Once there were six friends: Ross, Chandler, Joey and… (oh wait, that’s another story…)
But this one is also about three guys and three girls:
New friendships formed;
And also, friendships deepened and strengthened 🙂
That’s what God can do using the Swiss Alps and it’s incredible views and wonderful moments. This is my attempt and unpacking of our magical week:
A few months back, Charlie invited to go on this Oakhall holiday. I decided it would be a rad adventure in my 40th year. 🙂
So I signed up. And I am so thankful for that! It was such a incredible time!
Sat 15th Feb, was a day of travelling. I love living in Europe… (oh wait, England is not part of that anymore… 😦 )
I wrote about how I find it fascinatng that Saturday morning started with us in Milton Keynes, and then that evening found us in our room in Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. The joy and wonder of travel. See my thoughts HERE
So from a lift in a car, train trip, flight and then transfer mini coach we get to our destination.
After putting our bags in our room and unpacking. Us 3 go to get our boards and boots.
Our room was a cosy little room with 4 beds and a view onto to the river running outside. It was so pleasant and dreamy falling asleep to the sound of the river outside. (Were we in a fairytale?)
The accomodation block is comfortable. I liked the communal dining area. Our evening meetings where there. That’s where we ate our meals and made our lunch.
So a general day on an Oak Hall Holiday looks like this:
06:30 we woke up
07:15 prayer in the bomb shelter (yes, there is one of those, haha!)
07:30 Making our lunch for the day and breakfast
08:00 we headed out to the bus that took us to the slopes
We “milked those mountains” (A phrase my friends ripped me off about.)
17:00 Arrive back sometime after that
20:00 Worship and talk
21:00 Group activity. One night we did a quiz, the other night we had a dessert fondue and the Thurs Night we headed to Wengen to have our evening meeting in a church.
22:30 Bed time
By the time the day ended we were shattered! But a good sort of tired. After pushing it for a whole day on the slopes, that sleep is welcome.
I did chuckle to myself by day 3 after having to get up “so early” – it felt like a school trip. BUT NOT!!! It’s wasn’t like we were forced to get up to go do something SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME!!!
I managed to get to three of the morning prayer sessions. The trip was a gift from God – and how can one be in His magnificent creation and ignore the Creator Himself.
Was good to pray for others.
The verse that came to mind:
“This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118: 24)
Each day, we had to make our own lunch. That was kinda cool. (That we took with us for the day. What a waste it would be to come back to the chalet / accomodation during the day.)
Each day, we had the most incredible scenery accompanying our lunch breaks:
Plus we had one or two Apres Ski moments:
A beer that high up is always a winner!
At this point, I am going to switch from a daily journal approach to a highlights reel:
The photos I have shared don’t do justice but it was absolutely breathtaking drinking in those views. The snowcapped and snowcovered mountains for as far as the naked eye (haha, an expression that will catch on) can see.
It was an invitation to God’s back garden that we accepted.
The backdrop of the blue sky. And on the last day, from Bond World (a 007 museum) we were above the clouds. The clouds blanketed the valley below.
How can one not believe with those views?
The lyrics from Dustin’s Kensrue “What beautiful things”
“I lift my eyes to the the azure skies and sing.
Oh what beautiful things I see”
The first day; it was a Sunday – Arran and I were seperated from the group… so we just hung out.
At some point I turned to him and said “This is my kind of church service.”
I remember during the week, sitting on the chair lifts and just looking across to the mountains. Words were not needed.
Arran and I were lucky to see a artic fox sitting so still in the snow. A rare sighting indeed.
And if anyone knows me well they will know I have a thing for birds. Each day we were greeted by those sweet little creations:
Romans 1: 20 comes to mind:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Oh yes, I just remembered. One of the peaceful highlights in the morning and afternoon were the train trips up and down the mountain. Just sitting in the train peering out the window, look at the scenery pass you by.
(Again, the video doesn’t do justice)
When last have you just stared out the window of a train?
On the Thursday we got to do the Thrill Walk.
That was epic!
A walk along the side of the mountain and one can see the drop below their feet.
There was a glass section to walk over.
Some netting too.
Love that sort of “playing with heights” thing 😉
The craziest thing was taking out my ski goggles after 10 years. They’ve travelled with me to South Africa and back. (Always in my suitcase. On call for one day… when the slopes would call me back.)
So after 10 years, when I started on that first run… I was nervous.
And as the day went by… it all came back to me.
And can you just imagine after 6 days…
I found my feet again.
Doing little ollies. Attempting little 180 ollies.
And just carving and leaning more and picking up my speed.
That sound of the snow racing below the board…
The sun hanging overheard cheering you on.
And on one day, I boarded with a sountrack featuring Jeremy Loops and Biffy Clyro.
It was truly epic!
There is a banter in my office about me going on and on about mu holidays. (Oh dear! haha!) So on that note:
From drinking gluhwein next to those flame heaters, to laughter on the chair lifts and around the table. Seeing mountain goats skipping on the mountain above, the sound of the running river, walking in the graveyard on Tues night. Singing This is Our God in a church in Wengen. Eating a cheese fondue and a chocolate one too. From Evelyne throwing wine on me, so classic! Playing darts. Sipping on that refreshing lager on Sunday afternoon. Being fully present on those slopes. Going offpiste – hearing that powder sound. Being above the clouds. Sitting on a chair lift whilst a snow storm hovers over the mountain. Drinking Swiss Hot Chocolate. Playing Curling. Eating those world-famous apple cakes with vanilla sauce at Bergrestaurant Brandegg. What a treat last week was! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Oak Hall.
Of the weird fondue:
So I almost forgot about the weird fondue night. Wednesday (a week ago today) us six headed for dinner. Swiss themed…
Hilariously we end up in a place called Pasta and More. How Italian!
Then Kiki comes out. She is our waitress. Very forward and almost forecful… making the decisions for us.
I ended “following the crowd” abd ordering fondue too.
(But i knew it was all wrong when it arrived at our table.)
Bread pieces and potatoes.
That’s it! No meat. 🤦♂️
I was devastated.
I couldn’t stop laughing…
I should have looked further down the menu…
I’m sure there must have been a meat option.
Then to top it off… there were pictures of cows on each wall of the restaurant:
It’s like they were teasing me: “You should have ordered something with meat.”
From England, from Canada, From South Africa,
Three guys and three ladies who became friends. 🙂
(If you got this far, thank you. I like writing. I like capturing moments and memories.)
Looking at my photos of this past trip I can see I was really beaming in a lot of the photos. Was truly happy! I felt like my soul was truly alive! (Not that it isn’t alive in ordinary daily life.) But this trip was just the cherry on top. So so thankful! 🙂
I once heard this saying: “One doesn’t learn from experiences.”
“One learns from the reflection of experiences.”