Day 1: Arrival

The journey to Europe was long, and somewhat counter productive.  We went west to L.A., waited a few hours and then boarded a flight direct to Zurich, flying over the city we started in.  Oh well.  The flight was 11 hours, and we sat in a VERY warm section of the plane–so, no sleep for me.  I amused myself by reading books on my Kindle. 🙂

My sweet Tante (aunt) Dori picked us up at the airport.  She greeted us each with a card welcoming us to Switzerland and a shopping bag full of rich, creamy Swiss chocolates (my favorites!), and drove us to Bern.

This is my grandparents’ apartment building. They live on top floor in the corner apartment.  I stayed in the attic room with the window facing the camera.

We said hello to my grandparents and dumped our luggage in the bedroom. Then, Dori showed us two bags of goodies that my Mom had left for us when she visited in March.  We oohed and awed over more of our favorite sweets, and then opened the card tucked in the bag.  My jaw nearly hit the floor at the sight of several hundred Swiss Francs tucked inside, along with a loving note wishing me a great trip.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep making us more emotional that usual, but Lisa and I both teared up reading Mom’s card, overwhelmed by her generous gift.

I can’t even express how great it was to see my Grandparents.  To be there with no worries or concerns (or kids to chase) and allow myself to be swept up in the memories of past trips, and reacquaint myself with the smells, sights, and sounds of one of my favorite places on earth was wonderful.

A few of my favorite impressions were:

The smell of the entryway to my grandparents apartment building.  Not a particular good or bad smell, just a unique, distinct smell.  I can’t remember when my family came to Switzerland when I was 5, but ten years later when I walked into that entryway as a teenager, I remembered the smell.  I knew I had been there before.  I’m not sure how or why it can stay the same for 30+ years, but that smell is still there.

Every hour the numerous bells in the city chime the time.  It was such a treat to hear the bells.

I love Bern.  I love the cobblestones… I love the architecture, the River Aare curving around the old town and the little shops with apartments above them.  I love walking in the city and just soaking in the sights.

Grossmama and Grosspapa have played Eile Mitt Weile (Parcheesi) every night for at least 40 years. So, we joined them for their game every evening we were there.

Lisa and I finished the day with a short twilight walk in the rain.

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