Friends in sickness and in health.
We are in Switzerland, land of goats, Mountains and Toblerone, we had if you have read the previous blog ... Carol? we have just had 3 great weeks in France. However an opportunity to meet up with our friends, who were walking the 'tour of the Matterhorn" had us crossing the border to try and meet up.
We drove up one side of a mountain in France and down the otherside and we were in a whole new country, I love being part of the EU, its a shame that soon we won't be, but here is not a platform for political debate, tis a platform for fun and frolics. So with this in mind we headed off towards Zinal.
The first thing I noticed is how the roads are so twisty, and how quickly you can become car sick driving up them as the corkscrew around and around and around, bleurgh ... I'm not good on twisty things. However as the steering wheel is on the righthand side of the van, I was distracted from my increasing nausea by the cold grip of fear as the road drops off a precipis on every bend. Jac became quite vocal about me clinging to the middle white line as obviously cars were heading towards her, on some tight bends, but I ignored her pleas to shift the f**K over as she couldn't see the alarming drop off on my side so I figured the potential of a few dents to her side was better than a squished van. I am pleased to report that neither us or the van received any squishing.
We arrived in Zinal and found a nice flat parking space on the outskirts of town and then we found our friends too. It was great to catch up with the lovely Shazzer & Marc, also Chris "crutch " McEwan & final meet the lovely Alastair Von Harding. They were all a bit knackered having trekked for 5 days to get there, (Nutters, normally its us) where as we had just rocked up in the van. They had also picked up a new friend Vance the 'WHITE NINJA " on the trail, he ended up pitching his little tent in front of the van. Fortunately for us he didn't snore and he was an excellent cook and rustled up the most amazing brunch breakfast the next day. A lovely day was spent with them and then they headed off into the distant mountains. We arranged to meet them at the end of their trek in Zermatt in a weeks time, and carried some of their extra kit, Alastair ... a glass jar of pickles, no matter how tasty they are, this is not a sensible snack to carry in your backpack across the mountains!!! especially when that backpack already weighs as much as a small horse..... just saying.
So we were all set for a few days trekking around Zinal when word arrived that Chris had twisted her knee and was unable to continue the walk :( she was currently stranded in Les Hauderes the next valley over. Well as we have a big white van and are used to caring for the elderly ... We arranged patient transfer and picked her up, we then had a very entertaining afternoon in Sion Hospital, where we didn't speak any Swiss, and they didn't speak much English but we are very skilled in charades and did a good mime of a sore knee, and a falling off mountains. It must have worked as they came out with a bag of ice for her knee and once she had gone blue, whisked her off to X-ray. After that she was returned to us with two crutches and a splint on her Ankle, which is quite good considering she went in with a sore knee!!
We decided that we should head to Zermatt, where Chris could get a hotel and rest up for a few days until the guys finished their trek, so we all piled into the van and had an entertaining few hours driving there in a storm.
Now Zermatt is car free, however we had not worked out how to get into Zermatt with our crippled friend, and in fairness one little sign on a road with some crossed out pictures of cars, bikes and push bikes is not a great indication that the road you are on, you are not actually allowed on, and it was dark, so we just carried on. I am a great believer in F**k it, it will be fine, where as Jac is a great believer in planning ahead and knowing details before hand ... but hey I was driving so we did it my way.
Things I Have learnt:
Zermatt is car free, it is also Van free, how you get to Zermatt is on a train, trains are very very expensive, but then again not as expensive as a 500 Swiss franc fine, which as yet we don't seem to have got... thankfully. Other ways to get to Zermatt are walking, (not on crutches) and cycling. If you choose to cycle go on the road, do NOT follow the cycle signs as these will lead you up the side of a very large mountain, which is very rocky and you will end up having to push your trusty stead uphill for a very long time, then you will spend a long time going down the other side saying words like shiiiiiiiiiiitttt and trying to keep your boobs in your bra, as they are attempting to pop out and give you a black eye on the rocky descent.
For once it was nice to be in a hospital that wasn't because of me!
Do not attempt to push your injured friend in a wheelchair up a very large step, it will likely cause her to shriek very loudly, and you to pull something in your groin.