Birthday Celebrations for Explorason
Turning Ten and Ten “S” Things to do in Liechtenstein
One week ago, I wasn’t quite sure where we would be for my son’s 10th Birthday. Last year we planned our travels around it for months and decided as he was born on St. Patrick’s Day that it had to be Ireland and you can read about that here.
But this year we find ourselves traveling through Europe at a fairly rapid rate, as we have limited Schengen Visa time.
So I decided to make it a surprise for Explorason and organize for us to stay in Liechtenstein. We have already been here for a few days and this is what we have done so far.
But it is time to start some fun for a soon to be ten years old!
And so here are the Ten Things Starting with ‘S’ that we do for his Tenth Birthday Celebration.
10. Stretchy Cheese in Sücka
First off I have discovered a place (thanks to the wonderful visitor center in Vaduz) that many English speaking tourists and travelers might not know about. In a tiny place called Sücka is where we head first.
All the signs are in German so I am glad I have good directions. Just immediately after the tunnel when we are heading up the mountain, we stop our car at a car park on the left and get changed into our ski gear. Then we cross a small bridge and start to walk up a somewhat slippery ‘road’ to the right of the bridge. This, in fact, is actually a sledding trail that is over 1 km long.
At the top is a very traditional style Lodge and Restaurant called BERGGASTHAUS SÜCKA. We slip and slide and make our way to the top and here we meet Monika, the owner. She is so funny, and we like her dry sense of humor. We sit in this traditional restaurant as she suggests we try their famous Cheese Fondue. I order a hot Mulled Wine and Explorason has a Hot Chocolate while we wait for the fondue to be prepared, and admire the mountain view of the Alps. It is hard to believe we are here as it is so breathtakingly beautiful.
Then Monika brings out cubed bread pieces and a basket of hot cooked baby potatoes. She lights the Fondue flame below, and we then have the most enjoyable time. Explorason delights in this, and of course, he has to see how far he can stretch the cheese. It is a stunning location, and we have a fabulous time here. Summer or Winter; if you ever visit Liechtenstein, you must visit here and try the Fondue made up of three local kinds of cheese – it is divine, and in Summer there is outdoor seating too.
9. Sledding in Sücka down a mountain road for over 1 km
Whilst we ate our lunch, we noticed Alpaca below us. Then as we headed outside the alpaca decided they wanted to be in a photograph too. You can see a couple of them in the background below as we take off on our sleds down the mountain track.
The great thing about this sledding track (about 1.2 km long) is that when you rent the sleds, you can use them as long as you want. So we did walk up and down the track few times. There are protection boards on the side so you don’t sled off the mountainside – it really is like a sledding race track! And you go VERY fast! We, of course, have to race. I fly down at an incredible speed. We learn how to use our boots to steer and brake – what fun!
When we finally finish, we have been given a key and then we put our sleds in a small hut at the bottom, lock the door and deposit the key in a slot. This way we don’t have to walk back up. A very clever system.
8. Staying in the Liechtenstein Alps
As soon as we enter we know this is the perfect place for a lovely birthday, and for kids to have a good time.
We have a really large room, with a balcony overlooking the kids’ ski school area. As we have arrived on the weekend this really is going to be a few days of birthday treats for Explorason. I am really impressed with the features that make this a high-class hotel, yet kid-focused and friendly. For example, the lighting – it is over the parents’ bed, but not the children’s’ area. The drawers under the kid’s bunk have pillows and quilts, and there is a new bedtime story each night on the child’s bed to read. There are stepping stools in the bathroom, and kids height hangers.
When we arrive there is a full activity sheet of things to do each day (and night) and we find we are planning a way to fit it all in. Even though we were the only English speaking family at the time, each gourmet menu, programme, and activity sheet was printed in English – just for us.
The first off is more sledding. At 4:00 p.m. we just make it to the family sled time, and the Kid’s Club leaders guide us up the ski track as we pull our sleds for some family fun. We are a bit behind the others, so half of them had already taken off when I managed to get a pic. There were many more parents and children all having family fun together here at Hotel Gorfion.
This is a great time to get to know the other families, and I have to say everyone we met was so nice – we really enjoyed this part.
After this, there was a meet and greet time, where mulled wine and melted cheese bread was served outside – it was a great way to start our time.
7. Secluded Hideaway
Explorason loves having his own area and sets about making a pillow fort/cubby house for himself. He pops on his fluffy robe and really has fun in the room. This became his own space, and even though the cleaners made up the room each day, he liked to play in here when we rested. It was his ‘secluded hideaway’.
6. Snow Shoeing at Night
We are in for another treat – I knew about this and it was something I REALLY wanted to do. Usually, an ‘Adults Only’ activity is a Snow Shoe night walk in the snow. But because we are writing about this great hotel, Hotel Gorfion; sharing it with you all and coupled with the fact it is Explorason’s birthday, Explorason is given special permission to attend.
This is an extra activity, but the great thing is the equipment hire is only ten euro each. Explorason did a great job on the one and a half hour hike up through the hills and down the valley. We were able to walk without the aid of a flashlight, just by the stars in the clear sky reflecting on the snow. It was magical!
5. Ski Lift to the top
Straight after breakfast on his birthday, we decide to dress for the snow. It is nearly spring so it isn’t too cold down where we are staying, but it sure is when we get to the top of Sareiserjoch mountain ridge. Oh my, the ride up is pretty breathtaking, We had a day pass, and walked down earlier to the ticket office at Täli Station near Car Park 4 in Malbun for this.
We reach the top and there is a telescope when we hike to the Sareiserjoch mountain ridge. We can see Switzerland in the distance too.
Then it is time to head into the Sareis ski restaurant at the top for a salubrious hot chocolate. This place is definitely worth a visit too. It is ‘choc-o-bloc’ full with antiques and ski memorabilia. The prices are surprisingly very reasonable too, and the best bit is that the place is warm and cozy, and the hot chocolate was lovely – oh and so were the staff who took our photo.
4. Sliding in the Snow
We head back down and it is just before lunch so we have some more time to play and slide in the snow. These plastic slides fly down and we both race up and down the hill. In fact, Explorason flies past the hotel and keeps going way down the valley, and I lost him for about 15 minutes – I confess – it was a panic moment for me as a mother, as there are skiers on the track too.
3. Skiing – of course!
After lunch, we head to Malbun Sport for all our ski hire. We drive the car here, even though it is around the corner, as we want to head down to where there is a beginner section where there are several ski lifts (we could use the same day pass ticket as the chairlift from the morning too). But later we discovered there was one right by the hotel! Still, it was a good place as it was near the car park and gave us a chance to have some time on the slopes.
We return our skis late that afternoon and then head for a swim in the perfectly heated pool at the hotel.
Most of the little kids are having ski lessons, so we even get the pool to ourselves. We managed to have a swim each day we were here. Another good time to use the pool was at the start of dinner time. Parents with little kids tend to feed them early, so we found this was a quiet time here too.
Off to the side is a parent retreat area where there are relaxation lounges, a large shower room, and a sauna. I used this on one occasion, but not for long enough!
2. Birthday Surprises and Sparklers
Walking up to look out of the snow is just fantastic, and when the room is lit with fairy lights (I brought these with me) and Explorason wakes on his tenth birthday to a few gifts, he is delighted. He loves Minecraft and Lego, so I had managed to buy a kit in Romania and hide it away, along with a few other little things. It is hard for him at times, as he doesn’t get to drag a lot of things around the world with him, but he of course still loves to play. It was a great way to start his birthday.
When we arrive at breakfast, another little girl has her birthday as well, so there is a decorated table for her.
And at dinnertime, both tables were fully decorated (each family gets the same table throughout their stay). The lights went out and a cake with sparklers was brought out for each of the children who had a birthday. Explorason makes a wish, and I am really pleased when he asked another family if they would like to share the cake with him. As a Mum, I am pretty proud when he has a caring attitude. I think also, what was lovely was that the other families were so nice, that we had made some friends.
Explorason is also wearing his Irish top because it is St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Smoke and Fire – a night walk with fire torches for the whole family
This has to be one of the highlights of our time at Hotel Gorfion. They supplied the torches, and as families, we rugged up and went for a walk around the village for an hour carrying the fire torches. Parents chatted and children played, and it was a beautiful experience and a wonderful way to end Explorason’s Birthday.
Bonus activities – Secret Writing and Soccer
The Kid’s Club was a great place to leave Explorason whilst I had to attend to planning and booking our next part of our journey and to catch up on sharing our journey with all of you here!
So when we discovered that around 4:00 p.m. each day there is an older kids time, this was great for Explorason. In fact, I came back to see if he was OK, and was told to ‘go away’ by him, as they were learning to write postcards with ‘Secret Writing’. The postcards were supplied too.
Another time at the Kid’s Club he also enjoyed the soccer table with some other children. Even though the kids were younger during the week, they had fun playing together whilst we were there.
We had the most amazing week in Liechtenstein, and when Hotel Gorfion suggested we return in Summer for a completely different experience, we thought that was a great idea. I have no idea if we will make it, so you will have to stay tuned for that possibility, but I am sure Liechtenstein is beautiful all year round, and I do hope we get to return, as we have fallen in love with this lovely little country.
For general information about Liechtenstein please take a look at http://www.liechtenstein.li/en/
Or in Vaduz, you can visit the Visitor Centre upon arrival.
We love Liechtenstein!