Tag: Switzerland

Les Diablerets: The Glacier 3000 Ski Field In The Swiss Alps

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While we were staying in Les Diablerets in Switzerland, we went up the mountain for a day trip to the Glacier 3000 Ski Field…and what a breathtaking experience it was!

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Top of the cableway

We took a shuttle bus from the Les Diablerets village to Col du Pillon and from there we went up the mountain in two massive cable cars which could fit more than one hundred people in each. We were packed in like sardines into the cable cars, along with people in full ski gear – helmets and boards and all (we stuck out like sore thumbs).

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Peak Walk by Tissot

Once we disembarked the second cable car, we were at the Scex Rouge (‘Red Rock’) station which had a fancy restaurant with panoramic views, a self-service canteen and a souvenir shop. It also had the Peak Walk by Tissot which was a 107 metre suspension bridge to the Scex Rouge peak itself, at an altitude of 2,971 metres above sea level.

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On top of the world!

The bridge walk was free and offered a breathtaking 360 degree view of the surrounding Swiss Alps – we could even see the famous Mont Blanc and Jungfrau peaks from there!

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Looking out over the glacier ski field to the Quille du Diable

After we’d clambered down from the bridge, it was time to start what we’d come all the way up the mountain to do, which was the Glacier Walk. As you can guess, the Glacier Walk entailed going across the Tsanfleuron Glacier, most of which is used as the Glacier 3000 ski field.

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We went down the ski lift from Scex Rouge onto the ski field itself, and then walked the three kilometres across the glacier to the Quille du Diable. When I’d heard we were doing the Glacier Walk, I’d been imagining perilous heights and rough terrain, but the whole walk was surprisingly flat and very easygoing (with amazing views to boot!).

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Quille du Diable

Our end goal was the Quille du Diable, which was a famous rock formation resting on a sheer cliff face, where the Refuge L’espace Cafe sat directly in its shadow. My cousin and his father (who were snowboarding on the ski field) met us there for lunch and we all enjoyed hot meals (scrumptious beetroot soup) and stunning (if rather terrifying!) scenary.

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We had unseasonably warm temperatures while we were in Les Diablerets, so a lot of the ski routes on the mountain were closed, but with more snowfall it’s possible to ski or snowboard all the way from the peak to the very bottom of the mountains. They also have the world’s highest Alpine Coaster up at the Scex Rouge station which runs in the summertime.

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View over the ski field from the Scex Rouge sun terrace

Although it felt rather strange to be walking on a ski field rather than skiing on it, the Glacier Walk was an easy expedition and well worth it – especially with those million dollar Swiss Alps views!

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This was definitely a top highlight (haha so punny) of our family holidays and I can see why people harp on about the Swiss Alps so much now. Maybe next trip there’ll be time for some skiing up there too!

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The Glacier Walk

 


So, did you like the Glacier 3000 ski field as much as I did?

Is this somewhere you’d like to add to your travel list?


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Les Diablerets: Christmas Winter Wonderland In The Swiss Alps

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Les Diablerets

In December 2015, my family came over to Europe from New Zealand and we had a magical Christmas together in the Swiss Alps. First we went from Munich to Lausanne and met up with our relatives who lived there, and they took us up to their best kept secret: Les Diablerets.

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Les Diablerets township

Les Diablerets was a small alpine village and ski resort in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. We got there by a 40 minute train ride from Lausanne to Aigle, and then we switched to the Chemin de fer Aigle-Sepey-Diablerets; a historic little mountain train that took us up to the altitude of 1,160 metres where the village was located.

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The little devil of Les Diablerets

Les Diablerets means ‘the abode of devils’ in French and the symbol of the village was a little devil playing a flute, which was everywhere. The village legend says that when rocks fell down the sides of the mountains, it was the fault of the little devils that were throwing rocks at the Quille du Diable, or the devil’s skittle on the mountain.

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The little devil motif on houses

Besides the little devil, the real charm of the village were all of the old wooden chalets. Every chalet had different designs in the beams, balcony and woodwork and the result was just beautiful – I’d never seen houses quite like it before.

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A typical Swiss mountain chalet

There was already snow on the ground when we got to Les Diablerets, and we had clear blue skies the whole time we were there with an average temperature of about 12 degrees Celsius! I had been dreading how cold it was going to be up there, but we ended up having the best of both worlds – snow and warm days!

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Kids playing in the snow

The township had everything we needed in walking distance: a supermarket, cafes, souvenirs and ski supply shops. My family had been staying in Munich for the past few days and they said it was a relief to get away from other tourists. And they were right – most chalets belonged to Swiss families so everything felt very local indeed.

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Beautiful timber chalet

 

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Local transport

A lot of people were cross-country skiing across the village as a faster means of transport, which amused me because it wasn’t a sight I was used to. There was also a lot of ice skating and ice hockey games going on within the village.

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Symbol of Switzerland – the Swiss cow bells

A lot of the chalets had the year it was built painted on it and some even had the Swiss cow bells hanging from the banisters.

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Chalets up the hill

Our chalet was down in the valley, so we would only get direct sunlight until about 2pm, after that the sun was hidden behind the mountains and we would be left in shade. The chalets up on the hill were placed better and got a whole lot more hours of sun!

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Snow bunny

My cousin and I spotted this cute rabbit hopping around our chalet more than once and it turned out to be the neighbour’s pet. (I would have been quite happy to adopt it!)

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Our humble abode

The inside of our chalet turned out to be even better than the outside with warm wooden interiors with an authentically rustic feel. There were nine of us together in this chalet but there was plenty of room for all!

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Garden view

We went up to the glacier ski field on the mountain for a day, but the rest of the time was spent opening presents, playing games and eating far too much. We even had a classic Swiss dish for dinner one time – a mouth watering cheese fondue!

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So, did you like Les Diablerets as much as I did?

Stay tuned for the next installment of going up to the Diablerets glacier!


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Switzerland: Expensive Wine And Autumn Vibes In Lausanne

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The Lausanne Cathedral

It was my first time in Switzerland last week – we went to the French speaking city of Lausanne!  It was a long nine hour journey from Passau with three transport changes; train to Munich, bus to Zurich and then train again to Lausanne, but my big family event there was so worth it!

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Looking out onto Lake Geneva

Lausanne is the fourth largest city in Switzerland and it is known as the ‘Olympic Capital’ because the International Olympic Committee is located there. The city itself is resting right on the shores of Lake Geneva, which is the largest freshwater lake in Europe and the scenery was just divine.

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Rue du Grand-Chêne

It was the strangest thing to be sitting on the train from Zurich to Lausanne and to halfway through have the language of the overhead speakers and train staff suddenly switch from German to French. I kept going to answer people in German, until I realised halfway through and then proceeded to dig into my old high school French repertoire for (very) basic communication.

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My Dad kept saying how nice it was to hear French being spoken after hearing German for a week and I interjected (I’ve become really fond of German), but I did have to admit after a while that French was a nice language to listen to.

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View from my room

You know, I thought New Zealand and Japan were pretty expensive countries but Switzerland is a whole other ball game. I heard that some people live and work in Switzerland and go shopping in neighbouring countries because it’s cheaper – and I can see why!

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Inside the Lausanne Cathedral

The Lausanne Cathedral is known as one of the most beautiful gothic monuments in Europe and it is famous for its statues that have medieval paintwork still faintly visible on its surfaces.

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Stained glass window of the cathedral

 

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Cully

We took a boat on Lake Geneva from Ouchy over to a cute little village called Cully. The lake scenery really reminded me of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown (New Zealand) at times.

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This boat had a small French flag flying at the front and this HUGE Swiss flag at the back

The hills around Lake Geneva are covered in vineyards; the most famous being the 14km long terraced vineyards of Lavaux which are listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

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Cully was a little village with winding narrow stone streets with a whole lot of charm – I much prefer seeing the smaller places (which have a lot more character) than big city tourist traps with too many people!

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How cute are these window shutters?

I particularly adored all of the unique window shutters on the houses in Cully, they were just so colourful and detailed! (I wish my windows had them too…)

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Falling leaves and serenity by the lake

Although it was noticeably warmer in Lausanne than it was in Germany, Autumn was making her presence known here too. Golden leaves were falling all over the city.

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Window shutters and grapevines

We also went wine tasting while we were in Cully (complete with an outrageous price tag!) but it was a lot of fun, none the less. We’re actually going to be having Christmas in Lausanne with family, so I’ll be back there soon for more!


So, did you like Lausanne?

Is it somewhere you’ve visited or would like to visit?


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