We made it. We are safely settled into our room in Hotel Annahof, in Saas Fee.
DS didn’t kick me in the head and wake me up until 8am this morning, so I officially got a lie in, although I didn’t score any brownie points with DH when I sent DS across the corridor to knock on the others’ door. I thought I’d heard DD3 screaming but no, they were all still asleep!
We got on the road around 10 am and stopped for brunch at our favourite motorway stop on the north-east side of the lake, just out of Lausanne. There was new play equipment installed since last year but only three swings, which always causes problems when you have 4 children.
From there it was only a short 2 hour trip along a valley, across various rivers, then finally we started the slow ascent up the Saas Valley. It’s always a thrilling drive with rocky cliffs on one side and sheer drops on the other. And there is always the added excitement of not knowing when a post bus is going to come rocketing around the corner towards you.
Saas Fee is a carless village, so you have to park your vehicle in the underground car park, unload all your stuff, and call an electric taxi to take you to your hotel. These ‘electros’ speed silently through the streets trying to run down any tourist unlucky enough to stray into their path. We learnt early on during our first year that you need to look out for them at all times, as they have right of way.
We have been to Annahof twice before, and were thrilled to see a familiar face from our first time here. It always helps if someone is familiar with the kids. We also have the same room, which is a good size for the 6 of us and has this view from our bed.
At high tea, we got to met the childcare staff and some of the other parents. The summer staff at Esprit are always young, English-speaking, qualified and enthusiastic and are largely the reason we come back again and again. We had some worries about DS going into the ‘minis’ group and wondered if he’d be better off in nursery, but there is no nursery group this week so that solves that. The kids scoffed bangers and mash, something they won’t touch at home, and had sticky toffee pudding and ice cream for dessert.
Then it was back to the room to shower the children and get them into some fresh clothes, because it’s not yet bedtime for them. Instead they go to a wonderful thing called ‘Cocoa Club’ which runs from 7:30-10pm, while the adults scoff dinner. If any of the kids are too tired to stay up, then they go to sleep in the room, or watch DVDs while there is a staff member in the corridor by the stairs, listening for any noise. It’s perfectly safe as there are only Esprit guests staying in the hotel, and they disable the lifts when baby listening begins.
The main downside is there is no wifi in the bedrooms, so I have to nip downstairs and post this from the bar. I better get a move on, it’s almost dinner time. And it’s fish and chips and apple crumble on the menu. Yum.