Hello again from Switzerland!
We spent two nights with Mark and Carrie before meeting up with Tony’s college pal, Martin, and his wife Cezi (pronounced Cheh-zee). Our first stop with them was a small town right near the border between Germany and Switzerland called St. Gallen. The town popped up around the monastery that St. Gallen established there in the 600s or so. It’s home to a really old library, which got Tony super excited. It was a pretty steep entry fee (Hold Cow is Switzerland an expensive place!) but well worth it. The library was incredible. This is a picture from the net, since photography isn’t allowed, and it doesn’t do it justice at all!
From there we went to the Rhine Falls, a large waterfall on the Rhine River. We first walked across a train bridge (Their trains are much quieter than the ones that go by our house!) and had an awesome view of the falls from the top and side.
That night Martin and Cezi made us a traditional Swiss dinner of Raclette. This cheese and potato based dish was great for cold Swiss winter dinners, as it was meant to be made around the fire. In modern times there is a special party grill that you can plug in and put on the table! Each person gets a little pan and scraper where you put your slice of the Raclette cheese and whatever toppings you’d like (chopped tomatoes, green onion, peppers, corn, etc.). The pan slides into the bottom of the machine where it melts the cheese. The top of the machine is like a grill, so the other veggies, bacon, and even pineapple are cooked on top. Once your cheese is melted, you use your scraper to push the bubbling cheese onto your open baked potato. The dish was awesome and was a great meal to have when there’s lots of conversation to be had!
One of the best things about our visit was spending time with Martin and getting to know Cezi, who met Martin while she was studying on the same campus where he lived as a Nazarene Missionary. They got married while we were in the BVI, and it was fascinating to hear about her experiences growing up in Albania, attending school and working in Italy, then meeting Martin in this strange part of Germany that’s inside Switzerland.
This idea of a Germany inside of Switzerland was a tough one for me to figure out, but Martin described it as a German island inside a Swiss sea. Allegedly, when the Lords came together to form Switzerland hundreds of years ago, there was this one guy who held out. He just didn’t like those other guys. When it came time to have to choose sides between Switzerland and Germany, he picked the latter. Over time additional land on the border was transferred to Switzerland, so now Martin and Cezi technically cross into Germany every time they go home. They showed us the border, which is really just a stone in someone’s field. That’s us in two countries at once!
From there we we ventured into Germany on the autobahn to The Black Forest. Turns out, this old forest got its name from Roman soldiers who traveled through it on their way to conquer distant lands. The tree cover was so thick it blocked out the sun and made it black! While most of the original trees have been cleared for development or farm land, we went to a part of the forest that is still intact on the edge of a little town called Triberg.
It was here that Amy and I decided it must be a requirement for Swiss and German towns to be cute. Each one we visited was adorable! Anyway, Triberg is known for The House of a Thousand Cuckoo Clocks, a shop where the clocks are sometimes even handmade in front of visitors, and for Germany’s largest waterfall.