Russ and I have just had the most amazing week. On Friday Sept 5th, we drove from the Lakes District into Manchester where we left our hire car with Phil and Pauline. At 6.30 pm, we took a short flight to Switzerland (1.5 hours) to sat with our friends Adriana and Andy, Melissa and Michel.
I met Adriana on line a few years ago via a food site we both belonged to. 18 months ago, Adriana and daughter Melissa came to Australia for 4 weeks and came to Warrnambool to spend a few days with us. With the flight so short and the cost so reasonable, we decided it was too good a chance to miss and went to Switzerland to see them again and meet the rest of the family (Andy and son Michel).
We arrived home at the house after 10 pm to find Adriana had waiting a lovely just warm broccoli and cream cheese tart and a bottle of wine which we enjoyed sitting on the patio overlooking the lovely night lights of Basel. At around 1.30 am, we went to bed, but I think I was too excited to sleep-I only got around 4 hours that night.
After a breakfast of home made bread and jams and spreads, we went into Basel City for a look around. It’s a lovely little city on the Rhine River-really clean and pretty. Back home for a long and lazy lunch of pizza home made in the wood fired oven in the garden followed by home made cherry ice cream, then off up the road behind their home, via Basel Castle, to see some very impressive Roman ruins not far out of Basel. We scared a doe and twins on the way!
Dinner that night was a big pot of lamb layered with potatoes, feta, dill leaves and white wine all sitting on grape vine cuttings. So simple, yet soooooo delicious! All the food we ate on Saturday was cooked in that wonderful wood oven!
On Sunday after breakfast, with Melissa driving her dad’s state of the art BMW, we (Melissa, Adriana, Russ and I) went to visit Adriana’s mum in Lugano. Andy was heading to Boston that afternoon for business, and Michel was working for a butcher who sponsors him with gear and equipment in his sport of mountain bike riding.
It was a 400 km tripto Lugano that day, starting with a two hour walk around Bern (Switzerland’s capital) then on through the Swiss Alps-along steep, winding, (at times) narrow, breath takingly beautiful roads. Passing glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, tiny villages and Swiss cows with their cow bells tinkling. The highlight for me (and Russ I think) was the Furka Pass and our visit to the Rhone Glacier and Ice Grotto. We stopped for a picnic beside the first waterfall we came across (and actually had to cross a small military airfield to get to it) We all had a laugh when a very sweaty jogger stopped and asked if we’d like a photo taken of all 4 of us. He was lying in the middle of the road at one stage to get us and the waterfall in theshot.
More funny photo stuff at the Rhone Glacier when a young couple jumped into a photo Adriana was taking of us three. The young guy then offered to take a photo of the four of us, but his girlfriend stayed in the picture!
It took us 10 hours to reach Lugano and Adrian’s mum. She had already eaten by the time we arrived, but had made us a lovely simple pasta with tomato sauce, tomato and mozzarella salad and a nectarine and amaretto tart for dessert. Absolutely delicious and made by a warm, kind woman approaching 90 years old!
Monday we took another two hour walk around Lugano, along the lovely lake shore and around town. Back at Adrian’as mums, Adriana made us a porcinni mushroom risotto and witlof and apple salad for our lunch. Then we drove back the quicker way to Basel through the 17km long Gotthard Tunnel. We really only stopped briefly on the way home to take the odd photo, use the bathrooms and to buy some cheese at a mountain cheese factory.
On Tuesday morning, we organised all the photos we’d taken in the alps, then when Andy arrived back from Boston and Michel got home from school we lunched, sitting on the balcony for around 4 hours! We had fish and scalloped potatoes, then apples from the garden in an apple and walnut crumble. After lunch we dragged ourselves away from the table long enough to go to Germany to do some grocery shopping. Germany is much cheaper than Switzerland and as Basel is a border town, Basel residents get a 10% tax refund on any groceries bought and 19% on any textile goods! Adriana and I cooked dinner-Indian gingery chicken, rice and a Chinese style eggplant salad. Andy fancied dessert so went out into the garden around 10ish and picked quinces that Adriana quickly turned into a quince and custard type pie. I think we finished dinner around midnight!
Wednesday, we breakfasted, packed and flew back to Manchester.
I can’t begin to thank this kind and generous family who showed us such an amazing time-I’m really so grateful!
We stayed overnight in Manchester, then yesterday drove to a B&B in Doncaster. We booked in, then walked the mile to the Doncaster race track for Ladies Day of the 4 day St Leger meeting. It was great-we didn’t put enough money on the winners we backed to make any money, but it was still really good fun. People watching was almost as much fun as watching the races too.
Today, after a visit to Roche Abbey (just another abbey but in a very pretty setting) and Conisbrough Castle, we drove to Bradford. Tonight we’re off out for dinner with Simon, Iona and family and tomorrow we go to Simon and Iona’s wedding party.
Sunday we head to Scotland.
Once again too many photos to put into order. Sorry. I also need to add-some of the photos are taken on my camera by Adriana, some are taken by her on hers-so if I’m in a photo with my camera around my neck it’s one of hers from her camera! The panoramas are hers too. She’s a great photographer.