Being back in the cosiest of Swiss resorts, Wengen, I feel extremely lucky. Nestled on a cliff top in the Swiss Alps it really is the most beautiful part of the world – breathtaking views and steeped in history. I am fortunate to call this place home.
The all encompassing excitement to return to my Swiss bolthole, from London, began to build as the start of December loomed. But then, when omicron reared its ugly head and cast a cape of travel uncertainty over the festive period, that pre-holiday jubilation was soon replaced with nervous anxiety – it was the second year in a row my early-season travel plans faced jeopardy.
When Macron implemented a last-minute travel ban on Britons to France many thousands of UK tourists’ Alpine Christmas plans were shattered. The usual calm and collected Swiss even panicked for a short while, adding the UK to their “red list” at the beginning of December – thankfully, they quickly retracted the decision and I was able to rectify my plans to spend Christmas, New Year and January in the shadow of the Jungfrau with my family. Here’s what it’s really like to be on a ski holiday right now.
After weeks of watching travel restrictions unfold in fear of omicron, I finally flew on to Switzerland on December 19, having scrapped my plans to drive through France with my middle-aged sausage dog by my side – instead I was forced to find a pet sitter and endure British Airways chaos when my flight was cancelled and luggage was lost for four days (ski kit is much harder to replace than a bikini).
At the time, all British arrivals, who must be fully vaccinated unless exempt, were required to have a negative PCR on entry to Switzerland – much to my frustration this was consequently ditched a few days after my arrival and replaced with the requirement of a cheaper, negative lateral flow. Passengers also have to fill in a landing form, much like when returning to Britain, and download the Swiss ‘Covid cert’ app, which you transfer your NHS vaccination QR codes into, for proof of your inoculation in order to access key services across the country and in ski resorts.