October 22, 2007

10/21/07 Bern Switzerland

Wunnewil Switzerland

Well, I'm just relaxing after a very long day. I'm here at the home of my friends, Daniel and Ariane. I met them on my cross-country bike trip across the USA back in 2001. Finally, after two previous attempts, I'm here for a visit.

I always get a little nervous before traveling, so I was up too late last night at my cousin's in London. Poor Teresa was up early because of a business function she had to work even though it was her day off. I spent a little time packing, but really wanted to get some more pictures of everyone before I left.

Teresa, Fiona, Jeff & Nick

Around 11AM, I said my goodbyes and walked to the underground station. One of my impressions about London is that it is way too expensive. For example, riding the underground costs almost $9 a day. There are discounts if you use it a lot, but it's still pretty expensive. I bought my ticket and rode in the direction of the Heathrow. But as I reached the stop just before the airport, I realized that I somehow had left my camera back at the house. I really had no choice but to jump off at the next stop and catch the next train back to Boston Manor.

Jeff really wasn't expecting me to come a knocking. I grabbed the camera (it had fallen out of my pocket when I was playing with the kids on the couch) and ran back to the station as I was cutting it very close. I needn't have worried because my flight was delayed over an hour. It was so late, I even saw my cousin Jeff at the airport because he had a later flight back to the US for business. Even once we boarded the plane, we waited another hour on the tarmac.

That put me way late into Zurich. I rushed across the street from the airport to the train station to by a ticket to Bern and get a quick call off to Daniel. I made the train with just minutes to spare. I almost spent longer riding the train than flying today.

Good thing I have a guardian angle looking after me. I was walking in the wrong direction in the station when Daniel stopped me. His daughter Alani was in his arms, while Ariane was waiting outside in the car with Lorin, their younger son. It has been six years since I me them on our bike trips across America. I was so happy to see them again.

After getting the kids off to bed, the three adults had a nice quiet dinner. One question I had for Daniel was about the language he was speaking when he was talking with Alani earlier tonight. It was Swiss-German but it sure doesn't sound German in usage. Daniel said it is one of about 80 dialects spoken in various villages in the mountains. It is not a written language, just communication passed down from parent to child.

To me it had a more of an Eastern European sound to it with a Scandinavian accent. Over risotto, we spent hours retelling the special moments from our other trips.