Thursday, October 18, 2012

Camping in Switzerland

We made it home after an exciting week away, and the children immediately started coming down with some kind of virus.  One lone sneeze led to another and now all three children are at various stages of sickness--- coughing, sneezing, fevers.  As usual it's the price we pay for taking them out into the world.  It was worth it though, because it was a really fantastic trip.

Our time in Switzerland was jam-packed with so many activities, there was hardly time to catch our breath.  It was so wonderful to see our neighbors and friends again, and they all gave us such a warm reception.  It was truly like coming home.

Everything was just as we left it-- the farms, the fields, the horses, the cows...

The weather wasn't nearly as cold as predicted, but the relentless rain made up for it.  As each day progressed the cow field became soggier and soggier.  Aside from the fact that we were sleeping outside, it wasn't much different than living in England.  However, that didn't stop our neighbors from worrying about us.

We brought plenty of gear (or kit, as they say in England) and were fully prepared to cook all our meals, but between friends and neighbors we hardly had to cook anything at all.  We were treated to so many lovely meals-- homemade bread, Indian food, salads, pumpkin soup, pumpkin spaghetti, apple pies, and snacks of all kinds.  We felt so loved and well-taken care of.

Oddly enough, we spent quite a bit of time at our old house.  The new tenant was the first person I met upon arriving, and he immediately invited us over for coffee and to have a peek around inside.  It's such a strange feeling to walk through your old house filled with someone else's belongings!  But it was comforting to know that a nice family had moved in after us.  He has turned our old porch into a workshop where he makes the most exquisite wooden bows and arrows.  He talked us through the process, and all of us were so impressed.  Kitty Bill was especially taken with him and kept asking for permission to go have a chat and offer his help.

Sunburst was absolutely thrilled to be back.  She spent our entire last year in Switzerland volunteering at a horse stable every morning and afternoon.  She was so determined that she would set her alarm and wake in the early hours and be out of the house even before Einstein and I had risen from bed.  She mucked stables, swept, fed, and ran to watch every time the farrier or vet came to call.  Aside from helping in the stable, she also helped with the cows-- mending fences, corralling cows, attending births, and finally helping to nurse an abandoned baby cow.

So once again Sunburst set her alarm and rose in the early hours to help in the stable.  This time she took Moonshine with her, and they were up and gone at first light.  The smile on Sunburst's face every morning said it all-- this is where I belong!

In between stall cleanings, horse riding, and visiting, I had a walk through the Goetheanum bookstore and took the kids for a day trip into the big city-- Basel.  We hit all our favorite spots, and the kids were so happy to see that the Heisse Marroni (hot chestnut) vendors had already set up near the Rhine.  We also managed to attend the Jugend Zirkus (youth circus) one night.  One of our homeschooling friends had joined last summer, and it was so fun to see her transformation into a circus performer.  She gave us a little behind the scenes tour of all the circus wagons.  It was so fascinating!

Twenty children participate in this circus and travel around from town to town, not only performing but setting up and taking down their circus tent.  They have a team of wagons pulled by tractors, and the kids live together in the wagons during circus weeks.  They even have a kitchen wagon and a bathroom wagon.  The whole idea was so interesting, and of course so foreign to anything I grew up with in the states.  Of course Sunburst immediately wanted to move back to Switzerland so she could join up.

And if that wasn't enough excitement, on our very last day we awoke to a hard rain and flooding.  Nothing says camping vacation like flooding!!!  No wonder the kids are all sick...

It's time for me to make more tea and wipe more noses, but I'll be back tomorrow to regale you with pictures of the flood.  For today, I'll leave you with pictures of the new angel sculptures outside the Goetheanum.  Aren't they lovely?!


  1. Happy to hear you had a good time, despite the rain. But sorry to hear that you're sick: Gute Besserung!!! Looking forward to the dramatic flooding pictures.

  2. Oh no...bummer that the kids are all sick. I hope you and Einstein don't get the bug too. What a lovely time you had in Switzerland though (despite the rains...I wouldn't camp even without the rains, let alone with. I'm just old and unadventurous now)! That youth circus idea intrigues me. It's a lot of responsibility for the kids; they must be so mature. And speaking of mature, your girls are so cute and mature!

    Hope you'll all get some rest and the kids will recover soon! xo

    1. Thanks, my old and unadventurous friend. ;) I thought you'd find the circus intriguing. Can you imagine your average American teen having that kind of responsibility and freedom? Unthinkable! These Swiss kids certainly have had to be more mature from early on, but they are still kids... only their rebelliousness seems a lot less dangerous than what you might expect from American teens. I overheard one bragging that when they were in the city they all went out and drank colas and coffee-- something forbidden to her at home.

      Who knew that the sweet taste of freedom has the flavor of coffee?!! And to think I've been taking it for granted all these years... :)

    2. LOL! That's so funny about the colas and coffee "rebellion"! There are a lot of times when I wonder where and how North Americans went wrong in raising their kids.


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