Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Best Day

I've been posting lots of pictures on Facebook lately.  You see, it was a week ago last Saturday that I left for Europe with 40-something kids, 5 other chaperones-turned lifetime friends, and an awesome tour guide named Steve.  I usually get sentimental about travel anniversaries anyway, and with thinking about this trip I got to thinking that I never finished writing about it. Perhaps this'll get me going again...

When last I posted about that wonderful gallivant through Europa, the group had been in Luzern, Switzerland.  The stop-off was one that I had been looking forward to, not only for seeing the gorgeous country of Switzerland, but I was meeting a very special friend for what would turn out to be the best day of the entire trip.  

Amy Baby

Amy and I went to school together, back in the early 2000's when we were both in SUNY Stony Brook's Linguistics program learning how to become ESL teachers.  She and I were class buddies, meeting up for coffee and homework, stealing cigarette breaks in between classes together, and hanging out on occasion either dancing, dining and whatnot.  The two of us are on the same wavelength and we always got along fabulously.  

Several years ago, Amy met her soon to be husband, David, who whisked her and her son Justin away to live in Switzerland where he works as a journalist.  It had been about six or seven years since I'd last seen her, but we managed to stay in touch via Facebook.  Around a month in advance of the trip last year, I'd made a post about it, and when she saw it, she offered to come to Luzern from Lausanne, where she lives, to meet up with me.

The day was gorgeous, unseasonably warm as it had been the entire trip, and our group had just spent the morning on a tour of Luzern before heading up to Mt. Pilatus for some breathtaking views and of course, photo ops.  Ivan, my colleague who runs the trip, allowed me to go off for the day with Amy once we'd made our return to Luzern.  Tour guide Steve helped me out by speaking with Amy and directing her to where we'd be and in no time at all our bus pulled into a parking lot where Amy was waiting, grinning from ear to ear from our impending reunion.

A Swiss Cheese Burger!

The next several hours were complete bliss!  Even though we hadn't seen each other in so long, it was like we'd just parted ways only a week earlier, picking up comfortably where we'd left off.  We grabbed a glass of wine and then walked around this unbelievably picturesque town, talking like nobody's business.  I got to meet 'Justy' for the first time (oddly enough, I had never met him when they lived on Long Island), and I found him to be quite the well-mannered and mature young man at the ripe old age of about fourteen.  He already spoke English, some Spanish and French (which he'd learned while living in Switzerland), and he was at the time learning German, too, which he used to help us order our meal at a cool lakeside restaurant.  I was impressed!

From mid-afternoon straight through to dusk, the three of us chatted and dined and walked around some more, and it was a most enjoyable and relaxing time.  Of course, time slipped away from us so quickly that before you knew it, it was time for me to catch the train back to Alpnachstad.  That retro chalet had a curfew...if I wasn't back by 11, I'd be locked out for the night!  But I had an emergency... we'd been having such a good time talking that I never got to do any shopping for some cool Swiss stuff (I just had to have something from each stop!).  Amy, now a Swiss resident, had just the ticket...the supermarket.

What is the one of the most famous things that Switzerland is famous for?  

Swiss Army Knives?  Musical instruments?  Alps?  No, I mean yes, but chocolate, she answered before I could even get the word out of my mouth.  The train station in Luzern had this supermarket which had an entire aisle of all kinds of chocolate.  I took about 45 minutes to pick out some authentic Swiss delicacies both for my friends and family back home and a little for myself, too!  And the kicker was that it was much cheaper (and just as good!) as the chocolate in the chocolate shops. Holla!

With a couple of bagfuls of chocolate on my arm, we still had time for a quick stop to an ice cream/coffee shop where we finished our marvelous day still without any loss for words and some ice cream for Justy and capuccinos for Amy and I.  It was here that Amy had suggested sometime during the day that I come to Lausanne during the summer and use her apartment as a home base, a prospect that I'd been planning on for this summer.  That is,  until my garage roof needed replacing (grrrr!!!). Ah well, I'm over the disappointment by now, and besides there's always next year!  

Though this trip was one for the ages, an unexpectedly great time, I'll always have the memories that go along with it, and of all the memories I experienced, this one will always be right there at the top.  

Well, now that I've delved back into both writing and writing about my Europe trip, hopefully it won't be long for the next part of that adventure.  In the meantime, check out my previous posts on the trip...  


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