Home Again

Our summer kicked off with one of the longest trips we’ve taken – two-and-a-half weeks in Switzerland. And even with that much time, we barely scratched the surface of an interesting, complex country.

What took us to Switzerland? My husband Mick, who is on the faculty of the veterinary college at the University of Minnesota, does genetic research on dogs and horses. An international conference for dog and cat researchers was scheduled in Bern for May and Mick was invited to give a talk. We knew we might not have another opportunity to visit Switzerland, so as soon as Mick agreed to go to the conference, we planned this year’s travels around it.

We decided to share our travels with friends who would also be going to the conference. That plan offered the chance to share accommodations in two of the cities we visited – Geneva and Lausanne – which meant we could share costs. We stayed in our first AirBnB in Lausanne, which turned out to be a gorgeous apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. And our hotel in Geneva turned out to be more of a small apartment, too.

Our travels took us to five cities: Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich. Geneva and Lausanne are both French-speaking cities; Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich are all German-speaking places. Throw in one fabulous hike in the Alps and one small boat ride to a tiny town (Cully) with a winery, and there you have the outline of our Swiss journey.

Below is just a taste.

click on the smaller photos to see the full size version

We crammed an awful lot into a couple of weeks. But, as I look at the hundred of photos I took while we traveled from one end of Switzerland to the other, the same thing that always strikes me when I travel is evident here: we were visitors who never got inside anyone’s home to see how the average Swiss person lives. We saw all the bright, shiny things a very gracious country offered to those of us merely passing through. We enjoyed traveling among people who were unfailingly kind and polite, rode public transportation that worked very well, stayed in places that were spotless. We visited museums to learn of Switzerland’s history and some of its brightest stars. We marveled at buildings still in use that were, on average, older than anything here at home. But, in the end, we didn’t settle in and feel at home in Switzerland.

But now, back in Minnesota, we do feel at home again. And our time away made our understanding of the world just a little bit broader.

4 Comments

  1. Wow! You guys did a lot in two weeks.
    Wonderful pictures and it looks like you had beautiful weather.
    You are right, visiting only gloss the surface of experiencing a country but it will be an experience that will live with you for a long time. Maybe something to reflect on at -40F in January.😊

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    1. We don’t sit still much when we are in a new place! And there are several things I am still processing that I found intriguing, especially the demonstrators at the Global Climate Strike who marched through Lausanne; that event literally stopped us in our tracks and we stood still to watch and honor the participants – almost all students. We got a little choked up. There were other moments that have stuck with me – learning about Paul Klee’s work at the Paul Klee Center, Einstein’s work and political sensibilities summarized at the Einstein Museum, and more.

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  2. Beautiful country, Switzerland.
    We stayed in Murten a few days on our little self-made tour and took a day trip to Bern. My notes about Bern: “Highlights: the Einstein Museum (he lived in Bern for seven years), Bear Park (with four live brown bears living there, right in the city) and the Rose Garden (for a gorgeous panoramic view of the city). We got it all in Bern, city life, museum, and a hike along a wooded path that followed the Aare River.”

    That trip to Switzerland was a memorable one. We had an American friend who lived in Wallisellen, right outside Zurich, and we stayed with her for a few days and returned after touring around a bit. It was nice to have a “homebase.”

    I’m so glad you got to experience this, too. xoA

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    1. Hi Annis! Bern’s bears are down to three now – they rambled along by the river and were very sweet. I, too, loved that rose garden although it was too early for the roses. They had many other beautiful blooms that made the place magical. The color of the Aare really struck me – I couldn’t stop looking at it!

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