Monday, 27 April 2009

Little Fish the Navigator

Scenes from a Mountainside, somewhere in Switzerland (Ballenberg, to be precise).

Friend and I wilted in the heat after pushing the girls straight up the mountainside. There's a map on the website. It lies. The path between Ticino and Central Switzerland is not a gentle straight line which just happens to cross one or two gradient lines. It's a zig-zagging, hairpin bend, walk straight upwards holding a giant buggy over your head, semi paved with giant boulders and a sheer drop kind of a path. Happily, we were in Switzerland, which appears to be a nation incapable of watching tourists struggle*. So, having been warned by several people that the path would be "dure but not unfeasable", other strangers stepped in, teams formed around the girls' chairs, and we were marched up at a pace which certainly helped reduce the queue behind us but did nothing for ourselves. Well, except get us to the top of the path, obviously. Mad dogs and English Women, out in the midday sun.

So, Friend and I reduced to limp puddles, Little Fish took charge. She took the map and ran her finger arcoss the route. And then got annoyed with us for laughing at her and insisted we followed on.
And then found us a pretty houseAnd gave us a "see, I knew where I was going" grin.

And then posed us for a photographShe'll go far. Very far. Like back down the side of the mountain, if she isn't very careful


*sometimes it would have been more useful to have been allowed to struggle. There was the woman at the train station for example, who refused to allow me to get out at the stop I wanted, because she thought I wanted level three where the customer services were, and I wanted platform three, where Friend was waiting with most of the baggage. We nearly missed the train whilst I summonsed up what little German I had to explain "I have a friend there." She looked confused. It was only later I realised I had been saying "I have a happiness there." Oh well.

Then there was the guard at the next train station who firmly escorted me into the lift and down into the station. A shame he hadn't noticed us leaving the same lift 30 seconds earlier; what he mistook for dithering about how to operate the lift (tip: summons the lift, enter, press the button, depart) was in fact dithering about which side of the lift Friend was waiting with second small child.

The couple in the restaurant who helpfully escorted us out through the double doors and onto the pavement. We'd only been looking for the menu. Again though, I suspect asking for a menu rather than a "we can to eat please" might have helped.

And the guard who insisted we ran the full length of an insanely long train to enter the final carriage because it was very definitely the best carriage for children. Why? Because it had a playroom upstairs. I suppose it was nice he didn't notice the wheelchairs...


mq, cb said...

LF is so cool! She is the bomb. I definitely want to be in her fan club. The Swiss that you met sound as though their hearts were in the place, even if it didn't always quite work out as well as it might have done. It could have been a lot worse, I suppose.

Tia said...

Oh could've been much worse. It was wonderful, actually - we knew that everywhere we went we would be able to get on and off the trains because the other passengers would automatically stop and help us. The guard on one train was very upset because we didn't wait for him to come and lift Mog down but just bumped her off the steps. One bus driver simply made his bus wait until the next one came along so he could help the other driver lift her on - wonderful.



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