Camping – Swiss style!

Before we settle into a restricted schedule of school & work we set out to explore in the mountains.
First stop was in Rapperswill. Another Swiss town that should be more well known, it is so beautiful. Consistent with our visit there nearly 9 years ago, it was rainy and grey so we didn’t get to see the exquisite mountain backdrop. I keep having to remind myself that we have a year here and so any place explored once can easily be returned to. 

A beautiful communal garden
overlooking town
Rainy but pretty
because bikes…
cool door at the castle

While there we had a moment where the innate difference between boys & girls was evident. We came upon a rose garden. (Cue Lynn Anderson’s “I beg your pardon…” circa 1970) Helena and I could have wandered through it forever. The roses were exquisite. So many different colours and stages of bloom. I have to admit, I think this was the first time that I truly appreciated the beauty of a rose. D on the otherhand was nonplussed. Could not figure out why we enjoyed it. “What’s the big deal?” “Why do girls care about love so much?” “What’s so important about love?” He absolutely would not believe me that one day he would be inspired to buy roses for a girl, all in the name of love. 

so pretty
we could have stayed for hours
the rain made them extra pretty
Fun chairs, fancy hotel
the flowers amaze me
Who ever invented this paddle boat is a genius!
D is 10!!
Helena the snake charmer
we have an identical image from nearly 9 years ago.

Once past Rappersvill we were in full Alp country. But, imagining someone traveling to Alberta and doing the Banff-Jasper parkway without seeing the mountains, that was our drive. Grey & rainy but still gorgeous. 

Camping in a Westfalia makes your cool quotient go way up

We spent 2 nights camping high up in the Alp’s courtesy of Monika & Heinz’s Westfalia. And so, as one does when in a Westfalia, we went off the grid. 
The scenery enroute to the campgrounds was unreal. Tiny Swiss villages tucked into impossible heights. The sound of cow bells everywhere. 

this poor teenager was not winning tge battle with his cows.
we saw cows wearing bells this enormous. Why!?!?
Manolo planning a return visit
Laax – one of many ski towns we visited. all connected by ski run
Super funky ski town
D trying the slackline

The twisty turny roads were a test to all forms of gravol. If you are prone to motion sickness like poor Helena, no gravol will be strong enough on these roads. One hairpin turn after the next, poor thing was green most of the time. So hard to enjoy the view when all your energy in focused on not puking. 

Poor Helena, we had to keep pulling over to let her breathe

Because we could, we made a quick stop to explore the 160kms that comprise Lichtenstein. Still ruled by a Prince, the castle up on the hill was impressive. Fun to imagine it still inhabited the ruling Prince.

the castle. which room belings to the Prince?
Neat cemetary at another big cathedral. surprisingly recent dates
Gorgeous church in Lichtenstein

Our first foray into the world of Swiss camping was in a place called Trin. Weird and strangely good. Such a bizarre combination of people and places. From diy style permanent homes to tents and hobbit holes. You could pick any place to park – a free for all so to speak. So odd. Very communal feel which was the good part, sort of. 5 sinks as nice as in any kitchen with soap & scrub brushes to do all your dishes and yet only 1 stove with a single functioning burner for cooking. I made use of the sinks but opted out of the line up for cooking.

The bathrooms were as nice as any spa so that was definitely good. The huge bar (complete with hooka-pipe selection) and games room were perfect on this rainy night giving mom peace and quiet in the camper. 

Overall it was a really bizarre experience made even weirder by the random pan flute music coming from the neighbour tent. This is the land of garden gnomes, quite possibly their birthplace…

Weird hobbit-hole style office & main building
it felt like a scene out of a starwars movie
brought me back to my middle east days
our camper parked next to the giant-family tent. Our kids kept remarking “we should show the Aldreds!”
quite sure this was someone’s home

The next day’s exploration brought us to Disentis, known for an incredible monastery, built in the 700s! Home to 30 monks currently, the youngest of whom was born in 1986. 

Pretty town in the valley
Pretty, windy roads
Astounding…dating back to 700!

Thank goodness for the peaceful serenity of monks because as a family we were lacking serenity. It was here, in the rain, that we discovered that the brand new Helly Hansen rain coat, worn by D for the very first time the day before, had been left at the campground. Insert grumpy mom here. 
Does it mean that I’m materialistic by how grumpy that made me? I think Manolo thinks so. I am just continually aggravated by our inability (and by our I mean their) to look after and keep track of our things. It goes back to the disposable-ness of our belongings. Add to this that I told D to bring a hoodie knowing the mountains would be cool. He did not which meant that he was equipped with nothing more than a t-shirt in the cold and rain for the rest of our trip. I believe firmly in the law of “suffer the consequences” but in this case the consequences were suffered by all of us and made worse by my grumpy attitude. 
I was not willing to give this jacket up which meant the itinerary for the rest of our trip would change. We had to abandon the scenic route we had in mind and set a new plan which involved back tracking to the campground. 
Manolo, with the help of his itinerary planning partner Google, found us a new scenic route which would allow us to return to the hobbit hole campground the next day. It also restored our faith in Swiss campgrounds as this next one had far less of a carny-pan flute vibe. (Still a high occurrence of garden gnomes though) It was also the first place where we saw the sun again. Freezing cold in the rain as we made supper & went to bed, we awoke to sun & blue skies. Just in time to head home. (Successful jacket recovery on the way!)

yay, finally some sun.
There ARE mountains up there!
At least we had good coffee the whole way.
Stopped to see Chur on the way back

All in all the trip was good because of the exploration of some of the most beautiful landscape in the world. But we definitely don’t have our camping groove here yet. The poor weather, the curvy roads making everyone’s tummies queasy and perhaps the anticipation of the start of school all played a role I’m sure. We were not at our best. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves another time. 
At least our day wasn’t as bad as his…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Patti says:

    You had me at the roses! But the hobbit hole campground was a definite close second. Such beauty and sights – a real treat for a poor ole ranch wife believing she can grow roses in our southeastern Alberta desert! Although I guess I’m stretching the truth a bit – its been much more monsoon like this summer; still my roses are nowhere close to these beauties.


    1. Come visit and I’ll take you to best rose garden ever!



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