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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Work that Matters

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After  visiting the Stiftung Schweizerische Schule für Blindenführhunde in Allschwill, we were able to witness first hand the incredible work of the dog trainers and the dogs. I was moved by the relationship the dogs have with every human they come into contact with.

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I can highly recommend a visit to the school for a plethora or reasons. See below what we learned during our visit.

What we learned:

  • A detailed history of the school.
  • The life of the dogs – the dogs are breed and born at the school, where they will stay for 10 – weeks. After 10 – weeks, the puppies will be placed into foster care for 12 – 18 months and then will return to the school for intensive training. Once they have completed their training, the dogs will be matched with an individual in need.
  • The dogs serve the following individuals in need: the blind, the physically challenged, Autistic children, and work as service animals for local schools and the elderly community.
  • The dogs are always the property of the school, even when they are placed with families and the individuals they serve. The reason for this is that the school serves as the dog’s advocate throughout their lifetime.
  • Retired dogs are either returned to the school, or placed with families until their final days.
  • The school only works with Labrador Retrievers as they are the most adjustable, intelligent, and easy to train dogs they have worked with thus far.

What children will learn:

  • Children will gain knowledge and empathy for the individuals with special needs, including the children the dogs currently serve.
  • The children will understand the dog/human relationship.
  • Children will see first hand through a film provided by the school how the trained dogs are able to help those individuals in need by providing specific examples.

Details:

Markstallstrasse 6

4123 Allschwil

061 641 45 46

info@peb-basel.ch

The School

Open to the Public:

The first Sunday of each month at 15:00, the school opens its doors to the public, for an open house. Registration is not necessary, however, if you would like to request a tour in English or another language, be sure to ask in advance.

Saturday, March 4 – 9:00 – 11:00 guided tour for families with children from six – years- old.  The cost is CHF 10 per family.

One more reason to love service animals:  Service Dogs!

*What?  No pictures of dogs….sorry about that.  We were trying to respect the dogs and the trainers, so we abstained from taking photos of the puppies (too cute for words), the dogs working and relaxing in their home.

Titlis

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Top Reasons to Visit Mt. Titlis

The height – at 3,238m, you can get your fix for snow or winter sports virtually year round.  Plus from that vantage point, you cannot help but feel alive!

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On a clear day, the views are incredible!  If the weather forecast is not favorable, save your money and go on a day when the weather is indeed clear.  There is nothing more disappointing than getting to the top only to see NOTHING!

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Stunning views of the Uri Alps.

The Titlis Cliff Walk is apparently the highest suspension bridge in all of Europe!            Now that’s a WOW factor for ya!

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Visitors will be amazed at all they can see without much effort and thank you for the journey.

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Word of caution – hold on to your wallets, as the ticket price to the top is as steep as the mountains, but well worth the experience!

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Once you are down from Titlis, take the time to hike around Trübsee.                                      The views from the lake are remarkable too!