VACATION ADVENTURES - (PART III)
We found our way to the Birmingham airport without any driving mishaps, however there was quite a backup that made me wonder if we would indeed, make our plane. Fortunately, we left with plenty of time to spare, and the back up began to ease after 20 minutes. We also had no long wait to get through security, always a plus!
Had a bite to eat - a brie, spinach, cranberry baguette. Rather quite tasty! And eventually, made our way to the gate.
Landed in Zurich around 9:30 pm. My darling LH said we need to get a cab to the hotel. I had thought there were shuttles but he didn't think they would run that time of night. ( I still beg to differ). We paid way too much for the cab ride (but supported a guy trying to make a living). It was very warm at that time of night - 72 degrees!!! Apparently, it had been in the 80's the past couple of days and our hotel had just gotten their air conditioner fixed!!! LH would've wanted to find another hotel had the a/c still been broken. Feel into bed and slept.
Had the most wonderful breakfast of the best croissants in the world, flakey and buttery, and airy, complete with jam, and cheese, and a hard boiled egg. It's been 5 years since I last had such a good croissant.
Took the Hotel Shuttle (free, mind you) back to the airport and got our rental car. This time it was a car not a minivan. Followed the Google directions to my cousin's place and found it without much trouble. Cool.
Got squared away in our quarters and talked with my cousin. He's one of our older cousins. It just doesn't seem we should be this old. All my memories are of 40+ years ago when we were all much younger!!!
We left for Basel and on the way with some time to kill and breakfast wearing off we stopped at an oasis over the Autobahn. Found a potted flower for my cousin, got some bottled water and some landjaeger - Swiss meat stick or actually long and rectangular. Again, it's been 5 years since having a bite of such a tasty treat. Looked in a couple stores and then we headed onward to Basel.
Now my cousin who had grown up in Basel, in a hotel there, told which street to follow to get to where we need to go. Saw the sign and followed it so well, that when the street sign showed the street veering to the left, I told LH to veer to the left, which he did, only too soon and all of sudden, there was a gate in front of us. We had landed in a parking garage!!! It was the Parking Garage of Hotel California - you check in but you can't check it!!
We followed the exit signs which lead us around and down one level, two levels, three levels and then brought us back up again. I thought we were going to be stuck in that parking garage for the remainder of our lives. Finally, the exit dumped us onto the street we were following to begin with. Whew!
Found my other cousin's house okay after that. My sister and BIL joined us as well and we had a lovely evening of warm Brie and grilled beef and horsemeat. No, I did not try the horsemeat. I just couldn't. I've eaten lots of stuff but horsemeat and dogmeat, I can't. LH did try it though. The salad was also very good and the Tiramisu for dessert was wonderful.
It was nearly 10 pm when we dropped my sister and BIL off at the Basel train station and we headed back to Zurich.
On Sunday, we headed to the cousin who's a year younger than I, and who just turned 50. She lives in Germany just over the border from Basel. So back to Basel we went and ventured into Germany. Fortunately, between Google directions and my memory, we found their place. Enjoyed a champagne toast, and brought some small gifts, including wild socks (every woman should have a pair of wildly colored socks at 50!!!), a pink sequined tiara, a "Look Who's 50" button, a stained glass angel, a small book, and a dichroic glass necklace. We had lunch at a wonderful place which overlooks a vineyard with views of Germany, Basel, and France! Had a very filling, delicious lunch. Since my cousin's soul mate is paralyzed from the waist down, he was tired after lunch and needed a rest. So, us two girls, sat in the backyard and chatted the afternoon away.
Too soon, it was time to leave and head back to Zurich.
On Monday, we headed into my Dad's hometown and where my Mom's mom lived and many relatives. We stopped in a couple grocery stores - LH likes a certain mustard in a tube. I was on the prowl for fresh cut flowers, but neither grocery store had any. So we made our way to the garden center/florist. Of course, they had some for a hefty price. Took one of the cheaper bouquets, still expensive.
Stopped at the Cheese store for some very fine variety of tasty, some more pungent cheeses. Then on to my Godmother's for a fine lunch of Salad, Surre Mooche, (beef cubes marinated in wine for a week) and mashed potatoes and gravy. Since she is now 77 years old, she needed a rest after lunch and her kids and grandkids and one sister who all came to lunch. They own their business and so the sons come in for lunch I would venture to say most every day. Chatted with my Godmother;s daughter who has 3 children and with whom we've stayed when in Switzerland.
Then it was on to the little flower shop where I found a lovely pot of mixed colored flowers for a good price to put on my parent's grave and a little bouquet for my greataunt. We took a moment to stop by my parent's grave so I could place the flowers and my grandma's grave. It's been 5 years since I was there last. Then we stopped to see the grave of my godmother's husband who passed away the end of March this year. I know my Godmother is very lonely in the evenings. Then it was on to visit my great aunt who was playing the Swiss National Card Game that afternoon. So, my Godmother took the very long way there and drove to my Mom's hometown which lies on a Lake and up the hill from the Lake. We stopped at a restaurant that has an outdoor terrace right by the lake so we had some 7 up and watched the swan family swim by and the mallards. It was unfortunately, just too hazy to see the alps from there. We did see the outline of a couple of them though. Then we drove further down to the end of the lake and around the other side!!!
When we arrived at the center, my greataunt was still playing cards. My God mother stepped in and took her place, and the three of us went to her apartment where she showed us pictures of her 90th Birthday party from last year. She has aged in the last 5 years, more stooped for a tall woman, using a walker and a cane and more wrinkled. Yet, she is mentally all there, still cooks a bit for herself, sounds like she always has if perhaps a bit more tired. She is the last blood link to my grandmother and mother. We kept the visit short and then headed back to my Godmother's, picked up our cheese and chocolate and headed back to Zurich.
LH was real good and patient, letting us ladies chat in Swiss.
I did fill him in on the drive back to Zurich. He can pick up a few words here and there.
What a grace and blessing to see my Godmother and my Greataunt at least one more time. They are the ones who connect me to my parents, and to the ones who no longer grace the earth but I will see again one day when my earthly life is over. I still remember them. So, wonderful to connect again with my second home, the land of my roots that still flows through me. It has been good to be back.