In July we joined Big Art (Arthur's Father), and Marji (Arthur's wicked stepmother) for a delightful trip to Switzerland with all of their children, spouses, and grandchildren. We based ourselves in Meiringen, a delightful village south of Luzern. Over the next days and weeks I will share my journal, photographs, and other goodies from our trip.

Day 14 - 26 Juli - Thursday

We set out for our drive to Straubenhardt. It's hard to believe that we were just there a year ago. So we load up the car, check on our hats at the Meiringen train station (still gone), and I buy a new red one with a white Swiss cross. We get on the way by way of Luzern and Basel. It's interesting to see the land flatten out into the Rhine Valley, which is very wide.

Just after crossing the border (they don't check our passports; we are apparently not that threatening) we realize that we need to have some lunch and we cut over to the French side of the Rhine and drive up to Colmar. We park in a garage and walk around the old town. There is a temptation to go in again and luxuriate in the Isenheim altarpiece, but we resist. We buy socks instead! Lunch is the famous, (and as yet, unexperienced by me) flamkuchen (a flat thin rusted "pizza" with vegetables or mushrooms). Arthur has an omlette with ham and mushrooms.

We visit the cathedral, but called here the collegianum, which is very beautiful with some quite good ancient stained glass. The interior has the same feel as Notre Dame in Paris where you look past the altar at the crossing and choir to see a low-lying inhabited cross. I didn't bring my camera, so there are no pictures.

We get back into the car and cross the Rhein at beautiful Straßbourg, and go up to Ettlingen just south of Karlsruhe. We pop by the apotheke at Straubenhardt and visit briely with Franziska (the family will join us for dinner later.)

We check into the Hotel Lamm in Badherrenalp ­ Rotesöl which is very nice. The room is very modern and under the eaves of the attic. It was recently redone, and has a striking and modern bathroom, and a plate of fruit and a bottle of red wine waiting for us. I take a nap, and Arthur takes a bath.

We meet the Ortliebs (click here for a larger version, and legend) at 8:00 and have a wonderful meal (cream cheese with pork skin, a small chicken salad, proscuitto and melon in aspic (Arthur has a clear tomato soup with dumplings), a duck breast with cherries (Arthur has a rack of lamb). Finally there is a dessert plate with Rötegrütze, lemon mould, ice cream with berry sauce, all accompanied by wonderful Rieslings picked by my cousin Günter.

Henri is getting very nervous because he has to deliver a bunch of magazines, and Vera, Simon, and Elise want Arthur to show them our room. We end up in the (very beautiful and extensive) wine celler with the owner of the restaurant. So it is Arthur, Günter, the owner and myself tasting a Spanish Syrah from Alicante, the Andalucian town that Anna visited and studied in early in here "Spanish career."

It is late and there are photos to be taken, and goodbyes to be said. It was a wonderful time together, with visiting, laughter, and sharing news. As they drive off there are waves and not a small amount of sadness on my part.

MTH 9/30/07
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