06.20.2013 - 06.20.2013
I had reserved lake view rooms. I thought this may be the only time in our lives we would be able to visit Switzerland. I saw it as an opportunity to create a memory. Something Courney and Jake would remember when they ripened to the age of 62.
Each suite had two sets of French doors opening to a patio that looked over the village, the lake, and the Swiss Alps. Okay, I can die now, I think. But considering how much I paid for the rooms, my family won’t be able to bury me. So just put me in a pine box and call it good.
Included with the room is breakfast. It’s a buffet in a dining room with an incredible view. The espresso machine has 6 buttons to press and two spouts. I figure out how to make an Americano—first do the espresso button and then add hot water by placing your cup under the Heiswasser spigot. I can learn German when I have to.
The pastries, the juices, bacon and eggs, and the croissants are incredible. I’m gaining weight fast, but we do have to descend and ascend 260 steps later this morning.
We plan a laid back day. Do whatever you want. Sheri and I decide to take a morning walk along the lake up to the next village, Hilterfingen, while Jake and Courtney sleep.
We pass marinas, gardens, parks, and mansard-roofed mansions. We walk around the grounds of a castle that’s been converted to an historical museum, and then we decide to walk back. Along the way we find an Italian hotel and ristorante, Stella del Lago. It’s time for a birra. Our waiter is Italian. He’s a friendly chap, and we converse using broken Italian and English. We’ve only been out of Italy for a few days, but I realize I miss the loudness of Italian conversation. We’ve felt conscious of the volume of our banter in Switzerland. You can feel the difference in cultural expectations.
We talk with our waiter about Italy. He’s from the Italian Alps. We finish our drinks, and he takes Sheri’s hand and smiles. “Ciao, Bella,” he says. Sheri beams and floats all the way back to the hotel.
After we return to the hotel, Sheri & Courtney decide to go shopping. I decide to go swimming in Lake Thun. I find my way to the public beach. It seems like a private beach club, a lido. But it’s not. And it’s free. It has rows of tidy changing rooms, a café, and tables and chairs under a shingled roof. The beach is grass. There’s a diving platform, a diving board, and ladders leading down the side of the concrete wall into the water.
I swim out to the buoy and back. Clouds are rolling in and the wind is picking up. I walk back to the room, up the 260 steps to the Park Hotel.