We took our kids from Toronto, Canada to Switzerland on vacation. This is our adventure.
This is a multi-part series.
- Vacation memories: travel day – part 1
- Vacation memories: travel day – part 2
- Vacation memories: from flight attendant to passenger 20 years later
- Vacation memories: arrival in Zurich
- Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane – part 1
That first day after arriving in another country is always a little overwhelming, especially for children. If the flight was long (ours was not bad, 6 hours) plus overnight, it can get quite challenging the next day.
It was good we had a nap although we had to wake the teen boy; he had more trouble than the girl child to get up.
I suggested to my aunt that maybe we will walk around my home town a bit while she dealt with a little grandson who arrived at the house after Kindergarten to have a snack with his grandmother.
Apparently the way it works is like this: he walks to his grandmother’s house after school where he gets fed a snack. About a half hour later or so she accompanies him to the train station where his father will arrive to take him home (or to soccer practice or whatever activities). Typically, the little guy walks with his older brother but this time, the brother had his own soccer practice. So the kindergartener walked on his own, which is not unusual in Switzerland.
So while my aunt was busy with that, I took my family on a little stroll around town in the unusually oppressive heat. 🙂
They were pretty good sports. First stop was at a fountain right behind the house. It’s still there, after all the years of going there to play as a child!
There are fountains in Switzerland around every corner, with drinkable water coming out of the faucet. It’s fantastic! While I was there earlier, before the kids joined me, I saw taxi drivers pull up and have a cool down and a drink. 🙂
The Military barracks were still behind the fountain just like I remember from childhood, but the actual street, and the little corner restaurant, are changed. Gone are the old houses; they were replaced with modern buildings full of apartments. (Ugly) The restaurant too is no longer a family owned place but part of a Yugoslavian chain.
It’s been 20 years for me since I’ve seen this place, so none of this is particularly surprising.
We walked past the court house with its jail beside it, completely unchanged and still very much original looking (architecture wise). This made me happy!
Beside the court house was a mall where we did most of our shopping back in my day. The Migros is a large grocery chain, similar to Sobeys or Loblaws in Canada. The shopping complex inside was remodelled and air conditioned which was lovely, and the restaurant that used to be attached to the Migros is still there but moved to a different location inside the mall. It was set up similar to an Ikea restaurant where you can self serve with a tray (cafeteria style). The food looked good and affordable so we are keeping this in mind for when we are doing local stuff in town.
We walked through the mall and across the street past a little kiosk area that used to belong to my grandfather. He sold tobacco products on the one side and candy/newspapers etc on the kiosk side. It’s all changed now, but is still commercial property. The tobacco store is now a barber shop. 🙂
Despite some complaining about the heat I insisted on walking up to my apartment buildings where I grew up. I figured, if they don’t want to come they can sit down someplace and wait for me. But I needed to move around and fight exhaustion. They were a bit gun-shy because of the language barrier (which is probably misplaced, many Swiss people speak quite passable English, and both my kids speak French which most Swiss also speak).
Unsurprisingly, they trekked along behind me. 😉
My partner had seen my home town before (close to 20 years ago), but it was a first for the kids.
We went up a hill and saw the huge stone staircase that led up to the protestant church, next to the Schloss (castle). Both kids stopped at yet another fountain to refresh, and then immediately complained they will NOT climb the stairs.
Before I could blink or respond, they both disappeared UP the stairs and into the shady garden beside the church.
We didn’t go into the church or up to the Schloss, but we will another time
We walked around the church in the somewhat cooler shade of the big nut trees and continued on toward my childhood apartment buildings.
To be continued… (to read the first part of our travel adventures, scroll back to the top of this post and click the links)