In hindsight, we probably should have called it quits when we realised we’d forgotten Tim’s snow jacket. By then we’d already run into several pickles: the car’s GPS had stopped working, we weren’t entirely sure how to get to our location or how long it would take us (only that we had to catch a car train somewhere along the way), and we’d not realised we had to leave our vehicle and get a train for the final leg of the journey so our packing was cumbersome (at best). The girl was cutting two teeth which made her a delight of a travel companion, a chest cold she’d picked up in Barcelona only adding to her charm. However, we had booked a weekend away – a night in Zermatt and one on the shores of Lake Maggiore – and hot damn we were determined to go. So, when we realised (with much cussing) that Tim’s jacket was AWOL we pulled up (in the snow), grabbed coffees and Matterhorn-shaped biscuits and took several deep breaths. And forged onwards.
We found the car train, which we boarded along with scores of other cars for 17km of tunnel through the Alps. Years ago, we went on a totally bogus tourist ride in Shanghai which promised to take us to the ‘centre of the earth’; it finally felt like we’d made it. We popped out the other side into a wintery paradise.A wintery paradise with super mega chocolate (I would like to believe).After several hours of fairly bumbling travel, we caught the train to Zermatt, a ski town at the base of the Matterhorn. A snow covered village, it operates with no cars as such – only little electric miniature numbers zip around the streets. It had a hobbit-esque feeling to it: close buildings, winding narrow streets, flushed and happy people (and yeah, I might have had two breakfasts). We were staying in a ski lodge we’d booked the night before, not knowing much about the area. It had, we thought, a cute outlook. (It also had both a fondue and a raclette maker, and a legit ski bar with suspended fire place. It rocked.)Cute quickly became breathtaking when the clouds parted to reveal the Face of Toblerone itself.We took a stroll with the lass to check out the town and make use of her Christmas present. She was less than impressed. I’m not sure if pictures can impart the sound of a baby screaming, but please use your imagination if not. I suspect she was embarrassed that we’d miscalled the toboggan potential of the patch we chose. Shortly after this things began to deteriorate. The poor little lass got her first real bout of Disgusting Babyitis (i.e. the vomits). The below photo was taken in our last moments of innocence. Her father’s vest will never be the same.Despite the woes, the Matterhorn was ridiculous.And the one plus of being up all night with a very unwell baby is getting to see it framed with glittering stars (I am aware that I would also be able to see it this way if, say, I went to the ski bar and stayed up drinking, but I’m really trying to see the positives of the dastardly situation). The situation had not improved the following morning, so after a trip to the doctor (where we were the only people sans ski or party injury) we made the call to cut the trip short and head home. We dropped the inlaws at Interlaken and took one very unwell baby back to Lucerne, barely surviving what was easily the most revolting car ride I’ve been on since my mate Austen’s 21st birthday booze bus. We’ve had a day of couch bound cuddles, punctuated with the occasional terrifying lurch of a cough, but she seems to be on the mend. Although it still feels as if it might have been best to cut our losses while we were (marginally) ahead, it sure was something to see that chocolate wrapper brought to life.