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TRAVEL TALK

Switzerland - Lakes and Mountains Holidays

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Meet Alison Craig who works for Inghams and tells us about her Lakes & Mountains experiences.

Talk to Alison for a few minutes and you’ll end up wondering why we live anywhere but in the mountains of Europe or North America.  She is a woman with a passion for mountains and the hugely varied activities that can be done there.  Not just skiing either!  The summer season is a time for appreciating the scenery, glorious mountain air and tranquillity.  Just about the only activity I couldn’t find was surfing.  However, walking, cycling, swimming and more are all available in a range of places.  What is really wonderful is the fact that the mountains in summer and spring, actually look and truly are just like the picture postcards, green grass, cows and goats, and proper chocolate box chalets dotted about.

Grindelwald, SwitzerlandAlison works for Inghams, where she develops links with and trains travel agents, I bet every one of them leaves her courses as excited about mountain holidays as she is!  Previously she worked with schools advising them about ski trips and resorts suitable for hormone-fuelled British teens.  So yes, we may well have her to thank for those notes home requesting a deposit tomorrow so our little darlings could enjoy a week of ski, snow and nothing else we hoped!

Imagine the joy of swimming in one of the mountain lakes, they are always very cold, though crystal clear, watching paragliders lazily zig zag down the mountainside.  For the very brave, you can paraglide yourself, taking a tandem ride with an instructor.  Further delights might include taking a steamer across the lake, it is so nostalgic and slows the pace of life right down for a while. And in the springtime, the flowers are astonishing, a real vibrancy fills the air, a definite spring in the step.  Take a cable car up the mountain and stride down, stopping for lunch on the way.

Interlaken, SwitzerlandThe resort Alison described, that really took my fancy, for all ages, was Grindelwald in Switzerland.  With so much to do, the 'Snow Sculpture' Festival in January, the 'First Flyer' - Europe's first aerial cableway, Europe’s longest toboggan run (15km), a superb network of walking trails with wonderful views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, excellent train links to Brig, Interlaken, Thun and Berne for sightseeing as well as walking and cycling, you will be spoilt for choice!  And as for the Trottibikes, no wheels, little wooden sledges instead, (check out YouTube, Julie Andrews never sounded like this) you can really enjoy the mountains all year long.  Another place to consider might be Italy for foodies.  Mountain views and gastronomique delights, that’s a wonderful combination.  In fact, I get a real sense that the mountains would be great for any inter-generational holiday, grandparents through to toddlers, all happily catered for.  Added to that, some of the exclusive Swiss resorts have fabulous luxury hotels for pampering and romantic moments!

Golden PassAnd my absolute favourite, before the snow arrives, the festival of Almatrieb in September where the cows are taken from the alpine pastures to their valley stables for the winter, dressed in flowers, it looks fantastic and gloriously traditional.  As well as being a reminder that not so long ago, farming, not tourism, was the backbone of the economy here, and it still plays an important role.  As a friend pointed out, cows mean milk, and milk means chocolate, so if you’re in Switzerland, you simply have to buy and try. All the activity means you can easily work the indulgences off.

If you need even more convincing, ring Inghams on 0208 780 6680 for more information.


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