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Published: November 27th 2008
August 22 Sunday
After missing out on the Cosmos’ Russian River Cruise to join the Placinos (which got fully booked one year prior to departure) , change in Trafalgar bookings for lack of time to secure all the visas, and the ordeal relating to the issuance of the Russian visas, Emy and I are finally ready for our holiday. Emy was running late but arrived at the airport with time to spare for a heavy snack of gyoza and chicken sotanghon. Our first wise decision……we were served dinner at 9pm yet on our Air France 161 flight for Paris. All of 16 hours with hardly a wink, plus another 1 ½ hr flight from Paris to Zurich. Wide awake on the plane, we hardly resisted all the meals served. We arrived in Zurich with a bloated stomach or distended intestines or both, and facial skin so dehydrated it is crying out for moisturizer.
August 23 Monday
Only my good friend Lylah looked good among us 3 girls on this morning’s 8:50 am arrival in Zurich. What a relief that Lylah found a parking slot very near the arrival gate! We may just have one big
With Lylah in Santis, Schwagalps
Emy too scared to come out after the cable car ride.
suitcase each, but Emy and I hardly have the energy to load our luggage into Lylah’s trunk. It took a real full breakfast of croissants and cold cuts in Lylah and Fredy’s Fraunfeld
house some half hour away to raise our energy levels back to normal.
Today being a sunny day and a cloudy forecast for the next 3 days, Lylah decided to drive Emy and I straight up to the mountains . We somehow got lost on our way, what with all the chatting while driving in between munching Lindt chocolates, but we finally managed to get to Schwagalps
to catch our cable car ride from there to the mountaintop of Santis. (Fredy said he cannot manage to get lost even if he planned to…..some Swiss brand of humour here) We’re glad Lylah insisted on doing this trip today as our “introduction to Switzerland”….. the views from the mountaintop plus the cable car ride, was simply amazing. Before our eyes spread a whole panorama of snowcapped mountains with Lake Constance in the background. It was just so postcard-pretty. Of course , Emy can’t join Lylah and I up to the very top….. the altitude plus the howling
wind didn’t help to calm her nerves……but we managed to take good photo shots with Emy literally hanging by my sleeve. From the top, we can scan some mountain climbers with unbelievable stamina and courage. And not all of them are young. Emy, Lylah and I can only look at each other with an exasperated “shame on us” look. At the foot of the hill, we took pictures in front of Berghotel Schwagalp and dropped in on this little cheese shop.
On the way back to Frauenfeld, Lylah brought us to this quaint little town called Appenzel.
It’s a very charming town with old wooden houses decorated with bright paintings just like what one would see on postcards. Lylah pointed out that this town of local farmers-artists are known for their naïve paintings, samples of which we found in many souvenir shops. We were even so lucky to find a band playing in one of the small country hotels there. The bandmembers wore traditional red jumpers (for lack of a better term), hats trimmed with flowers (Lylah claims they’re edelweiss) and dangling earrings (just on one side) with this cute little spoons. Oh yes, these men wore dangling
earrings! We also found this really old wooden house (built in the 16th century) near a small square from where we strolled to cross the town center. There were window shops with cow bells, embroidery, naïve paintings, etc alongside a bank ATM machine which I naturally didn’t ignore. Oh, the wonders of techno-banking!
Home in Frauenfeld in time for dinner with the boys : Papa Fredy and Lylah’s 2 sons, Leni and Jason. We also met the house pet “Odin” whose meows get louder when he sees the mistress of the house. The ‘Welcome to Switzerland’ dinner of bratwurst, schublig, cervelat and many other sausages and cheeses I can’t name was just superb! Take that with generous helpings of artichoke salad littered with plump olives. With this kind of dinner, Emy and I knew it’s impossible to grow hungry in Frauenfeld.
August 24 Tuesday
In true Lylah’s tradition, there is no wake up call. Without planning to, I woke up too early and took the chance to stroll around the Abendweg area. Ms. Moonlight wakes up just before noon…..and happily whips up a hearty omellette with parsley that go so well with the croissants
earlier baked by Fredy. Emy and I have by this time learned where the sausages, cheeses, tete des moines and nostrano salamis are stored, and shamelessly pick what we like .
Today’s excursion included a trip to Schaffhausen
just northwest of Fraunfeld. Here we saw the largest waterfall in Europe. They are impressive as they are noisy. Climbing up and down the stairs to get different views of the “Chutes du Rhin” (Rheinfall)
again reminded us girls how physically unfit we were. Just a short car ride from Schaffhausen is the medieval town of Stein am Rhein. Here we found the frescoed, half-timbered centuries-old houses we have often read about in many travel books. We strolled around this quaint charming town that is simply so “European”. The old world charm just wows you. And while being wowed, Emy gets her first “lecture” on how to operate her borrowed digital camera.
A waterfall and a medieval town…..the adventure doesn’t stop there. We crossed over to Germany over Lake Constance with our car joining us on that short ferry ride towards Meersburg/Bodensee.
SwF15 one way and you get your car to cross the lake. By this time,
A truly bad shot.........
Lylah thought we are now ready for a German seafood dinner and Meersburg is just the right place. A Filipina waited on us in Restaurant Zum Anker and helped us order a sumptuous dinner of egli (perch) and felchen (fera), both presumably fished out of Lake Constance. We each had a piece of the delicious egli smothered with almond slivers and shared the felchen cooked in a savoury sauce as well as the ramschnitzel served with spatzli, which are boiled pasta dumplings that don’t look like dumplings at all. More like pasta in broken sizes! We stuffed ourselves real good…..excellent dinner.
August 25 Wednesday
Today we head for Germany again via several detours, passing St. Gallen, Lindau, Isny, towards Fussen to visit Hohenschwangau and Neuchsweinstein Castle
built by Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria. This fairy tale castle is always featured in travel books as the prototype of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. Many times, I have planned to go to this castle in the middle of a forest (or so it looked in the pictures) but always missed out on the chance for this sidetrip. Finally, I’m doing this side trip! After 3 hours on
the road, and after a good snack of apple and white cheese struddle at Schlosshotel Lisl, we took this 15 minute uphill bus ride. We got off the bus on this fork which leads to Mary’s Bridge or the Castle. We took the road downhill towards the castle, joined the guided tour and sympathized with Mad King Ludwig II whose love and life story is simply heartbreaking. Story aside, this trip once again physically challenged us . We thought we’d drop from sheer exhaustion. The only break I got was when I asked this fellow to take my picture with Hohenschwangau Castle in the background. He did just that; except that my entire face dominated half of the picture frame. My nose is as big as the castle in the background
All that walking up and down made us decide to reward ourselves with yet another good dinner. Breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in Germany and dinner in Austria …. That’s how we planned it. It took sometime though to find a good eating place in Bregenz, Austria
which borders Switzerland. Finally, we found Wienerwald where we were served goulash, wiener schnitzel and another dish (T…..rosti?) I can’t recall.
So far, the Swiss and German dinners are better. We got home past midnight.
August 26 Thursday
We didn’t wake up Lylah and let her sleep through the whole morning. After all, she was driving the whole day yesterday! After brunch, she took us shopping. No crazy adventures today, no long drives, just a simple shopping day for us.
But not that simple. Dinner tonight is the best we’ve had in this whole trip. Though served only during winter, we had our raclette tonight!!!! The variety of cheese along with a bottle of good white wine, plus the assortment of pickles …….. wow, what a dinner. Melting cheese over boiled potatoes accompanied by pickled young corn, onions, gherkins, olives etc. is truly a Swiss adventure all its own. Marvelous dinner! Emy and I worried we won’t get up the following morning.
August 27 Friday
Emy and I feel almost sad to leave our Frauenfeld home, a home that is never locked at night, where neighbors’ voices are hardly heard, where the only noises you’d hear would be the washing machine spinning or the coffee beans grinding. Or our loud
Filipino voices and laughter! Moonlight, as we now call Lylah, and Papa, as we call Fredy , plus the 2 boys alternately called “sunshine” and “baby” by dear Lylah, have become our family in Switzerland.
Fredy and Lylah Rutschmann have been such fine hosts and Emy and I truly appreciate their kindness and hospitality. More than that, these two made sure we truly gained a very Swiss experience from the places we visited, to the friends we met, and finally to the food we ate! God bless the Rutschmanns!
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