Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Darling Daughters

At the same time, Pauline and Ron were exploring parts of Switzerland and Burgundy with us, our daughters, Katie and Jess, were beginning their European vacation in Paris. They had devised a plan that would have them spend several days in France, four days with us in Switzerland and nearly a week in Italy. So, a few days after one set of family visitors left, another set arrived.

Since their train pulled in late on a Thursday morning, I first showed the girls around the school before we went into the old town for lunch, stopping briefly for the requisite photo at the Hotel du Peyrou. We chose la Crêperie du Chateau, on Pauline and Ron's recommendation.
Posing at the Hotel du Peyrou
After the meal, while I returned to work, Bob took the girls to the castle and the church we had visited with our last guests less than a week beforehand. Interestingly, this time the tour included some rooms which Bob had not seen the first time, and excluded some of the ones he had. The castle is still used as government headquarters, so rooms that are open to tourists vary from day to day.
Everyone is inspired to take photos at the castle.
Afterwards, the three of them explored Neuchâtel a little, pausing for a photo in the English Gardens. Unfortunately, the weather was deteriorating at this point, with rain threatening, so they cut their walk short. For dinner that evening, we decided to go to a local Asian place near the school. Once in a while, we like to get away from local cuisine.

Katie and Jess in the English Gardens
The following day, May Day, was a holiday here in Switzerland, but as is common at NJC, there were day trips arranged for the students. Since Bob and I were committed to travel with a group to Gruyères, Katie and Jess chose to head to Geneva on their own.
The old League of Nations hall in Geneva
This was a very wet day, with heavy rains for much of the time. The girls wisely opted for inside locations: the Red Cross Museum and the United Nations buildings in Geneva. They enjoyed both places but they saw little else in the city - the weather just wasn't cooperating. Also not cooperating were the trains which, as a a result of a derailment earlier in the week, had to be diverted via Bern (and every station along the way). As a result, took close to triple the usual time getting back to Neuchâtel!
Fondue dinner at La Jura (for Katie and me, at least)
That evening, we celebrated Katie's birthday with cheese fondue at La Jura, one of the best traditional Swiss restaurants in town.
Bob and the girls at the Bundeshaus in Bern
Our best day together occurred on the Saturday in Bern. We have visited the city often, but never on a weekend, so it was a mild surprise to see the place buzzing with activity. Of course, we soon realized it was market day, with both a flea market and a food market set up in the centre of the city.
Jess took this shot from the tower of the Munster
The weather improved too (it couldn't have been much worse than the day before), so we were free to explore on foot. I was impressed when Jess took the initiative to climb the tower of the Bern Munster to get a view over the city. I resolve to the same some day! While she was up there, the rest of us were entertained by a quartet of costumed people dancing around the fountain nearby. They were being filmed, but we never discovered why.
Local entertainment
Later, we stopped on the bridge overlooking the River Aare, one of our favourite spots to pose, and climbed to the Rosengarten for another spectacular view of the city. This was my chance to see the parts of the garden that Pauline and Ron had visited the week before.
Katie and Jess with the River Aare in the background

We three in the garden
We always enjoy visiting Bern since it is quite compact and always lovely. Unfortunately, the Bern bears have been moved somewhere else for the time being, so Katie had to settle for a trick photo instead.
A bear climbs the tower of the Munster
That evening, we were invited, along with Terry, to a feast at Dan's. (Jen and Bill were in Canada at the time.) Katie and Dan had bonded on our trip to Istanbul in January, so he made a special effort for us. Each course was served alongside a different wine from Dan's extensive collection. Everything was absolutely delicious!
Katie's picture of Lucerne
On their last day in Switzerland, Katie and Jess headed to Lucerne for the day. Bob and I sent them on their way with a guide book and a few suggestions. The next morning, they boarded the train for the Italian leg of their European fortnight – their short stay with Mom and Dad was over.

1 comment:

  1. It certainly was a great, but quick trip. Mom and Dad are such great hosts!