Hike in Swiss Alps brings back childhood memories
One of my favourite books to read as a child was Heidi. The story of the little girl from Switzerland who went to live with her Grandfather up in the mountains.
It all sounded so delightful; her bed of hay in the loft of the chalet, the sweet little goats with bells around their necks, carpets of flowers in the meadows, the delicious goat’s cheese and milk and of course the mighty alps themselves.
My recent experience of Switzerland wasn’t far off what I just described. I spent one blissful afternoon walking up in the stunning Swiss Alps which were covered with beautiful wildflowers.
I even managed to bump into a herd of “Heidi’s” goats complete with little Swiss bells hanging around their necks!
It was the end of July and my sister Hannah and I were in Switzerland for a few days holiday.
Somehow we had hit the weather jackpot. The “not a cloud in the sky”, “perfect temperature” kind of jackpot. Exactly what is needed for a holiday spent in a valley surrounded by snow capped mountains!
A few years earlier, my brother David and I had visited the Lautabruan Valley in Switzerland and I was more than happy to come back with Hannah because I consider it to be one of the most beautiful places on earth! (If you ever travel to Switzerland, it is a must visit.)
Inside the valley there is a lovely little village made up of wooden swiss chalets with brightly painted window shutters and window boxes filled with colourful summer flowers.
There is also a train station and two cable cars at either end of the valley. Dotted through the surrounding mountains were roaring waterfalls.
The second afternoon we were there, we took the cable car up the mountain. The plan was to walk along the Mountain View Trail and then get the cable car back down to the valley at the other end.
We both miss hiking in New Zealand, so we were excited to be out in the fresh air with a backpack on our backs.
The track started with a yellow signpost pointing us in the direction that we wanted to go. It led uphill into a forest. The green ferns growing along the track made us imagine that we had been transported back to a hike in New Zealand.
Soon the trail led out of the woods and onto the green hillside. This is where we got our first breathtaking view of the snow capped mountains.
The combination of the blue sky, white mountains, green hillside and purple flowers that covered it - well I don’t think I need to convince you that it was simply one of the most stunning views I had ever seen!
The rest of the afternoon was spent blissfully traipsing along the trail, stopping regularly to take photos and also for our lunch of Swiss bread, cheese and salami.
At one point I heard the tinkling of bells and spotted a herd of goats down the hillside. Just in case I wasn’t feeling like I was in the story of Heidi enough! Of course I had to clamber down for a photo.
New Zealand is known for its great hikes and beautiful scenery but I think I can safely say that on this particular day, Switzerland was winning.
Page 30: High up in the Swiss Alps. Above left: One of “Heidi’s “goats. Above right: The signpost says it all. Below left: Wild flowers in spring. Below right: Sitting amongst the wild flowers.
Above right: Stopping on a mountain path to take in the view. Below right: A picturesque mountain chalet.
Above: A mountain daisy. Below: The side of a Swiss chalet.