Today during my last full day here in Switzerland Linda had some ideas as to what she could show Sarah and I. After eating breakfast we all jumped into the mini and our first stop was where Linda grew up. The drive was short but as it turned out her home lays on the border between two cantons; Fribourg and Vaud. It is strange how the borders were created in Switzerland between the different cantons and if you blink for a second you miss crossing from one into the other. Anyway Linda’s family moved from this home to her current home several years back but had a lot of fond memories of her old house. It was a beautiful old house with a big backyard on the foothills of Mont Vully. At the top of her property is where her family’s vineyard’s are that produces some great white wine. After her family moved out her parents converted the house into 4 apartments. One of the people who currently lives there is an old friend of Linda’s. As we were leaving the gentlemen was outside enjoying the nice warm day. We stopped to awkwardly say hello and then after a few minutes of Linda and this gentleman conversing it was back in the mini.
Our second stop was a very old town called Estavayer-Le-Lac. Estavayer-le-Lac is a municipality of the canton of Fribourg, situated on the south shore of Lake Neuchâtel. Estavayer-le-Lac is located between Yverdon and Berne. It is the capital of the district of Broye. When we first arrived in town Linda drove us to the lake. We sat along the rocks staring at lake and enjoying a semi-cool refreshment. It was really peaceful and warm. I even think I was starting to get a tan! At one point these pesky swans kept swimming over to us. It is evident that the summer residents of this beach town feed the birds, which is a big no-no. Now swans aren’t your garden variety bird. They can be aggressive and how some serious chomping abilities. Every time the swans would come over Linda would jump up immediately to run away while Sarah and I stayed calm and laughed. To make Linda feel better and myself feel cooler I pulled out my Swiss Army Knife to try and scare the swans away but they really didn’t seem to care what I had in my hands.
From the lake we took a short drive through the gates of the town, which surrounds the entire city by high cement walls and found a parking space on a rather steep hill. Once out we did a loop around this very lovely old town. . Layered with cobblestone streets, a church in the center and castle towers surrounding it, Estavayer-le-Lac was a really cool place. We got a pastry from the local shop. Went inside the church which was also really cool and even bought some lottery tickets. Sarah loves buying lottery tickets. The ones she buys are only 2 francs each and she usually buys 5 of them. She bought her 5 and didn’t win a thing. I then bought 5 on our way back to the car and had some better luck. The first one I scratched off I won 4 francs! I was off to a good start. I then handed Linda one to scratch off. She goes “if I win you are going to kill me.” “Well if you win the jackpot I’m taking the ticket and running” I responded. She ends up winning 1 franc. I scratch off the next one and win 2 francs. My last ticket yielded only 1 franc giving me a grand total of 10 francs! So I ended up breaking even since I spent 10 francs on the 5 card, but it still feels good to be a winner!
After piling back into the mini Linda had arranged to pick up her friend Christina who is also from Sugiez. After stopping to pick up this lovely pastry which is basically dough and sugar we got Christina and started the journey to the city of Neuchâtel. I was excited as I had heard great things about this city from a lot of people so far who kept saying I had to go here. The journey would take another 20 mintues or so but was well worth it. The sun was still shining and I was thoroughly enjoying the day so far. After finding a parking spot the four of us walked to the lake to take it all in. Unfortunately the sun couldn’t stop the haze from rolling in. We weren’t able to see the snowcapped alps but were still able to enjoy the Lake Neuchâtel.
From the lake we took a stroll up the very hilly streets of the city to where we could get a much better view of it all. The walk was trencherous as there were so many darn steps! At the top it was worth it. We got a great view of the lake and the red rooftops of all the shops and buildings of Neuchâtel. That is one great thing about a lot of these older European cities, the buildings are not so big which make views like this possible. After heading back down, Linda took us to her favorite brewery in Neuchâtel. The four of us shared a sampler of the 4 beers this brewery makes. We even did a blinded taste test of which I got 2 out of 3 right (the 3rd one being iced tea which threw me for a loop).
After enjoying some refreshing drinks and that lovely pastry we bought from the small shop in Sugiez, Sarah and I wanted to find a gift for Linda’s parents. We ended up buying them potted white orchids, some of which had not bloomed yet. If maintained correctly they could continue to grow back every year and who wouldn’t want lovely white orchids springing up in their garden every year? I know I would.
From Neuchâtel the four of us headed back to Sugiez, but before going home we stopped at Linda’s elementary school which is located 2 minutes away by car from her home. It is right on another smaller lake not Lake Neuchâtel. When we got there we saw some kids playing beach volleyball and one of them turned out to be one of Linda’s friends, and one that I had met at the BBQ the day before. After Linda and I kicked around the soccer ball for a bit I was invited to play in the next game of beach volleyball. I rolled up my jeans, threw on my sunglasses and gave it a whirl. It was time to rock and roll.
It was 3 v. 3 which is challenging but means that everyone sees a lot of action. I ended up serving several nice balls and in the end my side won the game and Linda’s team lost. From the beach volleyball court we headed back to Linda’s to change before dinner. Tonight the three of us plus Danny, Linda’s parents and some family friends were eating at 6PM at the restaurant located inside of the hotel.
After changing quickly for dinner the three of us headed over to the restaurant and was greeted by the group waiting and a glass of wine. I was handed a menu but it was in French and so Linda’s dad got me an English one which made picking my food a lot easier. I first ordered asparagus with some other things on the dish. It was really good. Then for my main course I ordered sea bass with sweet potato puree and potato gnocchi and a sauce. We sat down for dinner at 6PM and did not get up until 1030PM. It was a fabulous dinner had by all. Lots of wine was consumed from all over the world; California, South Africa, France, and Sugiez, Switzerland.
I also ordered a dessert as suggested by all and got probably the best creme bulee I have ever had (well maybe the one from Xavier’s was a little better but not much). Then after trying to explain that coffee was not for me I was given a decaf Irish coffee which was also really good. By the time we got up from dinner I was fully stuffed. Linda, Sarah and I then went downstairs once in her house to play a little pool, listen to music and have a little night cap. By 1130PM I was dead tired. I was falling asleep in the chair while we were hanging out I needed to head to bed after a great day.