The party set out on Boxing Day, and after a smooth Channel crossing from Dover to Calais arrived by train in Mels, Switzerland, after travelling over-night through France.
The short wait at Mels station for the bus to the Hotel Waldheim, gave the first glimpse of the huge snow covered bulk of the mountains which towered over the valley in which the town stood.
The Hotel Waldheim stands high above Mels among firs on a mountainside, a steep, twisty ice- covered road away from the town. The slopes on which we went ski-ing everyday, including the first, were near the Hotel. Like so many things, ski-ing looks easy when an expert speeds down the slope and stops in his tracks. However, to the beginner it is no small achievement to get from the top to the bottom of the slope in one piece. An exhilarating sense of speed is obtained, but the instructors were most concerned with us learning the basic techniques of stopping, turning in any one of many situations, and that of falling in the way least likely to lead to broken bones. On returning from the slopes, the over-friendly hotel staff always greeted us with a large meal, in the Swiss manner.
On the day before we left, the gentle slopes were abandoned, and the party went via cable car, up to the premier ski-ing centre in the area, the Piz Sol. The rain and low cloud did not at all detract from the enjoyment of seeing wonderful ski-ing on the mountain, performed by "real" skiers.
Two or three days before this we forsook ski-ing altogether, and the party went by coach on a trip from Mels to the town of Lindaw in West Germany, on the shores of Lake Constance. The bus took us along the Rhine Volley from Mels across the border into Vaduz, capitol of Liechtenstein, out again into Austria, and finally into Germany and the island city of Lindaw. The visit to this ancient town on the shores of the blue lake with mist-hung mountains on the horizon was an unexpected pleasure for everyone. We returned to Mels through the Austrian town of Feldkirch and when we had returned to our Hotel we had been in four countries in one day.
At the end of the all too short ten days, some of the most proficient skiers among us had
gained their Bronze Medals in a test. Everyone had greatly enjoyed their stay among the
mountains and their friendly people. And so we were a little sad when we came to leave for
Calais, Dover and England.