Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I know so many people have asked me about our recent trip to Switzerland. My only response is that it was beautiful and amazing. But if you are interested in hearing more details about our trip, grab a snack and read on as I share our journey!

This Christmas my family had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland for the holidays. My dad kept saying we were skipping Christmas but if you know me at all you know that is NOT the case.

Part 1: The History

A little backstory on our travels to this magical place. In 1998 not only was I born but my grandparents surprised my entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, and our close family friends) with a trip to Switzerland for two weeks in January of 1999. During this time, the exchange rate was so good that it was cheaper for our entire family to travel across the ocean to ski than it was for all of us to go to Colorado and do the same. The first time we went I was one and we went from 1999 until 2007. It was easy at the time for us to go during January because our parents would just take us out of school but as the exchange rate plummeted and we all got older it was harder for us to travel back. Every year we stayed at the same hotel, Hotel Baren, and the owners quickly became like family. Thus, making our hearts long even more for this special place.

Part 2: The Preparation and Anticipation

Fast forward to January of 2017, my dad and I are at my grandparent’s house and somehow journeying back to Switzerland for Christmas of 2017 came up. Nana and my dad decided to email the hotel owners and see if they had any availability during Christmas time. If they emailed back they did then we would take it as a sign that we were meant to go back.

My dad and I again went to their house to hang out and chat, we do this a lot. Mike asked Nana if she had heard back from the Hotel and she hadn’t even checked…silly Nana, don’t you know we are anxiously awaiting a MIRACLE!

As I grabbed her iPad and quickly logged into her email I see that she does indeed have an email for us. Saying something along the lines of “Dear Davis, Family we do have the availability for you to spend Christmas with us at the Baren and would love to have you.” Tears flowing and hands shaking we began to call family to see if they were in to skip Christmas. My dad quickly called my Aunt Dana and began to sing “do you wanna build a snowman?” Her immediate response was “WE’RE GOING TO SWITZERLAND!” With that, the planning was on. To keep a long story short it was all we talked about and the year went by very quickly as we had the anticipation of this trip to look forward to.

Part 3: The Travel

FINALLY, it was time to go. The suitcases were packed and weighed, the ski coats were ready, and it was time to leave. The first leg of our travels was to my Aunt and Uncles house in Nashville. This was the 20th as we would be flying out of Nashville the 21st. Upon arriving to my Aunt and Uncles house there was a buzz of excitement, last minute preparations, and a lot of scurrying around. The house quieted down and we all rested before getting up early to catch our flight. Upon our arrival at the airport, we had the MOST helpful American Airlines worker at the front desk. She checked our whole family in quickly and got all 26 of us in order in no time at all. We went through security and had a lot of time to wait before taking our 30-passenger plane to New York. We landed in New York and had a 3-hour layover before our 7-hour flight. Essentially this was a time for all of us to charge our phones, iPads, and laptops. With that, we took off on our flight. We landed in Switzerland at about 7 am which was about midnight at home. I slept approximately 2 hours. I am very particular about my coffee but during breakfast on the plane, I was NOT shy to get a cup. We hit the ground running as soon as we touched down. We had to claim our luggage, take it to the train station, check it again there and then catch train number 1 of 4 to our village. It was about a 3-hour trip total and train hopping is not fun.

Part 4: The Main Event

Wengen, Switzerland. The most beautiful village. A town where it appears that everyone there is constantly smiling and doesn’t have a rude word to say. A place where warmth isn’t found in the actual temperature but it is not short in the hearts of the locals. Where the people at the ski rental place remember your family from 10 years ago. Language barriers were not a problem as many people spoke English. All nationalities came together and celebrated a joyous time.

We arrived in the village at 1 in the afternoon. It took every fiber of my being to not crawl in the bed and sleep. We walked around reminiscing and in search of lunch. We were not dressed for how cold it was but it did not stop us from running around the village admiring the snow and beautiful Christmas decorations. It was like nothing had changed in the 10 years we had been gone. We all remembered exactly where everything was and how to do the “normal” things there.

The 23rd was our first full day in the village. We woke up, ate the incredible breakfast, and were headed off to ski. Everyone skied their little hearts out with few injuries. It was oddly warm the first two days we were there…like 44 degrees warm. But we got two beautiful days of snow.

My personal favorite part of the trip was the evenings. Dinner time was amazing for not only the food but the conversation with my cousins and the laughs we shared. The food was on another level of good. I’ve never eaten that fancy of food in my entire life.

During our ski day, we would eat at the restaurants that were placed along the slopes. One was literally a tipi on top of the mountain where you could have the world’s BEST hot chocolate, hot dogs, pizza, and French fries. All completely different from what you would have in America. We would eat rosti potatoes (hashbrowns with bacon, covered with gruyere cheese, and topped with a fried egg) apple fritters which can best be described as high-quality Chinese restaurant donuts with apples inside topped with cream. This is just some of the amazing things we ate. Of course, there is also chocolate, which I may or may not have eaten my body weight in.

Our family was more than blessed to have such an incredible opportunity to take this trip. I think it was so necessary for us as a family to have this experience together. We laughed and shared the most amazing experience together. I am so incredibly grateful that we were able to do this. It was not without many sacrifices in the past year but every one of them was worth it. If I could go back right now I would hop on a plane and go. My body is still there with the jet lag but thankfully I am still on Christmas vacation. I would highly encourage skipping the novelty of Christmas, we still read our Christmas story but instead of focusing on gifts, we focused on the reason for the season and each other. It was magical and I don’t regret it one bit.

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