Day 2- Camping de Glaciers, ropes course and hiking at Gorges du Durnand
Quote of the day “Look dad, the mountains are moving!” (Arleigh looking upward as the clouds glided over a blue sky and across massive mountain tops.)
The day started with a family hike to Gorges du Durnand. If you’re in the area, we recommend it.This is a series of about 14 waterfalls along a well maintained hiking path.
We then slipped back to the campground to hit the ropes course.“I can’t believe you don’t need to sign a waiver or wear a helmet, or even pas an instruction test. Just clip the harness on and off you go! It’s great!” In fact there was instruction lasting less than 2 minutes. We find this a bit refreshing as we’ve become accustomed to US installations having a preparatory 2 hour instruction course, then signature of 50 sheets of random papers before any slight adventure might ensue. The course was well done, and we gazed slack jawed at little 4 year olds zipping over cable lines like tiny tree monkeys. Clearly they had the Swiss cross stamped on their birth certificates.
*apologies for the overshare here- the kids loved the ropes course and have actually asked for printed photos to hang in their rooms...they think there aren't enough posted here on the blog!?!?
Actually, Arleigh and I didn't get to do the ropes course. Arleigh was a year too young (and honestly just a hair too short), and so I had to stay on the ground to watch him. He got along just fine on his own in a neighboring playground and when I broke from taking photos at the ropes course to occasionally check on him, he was speaking broken French with some Swiss kids his size and playing on a petite version of zip lines and climbing walls.
After swinging through trees, we headed out to a pre arranged doctor visit for Matt to have his stitches removed from his recent bike accident. I never thought I’d admire socialist medicine but we have taken advantage of this system over the course of our 4 years in Europe and I must say, we appreciate multiple elements about it. One of my favorite authors writes, ‘…a child with a brain tumor wouldn’t be sent home to die because the father didn’t have the wherewithal to pay a surgeon….Insurance company wouldn’t be allowed to cancel policies of 14,000 of their sickest patients because it was a bad year. Nations dedicate themselves to providing equally and fairly for everyone, whatever the cost.’ We found ourselves, yet again, utilizing the medical system here with ease.
In this case, Matt meandered into the office of a Doc Bernard Darbellay who admired the "faulty" stitch work of the good Belgian doctors who patched him up in the ER after a sad meeting with a car into the side of the bike he was riding. The doc sent Matt back out the door with no charge. If you happen to work for TRICARE, you should take this doctor flowers, for he not only removed the sutures from various locations on the face and chin, but also entertained with a sideshow, pretending to gobble up the bandages all for no charge.
While Matt and the girls met Dr. Darbellay, the boys and I wandered around the tiny Swiss village. Things are so darn neat and orderly in Switzerland. I particularly love the cheese shops, with cheese wheels the size of truck tires. The butcher, where sausages lay heaped in neat pink piles, smothered with a variety of herbs and spice and meat hangs fresh behind the counter. This is always an intriguing sight. So far removed from the packaged meat in the grocery stores.
Above all, I love to visit the pharmacies- perhaps it’s the pharmacist in my background, but the apothecaries are always tidy storefronts where you might find yourself gazing longingly at boxes of wart remover or incontinence pads. I love little European villages. That said, we might not have been able to have dinner out with taking our a bank loan. So we headed gratefully back to the camp to make dinner at the edge massive mountain peaks from our site settled in Alpine meadow forest glade, listening to the river gushing past. The place is as calm and tranquil as a double dose of Ativan.