Since returning from our sailing adventure, our focus has been job search and conserving our funds. But Stéphane hasn’t been home in over three years and I have yet to meet my sisters-in-law and their families. Add to this the fact that we have a lot of free time now and will have less once Stéphane is flying again, and you’ve got yourself lots of opposing forces in the mix. Switzerland was fast becoming The Elephant In The Room of The Great White Buffalo.
We pulled the trigger.
At Detroit Metro Airport – packed and ready to go! You only live once, you can’t take your money with you when you go, and family is Number One. Switzerland here we come!
An enjoyable flight across The Pond: a tasty dinner, a few glasses of red, one book, and one breakfast later, and we are in Geneva.
My first experience with Swiss Precision in Switzerland: we disembark from the plane, get our passports stamped, and walk to baggage claim to find our baggage WAITING for us. When has that EVER happened to you? Twenty minutes after our plane lands, we are on a train to Fribourg.
With Silvia and our nephews, Anthony and Thierry.
TonTon plays a few tunes. Note: In French, “uncle” is “oncle”, and slang is TonTon. “Aunt” is “Tante”, slang – TaTa.
We piled Silvia and the kids into the car and did a little driving tour of where Silvia and Stéphane (her husband) live – Sorens. It is a beautiful little village in the Gruyères region (where the Gruyere cheese comes from) surrounded by forests, green fields, and massive mountains.
We saw The Rega practicing some moves in one of their helicopters (Swiss Rega is Switzerland’s elite search & rescue / air ambulance company).
Old farm building in a field of green.
Layers of nature.
Meeting our newest nephew, Adriano! With Fabio, Yvonne, and Maria.
Bro & sis.
A hike up to the summit of one of the local mountains, Cousimbert.
Beautiful weather for a hike – lots of green down below and white, further up.
Lake Gruyère below. Village of Sorens, where Silvia, Stéphane, and the kiddos live is on the green hill in the background.
Switzerland has the most excellently-marked trails I have ever seen. This sign marks the winter snow-shoeing trail that we hiked today. As you move up the mountain, these pink signs can be seen sticking out of the ground and/or red/white plastic ribbons tied to tree branches, marking the way forward.
More Swiss Precision: check out the perfectly-stacked walls of wood – these guys are ready for winter.
Look! The trail markings continue! A rocked painted with a yellow arrow. I think we should go this way!
More trail markings: an arrow carved into a tree stump.
Nearing the top…
The Eiger in the distance.
Lunch at the summit: various cheeses, cervola (Swiss sausage), farm bread, and to wash it down, Cardinal – local beer.
The amazing Alps.
A shot with our Moosejaw flag and Eiger in the background.
At the summit of Cousimbert, you can just begin to see the layers and layers of Alps that go on and on. I look forward to coming back in the spring or summer and running on the extensive trail systems here!
In Fribourg to see Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Fribourg. Every year, crowds gather in the city to watch as he makes his way to the cathedral riding on his donkey. He then makes a speech (in French and German – Fribour is a bi-lingual city).
Me and Silvia.
The massive crowd assembles in the streets of Fribourg, children sit atop parents’ shoulders anxiously awaiting Saint Nicholas.
Can you see him yet?
Papi and Mami.
Drinking Vin Chaud (hot wine – wine + tea + spices) and waiting for Saint Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas makes his way through the streets of Fribourg on a donkey to the grand cathedral, mounts the steps, and gives a speech (in French and German, Fribourg being a bilingual town). Joyeux Noel!!
After Saint Nicholas, the family assembled for a fabulous fondue dinner.
Father and son.
Enjoying the melty, cheesy goodness.
An evening out in Bulle to watch (Silvia’s) Stéphane’s band, Moment’Homme, perform. We’ve been going non-stop since we arrived in Switzerland – cramming the days with family, food, drink, friends, and exploring. The Elephant In The Room is no more.