Travel Suisse: Les Diablerets and Glacier 3000

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Guys, we just survived the most intense heat wave. Well, certainly the most intense heat wave I’ve ever lived through. That’s not saying much, but it was gross. A high of 38 degrees for a week straight. One day it hit 41. Degrees. Celsius. And there is no air conditioning here. We really were in survival mode. How to sleep at night? How to make sure the kids don’t get heat stroke? We’re are all good and now that it’s down to a measly 31 degree high, I already kind of miss it. Because I have zero memory, apparently. We sat around with the blinds drawn inside all day with the fan. Sometimes we’d hang out in the basement. Going outside was not an option (and try staying inside with a two-year-old!)

It was all a bit much until my very smart husband had an awesome idea – if the cool won’t come to us, let’s go to the cool! One brilliant stifling hot Sunday we decided to visit a glacier. If nothing else, the two-hour drive would happen in our car, which does have air conditioning, so it was the coolest place around.

We headed towards the Bernese Oberland, to the east, near Gstaad. In the region of Les Diablerets, there is an alpine park called Glacier 3000 – 3000 metres up. We took two gondolas to get to the very peaks of the mountains.

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And turns out that up there, in 40C weather, things are still pretty hot. Not AS hot, per se, but I suspect that some of those glaciers were melting a bit. It was absolutely perfect. We had lunch, then ventured out on the Peak to Peak walk – a suspension bridge linking two mountain peaks. The wind was howling past and the bridge was swinging, so it seemed a bit like an adventure sport. I’ll admit that I went with X and turned back halfway, because it seemed so unsafe for him to be there. Like, he might slip through the crack at the base and plummet down the mountain side. Or his hat would be caught up in the wind and he would lunge for it and somehow he would plummet down the mountain side. There were many scenarios in my head, and all of them involved his perfect little body lying broken thousands of metres below, so I turned back. (Is this a thing that all parents get? It is so disturbing, but I constantly imagine horrific things happening to my children. Like, vastly improbable, grisly things. It’s horrible, but I can’t seem to stop imagining even weird dangers that they should be aware of.) Little Mr. Fearless was WAY less than impressed with me. I don’t want to teach him to be scared. But sometimes I think it’s right to follow your gut. I don’t think I was wrong, either, because when Z came up to join us, he said he would take X across and I reluctantly agreed. He just stood at the top of the bridge, and decided against it. So I’m not crazy. Or I am, but I’m not the only one.

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The other super cool thing up on Glacier 3000 is the highest alpine rollercoaster. Well, kind of a rollercoaster. You control it yourself with hand brakes, but it twists down the side of the mountain before being picked up on a belt to the top again. Z had to fudge X’s age a bit (“well, he is almost three …”) but they went down together.

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That red speck in the middle is X and Z. We’re going to assume X enjoyed it. Nobody could see his face and he held very still, but didn’t put up a fight about it. And coming back he was smiling.

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So that was our glacier adventure to beat the heat. If, however, there are no accessible glaciers near you, not to fear. I also have a great recipe for some refreshing watermelon feta salad. Sounds gross? It’s not. Really delicious. Even X took a bite (although he’s slightly obsessed with licking watermelon right now, so that was probably the pull right there.)

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Watermelon Feta Salad

Ingredients

Half a watermelon

8 oz package feta

1 cucumber

Small red onion, sliced thinly

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Juice of one lime

Olive oil

Black pepper

Cube the watermelon and cucumber into bite-sized chunks and crumble feta over top. Add the onion and cilantro and mix ingredients. Sprinkle lime juice over top, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper over top. Voila! Instant refreshment.

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