Mountain Huts

Switzerland has hundreds of huts that sprinkle the alpine landscape. Perched on mountains, cliffs and in remote valleys, these huts offer a warm place to sleep, a hot meal and sometimes, even a shower. The individuals that run the huts work extremely hard to feed, clean and ensure that visitors have a relaxing stay. Often times, these huts are so remote, that their provisions must be delivered via helicopter. I have had the great honor of watching as a helicopter removes trash, recyclables and drops off a few weeks of fresh food, and items that cannot be hand carried up the mountains.

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This summer and now that our children are older, our hope is to hike to some of the incredible huts in Switzerland. Exposing our children to more huts (they have already visited several) we hope they learn more about Swiss culture, and develop a great appreciation for all the work that is involved in running such remarkable operations.

Do you have a favorite hut or Berghaus in Switzerland? If so, we would love to hear from you!

Happy travels and trails!

Weekend Retreat – Berg Hotel Wildstrubel

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What does a couple do with 36 child – free hours? I’ll tell you exactly what we did – we hiked far, fast and uninterrupted. We hiked into the depths of the unknown simply because we could. We thrust ourselves into the quiet expanse of valleys and we returned to who we were as individuals and what we meant to each other as a couple. We hiked for seven hours straight, sometimes chatting madly, while other times retreating to silence, allowing the landscape to do the talking.

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We sipped wine over a home – cooked, Berghaus meal; getting up frequently to rush outside to observe the sun slip away after making a stellar performance that day. We longed to grasp that warm ball of incredible glow within our hands and thank that remarkable sphere for blessing us with its golden rays of sunlight, making our hike that much more enjoyable, but she continued to fade over the mountain etched horizon.

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We retreated to our cozy room that night, falling into bed exhausted from a day of trekking, exploring and wandering. This weariness that washed over us was unlike the fatigue we experienced at home. This was a fresh, almost forgotten reminder of hard, physical exertion that comes in the adult form.

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The next morning we woke early, neglecting the opportunity to sleep in without the pitter patter of tiny feet shuffling down the hall. We woke to take – in that same stunning light peak back over the horizon with remarkable punctuality. Touching each peak one at a time, the colors danced before us, as we embraced each other in a moment of silence.

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We slowly lingered over breakfast, packed our backpacks and made the journey back down the mountain and back into our normal lives. Tiny arms greeted us upon our return, smiles filled our family room and memories were etched in our minds, as a couple who was able to steal 36 – hours away from the chaos of our normal routine. 36 – hours to be reminded what it means to fall back into one another as a couple and yet, feel overly anxious to return to the children and life that make our existence as parents, individuals and as a couple, ever so meaningful!

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Ruined

A funny thing happens when you love where you live…you compare the world to your new home.

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It is not to say that we have become immune to natural wonders of this world or have become cavalier to all that still awaits. We are still eager to get out there; to see what this world has to offer and appreciate each new experience, but Switzerland, oh damn you Switzerland for all the pleasures you have bestowed upon us.

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Your impressive peaks, translucent streams, endless opportunities to ramble through gorgeous meadows, over mountains, through snow on your meticulously marked trails.  Your cabins that have been built in the most remote of locations and your sunsets that leave tears in our eyes. Yeah your natural beauty has spoiled us and left us to wonder what on earth could ever compare to you?

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Your visions linger and we are left to unwillingly compare you to every new country, each new glacier, mountain and lake we visit. Truth be told, many often pale in comparison.

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For you are chock full of gorgeous mountains, serene landscapes, crystal clear lakes, hidden valleys, remarkable passes, incredible transportation that never leaves us stranded and all so close to home. No need to wait in security lines, no planes to board, we simply walk to the train station to be whisked away to one more of your stunning locations, while our hearts pound with anticipation.

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We ventured into your world unknowing, only to leave changed, humbled and deeply content. We love to call you home, we are eager to send our children into your schools, to sleep under your stars and to dance in your rains.

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Switzerland, you have dished out more than we can possibly chew and you have left us with no other choice but to fall deeply in love with you. We always longed to find that one place in this world that fills us so deeply, so truly that we adore uttering the words “home” whenever we speak your name.

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But before we part ways, please don’t think that Switzerland is the only country in this world that has run its fingers through our hair, tousled us around and left us speechless…there is still one other country that gets us every time we utter its name. Stayed tuned for that game changer.

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Have Kids – Will Travel

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When providing tips and tricks for making the most of holiday travel with children, we have learned a thing or two in our last six years. We have experienced incredible highs and remarkable lows. We have embarked on trips we swore we would NEVER do again, and we have visited places we vowed to quickly return, but through it all one thing remains constant – traveling in nature trumps city travel any day…especially with children.

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Our baby exploded blueberries and milk on pristine white linens leaving us in a wet, heaping, humbled mess. We hiked up mountains with two children strapped to our backs for hours only to fall apart and come completely undone when we returned to our hotel room. My amazing husband has fixed flat tires on desolate roads with no assistance and through it all, we are still in love with traveling.  The saying is ever so true, adventure is what happens when all of your plans fall apart.

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We have experienced our fair share of carsickness, sleepless nights, plane mishaps and humbling moments, but through it all, we continue to travel and we have now seemed to iron out some of the travel wrinkles that leave us grouchy and longing for an island alone (sans kids) to recover from the holiday that was just spent.

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Here’s the low down on city travel from our perspective.  We live in a city, not a particularly big city, but a city nonetheless, so when we think of travel, we don’t typically run into what we already know.

City trips are ideal for:

Short term stays

Cultural opportunities

Special events

Enjoying culinary experiences in child-friendly establishments

Shopping (not our passion, but we know it might be for some)

Exploring

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City trips are stressful because:

Chaos of the city

Noise

Stroller troubles, emerging walkers to run after that seem to fumble and stumble over every cobblestone

Safety

Being on guard

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Favorite city trips:

Copenhagen

Edinburgh

Basel

While city escapes can be stimulating and offer many cultural opportunities, for us, after days of city chaos, crowds and endless noise, we all feel stressed out. Having to keep a watchful eye on our children, personal belongings, all the while trying to study maps and navigate our way through avenues, boulevards and alleyways, we emerge a bundle of nerves. Nope, not relaxing for this family of four, and that is why nature trumps city escapes any day.

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That is not to say that we hike from sun up until sun down only to then retreat to our tents for a night of fire making, food foraging and sleeping under the stars. We stay in modest mountain houses or hotels. We have found, that having access to running water, a shower or bath, and a meal goes a long way when traveling with little people.

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We elect to stay in locations that are relatively child – friendly. When planning nature escapes we typically look for a playground near by, theme trails, water of some sort to splash in and hiking opportunities. With one or more of these elements in tact, we can all enjoy a nice time. We are also sure to mix down time and free play with hikes. When hiking, we typically walk in the morning and spend the tired afternoons lazing around by lakes, or at playgrounds. This seems to be a nice mix that keeps everyone happy.

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 Nature trips are ideal for:

Relaxation

Rejuvenation

Connection

Natural Wonders

Allowing children to be children

Freedom

Fresh Air

Exercise

Slowing down

Restful sleep

Favorite Nature Trips:

Swiss Alps

Iceland

Ireland

Most beaches are incredible for children

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When we are in nature as a family something magical happens. The intensity of living in a city seems to dissipate, as we allow the rhythm of nature to take over. We move a bit slower, we are reminded – thanks to our children, to take the time to watch a butterfly in flight, spot a unique bug on a leaf, or smell a lone flower in a waist high meadow of grass. We all move at a quieter, simpler pace and we need that. We, as parents are happy to feel the wind in our hair, and the sun at our backs. We hike, watch storms blow in over snow covered mountain peaks, smile when our children witness tranquil lake water and feel right at home.  Nature, we tell you…it is the way to go, but pack a couple extra outfits because if you do it right, you will get dirty!

Happy travels!

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