Friday, July 4, 2014

Discovering the mother country

It kinda nice to have one place though out your life that you’re able to return to regardless of what happens.

I guess that it is just luck of the draw that this tiny part of Switzerland would remain a constant in a life that is full of change.

Every time I go back to the tiny village where mum’s family have a house I can’t help but ponder how much life has changed since the last time I was lucky enough to visit. It always makes me want to reassess my goals, values and where I am going or not.

This time I was able to go with Mum and Dad for a cousin’s wedding and it was wonderful in so many ways. Not only was Mum able to see so many of her family, I was able to check out some of the places that I hadn’t been able to do as a kid.

We also visited many old favourite places and did things that were characteristically Swiss like enjoy a Fondue on a side of a Swiss mountain.

After the wedding my mum, dad and aunts stayed in a at a cousin’s place (who was out of town) Monthly which is an unremarkable city but provided a great base to discover other parts of the country.   

We visited a salt mine, an open air swimming pool that was among the mountains and crossed over the Swiss/Italian border at St Bernard and St Maurice, which included an amazing Abbey as well as many more places.  We felt privileged and so happy to see the most amazing views, villages and buildings.

With Mum and Dad to keen to head back to Le Paquier, I wanted to see more of the mother country before flying out of Zurich.

Luckily, I had always wanted to visit St Gallen which is not far from Zurich. So after saying a sad good bye to family and crisscrossing Switzerland I arrived in St the ancient (and very wet) city of St Gallen.

It was made famous by an Irish monk who brought Catholicism to Switzerland and established an Abbey that is home to an amazing Library. While the Abbey is quite small, there is so much to visit and with its wooden panelling makes it quite breath taking. There were quite a few churches that were nice to look at while escaping the rain if nothing else. Finally, I got to visit the Textile Museum which was cool.   

I am so glad I got to visit St Gallen; it was so nice to wander the streets and take in the quiet building and tiny streets even if it was raining. I hope I get a chance to visit this town again and hopefully the weather would be better.

With a trip back to Australia looming, it was time to take a very
 efficient Swiss train to Zurich.  

It was a bit of whirlwind trip to this city and I did spend a lot of time getting lost and wondering the wrong direction but I did get to visit the Art Gallery and National Swiss Museum. The Art Gallery was great and seemed to go on forever and the museum was ok, although it was a little bland. There was nothing to that made me understand Switzerland better; it could have gone into its role in the global political system and international banking, for example.

It was also time to stock up on Swiss chocolate – predictable, I know but it had to be.

It has been good holiday, although a little too short but I look forward to coming back to Switzerland and to discover more of the land of my ancestors.

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