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Elaisha Goes...To Nendaz Switzerland: Photo story & City Guide

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I loved Nendaz (pronounced nen-dah), Switzerland so much I cried on my way to the Gare (train station). I felt an incredible rush of emotions as I said goodbye to the people I had met and the ski town that truly changed my life.

Keep reading for my complete guide to Nendaz, Switzerland.


 

How to Get there

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The easiest way there was to fly to Geneva then take the train from Geneve (Geneva in French) to Sion and hop on a local bus (that runs until 9 pm). The bus station was a quick walk from the Gare Sion (Sion train station). However, my plane to Geneva was full. So, I flew into Marseilles, France where I took the train to Geneve. It as a long day. The bright side was, I finally got to take a bit of a Euro-train tour. So I was pretty chill about it. I checked flight prices from Toronto to France and they were way cheaper than a direct flight to Switzerland. However, the daytime travel across France meant that I arrived too late. The bus had stopped service by the time I got there. So I had to pay $80CFH (Francs) for a cab up the mountain. It was then that I realized that Switzerland was going to be hella expensive.

Where to Stay

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Nendaz, Switzerland was an adorable Ski down located up a mountain about a 20-minute drive up from Sion. The mountainous view at night allowed me to see across to other mountains where houses and chalets were lit up. It was beautiful. I stayed in the Woovim Chalet by Travelopo with 4 amazing women who were there to blog about their experiences too. 

The £5036Per/week chalet was absolutely amazing and I would stay there a million times over. There were 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and plenty of room for over 5 guests. I had an ensuite shower while Allison (one of the ladies I roomed with) had a bathtub. My room was filled with 4 wood bunk beds that matched the fragrant wood through out the house. I was in love. I watched the sunrise each morning as the clouds grew and moved over the mountain that faced us. It was truly awe-inspiring.

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Where to eat

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We visited the Co-Op a local grocery store that had everything I needed. I grabbed the cob salad and munched away between activities or while I worked. I also raided the store for chocolate that I brought back to my family (I bribed them with it, of course). Plus a daily chocolate croissant made my life.

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We visited a few restaurants while there. The most notable was Cafe du Sapin Blanc just outside of Nendaz. We sipped on glasses of wine while we looked over a mountainous view. The subtly sweet bottle with a name I can't recall was a delicious choice for the evening. It got a bit chilly that evening so we moved inside of the restaurant for our meal. The group ordered a cute charcuterie board. Allison and I ordered beef carpaccio. It was delivered to us in a way I had never tried it before with a delicious pesto that made my eyes roll back. I was in bliss. I tried (and loved) fondue for the first time! I had a mouthwatering dish for my entree. The fish was prepared perfectly. I scarfed down for dessert and left full and content. Be sure to visit them if you make it out to Nendaz.

What to do (in the summer)

I'll have a detailed video review up of each activity I loved in Nendaz. However, I  drafted a quick summary of my favourites below.

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Go Mountain Biking

Mountain biking was terrifying and exhilarating. When I told Taylor that I was going Mountain Biking and she paused for a moment. More than anyone else she knew how clumsy I had been. But I survived! Our amazing guides Travis and Florian took amazing care of us. We rented e-bikes that boosted our efforts up the steep inclines of the mountain. There were times I held up the group because I was so enraptured by the views. I understood why people biked through the Alps and across mountainous Europe. No picture or verbal description could really capture what I saw in front of me. You've just gotta go.

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Go for a Hike and a Run

Hayley and I motivated each other. In one day we went on a sunrise trip, went on a 2-hour hike/run then powered through a Yoga and meditation session. All before dinner that evening. The mountain air really affected me in the best way. My breathing wasn't laboured when I ran and I felt so at peace. Nendaz was filled with incredible trails where we watched people hike and bike. I wished I had hiked more and did some trail runs.

Go for a Swim

The local pool was a 5-minute walk from the chalet. We were able to quickly pop over and enjoy the pool on a rare hot day. We dipped in and swam with some of the kids in the pool. The best part though was when we spread out across the grass and dried out in the sun. Allison Hayley and I all pulled out our books (I brought my trusty Kindle) and just chilled.

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Visit the Spa

The Hôtel Nendaz 4 Vallées & Spa was like nothing I had experienced before. There were so many choices! From the steam rooms to the ice cold room we strolled about and tried it all. My favourite spot was the heated outdoor pool where Hannah and I had the chance to get a little photo shoot on.

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Go Cheese Making

As a night owl, I can honestly say that cheese making early in the morning was totally worth it. Jessica and I peered over the cows as we listened to their bells echo through the mountain. It was an oddly spiritual experience as I watched the sun beam through the mountain to the cows as they grazed.

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What was your favourite activity that I did? Or do you plan on visiting Nendaz? Let me know in the comments below.

I Faced my fears: Elaisha Goes Mountain Biking in Switzerland

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I didn’t die! Mountain biking in Switzerland was possibly one of the most fun activities I did while out there. I admit, there were moments when I bounded down hills and felt my stomach flop like I was on a roller coaster. I white knuckled my way through many of the trails but in the end, I was so proud of myself. Keep reading for why I crashed my bike and what I would have done differently.

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Our guides Travis and Florian from Neige Aventure shepherded us through the tough terrain. Sticks, rocks and even the mountains edge were all hazards of the high octane activity. We rode a Teli-Cabine up Tracouet TDN station. We then biked our way through the trails and I felt like I was in one of those extreme GoPro videos.

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The e-bike assist only took me a few tries to get used to. We used it to climb hills that ranged from mid to extremely steep. I would not have made it up those hills without the boost the assist gave me. The trick was to just roll with it and not think about it too much.

Click Here to Find Cheap Flights to Switzerland

I loved the experience of taking the ski lift all the way up the mountain with our bikes. It was cool to think that in a few months people would be on the same lift ready to ski down powdery snow. That the lush greenery we were surrounded by would be covered in just a few months.

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We had a delicious lunch at a cute restaurant. It sat at the top of the second ski lift we took. By the time we got there we were rained on, shivering a little and ready for a feast. However we got some sound advice from Travis our guide who recommended we not stuff our faces too much. We had a pretty long stretch ahead of us either back to Nendaz or on to another town through the mountain. We had steaming fondue and a classic Swiss cheese board.

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I crashed my bike when I was overthinking and not doing. At the start of the trip I was pretty nervous as we rounded tight corners over mountain edges. We quickly biked over tree roots and huge dents in the mud. Towards the end of our trip, I didn’t trust myself because it was slippery in the rain as we bounded down mountainous roads. I rounded a corner I should have leaned into a bit more. But I was scared and ended up plastered on a dirt mountain.  It was definitely a lesson for the final leg of the bike trip to trust myself more! I left with a small scrape on my knee, nothing some hot chocolate and a warm shower at our Chalet couldn't fix.

Plan on doing this excursion? I put together a few tips that I wish I knew before I did this activity.

Dress for the occasion: It rained then it was sunny. It was hot then it was chilly. Since we biked to different cities and altitudes we experienced about 3 seasons at once. I recommend wearing a hat when you mountain bike in Switzerland

Go with the flow: Give your guides the flexibility and time to pick routes that will challenge you so you can really experience this journey.

Know your limits If you aren’t an experienced biker or you just don’t feel comfortable on a bike, then try a different activity. Or ask your guide for an easy route along the way with frequent stops to take in the view.

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I recommend this activity for anyone who is an experienced biker so they can really experience the incredible views. There were basic trails available but I was happy we took some hard routes. Our 4-5 hour adventure ended with an incredibly long shower and hearty meal. Would you try mountain biking in Nendaz? Let me know in the comments below. And be sure to check out Travelopo.

Elaisha Goes...Cheese Making in Switzerland

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"Our 6:30am call time had better be worth it," I thought as we left our comfy chalet.

It was. As I hopped out of our van, the chime of cowbells echoed through the mountain in Balavaux, Switzerland. A slight fog covered the view early in the morning as we stood at 2100 metres high.

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Wrapped in my scarf I walked into the cheese workshop. It was a bit funky in there and I had to stand outside for most of the introduction. The cheesemaker went through the process how he crafted three cheeses. I finally understood why cheese was so expensive. Cheese making in Switzerland was no joke.

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First we learned about the Tomme cheese. Our guide explained, it it gets warmed to 35° after which it sat 1 hour and 30 minutes in salty water. It was then aged for a full 20-25 days in the cellar.

Next was the famous Raclette cheese which gets heated to 39° and rested for 24 hours in salty water. It was then aged 2 months in the cellar before it was ready to be served.

Finally, my favourite, the Serac. That cheese gets heated to 90° and is available the next day. We watched as he prepared a vat of 150 litres of milk for 13 tommes and 9 raclette cheese. A cheese lover would swoon.

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While we waited for the cream to curdle for a batch of Serac cheese, we strolled about the grounds. First we went to the aging room where rounds of marked cheese sat on wooden shelves. The floor to ceiling shelves displayed either Tomme or Raclette cheese. I had no idea cheese making in Switzerland would be so interesting.

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Click Here to Find Cheap Flights to Switzerland

We then reentered the workshop where the cheese had started to lump up in the vat. I got used to the smell at that point. He lifted and strained the cheese in a cheese cloth and placed it into another station. It was then strained again, then portioned. The cheesemaker allowed us to try the fresh cheese. It was creamy and warm. The smooth texture and plain flavour reminded me of cottage cheese. We also tried the aged version of the cheese which was saltier.

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We then took a long dirt road towards the sound of the cowbells where about 130 cows spent the summer. The bells chimed out of time, but made an incredible song as we approached. An electrical wire separated us from the cows in the field in front of us. But I still reached out a hand in case one of them wanted a cuddle. It was one of the most peaceful spots we visited on our 6-day Swiss adventure.

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The group journeyed up a steep hill for the end of the tour where we finally got to eat a Swiss breakfast. Sophie served us that day and paired ham with fresh cheese and jam in the Balavaux mountain Cabin. I enjoyed my plate with a side of tea to warm me up from the crisp mountain air.

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Those looking for an activity that’s out of the ordinary, add cheese making in Switzerland to your list! If you don't mind waking up early...

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#ElaishaGoes to Barcelona: Photo Story & City Guide

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Barcelona was a dream. I honestly feel like I woke up and couldn't possibly have been there. Travelling to Europe to visit some of my greatest friends (and making new ones) was a treat. I'm not picking favourites here, but Barcelona was a city I had the chance to really immerse myself in and explore. Thankfully my girl Katie rounded up her favourite places in Barca and my good friend Graeme and I were able to visit a lot of them. Keep reading for what to do in Barcelona Guide and Photo Story!

Where to BrunchPicnic is the spot. After strolling past the Arc and down a back alley I found the quaint (and popular) restaurant. I sat down and ordered a burrata and mimosa immediately. Both were sweet and amazing. I'm still dreaming about the tacos I got too. Graeme grabbed fluffy pancakes and a beer and we just ate the day away before exploring Barcelona.

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How to get around Cabs are pretty cheap, but as a city girl taking public transport was the way to go. I had a European data plan from three which worked all over the city (I didn't visit the outskirts, however). So this allowed me to just quickly use Google maps and plot out a trip using public transport. Grab a 3-day pass and wear comfortable shoes. Exploring a city by foot has always been my favourite way to learn the ins and outs of different neighbourhoods.

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Where to go dancing After a later dinner at midnight (yes, that's how late people eat out there) hit up the club district by the beach. At about 2am we noticed things were picking up and lines were immense at Opium especially.

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What to see There were so many historical places to visit so we decided to hit up as many as we could walk to within a day instead of tiring ourselves out too much.

Get a quote for this trip

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Where to Beach  We did not hit up the beach on the weekend but instead decided to settle on a weekday to beat the crowd. We went to what's considered to be the 'Gay Beach', which is an LGBTQ-friendly space with mostly men. What we didn't realize is that it was right next to the nude beach. I was unbothered and Graeme was entertained (but polite obviously). I felt comfortable and for the first time in days no men came up to me or cat-called at me. Then we hit up Xiringuito Escribà for a delicious meal by the beach.

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Where to go Shopping  There were so many spots dotted across the city. Of course, La Rambla (aka tourist trap) was the obvious option. However, we ducked down some little side streets and I was able to purchase some cute shirts. However, the salesgirl didn't let me haggle at all. I also hit up Glòries Centre Comercial. It had the stores I really wanted to see (Zara, H&M and Massimo Dutti) without the crowds of the most popular malls. It also had a Walmart-type store where I was able to buy gifts for some friends and pick up food for the weekend.

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Plan on visiting Barcelona? Leave me any questions you have in the comments below!