Graubünden is to date, my favourite place in the world. After spending time in Stuttgart, it was time for us to see some more of Jess’ family in Switzerland. We would be staying with Roberto and Rachel, who had visited Jess’ family in Australia when they were around our age.
We arrived by train into Chur via Zurich. The ride into Chur was very exciting for us. Firstly the lakes amazed us, followed shortly by the mountains. As the time to our arrival became closer, we seemed to climb higher and higher into the mountains and before we knew it we had arrived in the charming little town.
Meeting us at the train platform was Roberto, whom Jess spotted from the train. Jess was 8 when she last saw Roberto in person, but she was sure it was him. Jess was re-acquainted with Roberto, and I was introduced to another member of my new family. We were driven back to Roberto and Rachel’s house, which is in a small village called Domat/Ems. I was introduced to Rachel and the both of us met their two beautiful girls, Sara and Dania. Lunch was waiting for us, and I looked out of their living room window for the first time. From this point on, looking out of their windows towards the mountains became a regular occurrence for me.
When Roberto and Rachel visited Australia it was Easter, so it was only fitting that we spent Easter with them too. Our original intentions were to stay the long weekend until Easter Monday and then leave, however we ended up staying until the following Friday, not only because we loved the area, but the people too.
We spent Good Friday at Tschappina, a ski field that their family frequents. In typical Switzerland style, we were both amazed. We were pulled up via a T-bar lift similar to that at Hammarbybacken, but this one just seemed to go forever. It saw us snowboarding down the slopes for a good 20 minutes before having to take the lift back up. The powder was deep and both Jess and I had a really great day. On the way home we were introduced to Roberto’s parents, sister and the younger generations too.
Saturday we were treated to yet another amazing day. Jess and I took the train with Roberto and Rachel from Chur to Arosa. It was a very scenic ride that gave us an even better idea of what Graubünden encompasses. Arosa is a popular place for skiers and snowboarders, but it is so much more than a ski field. We took the scenic walk up the mountain, taking in the views and the environment. Afterwards we caught the cable car to the Weisshorn summit, some 2657m above sea level. This was an experience in itself as neither Jess nor I had been in a cable car this large (able to carry 100 people!), however the view at the top was incredible.
Easter Sunday was really fun for us. While we weren’t with the family that we usually see on this day, we certainly weren’t without family. We started the day watching the girls run around the backyard looking for eggs, and then began our festive feast at the dinner table with the worlds’ greatest view by our side. I was in heaven! Later in the day we walked to Roberto’s sisters’ house again to catch up with the whole family one last time, and then to Roberto’s parents’ place to look at some photos and talk about our family back home.
We finished off Easter with a visit to the thermal bath at Bad Ragaz on Easter Monday. It was cold outside, but with the sun shining and the warm water, it was a really relaxing day. It was another one of many opportunities we had to get to know the family.
Roberto and Rachel treated us to a great time and we both really appreciate it. I could write all day about everything else that we did but I’m guessing most people have already skipped the text to look for the photos.
Honestly though, I loved staying in Domat/Ems for the week. As I have mentioned a few times before, Jess and I are finding more and more that we aren’t really the city type, so it has been great to spend some time in a quieter place. Not only is the environment amazing, the people seem to be in tune with the life that I want to lead. Riding your bike to the shops is perfectly normal here, along with spending your days outdoors, regardless of the weather. Mountain biking trails are probably a maximum of 5 minutes ride from anywhere in Domat/Ems, and there are more than enough ski fields nearby.
The kids here walk to school, unless they live further away and then they can ride a bike; in fact you aren’t allowed to drive them to or from school at all. This is perfectly normal to the residents, not “insane” like it would be at home in Australia. The people are smart too – most of them would know at least four languages. I can’t think of another way to describe this region other than “healthy”. It just made me so happy to walk out on the street and see the kids all playing, many of them riding their unicycles.
We leave with a lot of really great memories – ones that I would like to think that we won’t forget any time soon. We have not only been able to get to know family, I feel as though we’ve made some great friends. From the day we arrived, Jess and I were amazed by how alike we are as people to Roberto and Rachel.
Our return to Graubünden will be sooner rather than later, I’m sure. In the meantime however – ciao, tschüss, a revair and goodbye!