Polaroids of a foreign land ...

When family visit you in a country where they've never spent much time, and that you're still exploring, it's hard to decide how best to show them the essence of the place. Switzerland in a weekend is a tall order, but we did our best. Mum arrived to sunny weather on Friday afternoon, and we walked around the Katzensee enjoying the glorious autumnal chill. We laughed as we watched a girl trying to catch the feisty black stallion, and marvelled as we saw her lead him calmly from the field a few minutes later.

Later in the day, we warmed our fingers around mugs of Gluehwein at the Zurich Christmas market, admired the sparkling Christmas tree at the main station, draped in Swarovski crystals, and enjoyed a slice of the famous Sprungli's very naughty truffle cake. Saturday brought new delights. We drove to the Rhein Falls, Europe's largest waterfall near Schaffhausen, at the northern most tip of Switzerland. So still was the majestic Rhein in shades of deep aquamarine, until it gushed over the cliff and exploded into powerful white spray.

We walked over the railway bridge to a well-situated viewing point on the far side of the platform - only to discover after climbing down a hundred steps that this was one of those natural attractions that somebody shrewd had decided to make a fortune from - and traipsed back up, determined not to buy the tickets. Schaffhausen and its beautiful medieval architecture lured us next. We walked around the kloisters of the monstery as the sun fell behind the horizon, and gasped as we emerged onto the main street all atwinkle with simple but beautiful Christmas lights. In the evening, Tim cheated his way through a game of Uno, while I lost miserably.

And we awoke early on Sunday to travel to the mountains, listening to Robert Burns love songs performed by a folk singer with a haunting voice. Mount Pilatus is an impressive lump of rock behind Lucerne. It gazes down upon the city and lake below. We thought we opted for the easy route by getting the cable car up and walking down, but it turned out that we did more uphill than expected. The views were stunning and the weather crystal clear. Sitting in the camper van afterwards, we warmed ourselves with cups of tea.

Monday morning taught me how obnoxious the Swiss can be. I'm struggling to think of a nice way to describe the larger than life lesbians upstairs - but they stuck a nasty note to the camper van telling Mum and Nigel they hadn't parked properly. And I thought this was only a problem for them because the fat one would struggle to fit between the camper van and her car - but that's not the fault of parking. A diet should sort that out. I should accept the Swiss, since I have chosen to live here. But it is hard not to wish they could all be sent on a manners course in Great Britain when they stare, don't move out of the way on the street to let you pass, and leave nasty notes on your vehicle. Tut tut. There, some snap shots of Switzerland. Seems I'm learning more with each day that passes.
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