Switzerland is hands down the most beautiful country I have ever been in. It doesn’t even look real and it doesn’t feel real because it is just too pretty. I am extremely jealous of every person that lives near the alps because I could just stare at them all day and be content.
Also, the air has a very fresh mountain smell. I was never in the city, just small villages so Zurich and other places are probably much different than the towns/villages I have been in. I grew up near the ocean so I am used to the smell of the sea but not this type of air, it was real mountain air and I loved it.
Now I wasn’t actually on vacation, I was working for the family I AuPaired for. I never had any days off in Switzerland but my hours weren’t too long, 8am-11am, then 2pm-5/6pm. We were there for about a week and if I had the chance, I would move there. I know I said that about Munich, but I would also move to Switzerland…maybe it will happen one day. Who knows.
The houses in Saas, Switzerland look like gingerbread houses dotted along the hills. They were brown and had decorative shutters with green, white and red designs painted on them. A lot of houses also had plants hanging from the windows, they just looked so cute and so well put together. Also, the Saas train station I went to had cows next to it with bells on. I felt like I was on a movie set.
I had one funny experience in Switzerland I must share. My best friend, the 4-year-old I looked after, was out skiing with her family and accidentally went to the bathroom (#2) in her ski suit. I was with the mother and the baby at the chalet so the dad called to see if we could come get her. We took the train and went up the gondola and arrived.
When we got there, my friend seemed a bit embarrassed by her accident so I tried to cheer her up by telling her this happens to everyone at some point in their lives. Accidents can happen! The mother then told me to get the gondola back down the mountain, then catch the train which comes once an hour back to the chalet. I knew this was not going to happen. I 100% knew it. I asked the mother what should I do if (when) I missed the train and she assured me I wouldn’t. The train was coming in exactly 20 mins and that is how long the gondola ride was so I figured we would catch the bus or something. It was my problem it seemed because the mother just didn’t think the gondola took that long and in hindsight I should have been more insistent.
Myself and my little friend got on the gondola and began our descent. The whole ride smelled like someone had let a big one rip, I opened the window but it didn’t make much of a difference. She began to lighten up about 10 mins into the ride and seemed to get excited that she had some time with just me and her because usually I had to share my time with her sister and her brother. My friend stood up and started talking about all the trees and good she was getting at skiing. I agreed.
Sure enough, as we were about 2 mins away from landing, I saw the train pull in the station and then out. Awesome. Now to navigate the all-German bus route to the station that I didn’t know the name of and I had only to rely on the memory and language skills of a four-year-old.
This is how it went:
I didn’t want to let my friend know that I had no idea where to go so I just said our plans changed and now we were going to take the bus, she seemed unfazed by this. I went to the bus station sign to figure out which number to take and of course it didn’t say which stop was in the place where we were staying so I casually told her I was going to ask someone a question about it. We went over to a random person (nobody was working at the station at the time) and I asked if he spoke English or French and he said no so then I proceeded to speak to him in my very broken German. This went about as well as you would expect. After a minute of confusing back and forth I asked my little friend if she could ask the nice man in German which station is in Saas (I think there were more than one but luckily I remembered the road name where we were staying). Also, which direction is that again?
So we find out our route after taking to about 3 people and then we wait and our bus comes about 15 mins later. We get on and all goes well from there, I spoke with a very nice older woman who said she would let me know when to get off which was very sweet of her. My little friend seemed to be enjoying this change of scenery and started singing to herself as she looked out the window and then asked me hushed questions about the people around us. How old is that man? Why does he look so serious?
Our time came to get off the bus as the older woman came over to let me know. We thanked her and got off and then the bus drove away. I looked around and recognized nothing. Absolutely nothing. Unlike the train station, which was about a 3 minute walk from the chalet, the bus was apparently not. I didn’t want my friend to know I didn’t know where we were so I just pretended that I can control of things and we were just going to take a little stroll. Mind you, it has been about 40 minutes since I picked her up on the ski hill and she has been sitting in her own excrement for at least that long and the temperature when you are down in the valley is much higher than up on the alps. Poor thing. Lucky for us, she was a good sport and seemed to be way over it now.
I looked around and noticed that the hill we were on dipped down a bit so I figured it would be best to go there, as I remembered that the train station was at the very bottom of the hill so we should pass right by the chalet if we go down. We cross the road and start walking for about 5 minutes and come to a little setup/shrine to Jesus and my little friend wants to kneel down and pray. I allow her to do this and also kneel down with her. She crossed my forehead and hers and we get up and go about our way. We continue on our way and then my little friend then sees some sheep and asks me if we can go pet them, I say yes because why not. She prances over, still in her ski suit and ski boots and we go over to the sheep and talk about how cute they are but how they might not make the best pets.
At this time, I am thinking we really should have been back by now so I shooed her along and we started walking again. As we were walking she said to me that she was warm and tired and asked me if I could carry her. I looked at her and she did look pretty warm and sleepy, so I got her to zip down her suit to her waist and then I held my breath and hoisted her up on my back (the smell….). I was just praying we were going the right way. Within 5 minutes of walking and my back hurting we finally reached a road sign I recognized. I was never so happy. We kept walking for a bit then she got off my back and walked the rest of the way with me.
Once we got back, she got a bath and I threw her clothes in the washer while trying my best to not make a grossed out face or breathe through my nose. I don’t think I did a great job but it was finally over. Everyone was happy. We then ate, relaxed, played games and I secretly congratulated myself for being the best AuPair ever.
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