So much has happened that we haven’t had time (or power/internet) to blog about, so before it is lost to the mists of time, let me tell you about our time in Disentis-Sedrun. After Andermatt, we took the train to Disentis.
We rode our bikes through town and down the steep hills to Camping Disentis where we pitched our tent. This place turned out to be something of a paradise, especially for kids. The European campgrounds we’ve experienced have been very nice, with excellent facilities. Camping Disentis puts them all to shame. All the basic facilities – showers, bathrooms, etc. were very, very nice, and super clean. They had a nice restaurant with a patio facing a lawn with a bounce house for kids.
It is just out of frame, but there was an ice cream stand and a small shop selling all sorts of goodies. You could also place orders for fresh bread, delivered each morning. The Rhine River ran along the edge of the camp. Because we were still so close to its source, the Rhine here is often called the “Young” Rhine. The waters are still crystal clear and cold, and known for hiding gold! Many of you may know Richard Wagner’s famous opera The Rhinegold. We didn’t see any Rhinemaidens, but we did see lots of people panning for gold!
We spent hours exploring the shallow rapids of the river, panning for gold, and just having fun. We even had a favorite spot for having our meals in the river. We had boulders for seats and the cold water of the river to chill our feet and our drinks.
At camp, there were clear streams and springs feeding a beautiful swimming hole, with a raft that the kids can pull across like a ferry.
There were hundreds of kids and families staying in RV’s and tents, but surprisingly it never seemed too busy. We learned a little bit about Swiss culture in our stay here. The camp was crowded, but it was never noisy. There was no music, much less loud music playing anywhere, ever. There was constant conversation, but no one was loud. In the mornings, when we awoke, we could hear the birds sining and the rushing sounds of the river, but not our neighbors, even if they were in the tent just feet from ours. The Swiss campers all seemed to adhere to the same routine. Most had breakfast at their tent or RV. Breakfast was fresh bread with jam and butter, muesli, or yoghurt. On to the daily outdoor activities. In the late afternoon a sweet treat, perhaps ice cream around 3:30 or 4:00.
Late afternoon everyone headed to the shower to clean up, followed by dinner. After dinner there were three main activities: badminton, cards, and reading. Many of the kids quietly played cards or badminton, some sat quietly and read books. Yes, actual paper books. No one had electronic devices. No cameras, no phones, no iPods, no computers. Compared to home, it was shocking how many people actually read books! What a nice surprise. It was also interesting to see how virtually everyone was on the same schedule. I guess that’s a function of Switzerland being a small, homogenous country. It was nice.