7. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane – part 3

We took our kids from Toronto, Canada to Switzerland on vacation. This is our adventure.

This is a multi-part series.

  1. Vacation memories: travel day – part 1
  2. Vacation memories: travel day – part 2
  3. Vacation memories: from flight attendant to passenger 20 years later
  4. Vacation memories: arrival in Zurich
  5. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane – part 1
  6. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane part 2


The weird thing about memories is that you never know how they will affect you when you see something that brings you back in time.

When you’re a child, you live in the present in a way adults can’t. Or it takes more effort. At least this is my observation.

Now that I’m a parent I often see things through the kids’ eyes, in a way that I couldn’t before I had kids.

It’s hard to explain.

I know my mom was never a fan of living in an apartment building. Her dream had always been to return to Canada and buy a house (we did, but not until I was 11). In the meantime, we needed a place to live and I remember having lived in three different apartment buildings while in Switzerland. The one I wanted to show the kids was the one I remembered best, and lived in the longest (from Kindergarten to grade 6).

The thing is, I was anxious about returning to that apartment building on this trip, despite the fact that almost 20 years have passed. Not sure why…

So after coming down from the garden up on the hill by the protestant church, and turning around the corner, the first thing I looked for was the window where my mom used to stand as she watched me walk to Kindergarten.

Except…it wasn’t there.


The window was blocked by huge fir trees. πŸ˜‚

So I dragged my tired, hot family further down the street until we stood directly in front of the building.

It hit me then just how spectacularly ugly it is. πŸ˜€

I don’t remember it being ugly inside though; it was quite spacious (to me). It was, after all, my childhood home. I even had my own room – we all did, all three of us kids.

I also remember the kitchen being a room, not part of a room or in an open space. If you wanted to cook or eat at the kitchen table, you went to that room (I think it even had a door…)

It was a weird experience looking at the building. I didn’t remember it being so white, either. I remember it being more of a darker grey tone…

Also, a strange thing happened: I felt absolutely nothing. Once again I was all worked up over nothing. πŸ˜›

There was a twin building below mine and if you passed between the two you would get to the playground which had the standard sandbox and swing set.

“This is where we got into trouble for playing with the sand outside the sandbox,” I explained to the family. They gave me a look. They don’t realize that even the slightest thing out of order in the 1970s was stressful for custodians tending to apartment buildings and their big aim in life was to keep order at all cost. Never mind children and their messy play needs… πŸ˜‰Β  (I think things may have changed; I’ll let you know what my cousins say when I see them later on this trip. They all have school-aged children now and I’m sure they have stories to tell.)

Next I led my family to the path, the one I took to go to school, the same path I walked up on with that severe headache that landed me in the hospital with meningitis. (You can read more on that here.)

“See that building behind the sandbox? That was a farm house and we used to have to wait for the cows to pass on our way to school,” I told my wide-eyed kids.

“Those houses on the other side of the path was their pasture,” I continued.

But they weren’t particularly interested in their jet-lagged state what with the heat and all, and I wasn’t either, really. So we walked around the building and took another look at it from that perspective.

This would have been my view coming home from school. My apartment was the last one at the end, on the top floor.
This was my entrance. The mail boxes on the left used to be attached to the wall next to the door, and were smaller but more elongated, with a slit on top for the letters.
The two top windows were my baby brother’s room, and my parents’ bedroom. My sister’s room was facing the same way but is behind the corner, and my room was facing the playground and the balcony, on the other side.

After we passed the building and headed back home, I showed them the view I used to have on my way to Kindergarten. The Kindergarten building was not located in the school or near the path but on the complete opposite side and going up the hill (instead of down).

We would have walked this same way to get into into town, to the train station or to my grandmother’s house.

This was the way I went to Kindergarten. I would turn right and walk across the street on those white squares (which used to be stripes) and make my way up the hill.

In the background, you see the church we just came from (with the stone steps), and the Schloss.

To be continued… (to read the first part of our travel adventures, scroll back to the top of this post and click the links)


16 thoughts on “7. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane – part 3

  1. I love being taken on journeys like this – re-tracing steps, and places we remember. And yes, my own children are instantly bored when I show them anything like this about my own childhood πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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