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Published: February 5th 2015
View from our apartment. Photo courtesy of Craig
Translated to English this title means, 'And there is also something going on in Switzerland'. It was many, many, many years ago that I heard this sentence uttered on our car radio as we were stuck in a traffic jam to end all traffic jams. We were on our way down to our ski-resort near the Italian border. The DJ had just reported on the chaos taking place on the German roads, as half of Europe was descending on the Alps, when he spoke those unforgettable words. The 'something' which was going on in Switzerland at that moment was a queue of non-moving vehicles from the Swiss-German border all the way down to Italy.
My mum, I recall, was not amused. Especially not with three noisy kids in the back seat making her life even more miserable than it already was at that particular moment. We did eventually make it though, and had a lovely week of skiing. Together with millions of others. Perhaps it was not so great. School holiday skiing always meant more lift queuing than actual skiing.
This year there is also something going on in Switzerland. But of a different kind. You see the Swiss
Group shot, excluding me, the photographer
central bank decided to decouple the Swiss franc from the euro, which caused the Swiss franc to rise 30 percent. I wish they would have decided this after I went to visit my sister in Switzerland for a week of skiing. It would have saved me 70 euros on my ski-pass. Than again, I am sure most Swiss businesses would have liked it if they hadn't decoupled at all. Swiss export has plummeted, the tourist sector is badly hurt. I think they lost more than 70 euros.
Enough about Swiss economic policy. This blog is after all about my trip. A ski-trip. But a very special one. It was the first time in 12 years that I hit the slopes. Not quite true, but close enough. I skied one day last year, and a couple of years ago I skied a few hours in Dubai, of all places, but that doesn't really count. This was the real thing, a week worth of powdery fun. But it was not just special because of that. As much as I love skiing and have missed it, the company was more important. Skiing with my sister and her family and with my mum
My mum on a very hard slope down from Mont Fort... She made it down in one piece
was great. Staying in the same resort we used to stay at during my entire youth was amazing. Back in Siviez, in the same apartment building we used to stay in as kids. Not the same apartment maybe, but near enough and it was a beautiful apartment.
My sister had arranged it perfectly. Good food, good wine, good snow, reasonable weather. The last two are probably out of my sisters hand, so I can only compliment her on the good food and wine, and making everything so easy for me.
And so I found myself on familiar slopes, and discovered I was still able to ski without breaking my neck. Things had changed only slightly, a few lifts had been revamped, and there were a lot more ski-cannons. I guess the weather is changing even up here and to guarantee snow these days they need artificial snow. Not this time of year though. It was cold and it snowed. Cold it was every day, snow came at the end of the week. Lots of it. We still managed to ski despite the snow fall and the disruption the the lifts this caused.
If I was a bit
View from the top of Mont Fort at 3330 meters... Quite nice
uncertain about being back on the slopes, my mother was more so. It was just as long ago for her, and well, she has two fake hips and is, every so slowly, getting older. She doesn't like to be reminded of this. But she is 74 now, pushing on 75, and in the past that was old, and certainly way past skiing age. Luckily times have changed and my mum still ski's like a 40 year old. A careful 40 year old, but a 40 year old nevertheless. She did alright, a few cracked ribs, a broken arm, nothing that can't be fixed. Just kidding... She is fine.
The kids are getting better at this whole winter sport stuff as well, and soon will be humiliating me and my puny skills. As for my sister, she goes down the slope as elegantly as ever, closely followed by her husband who is shadowing her every move in order to become as good as she is.
At the end of the week it was time to find out what had happened to our car. There was a heap of snow where it used to be and I suspected that somewhere
Just need to get down after that...
under that snow our car was to be found. Just as we had left it. I turned out to be right. After shoveling away 2 meters of snow with my hands I discovered it snugly waiting for us. With our car uncovered we could drive back. Not straight home. With my sister living 'just down the road' so to speak, we don't need to make the journey home in one day. First a few days of relaxing at my sister, with more snow and more good food and more wine. Life is good. If only the car wouldn't keep disappearing under a layer of snow!
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