s a carry-on suitcase just for kids and she’s been wanting one since we started seeing them in airports last year! You can pack ’em, push ’em, ride on ’em, be pulled on ’em…and never tip ’em over! Our first trip with the Trunki was complete success! Thanks, GranD and Papaw!

Pontresina was first mentioned in medieval Latin documents in 1137. Some historians translate the name as The Bridge of the Saracens and see in it a reference to a tenth-century Arab invasion of the lands that later became Switzerland. It is essential though to have a bridge to use the Bernina pass and it would make sense to build this before the confluence of Ova da Bernina and Ova da Roseg due to the amount of water to cross.

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We chose Pontresina because our main goal was a true Winter Wonderland- snow covered peaks, giant beautiful snowflakes falling every time we looked out the window, twinkly lights lining the plethora of ski slopes…Yeah, about that…Supposedly Germany isn’t the only country having the warmest winter in recent history! Sheesh. No fresh snow while we were there, but at least there was plenty still on the ground and lots of things still frozen!

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Making our own slide!

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Not too shabby of a room view!

Regardless, we still had a fun little time exploring this little- yet so vast- neck of the country. We found trails through the woods- canopied with Swiss Stone Pines and Larch trees. We found ice skating rinks. We found bobsled tracks (the oldest natural track in the world, in fact- made every year from the ground up from only snow and water). We found cozy restaurants with fondue and rooftop lodges with rostis and hot cocoa. Yep, we certainly found plenty. ❤

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We spent our second day over in St. Moritz, Pontresina’s bigger and more famous sister in the same Engadine Valley. St. Moritz has several claims to fame, the most well-known probably being its popularity among the rich and famous (most expensive city- and ski resort- in the world, afterall!) and among sporting enthusiasts. It’s home to the highest peak, Bernina, in the eastern Alps, as well as the oldest bakery in Switzerland (we ate lunch there!). It’s one of only three cities in the world to host the Winter Olympics twice. For our intents and purposes, St. Moritz provided an absolutely gorgeous, ritzy backdrop to our day of wandering, window-shopping, oohing and ahhhing 🙂

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My personal favorite part of St. Moritz was it’s beautiful lake- completely frozen solid- nestled between all the snow-covered peaks. People were even ice-skating and playing hockey on it in the distance!

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For our last day- before we caught the train for our evening trek home- we took a cog railway up to one of the highest peaks in the area- Muottas Muraigl. Y’all. The view from the top. Oh. My. Lawd.

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At the top, there’s a hotel, the start of countless trails and slopes, paragliding launch sites, a playground…Some of us did some hiking, some did some cabana sitting with fuzzy blankets, some of us played…And then we lunched outside on (faux) fur pelts overlooking the valley below. PERFECTION.

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Ziplining on the highest playground in the world ❤

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RELAXING…

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Cabana conversations with this lady ❤

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We watched this paraglider unpack, get set up, then run off the side of the mountain.

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Breathtaking, right?! Oh, Switzerland, how we will miss you until next time. Before I go, I’ll share with you just a couple Swiss tidbits that I find particularly interesting.

  • Nearly 75% of the residents have a college degree or higher. More than 86% have at least a high school diploma.
  • The unemployment rate is less than 3%. Pontresina and St. Moritz both have less than 1.5% unemployed.
  • Switzerland has some of the most liberal gun laws in the world (second only to the US and Yemen), but still has among the lowest gun-related deaths among ALL countries.
  • It has four national languages- German, Italian, French and Rhaeto-Romantsch (we heard all four just in our 4 days).
  • Switzerland is the only country in the world to have enough nuclear fallout shelters to accommodate its entire population.
  • The country is behind most of the Western World when it comes to sexual equality. More than 40% of women do not work, the pay gap between men and women is 17%, and women didn’t earn full voting rights until 1990.
  • The Swiss Army Knife. All parts are made in Switzerland. Except the corkscrew. That part’s made in Japan 😉
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Looking out the window on the train ride home. That’s a little white church on the right. Standing all by its lonesome in the prettiest field.

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Happy New Years to each and every one of you! See you next year! ❤

3 Responses to “Swiss Holiday Getaway”

  1. Lori January 4, 2016 at 11:41 PM #

    Love all the pictures you post

  2. Marilyn Deatley January 1, 2016 at 1:35 AM #

    I always enjoy your writing and all the pictures. It looked beautiful.

  3. Georgia January 1, 2016 at 12:10 AM #

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures of your trip. So many great memories.

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