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Fulfilling Dreams - Swiss Travel Fantasies

View The Mountains Call Again - Switzerland April 2023 on littlesam1's travel map.


Diane Arbus said the word fantasies means " to indulge in reverie. to create or develop imaginative and often fantastic views or ideas. Doing things I'd fantasized about in my sheltered childhood" I was raised in a very sheltered childhood. I escaped through movies to worlds I thought I would never see and imagined adventures I would never be able to do. I have been very fortunate in my adult life to live out many of those childhood fantasies. Counting my blessings I often think of my family. I often wonder what dreams and fantasies my parents and grandmother had. I think about what they wanted to see and do but but were never able to fulfill those dreams. My mother never traveled abroad. She was a child of the depression and a young adult of the World War II years. Travel was just not an option for her. My father was raised in the country. He had a seventh grade education. I doubt he ever thought about Europe or world travel growing up. But he did get to travel to Europe. And it was no fantasy. He was drafted during World War II and almost died from war wounds in Italy near Rome. My grandmother was born poor and struggled most of her life. She married a young soldier she met during the World War I years. They met when he was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland near her home town. They married and they moved back to his home in Indiana. To my grandmother that was a huge move. She gave birth to her first child in Indiana. The child was still born and she went into a great depression and just wanted to return to her home in Maryland. So they returned to Maryland and that was the extent of her travel for her entire life.


I love this photo. This was my grandmother in her late sixties. She lived just a two hour drive from the Atlantic Ocean yet had never been to see it. I remember this day how she stared out at the ocean for the longest time fascinated with the waves and the sand. She is sitting here with my sister Shelley and my father. She was his mother in law and he treated her with love and respect. They are in Ocean City, Maryland. To this day Ocean City is still a favorite destination for my sister.

One of my mothers fantasies was to visit New York City. She wanted to see a taping of The Tonight Show and maybe even a Broadway play. She never got to New York. The thought of taking a car or train to New York was just beyond her comprehension. We did have vacations growing up. We visited Ocean City. We took mountain trips to Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway. My father loved his boat and we spent many vacations on his boat up and down the Chesapeake Bay.

I was never satisfied with any of that. I had big fantasies and places I wanted to see. I watched the world through the imagination of the James Bond movies. I wanted to see Switzerland where James Bond skied down the Schilthorn from Blofeld's sanctuary Piz Gloria on top of the mountain. I wanted to see Thailand where James Bond dueled with Scaramanga. And I wanted to see the Eiger in Switzerland, the mountain Clint Eastwood climbed the mountain in The Eiger Sanction. These were big fantasies. I was never satisfied with the safety of staying home. I wanted to get out and see the world. And I have been blessed as an adult to do this.


Twenty years ago I did get to visit Switzerland. It was a huge fantasty come true. I got to take the cable car 10,000 feet into the Alps and visit the top of Schilthorn where Piz Glora, Blofeld's home was located. The building is actually a rotating restaurant where I had lunch and a James Bond martini shaken not stirred.


In 2014 I had the opportunity to visit another fantasy location. Jams Bond Island in Thailand. This was the home to Bond villain Scaramanga. I was very excited about this vacation. However I slipped on a wet curb in Chiang Mai, Thailand and broke my ankle. I did not realize it was broken. We had three more days left of our vacation and I thought it was just a sprain. We flew from Chiant Mai to Phuket. And from there we took a boat out to James Bond Island. So I waded in from the boat to the shores of the island limping a little and hobbling a lot. I was the old man holding up the rest of the tourists on this excursion. But I was determined.

I think that if my parents and grandmother were still alive they would be shocked at the places I have visited. I know my husband Mark's parents would get upset with us traveling a lot. His father told us we were tempting fate. You can only fly so many times before something happens. And I am sure my parents would have had similar fears. My mother never flew an air plane. My father drove to New York City with a tractor and trailer for his job and said he would never drive in that city again. And to my knowledge that was his only time to ever see New York. But one of my biggest fantasies was yet to come.

Mark and I returned to Switzerland for our third visit, my fourth, in April 2023. We had a wonderful vacation, one of my favorite adventures of many we have shared. And finally the Eiger mountain awaited me. The mountain that Clint Eastwood challenged in The Eiger Sanction. Another movie fantasy for me.

We traveled by train from Zurich to Grindelwald. The Swiss trains are wonderful to use. They are extremely punctual. They are comfortable even in second class. And they allow you to see almost any location you want to see in Switzerland. The town of Grindelwald was beautiful.



We took a twenty five minute cable car ride up to First Mountain which faces the Eiger.


And then we did the cliff walk. A metal bridge attached to the side of the mountain 6,500 feet in elevation. This is not my photo. It's from a web site about the cliff walk. But it shows the walk better than my photos.


This was a thrill. Unlike Clint Eastwood (who did his own stunts) in The Eiger Sanction were were not hanging on the side of the Eiger. But we were facing it and looking directly at it.


And how did we end out visit?


With a well sanctioned Eiger glass of wine. I count my blessings. I am very fortunate. At age seventy still living out my fantasies. I think my parents and my grandmother would be shocked but yet thrilled if they were here. When I travel I often thing how much I would love to share the experiences with them. And I often wish I could tell them all about it when I return home.

Posted by littlesam1 17:45 Archived in Switzerland Tagged mountains thailand family switzerland schilthorn eiger piz_gloria james_bond_island

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I'm glad you made it back to Switzerland. It's such a beautiful country.I'm sure the view from that cliff walk is wonderful. It looks quite scary though.My dad wasn't interested in travelling, but my mum became interested later on in life. She never got the chance when young. She came to Cyprus to visit me and my husband, made it to the USA and was saving up to go to Australia when she died

by irenevt

You are living your life so well! Beautiful pictures.

by Barbara Snyder

Thanks for your story! I would be happy to pay a visit to Switzerland some day.

by Vic_IV

It is so good to hear from you Victor. I hope your life is coming back together the best that it can right now.

by littlesam1

Fun to hear your story. My grandmothers both loved travel as did my father. My maternal grandfather got to visit France as a draftee in World War I . . . not a fun way to visit. As for the bridge in Switzerland, there is nothing on this earth that could get me on that thing. I'm terrified of heights and that is the ultimate height machine! Well done.

by Beausoleil

Beautiful walk! I am sure my heart would have been pounding all the way on that bridge but I bet it woukd be worth it!

I have herited my travel bug from my maternal grandparents, they use to travel a lot!

by hennaonthetrek

Hennaonthetrek - Thanks for the comment. The bridge was wonderful and such n adrenalin rush. I would do it again if I ever return. We might be looking at Finland next year but am not sure.

by littlesam1

I can see why, the views must have been spectacular!
I am happy to help if you have any Finland-related questions :)

by hennaonthetrek

Wow, that cliff walk looks amazing! And a fabulous post reflecting on the privileges that allow us to travel. A lot of what you say about our parents' generation resonated with me. My mother was terrified of flying but did travel with father a little, mainly to France which they both loved. Dad was in the RAF just after the war and I think would have liked to travel more but wouldn't have dreamed of doing so without Mum! However he enjoyed hearing about our travels. Chris's Dad had been in the army and not liked his various postings abroad. He did come to Austria with us to visit friends but hated most of it. He was someone who preferred to sleep in his own bed if he could! But my mother in law was different. She had fantasised about visiting various places when younger, places she saw on travelogues at the cinema. We took her on a few trips and she loved them all - Paris, Lisbon, Rome (she was half-Italian) and the Rhine Valley. But when we travelled without her and further afield, she always worried!

by ToonSarah

What a way to go!!! You should never stop traveling and chasing your dreams that's for sure!
I love the story you told of your grand parents and parents. I always say that they should travel more since now they still have the opportunity, but since the learned to work for their whole life it seems like a sort of punishment just to take a day of ... luckily because of me traveling as much as I possible can, I managed to introduce them the last decade or two to travel even it is our neigbouring countries. Sometimes I take them on a trip and afterwards they always tell me that they were glad they got the chance to see it, but on their own they would never do it and just like your grandparents, my grandfather was a farmer who sadly enough died when I was 18 years old, can you believe he too never saw the sea which is also a two hours drive from the place we live. We live in such a tiny country and still he never left his home! For me this sounds crazy and I always wanted to see the world, geography was my escape really. I turned the globe and which spot my finger landed on, I wanted to read as much as I possibly could. Maybe that's why now that I have the chance, I just want to see all the countries hoping that my finger never stops hitting one on that globe! :)

by Ils1976

Ils interesting about both of our grandmothers being so close to the sea and not seeing it. And much like you geography was my big escape. It's sad today that in most high schools geography is not on the curriculum here.

by littlesam1

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