Family Hotel Gorfion – Malbun, Liechtenstein


The hotel greeted us with open arms and our children immediately ran to explore their new surroundings. Nestled in a remote and peaceful valley, Family Hotel Gorfion in Malbun, Liechtenstein was exactly the type of holiday we needed as a family. The hotel knows what children and parents need in order to offer respite from the day – to – day stress that often bogs us down as we try to juggle all the demands of raising a young family.


As the morning sun peeked out over the horizon we would slowly make our way to the outdoor playground for a morning swing, or dig before eating a hearty breakfast. After breakfast, we fell into the true rhythm of the hotel and encouraged our children to play, create and explore with others in the child care, while we set off to discover the beautiful peaks that dominated the landscape. After a few hours of solo hiking, we would return to pick – up our always happy children, who were all too eager to tell us what they had done in our time away. We would then enjoy a family lunch and participate in an afternoon activity with the children. For us, the hotel offered the perfect blend of family time and the alone time we desperately needed as a couple.

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For those parents who are raising their children alone (think expat life), hotels such as the Family Hotel Gorfion might just be the perfect solution to finding the alone time you crave as a couple. This was our first mini-vacation that actually felt like a holiday, as we were able to hike as a couple, talk as adults and relish in each others company. Our time alone was enhanced by the fact that our children were able to play, meet new friends and create their own memories away from us. Children need breaks from their parents as well!

With incredible child care available onsite, amazing activities to keep our children entertained and a ton of onsite amenities, this establishment restored our faith in family hotels. To learn more about the hotel, please visit their website, but we have provided a quick overview of the amenities and services the hotel provides for families.


  • Small but adequate
  • Immaculate
  • Modern
  • Perfectly accommodated our family of four (small bunk beds were available with side rails for the children)
  • A small table and chairs were also in the room for the children to use for coloring, eating, etc.
  • Robes were provided for the entire family to use at the pool or spa


  • A small, indoor swimming pool available onsite (our children loved this)
  • A great playground outside just by the terrace so that the parents could enjoy a drink or meal, while the children jumped on the trampoline, dug in the sand – pit, enjoyed the swings, played ping pong, or rode the many Bobbi cars available
  • Kinder Care – check website for details and hours
  • Strollers available onsite
  • Hiking Backpacks available onsite
  • Spa for adults
  • Lounge for adults
  • A common area that offered a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer and microwave oven! Amazing!


  • Drinks available all day at children’s level so they could help themselves
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Snacks in the afternoon
  • Lunch
  • Dinner – parents can opt to eat with or without children
  • Fresh baby meals prepared daily onsite with organic and local ingredients. Parents of small children are provided with a menu to select meals from. Wow!

Needless to say, we all had a lovely time and our children were quite sad when we told them it was time to go home.

Hotel Website:


Weekend Retreat – Berg Hotel Wildstrubel


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


In Another Life

Years go by, and we reflect on the past with hazy and editing vision.  Our past and where we lived becomes a refined memory where we clutch to the good, make life stories out of the bad, and are drawn to that place where we were from.  This photo was taken at the Harbor in Santa Barbara, California.


This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

Weekend Retreat – Trifthütte

I am lured by the Alps; completely and totally captivated. Deep within them, high above, are the Switzerland Alpine Club (SAC) hütten or huts. These epic structures, which lodge the transient mountain climber, have been tucked away for almost a century.  The Trifthütte is all this and more. For over one hundred years, this mountain house has been serving those who come to seek peace, danger, thrills, and nature. The very journey to get there was a reward on its own, but it is not for everyone. This post provides an overview of the getting to the Trifthütte, and what one might expect from a mountain hiking/enthusiast perspective.

The main access point to the Trifthütte is the bus stop in Nessental-Triftbahn. From there it is a three to three and a half hour hike just to get to the Trift Bridge. The Trifthütte is an additional three hours from the bridge. You can read about getting to the bridge in our previous post.

From the Trift Bridge, it is a T4 trail and the lowest category of blue and white alpine trails not requiring ropes or ice axes. However, it has very steep – near cliff – drop offs, many chains and ropes to aid while hiking, vertical and horizontal ladders for ascending/descending and river crossings, scree and snowfield crossings, and at times lack of blue and white blazes. Knowing this, I would strongly recommend good hiking boots which are professionally sized for your feet with newer tread. My second recommendation is to have at least enough skill and endurance to climb 2,500 meters over the course of 6-7 hours. For me, this hike was one of the first ones which required my full mental and physical focus. Yes we took breaks for snacks, photos, etc. But I never tried to sneak in a quick photo and hurry and catch up with the group. A trail of this difficulty should not be taken for granted. The months prior of cycling and running had helped my stamina to lead much of the hike and navigate much of the trail for the group, which afforded me time to take some photos and video without the rush. In terms of nutrition, I would recommend salted nuts and raisins, jerky (if you have it and eat meat), and perhaps granola bars. There was no place to fill up my 80 oz. Camelback, except a large cold stream. Top up when you can, there is no guarantee of water on the way up and this stream was the only place worth filling up until the hut.

Immediately from the bridge, there are two ladder descents. The initial part of the trail is very exposed on neatly packed scree. This gives way to a series of exposed switchbacks, which was exhausting in the mid-afternoon sun and continued on to a steeper section of semi-covered switchbacks with dense vegetation offering shade. At the top of the switchbacks, the views opened up as you head into a side valley nicknamed the Monster; a beautiful panorama yielding distracting views, expanses of rock and snow slide areas. Beauty can be deceiving as we witnessed a boulder the size of VW cascading off a cliff, down a series of scree, and coming to rest in a depression splashing into water somewhere above us while in the distance, plumes of dust lifted from the valley. We soon realized that we should hurry through this area. We crossed a massive snow slide area. What appeared to be an easy traverse, put our nerves on edge for two reasons. One, the snow slide – if you were to trip and slide down it, could most likely take you to your end, and second, the last step was actually a jump off from the snow and onto semi-stable scree; looking back, I advised my group to divert the last jump for a safer walk onto stable snow and down a rock. The area I had jumped off of was a few feet thick and dropped into a dark hole. Some things you are unaware of until after you pass.

Once out of this valley, we hiked up (more switchbacks) and along a cliff-like section. At one point there is a small trickle of a waterfall and a grate catwalk with chains to hold onto. The next section is rockier and appears to be more stable, but towards the end the blazes become harder to see, and require more from your deteriorating focus. The stones are larger and give a hollow sound when walking across them. The rock turns red-brown versus the grey scree in prior sections. By this point you are above the Trift glacier icefall, with the trail feeling more like bouldering than hiking. After a full day of hiking, and not being at the hut, the beauty becomes lost in the struggle to achieve the last 400 meters ascent. Most people take the gondola, and the 3.5 hours to the bridge was starting to take its toll on me. The red-brown rock trail cascades over zig-zagged passages and chain lines, pulling you up to within eye shot of the hut. A great relief!

Once there, we are greeted by all the other hikers; they are mountaineers, really, and we’re just tourists. Nonetheless, we are greeted the same as everyone else who arrives at the Trifthütte, with a warm welcome and a warm tea. It is time to drop the packs and suck in the views as the sun descends over Mährenhorn across the valley.

We were placed in one of the first hütte structures; built in 1910, just below the main hütte today. This building holds about 18 -20 people in dormitory style rooms, with our beds in the attic. A fixed dinner was served at seven, consisting of leek/onion soup, bread, salad, risotto (with mushrooms or ham), and a dessert. Water is served, but soda, beer, and wine is a-la-carte. I’m a light sleeper, and usually have trouble resting the first night anywhere. If you need to use the toilet, there is an outhouse at the edge of a cliff, about 10 paces around the corner from the 1910 hut. I say this more as a caution to those who need to use the toilet in the night, in that it is advisable to bring your headlamp.

I woke up sometime in the night with a strong headache, perhaps from the dry air and had to find some meds in my backpack on the ground floor. I’m not sure anyone cared; half of the hut was sawing logs in their sleep. That is until 4AM, when alarms went off! This was the second realization that many of the people who stay here are using it as a base camp, or way-point in their mountain excursion. Several teams plotted their escape spindling out in various directions from the hut. Some left at 3am, but most by 4:30. The hut was more manageable to sleep in until the final breakfast call at seven. To wake up, high above the world, in near solitude was very refreshing! I could only hear the rush of streams from several directions. It was unfortunate to only stay a night, but it was a great experience nonetheless.

The decent was easier than expected, even if some of the declination looked daunting. As much as it still required focus, a fresh start to the day helped. Only after the bridge, did we begin to feel the strain in our knees. We were very relieved to grab a spot down on the gondola; there was a pop-up thunderstorm which came out of nowhere, cracking the sky and beginning to throwing rain at us.  The perfect ending to a remarkable journey!


Time… to travel

In the northern part of Umbria, is the town of Gubbio.  Although not quite a ‘hilltop town’ it is situated on a hillside, with plenty of streets to climb.  One of the famed events in Gubbio is the Corsa di Ceri, a run of three teams carrying large wooden statues (4 meters tall) and weighing over 280kg!  Experiencing a new place, meandering through historic places, and experiencing culture is just part of the joy of traveling.


This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Time