We realized four months into a year-long career break in Switzerland, that we hadn’t really spent any time in Zürich, the largest city in the country. Sure, we had arrived into the airport there after an 11-hour flight and zombied our way through customs and onto a shuttle bus, but we knew there had to be more to this city than “Arrivals 2.” Turns out Zürich is beautiful, like every other Swiss city we have visited!
My blog, “Traveling With George” has been a vehicle to share our travel adventures. But I am honored to be invited to lend a note to our daughter and son-in-law’s blog, “Swiss Family Sabbatical.” Our Swiss adventure began when we were met by our daughter, Jana, at the Zürich Airport. She and her family had already been living in Switzerland for four months. Upon our arrival she immediately shared what she knew would be most important to us: “Everything is expensive in Switzerland. Get over it now!” Continue reading
If you grew up in southern California, you probably associate the word “Matterhorn” with Disneyland, not Switzerland. That giant, man-made mountain with fake snow plunked right down in the middle of the park and visible from every freeway that runs through inland Orange County. And, if you went on that ride back in the day, you encountered the Abominable Snowman. His red eyes peered at you through the darkness, he roared as your bobsled zoomed past and when you were ten years old you snuck your slingshot onto the ride and pegged him with a nickel. Not that last one? So, I’m the only juvenile delinquent here? Continue reading
Apparently, if you are drowning in lake Lugano, a helicopter will appear and a fuzzy black lab wearing a life vest will jump out of it and save you. Lugano sits in the southernmost toe of Switzerland, near the Italian border. Italian is the official language of the region and lakes are the official landscape. For this reason, Jana (and fuzzy black labs) wanted “to go to there”. They are both obsessed with water—lakes, pools, rivers, bathtubs, puddles of melted gelato, etc.
Paris is just a three-hour train ride or a one-hour flight from Basel, yet still I could almost see us somehow not finding the time during our year-long career break to visit it. But, with my niece and her friend spending a few weeks with us on a European vacation, we pounced on the opportunity to invite ourselves along with them to the city of lights. After all, what 22 year-old would want to visit Paris without their (cool) aunt, (f)uncle and two young cousins in tow? Continue reading
We are a few months into our year-long career break in Switzerland and one word keeps coming up: Mürren. “My niece is coming to visit for the weekend, where should we take her?” “Where do you want to spend your birthday weekend?” “Is there a place you have visited so far that captures the essence of Switzerland best?” “Where would you like to play tennis with Roger Federer?” The answer to all of these questions, for me, is Mürren and the Lauterbrunnen valley.
I had been dreading this day for months. Imagine your first day at a new school where you don’t know anybody and you find it hard to understand what your teachers and classmates are saying because you don’t yet speak their language. Sounds like a bad dream, perhaps the one where you look down and realize you forgot to put on pants that morning as you walk into the classroom. I was scared for our two girls to have to experience this as part of our family sabbatical in Switzerland. But, amazingly, they were not as intimidated as their parents were (and H doesn’t like to wear pants, or even clothes, anyway so that part would be no big deal).