Another month has flown by, this one busier than most since we were traveling for 18 days. We flew to Switzerland to celebrate my husband’s daughter’s 50th birthday. Her sister also flew over from the states to help celebrate the big birthday.The weekend after we arrived, we all traveled to the mountains near Lake Luzerne, and then boarded a cable car to go up the mountain to a quaint and lovely chalet. Soon two dozen of her friends began arriving to celebrate her birthday. Some traveled by plane and train but regardless of the mode of transportation - when the reached the mountain, the cable car brought them to the party. The chalet was located across a small plaza from an old Catholic church which was still in operation. It was a magical weekend. I had to miss my 50th high school class reunion but it was worth it.
On Saturday and Sunday we noticed the many Swiss of all ages who came up the mountain by cable car to hike. It seems to be a national pass time. We went to church that Sunday but didn’t understand a
word and none of the hymns were familiar, but we were impressed with the
many young people, dressed for hiking, who attended the service.
After a week we took the train to Paris. It was a beautiful city and much of it was familiar since so many movies have been filmed there. Being in Paris, off course, I thought of my dad, he spent the last months of WW2 working nights for the US Army Postal service. He said the best thing about Paris was the zoo, he went there several days a week to visit the animals, they somehow brought him a sense of peace. War was hard on him as it was and is for most soldiers. We did not go to the zoo, now I wish we would have…
I was surprised by the famous sidewalk cafes, there must be hundreds or even thousands of them…the chairs and small tables are right on the sidewalks in front to the small cafes. It is not a place I’d want to visit again, the stench of huge piles of garbage, mostly along the side streets due to a garbage workers strike was a real turn-off for me. The museum workers were also on strike.
After several days in Paris, we took the Eurostar to London. As soon as the train entered the chunnel - I began to smell a musty odor. My husband did too. We were relieved to see the light of day when we surfaced in England twenty minutes later! There we took a train north to Leiscester to spend a few days with my husband’s niece and her lovely family. She hosted a large gathering for English cousins and we had a great time. As much as we enjoy the extended stays with family, we truly wish we all lived closer together.
And did I mention we have cousins in Toronto who delivered us to the airport and picked us up on our return, even kept our car at their house. All very helpful! A local travel agent flew from Toronto to Zurich in seven hours non-stop and return flight from Heathrow to Toronto in 7.5 hours. Great travel times and prices, especially when compared to the our last trip to Switzerland, the bargain I found on the internet…which included several plane changes and a total airport time of twenty hours with unexpected delays and cancellations.
I read the following books while on vacation:
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafar, it was a great story by a well established Turkish writer. It was about life in Turkey during the late1500s.This novel reminded me of Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth.
Chosen Forever, A Memoir by Susan Richards I recommend this engaging story even if you are not interested in reading memoirs.The writer tells how life can change completely in a moment, often when we least expect it.
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman, was a great story about two young people whose lives are brutally interrupted by the the Nazi’s invasion in prewar Praque. It explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit and our capacity to remember.
Inside the Obrien’s by Lisa Genova, her fourth novel and perhaps her best yet. Excellent! It deals with a Boston cop, his wife and four young adult children. It deals with the neurological disorder of Huntingdon’s Disease.
The Snow Child by Eowyen Ivey, was my book club read for this month, it was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and a wonderful story about Alaskan homesteaders in the1920s. The long winters coupled with the remote loneliness and isolation were depicted perfectly. It was a magical story, spellbinding. (*Interesting: the author is the granddaughter of the cousin of one of our book club members.)
His Right Hand by Mettie Ivie Harrison, it is a follow up to her nationally acclaimed bestseller, The Bishop’s Wife. It is a great murder-mystery about the inner workings of a Mormon Church in a small Utah town. Well written with many unexpected plot twists and well developed characters. Here is the link to my review of His Right Hand for Story Circle:
We have watched two very good movies since returning, My Old Lady with Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristen Scott Thomas was an excellent drama with the best acting we’ve seen in a long time.
The other one is Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks. It is so well done, all the props, old cars, phone booths, store fronts, etc. took me back to my teens when all that was the normal. This movie kept me on the edge of my seat, absolutely spellbinding! And the good news is there are finally some good movies in the pipeline according to the previews.
I mentioned my friend’s cousin’s granddaughter…and can’t help the overwhelming sadness I feel for my dear cousins this week as our entire clan mourns the murder of their wonderful 18 year old grandson.We have never lost a member of our family in this way before. Gun control would not have helped, it was a knife in the wrong hands.
Till next time, keep reading my friends.