30.06.2011 - 30.06.2011 25 °C
We woke up early, 0630 to say goodbye to everyone. Kathrin was going to work, Fabi and Andi to school. Tante Monika brought them to town at 0700, as it was raining heavily. It was sad to see them go, we wish we could have spent more time. Their hospitality was incredible! I thought I know what a good hostess was and then I came here. It turns out I had no idea! While they were gone I called to Holland to arrange a coffee date and Shane sent a few emails to his cousins there as well.
When Tante came back home she made us another delicious breakfast and we went to pack. At 0900 we put our stuff in the car. Tante packed us a wonderful lunch and they gave us a bottle of wine to take home “To remember us later” she said. I could have cried at such generosity. Oma came to say goodbye and they gave us new bags to carry our (far to heavy) goods in. She drove us to the train station and waited with us on the platform. When the train came we said our last good-byes. It was hard to leave.
We made two transfers, one in Wurzburg and one in Frankfurt, which was 20 minutes late. We got on this car and walked to the cabin we had reserved seats in. There were three children and a mother with their stuff EVERYWHERE! I tried to put my backpack up top when the mother walked in. “You have reserved?” she asked. We clearly had, it said so on the door, we had reserved the window seats. “And you insist on the window?” She said in a way that implied it would be rude for us to do so. The children were already in our seats. Of course I said no, we just needed two seats. Our 9 euros reservation fee flew out the window. We were very annoyed. Then the youngest girl, about 2 years old started throwing a tantrum. She was screaming and kicking and punching her mother, we could hear the slaps. It was awful. I felt a little sorry for the mother, but on the other hand if my kid ever kicked me in the chest...
The train ride felt like a really long time, but it was only a few hours. We arrived in Basel at 1500. We walked to our hostel, about two kilometers completely weighed down with bags. During our time with the family we had acquired two large bottles of wine, two mini bottles, two 1L beer glasses, 1 large jar of honey and one bag full of delicious lunch and sliced meats (including speck from Opa Siegreid). And it weighed a lot!
We got to the hostel and dropped our bags, we decided to look around a bit. We took the tram into the more historic part of town but didn’t find it all that interesting. One thing we did find was a suitcase, his name is Gary (Shane’s choice) and we bought him on sale for 35 euros. He is a very large suitcase that is very poor quality. We brought him home right away. We tried fitting all our stuff in it, all the contents of one backpack and the four additional bags we were carrying. It didn’t really work, the handle broke immediately.
Disappointed with Gary, we decided even though it was hot summer weather to get fondue. We’re only in Switzerland once! Our host gave us the name of a place to go, “reasonable prices by Swiss standard” (He also teased my pronunciation of the word, “fun-du” he asked “is this Canadian?”) We got to the place fairly easy, it was on a quiet street in the shadow of a beautiful church. We looked at the price before going in, 25SF per person. Holy crow! We went in and ordered anyway and went ahead and got a glass of wine to go with it. The pot of cheese came to the table bubbling and hot with just a basket of bread to accompany. We thought this was a little stingy but after we started eating we understood. It was amazing, the Swiss highly value their Alpen cheese and it is extremely high quality. They don’t undercut the farmers by paying them less, they get what it is worth and we pay more. We were fine with paying so much, it tasted so good.
We went back to our room and realized that the Swiss have their own electrical plug-ins, not the same as the rest of Europe. We borrowed one from the front desk and spent some time on the computer trying to ignore the very loud snoring coming from the bunk beside us. From such a long day we slept instantly.