I know--you were asking, "Where are the pictures?" After a week and a half of a pretty fast pace of getting to places in northern Switzerland, we have taken a few days to stop in Zurich at Sarah and Mike's house to do laundry and catch up. Yesterday I got some pictures posted with the first set of blog notes. Today I will bring the blog up to date and add photos to those notes as well. I hope you enjoy them and get some idea of what we have seen and heard
Oh yes, the food (thanks for the reminder, April.) We have tried as much as possible to eat "local." Swiss food is a lot of sausage, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables. Not very spicy, not a lot of color, but very "substantial" and really good.
Cheese . . . Switzerland . . . almost synonymous. What we call "Swiss cheese" is from the Emmental, where we spent a couple of days and ate as much as we could. On the train through the countryside, you see lots of cows--dairy farming is big. We had fondue last night for dinner (very traditional in Switzerland, especially in the winter.) It is a great "community" event: a big bowl of melted cheese (actually cheeses with spices) with pieces of potato, ham, broccoli, pickled vegetables, and weiss und schwartz brot. Everyone sits around the bowl and, using a small fork, swirls the pieces of food in the cheese. Fondue was a craze in the USA in the 60s and 70s. It should make a comeback.
We have also eaten our share of rosti--sort of a cheese/hash brown potatoes/sauteed onion dish. It is usually a side dish to sausages, of which there are many kinds, most of which we have sampled. I really enjoyed flammkuchen--much like a pizza with very thin, crispy crust and vegetables and sausages on top. Perhaps I should take some pictures of food?
I realized that I had not really give you an itinerary of this trip. Part of the reason for that is we had only a vague idea ourselves when we came. Here is what we have done so far:
Departed Albuquerque at 7:50 am.
July 2: Arrived Zurich at 7:30 am. A quick nap (to address jet lag) and then lunch and tour of Google Headquarters in Zurich. That afternoon, we wandered the streets of old town Zurich. That is when we found the addresses of some of the original Zurich Reformers and Anabaptists.
The whole day was spent getting to the Anabaptist Cave and back.
Train to Zollikon and then back to Zurich to visit the big churches of Zurich. Mike and Sarah hosted a "4th of July" party that evening with a number of friends (in that group were several Americans plus a Norwegian, Australian, German, and Bulgarian.) Had vegetable kebabs, sausage, cheese, and hamburgers. Didn't get to do fireworks--thought of you guys.
Explored other parts of Zurich.
Train to Bern in the morning. All afternoon exploring the city--arcade streets, bear pit, churches. Spent the night in Bern.
Spent the morning in Bern. Train to Langnau midday. Explored Langnau. Walked to the church to be sure we knew where it was. Dinner at the Jaeger restaurant and the night at the Hotel Emmental (old quaint building redone--really cool.)
Took the bus to church. Worshiped with the oldest continuing Mennonite church (est. ca. 1530). Lunch with Hans and Heidi (more about this story, maybe the best story of our adventure yet.) In the afternoon, Hans drove us to Trachselwald and around the countryside. One more night in Langau.
Morning train to Basel. Visited the Roman ruins (1st through 4th century.) Spent the night at the Mission Hotel (there is actually the HQ of a missions organization which does health, education, and economic develoment in Africa, Asia, and South America on two floors of this hotel.)
More exploring Basel, the Rhine River, the University (Erasmus, Nietzsche, Bernoulli, Barth, et al.), the munster (main church) and the history museum. Very obvious we were in a medieval town--also very interesting to note the absence of Anabaptist "sites".
Back to Zurich. Laundry and catch up.
After today, we head north into Germany. There are several places other places to do a little study. There are a few touristy places we will go, as well. Then, on to the Netherlands.
OK--is that helpful?