My husband of 51 years is my best friend and a great travel partner. Even though we love the place we live (beautiful Ennis, Montana) and there’s no place like home, it is imperative that we leave it occasionally and visit our children and grandchildren. Feel sorry for me, friends. We HAVE to go to Switzerland at least every other year! What a terrible place to HAVE to go!
Every other year, we draw some money out of our savings, get our round trip tickets, pack our bags, and head off for Geneva to spend quality time with our daughter and her family. Trying to keep our suitcases under the 50 pound weight limit is a challenge as we stuff them full of bottles of honey (Bob’s a retired beekeeper), California wine, new clothes for our three grandsons, and special treats – like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Would you believe – with all that delicious, creamy Swiss chocolate – you can’t find Reese’s in Switzerland? We had to transfer a few things from our large suitcase to the smaller one in order to make the weight limit. Other than that, we checked in at Gallatin Field in Bozeman without incident and with plenty of time to spare for our 5:56 AM flight.
It’s a good thing we had a long layover planned for Denver, because we sat until 7:30 AM before boarding and then sat on the runway until 8:30 before finally getting clearance to fly. “Mechanical glitches,” we were told. Better to get them taken care of now… safety first… we can wait! Wait we did! Again in Denver – a cockpit warning light that wouldn’t go off. We waited for clearance, and eventually embarked for the east coast. We sat on the plane nearly two hours in Newark waiting for a mechanic to sign-off on the safety of that plane before we could take off for Geneva. Eight hours later, with sleep escaping me on that long, overnight flight, we landed smoothly. I had finished reading Kahled Houseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed.” It was gripping, causing the hours to fly with me! We were only an hour late – after all those delays!
Our daughter, DeAna, and her middle son, Nick, were there to meet us in their “White Willy,” a Volkswagen mini-van that became our reliable friend during the next three weeks. In it we zipped down the freeway from Geneva, past the immense and impressive Lake, through the Rhone River Valley with its sheer, terraced, vineyard-covered Alpine walls, to Sierre, Switzerland’s “Sun City.” We arrived at our daughter and her husband, Andre’s restaurant, Le Rothorn, in time to join his parents for an aperitif. Andre’ treated us to lunch, a delicious chicken breast with rice and zucchini. Our oldest grandson, Mike, joined us.
Mike was grinning ear to ear as he approached our table. Carrying a certificate, he presented us with evidence that – just this morning – he passed his driver’s license exam and behind-the-wheel test. What a thrill! At 21, he finally can drive on his own! After lunch, he took his girlfriend, Sophie, to Crans-Montana to buy his dad a present for his 50th birthday tomorrow. It’s a 10 to 20 mile trip, up switchback turns to the resort city high in the Alps above Sierre. A first for Mike. Oh Lordy – let the fun begin!
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about our other two grandsons – and Night Number One of our Swiss Adventure. Stay tuned!