Last weekend, we actually split up to experience some of our bucket list items remaining.
Gabe skied with Finnish friend A at Les Contamines, France for the day. With my feet still not up to par for skiing, I opted for a scenic train to Rochers-de-Naye.
The guys enjoyed the day at Les Contamines, with sunny skies and great slopes.
I also enjoyed my day on the train at at Rochers-de-Naye. One of the things that I love about living here is how much people take advantage of beautiful days. I talked about this mentality in my “Profiter” post, but here are just a few examples of what I saw at the main station on the way out to my day trip:
The reason I selected Rochers-de-Naye is because of its 2000m position at the far end of Lake Geneva. I heard the views were magnificent and you could see almost the entire lake from the summit. Having confirmed sunny skies, I set off on the two hour journey.
I quickly learned that sunny skies at Rochers-de-Naye and sunny skies over Lake Geneva were two different things:
Nonetheless, I thought the ambience was pretty neat with the mysterious cover. Despite my ill preparations of not wearing snow shoes (oops), I had fun seeing the mountains.
I didn’t happen to notice anything peculiar about the above scene. However, when I was showing my French teacher, she commented….”ah, Mount Cervin”. If you look at the pointed mountain in the distance of the photo, that is the infamous Matterhorn. Wish the view was this clear when we were in Zermatt!
Also of note, the summit hosts 7 Mongolian yourts, which each sleep 8 people. The ski slopes are only steps from the little huts, so you can easily ski from your doorstep in the winter, or hike in the summer.
After about 2 hours, I got a little break in the clouds to envision what the view would look like on a clear day.
We are both grateful for the beautiful weekend to experience some of our final must-do’s!
The Adventures of Miss Widget and Her People: A New Year, Another Mountain, And A Gnome
Schwingen in Switzerland: It Wasn’t Premeditated, Our Hike Up Rochers-de-Naye
The Swiss Watch Blog: Gratitude Friday – Ski School
While I didn’t ski, didn’t want to deprive our readers of the skiing experience in Portes du Soleil, so I have
harassed asked our fellow holiday-goers to help add some flavor with their photos & stories.
Our Hotel Tremplin provided two lifts with direct access to Morzine / Les Gets. These two villages are a part of an overall area is called Portes du Soleil which includes 12 resorts with 8 in France and 4 in Switzerland. There are over 209 lifts in Portes du Soleil, allowing complete exploration of this region of 650km of slopes.
Having a central hotel was nice so everyone could break and re-group. Plus, it was nice for them not to have to walk far to hop on a lift or rent/return skis.
There was a hotel above ours, at the top of the Pleney lift. I sat there on the terrace one day soaking in the sun, as the lift didn’t require you to be a skier to take it because of the hotel guests also needing access.
The positive to this hotel is that you could really ski directly into it. However, the cable car stopped at a certain time which would limit your Morzine nightlife access.
The area at Pleney was also where the ski school was headquartered. Out of the five skiers in our group, four ended up taking lessons of differing levels to improve their skills. This is a really good practice for skiers of all levels, to brush up and learn more. By taking them early in the vacation, they could apply the learning.
Morzine offers lessons in English, either private or shared. Everyone found them helpful, indicating about 2-3 things that they learned that really helped their technique the rest of the week.
The group preferred exploring the top of the mountain, where they said it was less crowded and the views were magnificent. Later in the week when there was rain in the village, it became more and more important to ski the top where the altitude resulted in snow vs. rain.
Each day the group came back exhausted but happy. They were very content with the ski area and had a wonderful time.
We spent Christmas in Morzine, France, just a short hour’s drive from Geneva. We were fortunate that some of Gabe’s colleagues and partners/spouses were also interested in spending a joyeux Noël skiing, so worked together to select a place and it ended up being the French Alps.
We couldn’t find a chalet for the group on short notice, but the hotel, Le Tremplin, ended up being a fabulous location:
The hotel also had several restaurants attached and a cool patio. While service wasn’t hot (they were still ironing out some beginning-of-the-season kinks), the heaters at least were.
Our room had a village view so it was neat to wake up to the sun rising and setting on the town:
The skiers had a good time, enjoying a nice variety of slopes accessible from the town. While I wasn’t skiing due to an injury, I still was able to get access on foot to witness some of the beauty.
One of the members of our group even organized a gift exchange so all shared in that on Christmas Eve night. It was fun to open something!
We had phenomenal food, in the Haute Savoie style. We enjoyed the hearty meals, although I wish I could have been skiing to burn them off!!
We also had a nice traditional meal for Christmas Eve at a local restaurant, La Grange. It was nice to have the treat of turkey which is uncommon here.
While we missed being with our family this Christmas, we are grateful for all God’s blessings, especially this special experience of seeing this beautiful area of the world.
We used our last Honeyfund this weekend to go to Cinque Terre in Italy. Every time we take a road trip, we are in awe of the beauty of Central Europe. I wanted to share a pictorial recap of the drive.
Immediately after leaving Geneva, we drove through the French Alps. Here, there were a few signs of Fall but we don’t see it as strongly as we do in The States.
We entered the Mt. Blanc tunnel and emerged in Italy, surrounded by Italian Alps in the Aosta Valley.
We drove through tunnels in 3 countries: Switzerland, France and Italy. Italy had the most tunnels, as we traveled on the Ligurian coast which is covered in mountainous terrain. In total, we completed 119 tunnels during the course of the 6 hour drive.
The exit our GPS instructed us to get off on was closed, so we had to take the next one. We ended up on curvy Ligurian roads in the Cinque Terre forest. The location was so remote, we had to do a little road clean up to get there.
While a six hour road trip can be a little tiring, we are really happy to have had such a neat journey.
Bernese Oberland is a region surrounding Switzerland’s capital, Bern. It is a large region, and in my personal opinion, contains some of Switzerland’s most beautiful landscapes. Although, I’ll admit, its hard to find parts of Switzerland that aren’t breathtaking.
As we were driving, we pulled over to find this valley.
It was a great warm-up view for us as we continued on through Interlacken, and into the Lauterbrunnen Valley to park our car. From there, we took a little train up to Wengen, where we planned to spend the night at 1400m.
Wengen, like other car-free towns we stayed in…. Saas-Fee, Zermatt, and Murren, was peaceful without the roar of motors. A ten minute walk had us at Hotel Edelweiss. The little chalet was family run and we couldn’t have felt more welcome. A very pleasant gentleman personally walked us to our rooms to make sure all was okay.
After checking in, Mom ran into a lady whose job it was to prepare fresh bouquets for the hotel. She had gathered Edelweiss as well as some florals from her personal garden to prepare the tables for the evening dinner service and the next day’s breakfast. It’s all about the personal touch, isn’t it?
While relaxing on our terrace, Gabe & I did some quick research into what to do in Wengen. We found a few spots that were well recommended and then headed to meet Twin & Solid.
The first recommendation, Hotel Caprice, didn’t disappoint. We enjoyed beers and wine with this view in the background:
After a few rounds, we headed to Hotel Bernerhof for some traditional Bernese fare. Gabe and I ordered raclette so that they could get a taste. Twin ordered veal sausage & rosti, another famous mountain dish. Solid went with spaghetti. The waiter was super hard working guy, running the entire place single-handedly. We really enjoyed our meal there.
We are convinced that the folks in Wengen are some of the nicest we’ve met.
Who couldn’t enjoy life with a view like this?
The Swiss Watch Blog: Gratitude Friday: Travel (our adventures in Murren with T)
The Swiss Watch Blog: Rostigraben
The Swiss Watch Blog: Famous Swiss Foods – Cheese