Cheese and chocolate

town nestled into valley

Hello, everyone! It’s been a few weeks. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I have…mostly because the nudge to update has been less of a nudge and more of an ominous cloud above my week that I. Just. Can’t. Quite. Get. To.

But now it’s Sunday and I have a quiet morning before our afternoon church service. So here I am, pecking away on my phone because I’ve been staring at my computer screen far too many hours this week and the idea of voluntarily sitting down in front of it again threatens my emotional stability.

First, the reason I have fallen a bit behind in writing:

FAMILY!

Yes, my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came for a visit! Well, to be more accurate, we met up in Zurich and after a luscious week in Switzerland, came back to Spain for them to get a taste of my life.

This post is a bit of an introduction to our time together. We’ll see how wordy I get along the way. I was tempted to copy and paste the online journal we created for this trip, but as I read through it, I realized just how much it was not written for public consumption. *slight blush*

We met up on March 7 after we had all missed a night of sleep and felt covered in layers of trip grime gleaned from public restrooms and random people coughing on us. I arrived a while before my family since my flight from Madrid was more on time than their flight from London.

While I waited, I was startled by how much the people looked like me. Or I looked like them. I’m not sure which. As would soon be discovered, this caused some confusion because “Guten tag” can only go so far.

After the joyous reunion with my family, we were more than ready to leave the airport. But first, our reserved rental vehicle was a 5-seater for 6 of us. And then there were seatbelt issues that kept the car dinging at us as we wandered through the labriynth of airport traffic and had to pay 12 CHF for even daring to be there at all.

But as we left Zurich, the scenery continued to improve and so did our moods. Dad and I made the first shopping trip while everyone else snoozed in the van. Dad made a beeline for the meat and cheese and looked disgruntled whenever I dropped vegetables into our shopping basket. We may have spend a considerable amount of time in the chocolate aisle, but it was nothing compared to the time it took us to find a simple tube of mayo.

As we wound up into the mountains, we kept exclaiming over the stunning scenery…and the lack of guard rails on the narrow roads. Forget hairpin curves; winding up to the farm where we stayed was hairpinning all of the way! (My poor brother-in-law was very patient with the other 4 gasping drivers in the car with him.)

From the outside, our Airbnb looked a little dumpy. Mud. Dogs. Random farm equipment. (All of which we would eventually realize is part of small farm life in the Bern area.) But once we were inside, our place was warm, clean, and welcoming. The hostess had left us a loaf of fresh bread, homemade butter, cheese and jam.

We made ourselves at home.

green grass, fir trees, and snow covered mountains
hill with houses and trees

Our first full day in Switzerland was rainy. We didn’t get a whole lot accomplished since it took considerable effort to drag everyone out of the house by 1 p.m. (Which means I don’t have to try to make a long story short for blogging purposes–the long story is short!)

We puttered along, “oh my”ing at the incredible scenery. We also snickered at the “ausfahrt” (exit) signs all along the way. My Swiss friend sent a message to welcome us to Switzerland.

“It’s so beautiful up here in the mountains!” I wrote back.

She laughed when she responded in a voice message. “These are the hills.”

close up of town with mountains in the distance

We drove to Gruyère where we strolled around around the free part of a cheese factory and then feasted on cheese fondue until I wondered if I’d ever want to eat cheese again. Our waitress spoke English, which was helpful. She also spoke Spanish, which was fun.

fondue pot with fondue dripping off of piece of bread

Side note: The prices took us a while to get used to. Visiting Switzerland isn’t for the empty-of-pocket. Even though we had tried to prepare ourselves, at least one of us would often sigh or grumble.

We sipped hot chocolate from a shop across the the street from the cheese factory as we wandered back to our van. We tried to get a peek at the local castle, but we would have had to park and walk through the rain to even see it. So we started for home.

That was pretty much our day besides a quick Aldi stop and two liters of fresh milk on our doorstep when we got back to our Airbnb.

I’ll write more another day. We really did do more than eat cheese and chocolate, although those two reasons alone are enough to warrant a trip to Switzerland!

Have you ever been to Switzerland? What sorts of things did you do?

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