We’ve had an exciting couple of weeks. After two long months, we had our HHE delivered on the 20th, so our apartment is now a total disaster. But it’s nice to finally have our own stuff and some color in our place. And most of it made it in one piece…except for an old full-length mirror that I bought for my ex in London. Two of the three bedrooms and one of the bathrooms have mirrored closet doors, so we have no shortage of reflections.
Breaking mirrors is supposed to be bad luck though, and mine started two days later when I went to swap out our rental car. After nine weeks of sliding in and out of our shared carport, I hit the massive beam in the middle while backing out and scratched the bumper. The Swiss guy at Budget was very nice about it. It was a sizeable scratch, but he marked it as small, did an automatic estimation, and charged my card for $570 worth of damage on the spot.
Happily, the credit card that I used for the rental had collision insurance (since my USAA car insurance isn’t valid in Switzerland). You’re supposed to notify them right away, but it took me about a week to get around to it. I spent a few minutes on the phone with an agent who told me to file a claim online. I did this and was fully reimbursed in about 48 hours. VERY happy about that.
About two days into my next four-week rental, I was told that an earlier appointment had opened up for our POV inspection, and my car would actually be available three weeks early. I was simultaneously thrilled and horrified…what if I couldn’t return the rental early and was still responsible for the remaining three weeks?? But I needn’t have worried. I contacted Expedia via online chat, they called Budget in Geneva and arranged for me to return my car…and only be charged for the days that I’d used. Talk about a relief!
Our car also arrived in good condition. So yesterday, we took her on her first big outing in Switzerland to Glacier 3000! Technically, Glacier 3000 is the name of the cable car company, but it has also become known as a specific tourist destination in the Bernese Alps about an hour and a half northeast of Geneva. The first cable car starts in a mountain pass called Col du Pillon (el. 1546 m) and takes you up to the halfway point at Cabane middle station (el. 2525 m) where you switch cars and continue to the top at Scex Rouge mountain station (el. 2971 m).
They have a fantastic website with a webcam and all kinds of information, including which activities are open on the day. The whole place had been closed for the last week due to bad weather or high winds, so I was checking it daily as the weekend approached. Sunday was supposed to have clearer weather, but also 30 mph winds. So I figured I would rather be safe than sorry and scurried around on Saturday morning digging winter boots and gloves out of boxes. Plus after a rainy week of my son being home on fall break from school, we were starting to get pretty snippy with each other. Time to get out of the house!!
It’s about 80 CHF (88 USD) for an adult roundtrip ticket, and kids are half price. BUT the cables cars are considered public transportation, so we stopped at the train station in Montreux on the way and picked up a Junior Travel Card for my son. With the card, you get a year of public transportation free for only 30 CHF. So that paid for itself on the first day. An amazing deal!! Highly recommended.
Once you get to the top of the mountain you have several options for activities. They have a ski lift, a restaurant, a fun park for sledding, a snow park for snowboarding, a glacier walk, dog sledding, an alpine coaster (only open in the summer), a snow bus (closed due to COVID), and the pièce de résistance…the Peak Walk. The Peak Walk is a 351-foot long pedestrian suspension bridge and the first in the world to connect two mountain peaks.
We had a wonderful time admiring the fall colors on the way, riding the cable car, and walking around in the snow. My son made an obligatory snow angel, and we walked up to the edge of the Peak Walk. I didn’t feel the need to walk out onto it, and we still had some amazing views. Because of the clouds we couldn’t see the rest of Alps, but I’m still happy with our experience. We could see the dog sleds running on the glacier and hear the sounds of barking carried across the snow. I thought they didn’t start until November 3, so obviously we will have to go back.
Then we stopped at the restaurant for lunch and shared a mediocre cheeseburger with fries, an iced tea, and an apple juice…for $37 USD. At first I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to eat in the restaurant as many places around Switzerland are now requiring that you download a contact tracing app on your phone.
We’re not allowed to download random apps on US government phones, so some folks from the mission have been denied service at various places. But my kiddo was getting hangry, so I had to at least check…and, even though they had a big sign on the door for the app, it turned out that they were also allowing you to simply write your information on paper.
After lunch, we decided it was time to head back down. We had a lovely time in the snow, and our good moods were restored. We even had our image captured on the webcam…lol.