Hello friends! We’re just back from a week in beautiful Switzerland! We hiked, we skied, we stuffed ourselves with fondue and chocolate crepes… and oh, the adventures we lived to tell about!
We began in Weggis, a little town on Lake Lucerne. Our b&b had amazing views from every window in the house, and was close to a hiking trail. I went out to explore, and after half an hour’s easy climb was rewarded with this gorgeous view as the trail opened up to reveal the lake below. The air took on a magical quality that made it hard to tell where the lake ended and the mountains began.
We ate pizza midday and called it lunch, but it turned out to be dinner as well, because we all went home and fell asleep at around 5pm.
The next morning I walked in the other direction, towards a little town called Vitznau. The views were equally beautiful , though this time I stayed close to the shoreline. This was Palm Sunday and the church bells rang out joyfully throughout my walk.
As we were pulling away from our B&B, I called out to the kids for everyone to check their stuff… phones, computers, bags, wallets… um, wallets?? Where was my wallet?! It was NOT in my purse! Panic time, because I hadn’t seen it since I bought a coffee at the airport in Zurich, more than 24 hours ago! I felt sick. This is very unlike me, “checker” that I am. But when I traced my mind back, I saw my purple wallet, lying on the candies in front of the cashier at kKiosk. HOW COULD I???
Mark immediately called the bank, and found that the credit cards hadn’t been used. Phew! Nor had the debit cards. Double phew! He called the head office of kKiosk to inquire about Lost & Found. He emailed Lost & Found. He called the branch where I left my wallet. And all this time, he said not one word about how I should be more careful with my stuff. He didn’t even sigh or huff or purse his lips. He is quite a guy. No luck with anything, but at least our accounts hadn’t been cleaned out. We decided not to cancel anything just yet, and hope for the best. I did say a fervent prayer during this time…
Our next stop was Verbier, in the south of Switzerland. We remarked as we drove how the signs suddenly changed from German to French. Good thing because we speak at least a little bit of French! I was too distracted by my lost wallet to really appreciate the drive, but once we were in Verbier, I just decided to let it go and have faith that all would be well.
We grabbed burgers at Le Shed after an unsuccessful attempt to rent our ski gear (we arrived too late after all that messing around due to my lost wallet…) and it did wonders to take the edge off my nerves. My burger was topped with French goat cheese and some kind of “special sauce” that dripped down my fingers in the best kind of way. The fries were crisp, the wine was cold, and we all went back to our condo feeling hopeful.
But the morning found Theda with a fever and upset stomach, so she took the day off from skiing to recover. And after collecting our ski gear, Sara & I went back to keep her company and make her some chicken soup. We felt lucky to have a beautiful and comfy condo to stay in, and to be able to cook whatever we wanted. As the soup simmered on the stove, Sara & I shared an omelet & toast for lunch. The produce was fresh & delicious!
Day 2: yay, all of us skied!!! It was a beautiful, sparkly day with clear skies and moderate temperatures. And there was no one else on the slopes… just look at that!!! With no lift lines, we got a lot of skiing in by lunchtime.
By mid-afternoon, Sara and Mark decided they heard crepes & hot chocolate calling their names, so they packed it in. Theda, Tommy & I were going to close out the day with a few more runs.
But… on our first ride up from mid-mountain, Theda’s skis fell out of the gondola. We didn’t know it until we got off and there was just an empty space where Theda’s skis used to be. Fortunately the guy riding behind us saw them fall and marked the pylon nearest to where they fell out. Tommy & I decided to ski down and retrieve the skis, then bring them back up to Theda. But as I tried to click into my skis, something was wrong. They didn’t seem to fit. The right binding was way too big all of a sudden. And then I took a good look… they weren’t my skis!!! The guy in the gondola cabin with us had grabbed my skis and somehow skied off with them, leaving me his, which didn’t fit.
So there we were, at the top of the mountain, 3 skiers with only 1 pair of skis among us. I realised just how little French I speak when I tried to communicate with the attendant at the top of the lift, and didn’t understand a thing she said to help us. So we decided to just walk down… what else could we do? It was getting late in the day & I didn’t want to miss our cut-off time at the mid-mountain valet. So off we went, Tommy skiing ahead & Theda and I sliding/walking/clumping down in our boots, with me carrying those stupid skis.
We made it down to the pylon where Theda’s skis had fallen, and where Tommy had seen them when he made a reconnaissance run down. I parked my (that guy’s) skis in the snow at the base of the soft snow along with Tommy’s, and we began to hike up to the pylon. You never realise how far it is, when you’re either on the lift, or on the slopes from the groomed run to the lift pylons. But we truly appreciated the distance, the slope, and the snow depth as we sank thigh-deep in powder with each step up. (I’m pretty sure I’m counting this for my high-intensity cardio workout of the week!)
After what seemed like hours of hard climbing (ok, it was probably 20 minutes), we made it! But… NO SKIS! We have no idea what happened between the time Tommy saw them from the lift, and when we climbed up to the pylon, but the skis were nowhere to be found. We tramped around a bit more, just to make sure… but nope, they had disappeared for sure.
Imagine explaining this to the rental guy! It took awhile to establish that we had 2 stories to tell: 1) Theda’s skis fell out of the gondola and we couldn’t retrieve them, and 2) my skis were taken by someone else, who left me with his skis (also rentals.) I’m not sure our guy quite believed me when I told him we weren’t normally such a problem! But seriously, he was very nice about it, and called my international number 15 minutes later to inform me that my skis had been retrieved (maybe when the other guy tried to turn them in?) Phew!
It was almost comical, when we really had time to think about it walking back home, and the three of us laughed until we cried. When we arrived back at the condo, we all made ourselves cozy with drinks and snacks, and watched the snowflakes falling outside.
The following day was blessedly uneventful! We took advantage of the fresh snow and empty slopes, and skied ourselves silly with nothing to stop us. That evening, we had dinner at the local fondue house, Le Caveau, which did have a cozy, cave-like feeling inside.
Three orders of cheese fondue later, we were grateful for the walk back to our condo. Fondue kind of catches up to you… you don’t realise how full you are until you get up from the table!
And then it was back to Zurich for one more night before heading home. On the way to our b&b we stopped by the airport to pick up my wallet, as the Lost & Found people said it was being held at the kiosk where I left it. I held my breath as I walked in, not daring to believe it could still be here after nearly a week. I asked the cashier (pretty much in sign language because I cannot speak German at all) if my wallet was there, and her eyes lit up as she understood. As she went to the back of the store to retrieve it, I felt my emotions welling up inside me. Then, as she handed it to me, I just overflowed. All the goodness, all the kindness, all the honesty, that went into getting my wallet returned to me… it was just overwhelming, and I flooded with tears.
So you could look at this vacation as rife with disaster, considering everything that happened: lost wallet, lost skis, stolen skis, illness, etc. But I look at it as blessed beyond measure: with kindness, with goodness, with healing, with restoration, with laughter, and with love.
It’s been one of my favourite vacations ever.