I’m not big on snow. I grew up with it and memories of chilblains, washing frozen on the line and shovelling trenches so we could get to school are indelible. And I’m not that big on skiing either ever since my youngest son nearly ended his cricketing aspirations by buggering his knee on the first and last ski trip I ever took him on.
So I had mixed feelings about the Edelweiss airline invitation to Switzerland. Plus I’m very bad at heights – and those Alps eh!
I need not have worried, because although Leukerbad in the Valais canton is 1400m above sea level with 52 kms of ski slopes and facilities for every snow sport known to mankind, it also has the gift of natural thermal springs. And so I spent the greater part of the stay there in hot water, straight from the ground. Bliss!
I bathed like a princess in steamy pools, ate like a queen – a confirmed cheese lover (I could do melty raclette and fondue any day), walked like a lady on a village water tour and went up the cable car to the Gemmi Pass at 2,270 m – eyes closed like a complete wuss.
I also spent a fabulous few hours in Zurich admiring this historic city with a river running through it – all efficiency, chocolate shops and clock faces. And I got to eat in the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe – bonus or what!
I hope you may be able to read more about all of the above as I get round to writing (hopefully publishing) in detail. So this is just a taste.
But I’m also not one for gratuitously singing the praises of airlines – a flight is a flight after all, A to B. I would however, like to say that the extra 15cm in Edelweiss’s Economy Max class made a surprisingly big difference enhanced by smiling, uber-organised cabin crew. Completely sold on their jolly, cartoonesque branding which echoes from the aircraft nose tip to happy pillows, gingerbread biberli to the office doors (yup, got to visit head office).
But if 15cm was a treat, let me tell you about Business Class (not that I’m a connoisseur, it doesn’t happen often). Classy trays of amuse bouche with champagne and other meals arrived with alarming frequency, push-button massage seat to stretch-out bed was close to heaven – and I was lucky enough to have a rather divine young businessman as a seat neighbour who knew the whereabouts and how-to of all the finger-tip functions. Though such a travel companion can’t always be guaranteed, the rest of it was a bit like a dream after a lifetime of cramped economy.
So thank you Edelweiss. This trip may even have conquered my antipathy towards snow and fear of heights.