Tuesday, December 22, 2009


So we knew it would take us at least 8 hours to get to Switzerland, but the above complicated everything and it took about 13 hours! Once we got to northern Italy the roads were thicky blanketed in snow which was a challenge for our little Panda.

But by about 10am we finally made it to Zermatt. This place is super exclusive and you can't even drive into the town, you have to take this little train.

The town is this little village nestled at the base of all these really stunning mountains. Tons of upscale shops and chalets. Posh people all over the place. It was like an upscale Park City.

Just getting up to the slopes was an ordeal. First off we got on a train which climbed up into the mountains for at least a half hour. At some points they had cut a path out for the train right through the rock of the alps. It totally reminded me of the dark passages of the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland - I kept a sharp eye out for the red eyes of the abominable snow monster... hehe! Then we had to get on a gondola, then another gondola and then another lift and we still didn't even make it to the top of the mountain. Aparently you can actually ski that resort in Italy and Switzerland. It is on such a bigger scale than anything I have seen in the states. The great part about all the time riding up the lifts is that then you can ride down for a bout 30 minutes of so. So fantastic! And the snow is amazing, light and fluffy. I wouldn't say it's better than Utah snow, but it is right on par.

Up toward the top we got right to the base of the Matterhorn!!! It was stunning! Like meeting a celebrity. It was SO windy up there, it felt very artic.

Jason and I had a great time. He is of course a way better boarder than I am, but he did his thing and waited for me at the bottom. My body was rejecting the sport since it is the first time I have been this year and my skills were rusty at the beginning so I fell a couple times and jacked my knees. I let Jason do one run by himself while I looked for some pain killer at one of the restaurants and things were better after that. The runs were really cool too, snow was great, the best one was like a wide cat track, so you had to carve quite a bit and it was pretty steep, so that one was fun.

Only not fun part was this huge long flat stretch at the end getting back into town, but it walked along by this really great little river which made for a beautiful walk. It was a seriously amazing day!

The drive back to Milan to the airport turned out to be just as snowy except this time we were going over a steep mountain pass and had very poor traction on those high mountian roads so we were driving about 10mph most of the way. And then there was the above to deal with.....Once we were getting close to Milan the annoying Italian signs were the worst. No warning of when things will be coming up and then all of a sudden you come to a junction and this is what you have to process in a split second! I came to a complete stop here on the freeway to figure out our route. There were serious miracles taking place so that we could get to our destinations in Italy.

We got to Italy and FINALLY returned our rental car (blasted budget car rental companies) We returned the car to the parking lot (by this time it was at least 11pm) and the sign said to drop the key in the slot at the rental desk. Well every other rental company had a rental desk in that parking lot.....except ours!!! Ahhhh! It was freezing and snowing and we were wandering around the parking lot in the snow with all our luggage trying to find the stupid Locauto desk! (Thank goodness for those wellies we bought in Venice) Finally we went inside the terminal and found their indoor rental desk and saw there a little hole cut in the metal covering the rental desk....ghetto....we were so happy to be rid of that thing.
Then it was airport waiting time.... At this point we were totally sleep deprived from driving the whole night before and snowboarding all day and we had a night in the airport ahead of us. We were not willing to risk missing our flight this time. So we just hunkered down with a bunch of other holiday travelers. A bunch of flights had been cancelled due to the snow, so there were a lot of people. The easyjet people were handing out 4 euro food vouchers we could use in the airport. When I got mine I realized how incredibly cheep I am.....my happiness was bought for 4 euros. I was honestly much happier after a free meal.
I slept like a baby sitting up in that metal chair, and then about 4 am we got in this huge crowd of random travelers. Easyjet was a complete mess...what a terrible time for your airline organization to completly shut down. No destinations posted, workers and travelers yelling. The stress level was extremely high, but luckily we finally got through, with a little cunning and checked our bags and were on our way.
Traveling just takes so long! We didn 't get back to my place until about 2pm even though our flight was supposed to leave Milan at 7:30. It was so nice to be home!

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