Today has been the first full day of childcare on holiday.
The smaller two are ‘Minis’ and they played tennis this morning, then went on a walk around the village. The older ‘Maxis’ took the cable cars and reticulated railway right to the top of the mountain, where people ski in the summer. They visited the ice caves, then had a hot chocolate in the revolving restaurant perched on a snowy ledge.
I am hoping they will sleep well because both DH and I will both need an uninterrupted night tonight.
DH had put his name down to go on an escorted adventure trail today. Unfortunately it had rained overnight. It was considered that the metal steps and rope bridges that were included in the ‘adventure’ would be too slippery for people to use safely, so the walk was off.
This theoretically left DH with a spare day, but a number of the guests wanted to go off along the Saas Fee Trail in a group and he wanted to join in. I’d rather walk by myself or with my family than a group of strangers, so I decided I would spend the day by myself.
I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but after a look at the weather forecast (Rain) and a look out the window (Light Rain), I decided to take a look at the path up to a small peak called Hannig 550m above the village. I didn’t want to commit to walking right to the top, but there was a small restaurant about 2/3rds of the way up and I thought I might walk up to it for a start.
It was a nice walk in the light rain, and I reached the Alpenblitz with only a slight issue with my walking poles. I’d left my old ones at home so had to buy new ones in Saas Fee. I have an unpredictable knee so really need poles when I’m walking up or down hills for any length of time.
I couldn’t get my new poles to the length I needed them, and spent most of the first half of the walk fiddling with them and getting frustrated when they collapsed on me. Finally, I sorted something out so I could at least use the blasted things and so felt the need to stop at the restaurant for a celebratory coffee.
As I drank, I considered my options. Go back down the way I’d come or continue up to the restaurant at the top, where I could catch the bubble lift down to Saas Fee. The sign said it was only 50 minutes to the top and I felt quite capable of that sort of effort, so off I went.
As soon as I left the shelter of the cafe, the promised rain turned up. Being the well prepared hill walker I am, I had my wet weather gear to hand and chucked it on as I slogged up the slope. The clouds closed in and for a while all I could see was the trail, but 20 minutes later they had passed, and as I climbed a style and came around the corner, I could see my ultimate destination looming not too far above me.
The summit seemed quite close but that last 40 minutes were a killer. The combination of altitude (over 2000m) and steep slope made me feel quite ill at one point. I used my frequent stops to take photos of the scenery but during the last 100m I couldn’t have cared less about the panoramic views spread below me.
There was an older couple following me who seemed to be suffering in the same way, and from the snatches of conversation I could hear, I knew they were English, so when I rounded the final bend and saw the restaurant sitting at the same level as me, I waved to them and pointed to it, giving them the thumbs up.
They immediately got up off the ground and dragged themselves up the home stretch, then collapsed on the bench next to me. We chatted a bit and compared notes on all the Swiss, German and French toddlers who had overtaken us on the way up.
So that was my adventure today. A three-hour walk up a big hill in the rain. I know it’s not everyone’s idea of a desirable holiday activity, but I enjoyed pretty much every moment of it.
Apart from the bit where I didn’t know whether to throw up or pass out. And the view was so worth it.