Early in November we were taking some time away from the camper and heading to Switzerland and England to spend some time with friends and celebrate Thanksgiving as we usually do- with the O’Briens. I hadn’t seen them in a year and the kids sure had grown and they had a new member of the family who was only 3 months old. The start of the trip to Switzerland was fun because of the fun time we had in the Quantas first class lounge during our 4 hour layover in LA. The food and drinks in that lounge were great, we had calamari, tuna, and both had nice dinners along with interesting drinks (espresso martinis were a hit). But it sure was a long trip. We made it there ok even though getting from London Heathrow to London city airport was a bit hectic. We had to get on the Tube and then take the Docklands light railway (DLR) the final bit to London City, the only good part about that is we were outside the airport and could see parts of the city. London City is a tiny airport and reminded me a lot of LaGuardia in NY. A quick flight over to Zurich and it was finished-we had arrived.
I guess by now maybe everyone has worked off their turkey dinners…I think I have finally. We had the biggest turkey ever! It was about 30lbs and easily fed all 13 adults with plenty of leftovers. Of course being in Switzerland it had to be special ordered from the butcher. Turkey is not a big thing over there and naturally they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. We celebrated on Thursday with sausages and rosti (a popular Swiss potato dish) and the big feast was on Saturday. Great food was brought by everyone and the cocktails were good too.
The first week when we arrived I relaxed for a day or so and then had to get out and about. I liked hanging out with the kids during the day, but felt like a slug, so made some plans to go into Zurich and visit our friend Wendy. We had a nice visit and Kat came to meet us later for dinner. It was much easier since Wendy can speak Swiss-German. In Zurich it is pretty easy to get along if you don’t speak anything but English because most shops and restaurants have English speaking people, but you never know. The weather was mild, but a bit rainy, so we just walked fast.
Later on the weekend we spent time with our friend Debbie who we had just seen in Nevada and was over there for work. We took a tram up to the Uetiliberg mountain top and walked down to the train, again a chilly day, but no rain and it was really good to be out in the fresh air. Afterwards we went for a Fondue dinner. I love fondue and it is pretty cool that they still serve it outside in the colder weather and provide nice warm seat covers and the heated lamps. If you are still chilly a good cocktail helps warm you up.
We relaxed on Sunday and eventually went for a walk in the forest with the kids. The following week I took a train ride to Rapperswil and then went back into Zurich to go to do more exploring with Wendy. We hit up a bookstore that she frequents which sells German and even English books. I didn’t buy any books because I can’t fit them in my backpack and she had already given me a few she had finished. All good and you can never check out too many books. It was a nice walk along the river to get there. We met up with Kat and her work friend later for pizza. The pizza in Switzerland is great, very thin crusted and tasty. It is inspired by the nearby Italy and really delicious.
We also met up the last week with people I worked with over 10 years before! I didn’t even recognize some of them until I heard their names. Crazy how we change and longer hair makes us look different! It was fun to see them again and reminisce.
The Sunday of Thanksgiving week we left to go to England for a few days and visit Kats brother and his family which was fun. The weather was typical for winter and England- grey and a bit rainy, but we still went out to watch the kid’s play football (soccer) and take walks. We had brought a new card game for them- SkipBo and we had at least 3 to 4 games a day. They picked it up quick and loved it. We spent Monday and Tuesday at the house with the oldest (Harry) who had a fever and stayed home from school. Wednesday we went out to do a little shopping and have lunch then I went for a walk. I love how Switzerland and England have all these little paths through towns that are alongside peoples houses and through the woods so you can get around without needing to walk on street. It’s a great way to explore as long as you don’t get lost.
While there we had a taste testing session for me in which they bought and had me taste different English foods I had never tried. Those included: sausage rolls, creme cakes, jam tarts, trifle, pork pies, hot cross buns, egg thingies and lots of other stuff I can’t remember. I liked the Sausage rolls the best! There will be more tasting at Christmas of Cornish pasties and other things. It wasn’t terrible to be the taste tester and helped get my belly ready for Thanksgiving.
We went back to Switzerland on Thanksgiving and started the celebration with a dinner of sausages and Rosti. Friday was a bunch of shopping, cleaning and getting ready for the big celebration on Saturday. It went surprisingly well and we were ready as much as we could be by Saturday morning. Sunday we lounged about and packed up our things to head to a hotel near the airport since our flight was super early. We had one last dinner with Wendy and off we went.
We went back to Sacramento to get the camper (now named the Shady Lady) and spend 4 nights at “home” before we headed out again. This time I was headed to New Jersey to see my family and Kat was going back to Switzerland to do some more work. We will meet up in London for Christmas with her family. Now I am only about one blog behind. Update on time back in the states to follow…