An Igloo Adventure

When I heard that we were going to get to have lunch in an igloo for our trip to Switzerland, I was pretty excited. That’s like a bucket list thing to do, right?? The husband was more excited about the fact that it was in Davos, which is apparently where all the movers and shakers of the world get together once a year, and going snowboarding, but not me.

Years ago, when Seal proposed to Heidi Klum in an igloo, I thought how cool is that?! Ever since then, I have had it in my mind that visiting an igloo would be this life-changing, amazing experience. Basically I could not wait.

The igloo village was in the Alps, at the top near the ski lodge. I had visions of walking up to the igloo village and strolling around with Esmé in hand. They were promptly shattered almost as soon as we got to the ski lodge, and saw what we were dealing with.

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In the photo above, (which I got from their website) you see what appear to be flat-ish snow hills in the middle of the picture? That’s the igloo village. And those tiny dots that are next to them? Those are people. Skiers to be exact. Skiers who are skiing past on the ski slope to be super exact.

My sister-in-law, Rene, and I stood in the exact same spot as this photographer, atop this hill, wondering how the hell we were supposed to get down there without actually skiing. We had a toddler. We could not ski. Therefore it seemed impossible that we were going to get to check this thing off my bucket list.

We decided to call it off after someone skied over to us, and pointed out that standing on a ski slope without skis is very dangerous, and we should move. So we trudged back up the small bit of hill we had hiked down, back into the lodge to come up with a plan.

First we tried calling the the restaurant in the igloo, where nobody answered. We had no choice but to call our better halves, who were out skiing and snowboarding, to let them know that we couldn’t go. They were just finishing their run anyway, so were headed back to meet up with us.

While we stood in the hall waiting for them, an employee (who spoke excellent English!!) happened to walk past. He took Rene outside and showed her exactly where we needed to walk to get to the igloo village. By the time she returned, husband and his sister were back, so we were back in the game, and ready for our adventure!

Essentially we had to start up at the top of the hill where you see in the picture, but we went in a wider, more roundabout way. (Note: it was not necessarily an easier route, it was just people-without-skiis/snowboard friendly.) We had to walk on part of the ski run, twice actually, and there was a monster hill we had to walk down to get there, but we made it!

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Was it every bit as amazing as I thought it would be?

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Heck yes!! Esmé, as you can see, was not the biggest fan, but I was blown away. The walls literally sparkled. Each room had it’s own artwork carved into the walls. In the picture above, we were sitting on one of the beds that they have for guests who stay overnight.

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The room numbers for the bedrooms were carved ice, lit up at the back so it glowed bright blue.

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As for lunch? You just can’t go wrong with a melted pot of cheese, bread, and wine. It was absolute heaven. At least until little E decided she had had enough. We trudged back across the ski slope to the monster hill, screaming toddler in tow, and began the hectic hike back up to the lodge.

About halfway up the hill, the Swiss Aunties and I noticed that it got very quiet all of a sudden. We turned around to see that Papa had shifted his hold on the little monkey and she had passed out in his arms. Ha! So from then on Emile and I took turns carrying her, like you would carry a baby (only she’s not a baby, she’s a 27 lb toddler)…

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allllllll the way back up to the lodge. You can see me in the photo above, literally grinning and bearing it, as my arms were about to fall off. I don’t know how Heidi and Seal got to/ from their igloo, but I feel like it was probably a lot less schlepping.

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It’s funny because all of us on the way to the igloo and on the way back from the igloo were saying, ‘No way. This is not worth the effort.’ But now looking back on it? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The almost getting run over by skiers and snowboarders, the hiking up and down steep, slippery, snowy slopes whilst holding a toddler, the carrying a passed out munchky until I collapsed on the cafeteria bench, it was all worth the adventure that we got to have together as a family.

 

Switzerland

IMG_3628If Switzerland were a person, upon introduction, she would appear to be perfect in every way. Her hair would be styled tastefully with not a strand out of place. No super-long, boho, beachy, messy waves, just hair that is smooth, shiny, clean, and perfectly cut. Makeup would be applied only to enhance her natural beauty. Her clothes and accessories would exude wealth, but not in the Beverly Hills way of being covered head-to-toe in logos. It would be in the impeccable tailoring and quality fabrics that say: I wear 1500 dollar suits to work every day. She would be confident, educated, well-spoken, reserved, and punctual. She would always follow the rules. For leisure she would enjoy swimming, biking, and running during the warmer months, and of course would also be an excellent skier during the winter months.

In short you would discover that you were wrong about your initial assessment. She doesn’t appear to be perfect, she is perfect. I realize that my analogy may be as bad as Julia Roberts’ analogy of creme brulee and jello in ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding,’ but that is seriously what popped into my head as soon as we saw the city.

IMG_3630For starters, the water there is crystal clear. Even near the docks and bridges, where, at least in the States, it’s a bit muddy or murkier, you can see straight to the bottom. Most of the lakes and rivers, as you can see in the pictures above are also a bright turquoise color. Whenever I saw them in pictures, I always thought that they must have adjusted the colors to make it appear brighter, but the water is truly a vibrant shade of turquoise. It’s absolutely amazing!

FullSizeRender (3)The houses and cafes that line the cobbled streets of Old Town Zurich are all painted in soft pastel colors, with colorful flags that hang cheerfully near the windows.

IMG_3627The streets are spotless. Seriously! There was not a single piece of garbage, or cigarette butt to be found. There are also many, many clocks. Clocks on old buildings (seen above, below, and there were two in the picture that was second from the top), clocks on all the churches…they are everywhere, and they are all beautiful.

IMG_3622As beautiful and pristine a city as Zurich was, I have to say that I still prefer the streets of the Gothic quarter in Barcelona, or the tiny winding streets of Sitges. There are brighter colors, and they just seem to have so much more character than the perfect, polished streets of Zurich.

Having said that, I would happily live in the mountains of Switzerland over any city in the world, any day. I have found, having lived in Barcelona for almost two months now, that I am not a city person. There are a million and one things to do and see, and it is very convenient having all these shops and grocery stores within walking distance, but I miss my open spaces.

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Talk about open spaces! How green is that valley?! That was taken on our way to see Berggasthaus Aescher…

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which as you can see is this wonderful restaurant that is built into the side of a mountain. You can actually hike up there from the bottom, but we have a toddler. She ain’t got time for that. She has places to see, people to meet,

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ok make that animals to meet. She and Mrs. Dairy Cow had themselves a stare down. Obviously Mrs. Dairy Cow won. And yes I’m aware that our child looks like an eccentric refugee, but it was very windy, and very cold, so we made do with what we had.

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We also got to see the Swiss Alps while we were there! We took a tram with our Swiss Aunties and their little doggie up to ‘The Top of Europe,’ where you are able to see the three peaks: Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger.

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It was spectacular. Really, no words, or pictures can do it justice. You just have to see it in person to understand the beauty of this place, and how huge these mountains are. It is blissfully quiet. The air is cool and clean, and you hear the jingling of cow bells, bouncing off of hills from cows that graze all over the valley.

IMG_3636Unfortunately I didn’t get a good close up of the charming houses that are nestled down in the valley, but they are like little gingerbread houses. They are little wooden houses that have flowers spilling out of multiple containers by windows and doors. Some of the houses even had lace curtains that framed all the windows. I bet in the wintertime they look just like a dream.

IMG_3602While my favorite part might have been the mountains and crystal clear lakes. Esmé’s favorite part was spending time with ‘Chuckle,’ her Aunties’ dog. They held hands on the tram ride back down the mountains…

IMG_3554 they took naps together in the car after long days exploring multiple countries…

IMG_3556 and every morning we woke up to the sounds of ‘ah! ah! ah! ah!’ (which is Esmé speak for what a doggie says) because she had found the dog, and was barking at her and waving to her.

Switzerland was such a gorgeous place to see, but for me the best part was being able to see it with family. I think that’s what I will treasure the most when we look back on this trip…coming home after long days packed with activities, to good food, and even better company.