Prominade in Locarno

_palm trees mountains and forget-me-nots

 We visited locarno Switzerland last week for a day of wonder and peace!

boats montage

prominade near marina with kinder

views of city montage

Locarno is located just to our south about an hour and a half away, just on the other side of the Gottard Pass. The Gottard can be a very problematic traffic risk, particularly this time of year when sun seekers are heading south at the slightest encouragement from weather apps. This was our excuse for packing a picnic, loading up the scooters for a day out in the sunshine.

how europeans spend weekends

how Europeans spend weekends

 Ticino is the Italian Canton in Switzerland so it feels like you have driven into another country but in reality it still benefits from Swiss organization, and Swiss standards of cleanliness, but unfortunately it adheres to swiss pricing as well! A pizza will run you at least 10-20 Euros and is intended to be eaten by one person.

playground montage

nautically themed playground complete with a trampoline and a ship.

In Locarno and along many of the lake front villages of Maggiore there is a long promenade usually lined with beautifully landscape park space, sometimes with playgrounds, swimming areas and almost always scattered with cafe’s. It is a perfect weekend escape to just let the children play while relaxing in the sunshine.

montage flowers locarno

2 cute weasles

Just to the east of Lake Maggiorre is Lake Lugano (maybe 1/2 hour distance) and again to the south and crossing the border to Italy (another 1/2 hour) is the more famous Lake Como (home to a Mr. George Clooney). If you like to visit castles Bellinzona has 3 and is situated perfectly between the two lakes (Maggiore and Lugano). Ascona is another village (smaller) worth a mention and is not far from Locarno. Their Lido (beach space) is quite nice and totally free of charge. From many of these villages you will also find places to rent small boats for an afternoon on the lake.

bike event

unicyle

check out the unicycle!

Unknowingly we arrived in town on the same day as the bike fest. Locarno blocks off the streets and people come for miles around to bicycle, roller blade and scooter their way through the streets. I want to make sure we bring the bikes next year (first weekend in April). It is a common sight to see Europeans enjoying their parkspaces on a sunny weekend; they lye in the sun reading books and snacking while the children play along side. We like to add in a couple of scoops of gelato for a perfect ending to the afternoon and as a reward for a long walk along the beautiful lake side promenade.

prominaden 3

prominade again

gilato montage

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the road in Amsterdam~Friday round up

Amsterdam

We are on the road to Amsterdam today, and I wanted to tell you hello! Europe is blooming and the sun is shinning and all ist gut!  This trip has long been on my to-do-list and finally the time has aligned perfectly with the weather and here we are. When I was a child my father would tell us little about his childhood (maybe he has the same memory I do?) and very little about living in Europe. He can recite a few german phrases and would tell us about the vacation his family took to The Netherlands. How post world war II Europe was struggling to re-build and the same luxurious accommodations were not available to them as are to us these days.  His family drove to Holland and could not find room in a hotel. A kind Inn keeper took them home and welcomed them with generous hospitality for the remainder of there short visit. The friendliness and kindness of Netherlanders is well known and we are happy to be doing a house swap this weekend with a nice family from North Amsterdam.

My father remembers visiting an island where people still wore wooden shoes and with reverence (not often a quality I used when talking about my father) remembers the fields, the vast fields of colorful tulips. So I send you a quick Happy Easter as I set out to relive his memories and with camera in hand I will try and photograph as much as I can to share with you (and him). In the mean time here are a few interesting links this week- and a video that has been making Facebook rounds but is sooo darn good I couldn’t help but post! 

 

Glamping in Malaysia for $61 a night including a “steamboat” dinner- anyone?

Have you ever been lucky enough to find a stylist that totally gets you? Or I should say… gets my hair’s desire to look cool? I miss you James Quinton!

I also  miss Costco! Here’s some big money saving tips -pricing de-coded!

While we are in Amsterdam we plan to visit church services for Easter Sunday, if you need a sweet reminder about why we celebrate Easter click here.

And here’s a funny but true video you will surely love.

How to make an Authentic Swiss Fondue

Last month our very authentic Swiss friends invited us for a very authentic Swiss fondue. This is not the “uncultured box brand” this is the real thing. I am sharing the recipe because I want to clarify any misnomers that Monterrey jack and cheddar are acceptable substitutions. My Swiss fondue miester (fondue boss) says that there can be no deviation in the recipe and that it is critical to use Swiss wine and Swiss cheese.

  1. Sparticus was assigned to cut the bread. The Fondue Miester says this is the most important job and that it is wise to always ask the guest to do it- here’s why. The cheese is the expensive part of the meal and if you cut the bread in big chunks then less cheese is used to coat it- there fore the host will look like a miser- or a cheap skate. If the bread is cut too small than the host looks like a show off. You see  there is a fine line to walk.

dave cuts bread

IMG_9310Our fondue Miester is pictures on the left. He put me to work grating cheese, measuring wine and listening carefully to the origins of the finest fondue products.

IMG_9320First combined the wine, cornstarch and spices and bring the pot to the stove for the melting. Once the cheese has been added the next step is easy but important. This assignement is likend to making rissoto- you must stir and stir with our distraction. There should be no scorched fondue! IMG_9325

IMG_9328

IMG_9332I stired and stired until it was creamy and then removed from heat and added the baking soda and stirred some more. We then poured in an ounce of kirsch cherry liquior. The liquor is supposed to make it more digestable and the alcohol is supposed to burn off. I have tried a few recipes and have choked on the taste of alcohol that ruins the fondue for me. A real fondue is not supposed to taste like that!!!

IMG_9337Our Fondue Mister says that if you can find vintage fondue plates like his, it will make your fondue taste better- I say any excuse to rummage through Brocantes and antique markets sounds like a good one to me!

vintage fondue plateson left:  Jean De la Fontaine – It cannot translate litteraly but the equivalent expression in English is “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. In this case it says something like “There is nothing better in the world than a Fondue and a glass of wine.”

on right: “Nothing is better than a good fondue and a good glass of wine”. For the Swiss this bit of wisdom must rank equal to Jean De la Fontaine’s.

 

On a side note- unlike some of our favorite American cheese, Swiss cheeses do not seem to “melt” into a sauce by simply adding heat or milk. If you have ever tried you will have a big hard ball of white “cheese” sitting in a slightly orange pool of oil. It’s strange. The addition of an acidic liquid (wine) breaks the cheese down. I have seen recipes that allow for substitutions of apple cider- I have used a clarified cider from here that was not sweet- it seemed to work but it would not have been acceptable to our fondue mister!

Fondue recipe:
You will need 200 grams of cheese per person. This recipe is made to serve four.
800 grams of cheese -
1/3 Gruyere
1/3 Vacherin
1/3 Appenzeller
*if you live in Switzerland you can get this mix at migro pre-grated and premeasured!
 
  • 2 pieces of garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups (3.2 dl)  dry white wine (the Fondue Mister says Chasselas is the best but if you can only get french chardonay than it will be sufficient- He also says the wine is more important than the cheese, and that american white wine is to aeromatic).
  • a little nutmeg
  • pepper
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • baking soda ( a messerspsitze- which means the tip of a knife- good luck , it should be about a 1/4 teaspoon to the best of my estimations)
  • 1 oz. Kirsch
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
Mix the wine, lemon juice and crushed garlic with a pinch (to taste) of grated nutmeg, pepper and a 4 teaspoons of cornstarch. Stir these together and heat them until cornstarch is disolved on the stove but do not let it come to a boil. Add cheese to mixture and stir, stir, stir until smooth, finally just before serving add the knife tip of baking soda- this will cause it to foam ever-so-slightly as you stir it together. Adding the baking soda makes the mixture lighter. Finally add in the Kirsch, stir well and start dipping.

Mountain Playgrounds perfect for some fun and relaxation.

Near our house there are a few great mountain playgrounds with nearby restaurants and senic hiking paths. All are accessible by public transportation, however if you prefer to take the car you can park at the lifts. A few on this list can even be reached with-out the gondola, just park your car nearby the playground and walk.

Our top 2 favorites are with in about 10-15 minutes from our flat in Ennetburgen.

Stockhutte- -is open from 8:30 to 12:00 / 13.00 – 17.30 clock / descent from Stockhütte 12.50 clock
Weekend-continuous operation.

buy a Gondola ticket:

  • adults are 18 chf- with 1/2 tax 9chf
  • kids are 9 chf -with Junior Card Free

We love stockhutte for many reasons, it’s close to our house, we enjoy renting the trotti-bikes, they have great walking paths, the kids can spend hours on the playground, and they have a large enclosed rabbit pin where you can go inside and play with the bunnies.

playground montage

TIP: If you aren’t from around here you and the kids might love trying some of our favorite Swiss soda’s. Try a Rivella- Blue or Red are the kids favorites (you don’t want to know what its made from), Beckenried’s Orangemost (orange soda made in a nearby village), and Apelshorle is my favorite because it’s made with real apple juice and is not terribly sweet. 

Wirzweli-is open from 7:40 until 6:20 and cable cars run every 20 minutes.

Buy a Gondola ticket:

  • adults are 18 chf- with 1/2 tax 9chf
  • kids are 9 chf -with Junior Card Free

playground

 Wirzweli has a fun playground with a large “tree” house, a pine cone slide contraption, teeter-toters and slides and all the normal trappings of a good playground, I wrote about it here. There are large grilling areas if you prefer to picnic and a restaurant if not.

  TIP: The ice-cream sundee’s at the restaurant are delicious and the kids are probably satisfied playing while you watch them from the deck of the restaurant. Lucky for me, my kids usually prefer a pop cycle which is far less expensive. 

*also note -May 23  the lift and Playground open for the season (prior to that you can take a bus up to the restaurant and walking trails) There are usually plenty of parking places near the gondola and if you take the train there is a shuttle from the station to the gondola, or enjoy a short walk.

 

Three more favorites are with in about 15-25 minutes from our flat in Ennetburgen.

Seelisburg- is open from 8:30 until 6:30 during warm weather.

Seelisburg can be reached by car, or bus from the stans train station. It is a senic drive. Lake Seelisberg is between the mountains and is filled with stunning turquoise water. There is a playground, BBQ place, Kiosk, Beach Volleyball and toilets. You can rent deck chairs and rowboats. There is also a Camping site which you can use if you decide to stay:). I think there is a small entrance fee of about 4.50 vhf adults and a few franks for kids, they also have a family deal that with 2 paying adults and kids are free.

335474-svetik

DSC04658

Bruni- is open from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm may 24- Oct. 19, and from Oct 19-Nov 23 8:20am -5:00 pm- cable cars run every 20 minutes. Park in the large lot in Engleburg next to the Gondola, or take the train to Engleburg and walk or bus to gondola.

Buy a Gondola ticket:

  • adults are 18 chf- with 1/2 tax 9chf
  • kids are 9 chf -with Junior Card Free

trampolin at bruni

climbing wall at bruni

There are lots of kid oriented activities at Bruni other than just the playground. I wrote about it here. My family loves the summer time toboggan run that reaches speeds of 40 km per hour and is 660 meters long. Click on the link for pricing and details.

Spielplatz Grotzenwäldli- is open from 7:40 until 6:20 . The snow is usually melted by May and thru October.

Getting there:
Spielplatz Grotzenwäldli
Horbisstrasse
6390 Engelberg
Tel. 041 637 15 58
There is some parking near by, but limited and be prepared to walk.  If you decide to take the senic train ride to Engleburg you can ask their about public transportation options, or enjoy the easy walk up to the park, roads are not usually high traffic and on a nice day the mountain views are stunning.

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coco on bridge

The Park is one of the more unique and delightful in the area, I wrote more about it here. It’s kiddie heaven! Lots of room for playing, with a little lake to navigate rafts on (rafts are provided-just borrow from the dock- no fee), suspension bridges to cross, towers to climb… There are grill pits for those who want to still the hunger they’ve worked up being outdoors. This playground has a lot to offer, and the kids are sure to love it!

Tip : Pack a swimsuit in the summer necessarily (or change clothes ) a , because only about 50 cm deep lake will your kids guaranteed to dropped fountains entice .

* also note: The Robinson playground Grotzenwäldli is privately maintained and exemplary maintained. The necessary expenditure is financed by donations. It is therefore requested to make a small contribution in the respective point for the barbecue wood used .

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TIP: Its also worth noting the the senic train that runs between Luzern and Engelburg offers a kids “scavenger hunt” promotion from June- October. You simply have to pick up a form (available at the train station, before boarding the train) and fill in the answers along the way. You only have to have a handful of answers correct to redeem the prize and it applies to trips taken originating in Luzerne, Hergiswill, Stans, Dallenwill and other stops along the way. The prize last year was a treasure chest filled with lots of goodies from stickers to chocolates!

Wirzwelli ~Rotobahn, Playground, Ice-Cream, Oh MY!

wirzweli-zauberland-g-1

Wierszweli is a little area above the nearby village of Dallenwil.

hang glider 2

swiss farmer views

It’s specially targeted to families with winter-time activities like snowshoeing and lots of easy kid friendly ski areas. In the summer it’s playground, rotobahn (also called toboggan) and ice cream make it a virtual kid’s paradise. You can reach Wertzwelli by gondola except for the few weeks of early spring when all the ski resorts are under-construction in preparation for summer time activities. During that time Wirzwelli is still open for late spring snowshoeing and early spring hiking depending on how warm the weather has been and can be reached by a small bus that travels up the mountain. For details on how to get there by public transport check with the SBB. Or taking a car to the lift is also very easy and it usually has ample parking. Rates for the Gondola are:

  • Adults roundtrip is 21.60 chf (with halbtax  10.80)
  • Childern over 6 are 10.80 vhf (with Junior card free)

Gondola travels up daily – every 20 minutes at the following times:
07:40 -12:00 & 13:00 -18:20

wirzweli lift

When visiting Wirtzwelli our favorite thing is the playground and Rotobahn. Since the Rotobahn is kind of pricey and my kids would be happy to ride on it all day long, I have to buy a multi trip ticket for each of them and when its all used up we spend the rest of the time watching the bunny rabbits or playing at the “spielplatz”.

DSCF1523

amanda and gabriel going up

 

rodobahn mom and soph2__There is a large “tree” house, a pine cone slide contraption, teeter-totters and slides and all the normal trappings of a good playground. There are large grilling areas if you prefer to picnic and a restaurant if you don’t want to worry about preparing and schleping the food. All swiss restaurants are both good and expensive so be prepared even if it masquerades as a casual little hole-in-the -wall, the prices are sure to be steep- thus the prevalence of the grills and picnic area everywhere in Switzerland. I can vouch for the ice cream sundaes they are a nice treat and big enough to share, but when you are finished you might just wish you had eaten it all by yourself. 

rotobahn madman

rotobahn madman

playground

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Trotti Bikes at Stockhutte

great pose

When we have a few hours for a fun adventure near our house we enjoy renting trotti bikes at Stockhutte. Stockhutte is a gondola that departs from Emmeten in Canton Nidwalden. You can drive there in about 15 minutes from our house and park in the small lot near the lift, or you can take the excellent public transportation from the post stop in Ennetburgen right up to the town of Emmeten. From there you must buy at Gondola ticket:

  • adults are 18 chf- with 1/2 tax 9chf
  • kids are 9 chf -with Junior Card Free

Take the lift up to the top and rent the trotti bikes at the station for 10chf each. I recommend sharing a bike with kids. In the photos below you can see that it’s a big board and there is plenty of room, plus the hand brakes can wear out little fingers and you certainly don’t want them to be with-out breaks! The road down to Emmeten is an easy downhill slope ( about 5 K long?) and you will be using breaks to slow down the whole time, especially to enjoy the amazing views! Axel is 9, he can ride alone (see photos) but he actually prefers to ride with me. I would say kids 12 and up can easily handle a trotti bike-bike board of their own.

axel in action

seivers trotti bikes 2_1

We like to take friends here because it’s a great activity for all ages, it’s not too expensive (by swiss standards) and it can take as little as a few hours (if your in a hurry) or you can pack a picnic (or eat at the restaurant on top of the mountain- its yummy) add in a hike or just let the kids play at the fantastic playground.

me and axel

The first time we did the trotti bikes was mid August and believe it or not- the temperatures were already cooling off. I suggest no matter what time a year, bring a:

  • Coat- with a hood, weather in Nidwalden is famously unpredictable and changes quickly.
  • Sunglasses- even if it’s cloudy, you will want to keep the wind from drying out your eyes and the bugs out too.
  • Gloves- can also be a good idea because your hands get cold- even if it’s warm outside.

 

axel smiling

small trotti bikes edith and ben best

trotti bikes edith and ben

trotti bikesThis is a great spring, summer, fall activity but in the winter the same road is used for the sledding so trotti bikes are unavailable in winter. Also important to note that Klewenalp and Stockhutte lifts close after ski season to prepare for summer. In the early spring it’s not uncommon to still have snow here, even when it seems hot in the valley. We were at Klewenalp last year on fathers day and after the picnic Sparticus and I relaxed in the warm sunshine while the kids played in a patch of snow! Plan for dry clothes and jackets.

  • Klewenalp is closed from March 31-May 28.
  • Stockhutte is close from March 31- May 16.


 

A playground Where Huckleberry Fin Meets King Arthur

spiel platz bridge

There is one very unique playground we love to visit called Spielplatz Grotzenwäldli. It’s design could be described as something like Huckleberry Finn meets king Arthur. It’s a sweet place to spend the day or just a few hours and is sure to inspire lots of imagination.

engleburg mountains

spiel platz sign

spiel platz slide

spiel platz bridge and rafts

huckleberry family

When we were last there I met the little old man who seemed to be the caretaker and he told me that he and his family built the playground many years ago and he still comes everyday to tidy up, check the equipment and lock up the park at night. The love that built this place is obvious from it’s fanciful design to its meticulous upkeep.

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There is a wooden fortress with a rope suspension bridge stretched across a real moat. Of course there are also the normal trapping like swing sets and slides but my kids (AND Husband) seemed to gravitate toward the water. Bring swimsuits and dry clothes because the children are sure to want to get wet either swimming in the shallow pond or when having fun tipping rafts that are casually anchored at the shoreline (no charge) waiting for a new captain.

spiel platz grills

Like all the playground and recreation areas that I have seen-  there are picnic and grill places to eat and the firewood is provided. Because the park is privately funded, there is a donation box to help support its maintenance and to donate toward the firewood you may use.

huckleberry fin AXEL

If you are in the area (Engelberg) , you should definitely make a stop at Spielplatz Grotzenwäldli.

engleburg view2

Spielplatz Grotzenwäldli is open from sometime in the morning until sometime in the evening . The snow is usually melted by May and thru October.

Getting there:
Spielplatz Grotzenwäldli
Horbisstrasse
6390 Engelberg
Tel. 041 637 15 58
There is some parking near by, but limited and be prepared to walk.  If you decide to take the senic train ride to Engleburg you can ask their about public transportation options, or enjoy the easy walk up to the park, roads are not usually high traffic and on a nice day the mountain views are stunning.

Brunni Mountain~ Kid Friendly Family Fun Day

cross mountain copy

I probably mentioned this before but every mountain top in Switzerland has one of these sweet crosses on top. I love to see them because when I am in these majestic locations, I too feel the presents and power of god deeply.

fram up on brunni

Last year during the last days of summer we spent an afternoon in Engelberg at Brunni. Its a beautiful mountain resort that host summer time biking/hiking paths, para-gliding, and a wealth of kids activities like a big playground, summer tobogan and special kids hikes with hidden clues along the way.

theme character for bruni

Can you tell that Axel is a little too old for this “live” kuschel tier (cuddle pet or stuffed animal in english). Globi is an animated swiss blue bird that is the mascot for brunni. He often makes appearances and passes out treats during busy days.

trampolin at bruni

climbing wall at bruni

We started at the playground, hiked for a few hours up to a tiny little restaurant for a treat (their strategic locations are perfectly coordinated with icecream cravings).

beautiful valley

little stone foundation

starting hike

There are many hiking trails in this area, we choose an easy one to do with the kids. You can find out details at the train station or the gondola lift where you buy tickets. Free maps are always available and sometimes even in English. If you need help with trail recommendations be sure to ask the people at the stations before you leave because they always seem to speak english and while I rarely meet someone who does not- it can happen. Better to know where you are going before you get lost in the mountains.

mountains views around bruni

sophia cute

In addition to strategically located restaurants, the benches and hand carved “thrones” are also in just the right spots to enjoy a break and a view!

more views

The views are stunning and the temperatures are cooler making it a perfect summer time excape from the humidity and warm teperatures down in the valley where we live. However warm it might be, I always recommend bringing along light rain-proof jackets and sunscreen. Because the weather is infamously unpredictable here in the mountain areas of Switzerland.

axel examination

A butterfly rode up the mountain on Axel’s hand for about a 1/2 hour. He comes prepared for these encounters with pockets full of tools too assist in examinations. In addition to wildlife encounters he also comes prepared to survive overnight or for weeks if he has too- this vest holds a lot of important stuff in those pockets!  (He misses cub scouts).

axels butterfly

summer flowers

After a long walk the kids were rewarded with toboggan rides before we headed home.

coco on rotobahn

I think this is a great day trip if you are looking for something to do in Engelberg.

****TIP: in case you want to go up the mountains between now and the end of may, Brunni is one of the few gondolas still open.

*****EASTER TIP- They will close for revision to summer during April 22 (just after Easter) until May 23 2014. And if you want to enjoy some kid friendly Easter festivities they have an Easter egg hunt with Globi (the blue bird) and Osterbrunch~ Easter brunch and end of season party including live traditional Swiss music:

April 20 and 21 in the restaurant Ristis.

From 9:30-11:30 there is a big brunch buffet for 44 chf per adult including the gondola ride round trip (discount for halbtax, junior card and children under 6 free).

11:30-  extended  buffet and including dessert for 55 chf per adult including the gondola ride round trip (discount for halbtax, junior card and children under 6 free).

Be sure to double check their web site for details.

 

Spring Brings a Burst of Energy and a Friday Roundup

Travel season

Hello Friends! Spring is here and I feel like I have been injected with a sudden burst of energy,  I have accomplished so much this week! Home exchange deadlines are helping me with some of the to do list:

  • Finally finishing those caned chairs from the chair class last fall (yikes that’s a long time to procrastinate) I will shoot some photos and post them soon.
  • I planted some spring flowers in the flower box even though I won’t be here to water them this summer and they will be dead for sure after 5 weeks of neglect. I have to tell you that flowers on the patio just cheer up the place!
  • Sparticus is in the states next week and it’s the first time anyone in the family has been back- I have a long list of things to pick up from Target! I also went shopping for LOTS of chocolate easter bunnies that will be arriving in mailboxes throughout the country soon (our cousins will be surprised)!
  • Finally I have been swamped with travel plans and details. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to crank up the travel season! After all this is one of the big perks and priorities while we are here in Switzerland. We have trips to Amsterdam, Sharm el Sheikh, Paris, (may squeeze in a girls weekend to portugual), finally spending the summer back in the states! Sorry if this sounds like I am bragging! Much of it is made possible with Home exchange. This is also a great reason to get the spring cleaning and projects checked off  the list.
  • The best news of all this week is that my sister-in-law and a few nieces are visiting in September! I can’t wait to show them around some of our favorite spots, and I can’t wait to share those with you too!

Hope you enjoy this weeks round up!

          1. I really want to look 10 pounds skinnier, does contouring and highlighting work? (By the way where did michelle get that kimono jacket!?!? I liked the whole video but the make up tips come at about 4 minutes in so fast forward if you want.

        1. I tried the Dr. Oz 2 weeks rapid weight loss diet and lost only 5 lbs. I gotta tell you, it was hard core. Week one went great (albeit stressful and difficult to stay away from bread)  and week two was a series of little cheats. I think it is really beneficial for a “kick off  to bikini-season” motivation. I also think that if you suspect you might have food intolerance issue this would be a great way to “cleanse”. But for me it was just a lot of stress and with out the huge losses other people seem to have.
        2. When we shipped over our totes we had 2 left over pallets- wonder If I can get sparticus to make me this for the balcony?
        3. This is the best reason to go to Amsterdam for spring.
        4. One of the places Sparticus has to visit is the bookstore to stock up! We thought the kindle would satisfy our english book delema but I am afraid that there is just no substitute for a good ole’ book! Gabreil has a long list and I found this for him as well. Do you have any favorite new kids books to recommend?
        5. And finally just to make you smile.

Auf wiedersehen. Happy weekend!

 

Snowshoeing by the Light of the Moon

snowshoeingIf a brisk walk in the snow and a belly full of cheese is your idea of romance then this is a perfect date night in Switzerland. And if you are visiting Switzerland with out your sweetheart don’t let that be cause to miss out on one of my all time favorite winter sports!

The good news is that, depending on which mountain you visit, you do not have to be a winter Olympic athlete to enjoy a moonlight snowshoeing.  I did one in Sarnen at Langis-Glaugenberg (Freddy Glanzmann Sport) in January. Langis-Glaugenberg is a popular cross county ski area and a beautiful nature preserve. They host night time cross country skiing as well and the paths are marked with little red candle lit lanterns that add to the ambiance of the evening. You will get your heart rate up but you don’t have to be super fit to do it. We walked for a while, and then stopped for Glühwein, and then on to the restaurant for some Swiss Aelplermagrone.

Back in February, we booked a private walk on Valentines Day at the quaint little hiking area known as Niederrickenbach just above the little village of Dallenwil in Canton Nidwalden. Our private guild took us on a lovely walk straight up the mountain. This time it was a bit more fitness reliant, but we could handle the challenge. It was exciting to push the capability of the snowshoes to the limit. For a novice the snow shoes do not provide automatic reassurance but I will testify that they really work! I tested a steep down hill, icy areas, and even ran a little and it all works. Following the hike we visited the quaint little authentic Swiss restaurant for cheese fondue and apple strudel.

Tip 1: On the night of a full moon book early!

Tip 2: This is tricky… resist the instinct to over dress.

I have been pouring sweat both times I went. Intuitively you might think that preparing to sleep in the outdoors and planning for a blizzard seems like the safe thing to do but when I showed up for the evening last week our guide was only wearing a long sleeved shirt (yes, he was Swiss and maybe immune to cold) no hat – no gloves – no coat. If you are caught in an avalanche you’ll be in trouble but play the odds.

If you look at the full moon schedule you can find a snowshoe tour being promoted on nearly every mountain in the area. Here is a quick list of some of the ones I have *contacted:

Freddy Glanzmann Sport- info@glanzmannsport.ch

Adventure Factory-  info@adventure-factory.ch

Trubsee- Titles- info@titlis-rent.ch

Wirtzweli- mail@wirzweli.ch

klewenalp-  info@klewenalp.ch

niederrickenbackinfo@maria-rickenbach.ch

To book privately you can contact the gemeinde in the area for the mountain you want to hike.

*All the people I communicated with did so in English.

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