How blessed we are! This is the fourth glorious day in a row. I know it is getting boring, but we had more spectacular sunrise views, breathtaking panoramas and clear blue skies with clean and crispy air today. This is a winter sport vacation as it is supposed to be. There is snow, cold air to keep it there and yet it is sunny everyday. When you sit in the lee, sheltered from the wind, the sun cuddles you and warms you with its glowing beauty. I am so happy with this weather. It is my wife's first time in the mountains. Before we went, I said to her not to get her hopes up, but if all things come together, it will be perfect and you will know what I have been so enthusiastic and all-lyric about all these years. Well, she does enjoy the view but otherwise, couldn't care less. My wife is a summer person.
She says, she should've been born in a tropical climate. She hates the cold, the thin air that dries out your (her) skin and she can't stand snow or ice or any other cold and slippery thing or surface. Nevertheless, she had to come, I said. There is only one way to judge a situation, and that is by experiencing it yourself. Oh well, next trip will be to a warmer climate ;) In all honesty I have to say, she would love to go back. She really enjoyed the chalet, its well-equipped kitchen (she's a cook, you know) and the view.
Belgian waffle on a roof
With such an awesome day, it would be a waste not to go out. Jacomien wanted to stay indoors and my mother isn't all that quick on her feet anymore, so Eelco and I went for a walk just the two of us again.
Eelco wanted to go up the mountain to look at the slopes, though not by foot. He isn't in the best of conditions and nor am I to be honest. There is an altitude difference of more than 600 meters between the village and the skiing area, and I mean that in a vertical way! Did you know that four of the top five highest mountains in Europe are Swiss? Climbing up is a breathtaking experience, and this time I am not referring to the spectacular views. Luckily, there is a cable cart.
Slopes and mountains
In my best 'hand gesturing Switzer-French', I bought tickets for hikers. I am a phonetic speaker; I reproduce sounds fairly well. The woman behind the desk apparently thought I was a native speaker, and blurred out sentences faster than a fighter plane can fly.
After her waterfall ran out of water and the words dried out, I looked sheepishly at her, put a twinkle in my eyes and said: "you have to excuse me, for your French is a lot better than mine, and I didn't understand a thing you were saying", (mind you, IN FRENCH!). She gave me the cutest little smile and then, in a pace a snail would think is slow, told me in five sentences what it was I needed to know. "Aah, merci bien", I uttered when she explained she just got me two return tickets. She assured us, we didn't have to pay for all the lifts that we cannot use without skies on our feet. Excellent! That was very good of her to do. Hey, forgive me, for I am Dutch!
Quite steep, although it doesn't show it.
Anyhow, we went up.
It is a pity it's so hard to capture height (or depth for that matter) with a camera in such a way it does justice to the steepness. Nevertheless, I took some photos from inside the cable cart. Once up the mountain, Eelco and I strolled for a bit, both taking pics of whatever was in front of our lenses. After an hour or two, my stomach proclaimed in a rather loud manner, it needed food. At the top of the cable cart ride, a restaurant is conveniently situated, so we went there. What can I tell you about this place? Nothing and plenty, would be a good answer. Here's why. We secured a table, with the permission of a waiter by the way, and then we sat and waited. A few minutes passed by, and then another few, and then another ten. Ah, I caught the attention of a waitress. "Are you having a meal?", she asked. 'Well, not at the moment dear, but yes, that's why we came here' were words that popped in my mind.
It is quite a long way up
Instead, I said, "Yes, please", and off she went. She returned after a minute or two with some placemats and cutlery. "Very well, my friend here would like an apple juice and I would like a cappuccino", I hurried my order to her. "I don't take orders, you have to ask my colleague for that", was what she replied. Oh, OK, and then we waited some more. We could see the waiters frantically running up and down the terrace, so we had good hopes. I am a decent fella' so I don't start yelling easily. Nevertheless, after I had caught the attention of three different waiters, being put off a couple times with a "right with you sir" and waiting for forty-five minutes, I could take no more! Eelco was telling me to stay calm, relax, we were on vacation after all, but I couldn't. Half my life, I've worked in the hotel, restaurant and catering business.
Besides the heavenly panorama, you can also see the terrace of the restaurant where we ended up not having lunch.
Rarely have I seen such a disorganized bunch. There was no communication, no structured procedures, no nothing. The place seemed extremely busy and buzzing, but that was due to the queue with people waiting for a table and waiters who were running around like headless chicken. After exactly fifty-five minutes, I stood up and walked away. A group of four dashed to our table to tale our place, poor souls.
Traffic jam at the ski-piste? what's next?
We decided on having lunch downhill, where we guessed it would be less crowded and better organized. Besides, Eelco needed to go to an Apple store in Aigle because his lap-top charger failed to do its job. We had a nice ride down the mountain. It was very peculiar to see the difference between the snow-covered peaks and the green and brown fields below. Near the town, I spotted some para-gliders. I took a photo just as one disappeared behind some branches. Let's see if you can spot it as well. By the way, we ended our day as we began it. Remember how blessed we were? Not only was this the fourth glorious morning in a row, it also was another perfect evening.