25 December 2007

Switzerland for Christmas

We are back from Basel, Switzerland, where we treated ourselves to a travel xmas present. All in all a good time, but of course, with travel there are always bizarre happenings that are the icing on the cake for any trip. As a Christmas present to you, here are some stocking stuffers that left us laughing (or at least speechless).

1. Hubbo informed me that Switzerland has a large underground system in case of war (he learned this in a Military Science class in the days of yore). I thought this strange for a country that refuses to interact with anyone, but whatever. Thinking we were just going to cross under the roundabout in a normal underground street system, we saw this (see left). There was a post office down there, some cafes, and an Indian restaurant that was making me slobber it smelled so good. Freaky freaky.

2. We stayed at a hotel near the Euro Airport and it had a casino. We went there one night for dinner, and decided to check out the casino first. Dumb me forgot my passport (I just wanted to eat!). So I went back up to the room and if I had just read this well-placed notice in the elevator I would have known to bring my ID.

3. So after finally getting into the hotel with my "guilty" ID, we proceeded to freak out the hotel staff by eating at the bar (apparently something only Americans tend to do?). But they rolled with it, and I had the best Swiss-French meal possible: Spatzli, vanilla apple, red cabbage kraut, glazed chestnuts (never had chestnuts before, only sang about them roasting on the open fire), and brussell sprouts. Weirdest thing on menu? Iceburg lettuce salad with beef bits of Wild Boar. Essentially the bacos of a Wild Boar.

4. An analogy for you! Germany: pork as Switzerland: chocolate. I don't think I saw the Swiss eat anything but chocolate the whole time we were there and for this I love them madly. Upon entering one of their many chocolate shops I stopped dead in my tracks and hubbo asked, "What's wrong?" I could only reply, "This is so wrong." Why was I not living heeere??? There was so much chocolate in forms our American brains cannot begin to imagine that it would just be best if they had a small section in front of the store where the doorman could corral all of us until we snap-out-of-it. I ended up buying one bar of this dark 70% cacao that had an orange slice in each square of chocolate. Each piece (I love orange in chocolate)! One bar is all I could handle in that mad house. When I woke up later that night unable to sleep, hubbo said, why don't you eat some chocolate? So I did, and it was so thrilling I passed out and went back to sleep.

5. In the most fitting spirit of Christmas, we met a lady late one night as we were wandering the streets trying to find our way back to the bahnhof (train station). Luckily she was going there as well so she escorted us. She said she was happy to find us as well as she didn't feel safe walking alone. She walked us all the way to our bus stop despite our protests (she was already late meeting her son). She said she liked helping people--that it was her duty as a Pakistani and as a human being to help. Then she said goodbye and asked us to pray for her.

Merry Christmas!


Laundry & Children said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I kept misreading "Hubbo" and I thought you kept talking to a "Hobbo." The whole time I kept thinking, "My goodness, Europe has a lot of homeless, but they seem very helpful." :)

Sara said...

Me too! (about the chestnuts!) They're all over Japan and people keep asking me if we have them in America. All I can say is, "well, we sing about them at Christmastime" But I think they must be different because the chestnuts here don't deserve a song - they're mushy and weird!

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