Travel can be a lonely business. In the midst of one amazing sight after another, I sometimes find myself longing for a familiar face.
Even before we arrived in Switzerland, I contacted friends who might be in the vacinity of Basel. I sent a “What’s App” message to fellow writer and former Oakland, California neighbor Lindsey Grant. Lindsey and her husband Pat Bowen live permanently in Zurich, where Pat works for Google and Lindsey writes and parents their new baby girl. I was eager to show Mohammed this beautiful city and spend some time with dear friends.
So early on a Thursday morning, we set off on the high-speed train for Zurich. We arrived speedily – 53 minutes on the TGV – and found ourselves across from the station at the Landes Museum cafe.
There, we waited until Lindsey and baby Mira arrived after a yoga class. Mira was sleeping peacefully, and enjoys being walked in her buggy over cobblestones so we strolled through Zurich’s OId Town to a lovely restaurant, La Terrase, by the lake.
Lindsey and I both started with a delicious artichoke soup and then ordered traditional Spatzle egg pasta with figs, prosciutto and pine nuts. Yum! Mohammed was more sensible and had a salad. Baby Mira calmly watched the other diners while we enjoyed our lunch, and then snuggled down into her sheepskin-lined carriage for our walk to the ferry on the Zurcher See.
After we boarded the ferry, we settled Mira, and then took turns walking along the deck looking at the amazing views of the distant Alps, the crisp white sails of the boats, and the lovely towns that line the lake. The sky was cerulean, perfectly matching the water, and the day unseasonably warm.
After we disembarked in the village of Thalwil, we walked up a steep hill and took a bus to the village of Gattikon where Pat and Lindsey live. All told, our ferry ride, bus trip and subsequent walk through the village took longer than the train trip!
But we were rewarded with so much beauty. Gattikon is growing by leaps and bounds, and where the edges of this burgeoning suburb meet the country, one finds cows and goats cheek by jowel with modern houses and amenities. It’s tidy, preternaturally green, and quintessentially Swiss – I felt like I had stepped into the pages of “Heidi.”
Then we walked to Pat and Lindsey’s sparkling new condo where we played with baby Mira, chatted, and caught up on our lives while Lindsey cooked us an amazing meal. Pat arrived home from work and the conversation turned to our travels, my time in Switzerland back in the late sixties, and our mutual experiences with Swiss mores and customs – that is a deep conversation!
We ended a wonderful evening by walking together to the train station, attempting to put Mira to sleep in her buggy again (it didn’t work!) and saying an all too hasty goodbye. Before we knew it, we were back in Basel, with another wonderful day behind us. Lindsey sent “What’s App” photos of the baby, and a lovely pic she took of the two of us at her dining room table. Good friends, good memories!