When traveling, we always have a dilemma of what cameras to bring. We have a small point-and-shoot camera, a DSLR camera, a video camera, and of course our phones. Lately, we’ve been leaving the video camera behind because we realized that watching videos of us just wandering around are a bit blah. But after this particular weekend in Gimmelwald, we came up with a solution: if a member of the Dunn family is involved, the video camera is coming.
The thing about the Dunn’s, particularly my aunt, dad, and grandma, is that you never know what is going to happen. You can be out to a normal dinner for four and all of a sudden, brand new friends have been made and tables squeeze together to make a party of ten. You will wake up in Africa to find that the half the staff has seen Gram in the raw. You will be riding a bus when a Dunn member breaks out in song and manages to get anyone and everyone to join the chorus. They love the element of surprise, thus a video camera is a necessity.
This past year, I have seen my aunt more often than when we lived in the same country. She has been traveling back and forth to London for work, and it’s given us a great excuse to see each other…and in new and exciting places no less. She booked a trip to Zurich on a Tuesday and flew in on Friday night. By Saturday morning, we were heading to the Swiss Alps via train, bus, gondola, and foot.
I have to say, there is nothing more picturesque than the Swiss mountain towns. We stayed in the quaint town of Gimmelwald and were happily surprised. With two restaurants and four hotels, there is not a ton to do, but you don’t need a ton to do when you have that view.
We were having our first lunch and beers upon arrival at Pension Gimmelwald, when Mary Ann started questioning the waiter on his favorite thing to do in town. Base jumping, paragliding, hiking, a helicopter ride?
He told us how great paragliding is, and before our stomachs could start twisting in knots, she signed us up. Had it been Jon and I, we probably would have contemplated it all weekend and eventually gone home without pulling the trigger. Gosh, we are so boring sometimes. That’s why we need some Dunn’s in our life.
To distract my nerves in the 24 hours before jumping off a mountain, we did a bit of exploring. We hiked about 45 minutes up to Murren and took a gondola to Piz Gloria.
I guess one of the early James Bond movies was filmed there, so there is a Bond museum, including a cool screen where you too can be Bond, Jon Bond.
There was also a rotating restaurant to let you have a 360 view of the Alps. Unfortunately, the famous Jungfrau and other mountains were hiding that day, so the rotating restaurant didn’t do much but give us sea legs.
The next morning, we hung out in our hotel treehouse. This was my kind of treehouse- no climbing needed and bean bag chairs to hang out. I could have stayed there all day long. Instead, we took our last hike up to Murren for our plunge into the valley.
We got strapped in and I wanted to go first so I had no time to back out. I have actually done it before in Chile, but I swear, the older I get, the more scared I am. Though from my previous experience, I knew that once the responsibility was transferred to a professional, I could relax. So, I took one, two, three quick steps down the mountain and we were lifted into the air! I immediately calmed down and enjoyed every minute. Jon, the insurance broker, doesn’t like transferring risk, so he was a bit more tense in the air.
I was flailing my arms about and he could barely give me a wave because he wouldn’t let go of the straps. Mary Ann and our niece, Elena, were loving it just as much as me and we had huge grins on our faces for hours after we landed.
Feeling the wind on our faces, breathing the fresh air, looking at the town below and the mountains beside us really made it a spectacular experience. They even let us take the reigns and fly! And the stomach wrenching finish included spinning the parachute around in circles until we landed on our two feet.
It was an experience of a lifetime and I’m so glad we did it. Cheers to a wonderful weekend in Gimmelwald, and to a very special aunt who makes our life more fun.
Happy Birthday, Mary Ann! As long as you continue to not act your age, I won’t tell anyone the number.