Posted by: marykfurness | November 12, 2011

A Day of Exquisite Perfection — Day #9 of 30 days of indie travel blogging

I have become mired in my day-to-day life of wife; mother-to-a-teenager; part-time radio news anchor; and freelance news writer.  So I am behind on my 30 days of travel blogging project for bootsnall.  A gray and windy Saturday afternoon will hopefully allow me to catch up, beginning with the prompt for one day of travel perfection.

Wow.  Only one day? Which one?  I have been so very, very fortunate to travel to glorious places, and experience wonderful things; is it meeting my Bulgarian family for the very first time?  Seeing the Sphinx at sunset? Sailing the turquoise waters of the British Virgin Islands? All those were extraordinary experiences, and there have been many, many more.

But the most perfect of perfect days–the day when everything came together– happened 2 years ago in Switzerland.

My husband, son, and I were staying in a chalet in the Swiss resort town of Grindelwald, in the Berner Oberland, not far from Interlaken.  My favorite cousin and her husband had a chalet just down the hill from us, and her brother and his lady friend had a place in between.  This gathering was a “mini-family-reunion”, 2 years in the planning, and brought together people ranging in age from my son (11-and-a-half) to my cousin’s husband (75-years-young!).  It was a joyous chance for me to renew acquaintance with some of my favorite family members, and to introduce my husband and son to them.  We had dined on great food, hiked the hills, wandered the village, and had long, laughter-filled conversations throughout the first few days of the week, but on this day we looked forward to another excursion, and at the end, a dinner not only celebrating our reunion, but all our birthdays as well.

My cousin Susan and her husband–retired professors–had fallen in love with that part of Switzerland, and had discovered the town of Spiez. We took a train from Grindelwald to Interlaken, changed to one for Spiez, and having brought swimsuits and picnic items along, headed for a very special swim beach.

This was not the “tourist” swim beach, but a place known only to the locals. More like a park, it was beautifully green and grassy, with trees and benches and a ramp leading down into the iciest, coldest water I have ever swum in! As I walked down the ramp, trying not to think about my entire body going numb, I looked up; there before me was the lake, with mountains climbing sharply up.

Sailboats dotted the water off to one side, like glorious butterflies wafting to and fro, and I forgot–for a time anyway–about being cold.  I swam for a bit, then as I was getting out, I looked up again, this time toward a castle and vineyards. Vineyards in Switzerland? Wine? Is this where they’ve been hiding? 

The sun warmed us, and we ate sandwiches, fruit and pastries, laughed and talked, watched the sailboats and the big boats taking people on tours around the lake, then swam again. There were no hordes of tourists where we were;  just couples, families, and small groups of friends, as though we were all members of a special club that knew about this place.  I heard very little English–mostly Swiss German, with a bit of French here and there.

My husband, son and I changed into street clothes–an interesting challenge, as there were no changing rooms nearby!–and walked up to explore the castle.  Wandering through there took us back centuries; unless I actually looked out the openings in the thick walls, it was easy to imagine that Swiss Guards might come riding up at any time!

Knowing we had our reunion dinner later that evening, we bid a loving, fond farewell to Spiez and found the train back to Interlaken, to make the change for Grindelwald.  Having made Grindelwald our base for several days, coming into the town felt a bit like coming home….what had been strange at one time was becoming hauntingly familiar. We knew which train to get from Interlaken, then which bus to take from the train station toward our chalet, then which stop was ours. All was right and comfortable in our world.

There was still dinner to come, and a sunset, and it was, indeed, perfection; but that, as someone once said, is the rest of the story…….



  1. how perfect it all sounds, far from the tourists and a glorious day. So often the simplest days are those we remember most.
    ciao lisa

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