Valderi, Valdera…

9 Sep

Pizol walk 3 by you.

When we told people we were visiting Switzerland in summer, they invariably asked if we would be hiking in the mountains, and the answer was yes.  Well, it would be rude not to when the mountains are this spectacular.

The entire country is criss crossed with a network of flat wide paths, which are suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.  If you are a Swiss family, you don’t go for a climbing frame Weisshorn 1walk in the park on a Sunday, you push your pram up the mountain for a coffee in a mountain hut and a playground with a stunning view.  Every path is marked with yellow signposts giving an approximate timing for walking to the end point of the walk and the next hut, serving refreshments.  Our children went at their usual slow pace so we learnt to treble the estimated time but even so, it was a little galling to be passed by a lady on a zimmer frame, going uphill.

Pizol sign post by you.

These footpaths can be taken from town to town, or even better, you can get a cable car up many of the mountains and start your walk half way up or at the very top.  In summer a few of the chair lifts are working as well, and Steve was keen to go on one.  I however, was terrified at the thought of trying to hold onto a wriggly toddler without heavy duty restraints, so chair lifts will have to wait for another visit.Inner Arosa view

The mountain huts were conveniently positioned along routes so that you were never too far from a coffee fortified with ‘Alm-Uncle liquor’ or a refreshing glass of the Swiss lactose drink, Rivella.  You could usually also get soup and bread or sandwiches, even in the tiniest places and huge meals of rosti with cheese, ham and egg in the larger places.  We tended to take plenty of food with us, for fear of being more than five minutes from sustenance with small children.  Our walks were fuelled by sandwiches made with soft, white weggli rolls (like Heidi stole for the grandmother), dried meat (a Graubunden speciality), cheese, paprika crisps, chocolate with whole hazelnuts, dried apple (another local speciality) and delicious Swiss berries.   We were very lucky on some walks to find wild blueberries, raspberries and alpine strawberries.

Dickon filling up water pistolAs well as buying drinks in the huts, we were able to fill our water bottles at the many streams and water fountains all over the hills.  They were also great for a cooling paddle on hot days and refilling the boys water pistols, which were a brilliant cheap buy on our first day and were played with every single day of the holiday.

Ned on climbing wallA great way of motivating the children were the playgrounds half way up the mountains.  They had fantastic long slides built into the slope of the hill, high climbing walls and zip slides.  There was nothing like the promise of a zip slide in a few hundred metres to get them to speed up.  Except the promise of sweets of course. 

Walking in Switzerland is truly a joy.  We may not have done anything very challenging, but the fabulous views, icy cold streams, multitude of beautiful flowers, fragrance of resinous pine trees and warm, clean air combine to make you feel like you are in a Radox advert.  In a good way.  Did I mention the views?

Pizol cross by you.

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6 Responses to “Valderi, Valdera…”

  1. laura Driver 09/09/2009 at 9:45 pm #

    We could do with those yellow signs, playgrounds and food huts.

    I’d move there for the views alone!

  2. suburbanmummyuk 22/12/2009 at 7:20 pm #

    I came here from BMB and wow. We’re planning on moving to Zurich within the next two years. Well we might it’s all speculative!

    Stunning. It’s energising just from the photo’s how organised are they there, playgrounds on the mountains honestly. Lets hope it stays as it is!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 22/12/2009 at 10:27 pm #

      If I had the chance to live on Switzerland, I’d go like a shot! It’s a fantastic place and great for children.

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