Having recently watched “World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys” I was transported back to our time in Switzerland. So, with memories of vivid green hills rolling with the backdrop of magnificent mountains, here’s an episode in the K-Team’s Swiss adventure.
Welcome with Alp horns
Sunday, August 17, the real fun began—and so did the early starts.
Up by 6am to race to Zurich Airport to meet the rest of the K-Team, Hubby’s family: his mother (Mum K) brother (P1), niece (Miss K), our son (Son 1) and his fiancé. Drove into the airport car park where Hubby became confused and drove out again and then in again. After finding a park we made our way to arrivals where an English man chatted to Hubby.
‘We’re from Australia,’ Hubby said.
The English man nodded. ‘I can tell.’
A young woman accompanied by a man dressed in Swiss costume who’d been standing next to us spoke to us. We soon established that we had been standing next to Hubby’s second cousins.
We then waited together for the K-Team fresh from Australia to roll through the arrival gate. Tired of waiting, Hubby wandered down the hallway and there near an alcove of shops, he found our weary travellers.
Must be the atmosphere in Zurich, or just jetlag as after greeting us, they stood around for at least an hour discussing what to do. Hubby and I took custody of their luggage and had a coffee while they lingered in the hall in suspended animation apparently organising the lease car and then debating how to change Australian dollars into Swiss Francs.
Just as I pulled my diary out to write, movement, and then we were on our way to the farm near Wattwil of Toggenburg in the Canton of St. Gallen.
There Alp horns, and cow bell ringers, and the stunning green hills and blue mountains of the Santis greeted us. Mum K shrieked and cried and hugged her relatives. Our niece exclaimed, ‘It’s all so beautiful!’
Willing members of the K-Team tested their muscles swinging the huge cowbells, or their lungs playing the Alphorn. Some had more success than others. I escaped the test by recording the event with my camera.
Then a banquet of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) on a balcony with the view. Perfect…until Miss K said, ‘Ugh! I have a fly in my plate.’
‘Is it doing backstroke?’ I asked.
‘It’s on its back and struggling.’
‘Oh, you have a fly!’ Mum K stabbed the fly several times with a knife. ‘There.’
‘What did you do that for?’ Miss K asked.
‘I put it out of its misery,’ Mum K said.
‘You murdered it.’
After the insecticide incident, our hosts showed us our rooms and one of our cousins gave us instructions about the bathroom and how to place the fly wire in our windows to keep out the “fleas”. I think she meant flies.
Mum K went missing. Found her in the dairy—yes, we were on a dairy farm that is still owned by the family. I was amazed that Swiss farmers have as few as ten cows and yet they make a living! Wouldn’t happen in Australia. And our hostess promised us fresh milk, dare I say it, raw milk, straight from the cow the next morning. Ah, the advantages of living on a dairy farm in Switzerland!
‘Actually,’ Mr K stated, ‘the Swiss Brown milk is known for its high fat content, so the milk is used for making cheese.’
As the T-Team talked to their dairy-farmer cousins, in this barn for the cows, I held my nose and edged towards the door. The up-and-personal experience with the cows and their calves in their enclosures, proved too much for my senses, and I suggested, ‘Let’s go for a walk to the forest.’ I moved out of the barn, sure that my bovine-close-encounter would be used in some future story—maybe in the Lost World of the Wends.
From the barn, the K-Team took a ramble to Mum K’s beloved forest—a smaller forest than one she remembered from her youth.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014 (original); updated 2017; updated 2021
Feature Photo: Welcome wiht Alp horn © L.M. Kling 2014