Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day Eight: St. Moritz

The view from our campsite!

It was a cold night. Very cold. I was very thankful that we had bought the boys nice warm sleeping bags rated down to zero degrees. Mine and Chris's sleeping bags were not that warm. We were going to be camping in August after all... I forgot about that whole altitude thing. Our camp site was at about 2000m, and our breath was visible in the morning.

A sign of how cold it was is that the boys actually snuggled in their sleeping bags in the morning rather than getting up the moment their eyes opened. Chris shook the tent to get the dew/frost off.

Lucas asked "Who's there?"

Chris growled "A bear!"

Lucas responded "Well, you can't eat me now, I'm reading a story."

With that Lucas continued reading stories to Michael in the tent while Chris was killing himself with laughter outside. It was one of the things that surprised me the most on this trip. Lucas's reading skills really took off and he much preferred reading from our big book of fairy tales all by himself than playing his Leapster video game. Not all the time of course, but still.

After breakfast, we set off in the still slightly burnt brake smelling car. The TomTom had some auto mechanics programmed in so we got directions to the closest one. In St. Moritz. A feeling of trepidation overcame me. You can't trust auto mechanics at the best of times, but now we were going to cold-call a mechanic in the playground of the RICH and famous. After finding the spot...full of Porsches, Ferraris, and Mercedes, it was closed.

We found the information centre in St. Moritz and were told that all mechanics are closed on Saturdays. Sundays are no shopping days in Switzerland. Frequently stores are also closed on Mondays. We decided that we should be fine for the next few days since we would only be driving in the valley, no big mountain passes for us.

After lunch we headed out to Sils i.E. a small town about a 10 minute drive on the other side of St. Moritz. Our Engadin expert, the one who has been vacationing here since she was a baby, told us this was her favourite easy hike. It took us a while to realize where we had to park to get to the beginning of the hike, but once we were on the trail it was pretty smooth sailing, er hiking. The path goes around a sort of peninsula jetting out into the last of the big lakes dotting the Engadin valley. A wooded path, a shining lake, surrounded by mountains, it felt like paradise. The boys were moving painfully slowly and we stopped at every vantage point to take pictures and investigate. During our time in Engadin, Michael became a great fan of "breaking" bugs. Chris figured that since it is so cold at night the insects are really slow. The insects were definitely no match for Michael as he ripped a great many of them apart. Rampant bug killing is normal for boys though...right? Not a sign of some deep-seated sociopath in the making? The 30 minute hike took us a good 3 hours, but we enjoyed ourselves.

We treated ourselves to a nice steak BBQ that night, with couscous and salad. The boys had pizza at the canteen again. Our goal was to stay up late and see the stars. This was our first real out of town campsite, and at 2000m, I was hoping for some good star action! After dinner we put on the only sweaters we had brought with us and went exploring the camp. It was huge, with a little pond where we could see fish jumping, there were some glacier fed streams, and there looked to be some sort of rock quarry. There were no assigned camp sites, campers were told to find a nice spot and pitch their tents, or park their camping cars as the case may be. It felt almost like going through the real estate section or open houses to see what other people's houses look like. I was busy peering at all the different tent models, the gear left out on display, the various camping set-ups. Finally dusk arrived, and the cold. We stretched out the bed time routine as much as we could and finally we saw our first star. We tried desperately to ignore the cold and the boys started to see some of the heavenly bodies. But then even they were asking to crawl into their sleeping bags.

That night was even colder than the first night. Chris was convinced that the boys were going to die of exposure, so we split up again. One child, and one parent nervously checking every so often that the child was still warm and snug in their sleeping bag. And it was another shivery night for the parents.


Betsy said...

Jealous, jealous, jealous. Sigh.

lindsay weiss said...

thanks for visiting my blog over at!

i have just had a delightful 20 minutes taking your "virtual" trip through Switzerland (where I have never been). the pics, the scenery, the stories...i loved it!