Tea tray terror

by Jess Wood

This story is part of our 'Travelling with Kids' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our recent travel writing competition.


I know all about the trials of going on holiday with the kids as for all of our family holidays I was one of the terrible twosome in question.

We were staying in a small town in Switzerland called Kandersteg, idyllically nestled in the depths of a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains it was a perfect situation.

The main attraction of this valley is a lake called ‘Oeschinensee’. To get there you have to scale the side of a mountain. (More than enough exercise if you ask me, much better to take the cable car.) When we first visited this place there was only a simple ski lift to reach the top. (You know the ones... they look like someone welded a couple of rickety deckchairs to a zip wire) Needless to say on the journey up I reduced my mum to hysterics by swinging merrily in the brittle wooden deckchair as we were suspended 40 or so metres up in the air.

Next to the lake is a wonderful attraction called a ‘Rodelbahn’. For those who don’t know its basically a tea tray with a brake that speeds down a metal flume. Much like a skeleton or bobsleigh, but less safe. The Germans and Swiss seem to delight in creating pastimes that result in near death experiences.

My brother was too young to ride the Rodelbahn alone so dad rode behind him on the tea tray foolishly allowing the 6 year old boy to have control of the brake. They were taking great care to manoeuvre down the death run casually admiring the scenery and creating a 20 tea tray traffic jam of thrill seeking Swiss behind them, furious that their usual dice with death had been reduced to a 5 mile an hour cruise.

Then the tea tray got stuck.

Dad after exhausting the failsafe of wiggling about a bit then got off the tray intending to dislodge it. My brother of course released the brake he’d been pushing down and shot off into the distance screaming with devilish enjoyment at the speed he could reach without parental restrictions.

This would have been ok as long as Jonathan reached the bottom in one piece it wouldn’t have mattered but dad had forgotten about the twenty tea tray back log directly behind him. As soon as my brother had released his brake the rider behind him also did so creating a chain reaction which resulted in dad being spectacularly run over by twenty Swiss maniacs on tea trays.

The hospitals in Switzerland are superb.

You can’t deny that children don’t create memorable holidays!

Read all of the competition entries:

Send to a friend