So a week ago we landed at Zurich airport and then crossed over from Switzerland into the Principality of Liechtenstein, all sixty odd square miles of it. We pass through the capital Vaduz and up a big hill (mountain) to Malbun, their only ski resort.
We check in and walk around the village, which takes about two minutes. As we dawdle a bit to extend it, a chap drags us into his restaurant and tells us what we're having for dinner. Which is ok, expensive but ok. I think everything going to be expensive.
Then we head back to our hotel where there is a rock concert tonight. The band are a covers band but also very good. We treat ourselves to a bottle of wine. How much did you say? As I said, I think everything going to be expensive.
In the morning, I put on a calf support, compression socks and then ski socks over the top. Amazingly I can still get my boot on over all that. Then we ski down to the lift, which goes ok. So I buy a lift pass to go back up. They only have four lifts here but that’s probably enough for someone with a dodgy leg.
Skiing with a torn calf is ok actually. It hurts but not that much. Probably because all the strapping has cut the blood supply off. I have one fall but it was actually easier to fall than to jolt the leg trying to stay upright. At which point we decide it’s time for a medicinal lunch. A beer and some soup later, we head out onto the slopes again and ski until lifts close.
In the evening we think we've ordered the same wine but almost end up with something 50% more expensive than the one we couldn’t afford but had anyway last night.
On Sunday, having skied out Liechtenstein in a day we move on to Switzerland and the ski area around Lenzerheide. L feels ill after king prawns for breakfast but whose fault is that? King prawns for breakfast? I ask you. Good job the breakfast was all inclusive.
It’s a misty day today and as we go up for the final run of the day, up the longest drag lift in history which disappears into the fog and keeps going and going. At the top you can barely see your boots and we inch our way down following the piste markers. Survival skiing. Finally we’re below the cloud level and can finally see to ski the rest of the way. After all that we’re still sadly not the last car in car park. Which is always a cherished honour.
We check-in to our new hotel in a place called Churwalden. Our room is massive and includes bunks for the kids and a sofa for the dogs. Only problem is we’ve put them all in kennels, well, Sheffield and Leamington Spa as well as kennels.
The hotel restaurant and bar is closed tonight, so we got out and paint the village a light shade of red. We have fruit tea in the room, which is a mixed blessing and a collect of plug sockets that all seem to be different. I end up having a shave lying on the floor using the only socket any of my collection of adapters will fit.
As a cost saving measure we load up on breakfast and skip lunch, so that we can afford the wine at night. Although the lunches do tend to start getting more alcoholic. Its Amoretto coffees on Monday but we're on to a small bottle of wine for two by Wednesday. At the end of the day ski patrol follow us down, probably not impressed by our antics in the mist yesterday or perhaps just coming to breathalyse us.
The leg is holding up very well, although I have gone through an entire packet of both Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. The alcohol has been a big help too, as well the TLC and attention of a good woman, shorn of morning dog walking duties and evening spreadsheet ticking.
On day one in Switzerland, we had to have our photos taken for our ski passes but these don’t actually appear on the passes. I assumed they’d instead been stored on a computer somewhere and I had a vague idea that our photos would be appearing on the lift operative’s screen each time we scanned in to go up a lift. This theory proved correct but it takes them until day three to tell us we have our passes mixed up and we have been cross dressing all week.
On Tuesday we cross to the dark side, the other side of the valley, which harbours the icy, evil blacks and the Silvano Beltrametti world cup piste.
Which means it’s a two Jagertee sort of day plus a beer and for L a Mohl, which we think is cider. Later I keep an eye on the text updates as Derby beat Forest with a 95th minute goal whilst on TV in all the local bars its Bayern Munich v FC Basle. Which Basle lose 7-0 despite winning the first leg. The locals won't like that much. Basle were awful though. Where did they get that goalie?
Did I mention that it’s not cheap here? And I’m on first name terms with the cash machine. Swiss cash machines only seem to dispense notes in ones. Whatever you want to withdraw, you get a solitary note to that value. You ask for 100SF and you get a nice crisp 100SF note, that’s about £70 by the way. Imagine the furore in the UK if notes of that value were routinely floating around. No one blinks an eye here of course but then 100SF is simply the price of a moderately decadent night out for two.
One thing we notice on the slopes, is that it’s no longer just kids who wear ski helmets. Almost everyone has one here, which is as odd as it’s worrying. Persoanlly I think it’s more of a fashion thing but L gets in on the act, buys one and joins the in crowd.
Two nights before we’re due to come home we trip over a restaurant attached to our hotel that we didn't know was there. How convenient.
Far too soon, or perhaps not, as I think we’re both knackered it’s time to fly back and see how the dog’s holiday went.
(Friday 16th March)