The annual skiing trip starts as it always does with dropping the dogs off at kennels. It’s a glorious morning and if the weather stays like that it will make it more pleasant for them. Unfortunately the weather has no plans to stay like that.
Our flight is a 5pm one from Heathrow but the journey down goes well and once parked, Swiss Air shows us how smooth check in can go. They don’t ask us to print our own boarding passes, they don’t even require tickets as our passports are enough and don’t blink with the extra luggage we have due to our skiing equipment.
Once landed in Zurich, a few minor issues arise. The car hire company yet again refuses to give us the size of car we’ve booked and we end up ‘upgraded’ to a Renault Scenic. Totally impractical for skiing. Then we fail to find the Holiday Inn we’ve booked into. The hotel’s own directions are hopeless and I can’t get any internet on my phone. Eventually, after a lot of driving around in circles, we stumble across it. We get a room on the top floor for 'reward club' members and settle in for a few Dunkels.
Day two we head off to Engleberg where we will be skiing for the first few days. It doesn’t look very snowy and it takes us a while to find where the slopes are. Once up on the mountain, the skiing is good, fairly testing and in sunny weather. L finds it even more so, as she seems to have picked up a touch of flu from somewhere.
Finding the hotel in Engleberg is also testing. It’s well signposted, so directions are not a problem. It’s just the long steep, narrow track that we have to follow out of Engleberg to find it. The hotel is very nice. It even serves the Swiss equivalent of Lemsip in the bar to those feeling a bit under the weather and for who even the most expensive of Swiss wines tastes like washing up water. Which saves us some money I suppose. L can put it to what she terms 'potato-free ski wear' for next year, a more flattering ski suit I think she means.
The weather forecast is looking horrible for the rest of the week but we get away with it the next day and it stays fine for most of the day although some of the higher runs are closed after overnight snow.
We move on the next day, heading to Lauterbrunnen which is in a beautiful location wedged between rock faces in the Jungfrau valley. The hotel is in an excellent position too within spitting distance of both the mountain railway up to Wengen and the cable car up to Murren.
It’s drizzling with rain and by now we’re both dripping with germs, so we take a day off skiing and join the Japanese tourists in taking the train up the mountain.
Our joint health and the weather stay unsettled but we manage to ski each day. It either snows or rains depending on the altitude, mostly the former. One day we ski up near Murren, although the top where the Schilthorn restaurant, made famous by James Bond, remains stubbornly shut.
The other two days we ski at Wengen, skiing one day down to Grindelwald, although that involves a bit of a walking due to the thin snow cover.
Then it's time to take our germs home with us. Swiss Air aren’t quite as easy going as regards check in on the way back, the car is waiting for us with a flat tyre and the car park disagrees about the registration number of our car, so won’t let us out but none of this spoils things too much. Nor does the match commentary on Derby’s 2-2 draw with Watford that accompanies our trip home.
(Friday 3rd April)
(Friday 3rd April)