Hike in Swiss Alps brings back child­hood mem­o­ries

Walking New Zealand - - My Favourite Walk -

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.

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