Friday, June 19, 2009 5:53 AM
Our return to the Swiss Heartland is started.
Tuesday 6/16/09 - Since our plane from Washington Dulles does not leave till 6:00pm we should be able to sleep late and have a relaxing day. So, what the heck, we are up and awake at 4:15am!! We are through security and at the gate aout 3:30pm and sitting on the plane by 5:30pm. I had noticed that the last few days the flight to Zurich had been leaving about five minutes early and arriving up to 45 minutes early. That would be nice - BUT about 6:20pm we are told one passenger did not show up and they were going through the baggage compartment to remove his/her's luggage. Soon we were in the takeoff line but the plane turned around and went back to the nearest gate to rebalance the cargo hold. Another 30 minutes and we are ready to turn onto the runway for take off but instead turn around and go to the nearest gate because the weather radar quit working. Another 20-30 minutes and we are told this has been a recurring problem on this aircraft so they are going to change to another aircraft. Well, finally, we do in fact leave but over three hours late and arrive in Zurich at 11am instead of 8am and make it to the Untours Meeting Point just in time to have our train passes validated by Connie and leave with Margrit and the last batch of other Untourists on the train to Luzern where we catch the train to Sachseln.
Wednesday 6/17 - Both Albert and his daughter Elisabeth met us at the Sachseln Bahnhof for our welcome reunion hugs and a ride to Chalet Berit, our apartment home for the next four weeks. On the way they took us to visit Berit's fresh grave site for a few minutes of sad reflection.
Interestingly, Berit's grave is directly across from the grave of the neighbor lady who originally lived in the building of Chalet Berit and Studio Albert that died in 1989. She and Berit used to hang out their windows across the small street from each other and talk. Berit hanging out the kitchen window is a familiar memory of those of us who have stayed with the Greuterts over the years.
She had willed that Albert and Berit could buy the building if they wanted. After their renovation creating the two apartments and a few years later adding the "Penthouse Roy" for Vance it is, along with Apartment Elizabeth, what many of you now know as one of the favorite Hearland places to stay.
Vance came down to say hello tell us the latest news that he knew and talk about our Vols. After our short nap, a walk through Sachsen, and a dinner of Geschnetzeltes mit Rösti in the Bahnhof Restaurant Biergarten.
We spent the evening with Elisabeth and her husband Guido on their patio talking and catching up on each other's news since this time last year. Of course most of the conversation was about the last few months of Berit's life. Then a good night's sleep.
Thursday 6/18 - Whether in Switzerland or at home in Virginia, I guess our internal clocks are set to wake up by 5:30am. Nuts, but sometimes handy. As usual on the first day we attended the Orientation to meet the people and hear anything new that might be said. Jessica and Connie did their usual good job keeping everyone's interest. After that Jessica, Connie, us, and five of the group had lunch and long conversation together.
Albert invited us down to his apartment balcony for our Wecome Back visit.
Like the night before, a great deal of our conversation was about Berit and his life together from the time they met 55 years ago in Norway and thoughts of the future without her. He is doing as well as can be expected and remaining involved with his many church, Lions Club, and community activities. A happy/sad evening that finally ended about 10:15pm.
Friday 6/19 - So here I am, awake at 5:30am again. Had a hard thunderstorm in the middle of the night and expect showers today. No plans but think we will just take a nice boat ride on Lake Brienz. We are waiting for that first bright, sunny, cloudless day for our reunion with the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau while walking from Grütschalp to Mürren.
I will try not to be so verbose from now on, but we are excited to be back for the 5th time in 10 years and already have reservations here for next year. Just hope the plane is on time then!!!!!!