Muttenz, Switzerland
47° 30' N 7° 39' E
Nov 14, 2009 18:13
Distance 247km

Text written in: English

Back in Basel

Several months after visiting my host family in Switzerland last summer, I returned once again -- his time with Daniela and baby Ken.  En route to a 10-day stay in Germany, Daniela was kind enough to drive me up through Basel so I could visit them for the weekend.  And before continuing north, she and Ken stopped and stayed with us for the night. 

We took off on Friday, November 11, driving from Arcore north/northwest of Milan, past Lake Como, and up to the the Swiss border at Chiasso (pronounced "kee-YA-so").  There we stopped to have a lunch break, nurse and change the baby and stretch our legs a bit.  We drove into Muttenz (suburb of Basel) around 5pm and had a nice cup of tea with the Reys.  It was very interesting to have people from such different areas of my life meet up. The Reys always enjoy meeting new people, so they had many things to ask Daniela about her time in Japan, living in Italy, being married to a Japanese man, etc... and Ken was a hit, as well, because he's just so cute!  They baked fresh bread in their big tile oven and we had a very relaxing, enjoyable evening.

The next day, after breakfast Dani and Ken took off for Frankfurt and thus began the rest of my weekend...  It was very, very low-key.  The entire time I was there, it was grey and rainy so Saturday was spent inside lounging in the warm living room, reading or taking a nap.  In the afternoon, Sarala and I went grocery shopping at the neighborhood Migros - where I bought a kilo of Basler Leckerli to bring back (a type of sugar-cooked gingerbread cookie that I just adore!) and my favorite sausage sticks, called Landjäger.  On our way out, we ended up running into Daniel (Sarala's daughter's first husband) and Pascal, their eldest grandchild, who is now 20.  We had a nice catch-up, since I hadn't seen them in several years and it's always fun to reminisce about the first time I lived there and Pascal was only 5! After dinner that night the three of us drank some wine from the area - in fact, from the hills right up behind their house (here's a link for the local wine association - in German, but you can get the idea: ) and played a feisty game of Poker Dice.  I was the big loser.... lost all ten of my toothpicks and then the extra five my host dad lent me.  No 'beginner's luck' for me!

Sunday, I woke up not feeling so hot, but luckily there was not much on my plate for the day, just more hanging out.  In the afternoon, my host sister, Brigit, and her family came over for lunch.  Sarala made a yummy pumpkin soup (with pumpkin and carrots straight from their vegetable garden out back) and we ate it with their homebaked bread.  With three very boisterous kids - ages 9, 4 and 2 - it was quite interesting. I wanted to stay longer downstairs, but the icky feeling persisted so I went upstairs and napped for an hour or so, which really helped.  When I got back downstairs, Flurina presented me with a drawing she had made for me.  Since I had told her about the horse I had when I was a girl, named Ben, she drew a very good likeness of him and probably used up the entire brown crayon coloring him in.... Soon after that, Brigit's clan was gearing up to head back home. They had walked from their house in neighboring Münchenstein (about an hour) - since they don't own a car, the whole family takes their bikes or walks almost everywhere. It was cute to see them take off with a whole variety of 'vehicles,' a scooter, a trike, a little bike and Marcus, their dad, pushing the empty stroller.

Afterwards, I packed my things and around 6pm my friend, Karin, came to pick me up and bring me back to her place (nearby in Reinach) where her boyfriend, Stefan, was making us something good for dinner. These are the two I went to the top of Jungfraujoch with last summer... We had a super good meal of roast beef, veggies and pasta... complimented by the Italian wine I had brought... and talked for quite awhile. Of course, we couldn't end the night without sipping on some sublimely good pear schnapps and polishing off a whole package of Perugina Baci (kisses) chocolates. Inside each one there's some kind of romantic/passionate quote - translated into Italian, Spanish, French and English so it was a bit of a fun little language lesson for us all to read, listen and test our knowledge.

The next day once Stefan was off to work, Karin - who had the day off - and I ate a leisurely breakfast, chatted and hung out until noon when she drove me to the train station and lead me right to the platform I needed to catch the Cisalpino train back to Milan. Was a great evening with them and I look forward to meeting up again early next year for some skiing! Plans are already in the works....

The 4-hour ride back to Milan was uneventful - very sunny and beautiful through the Alps and then very dark going UNDER the Alps through the San Gottard tunnel (20 kms long) into Italy. Looking forward to meeting up with them again in early 2010 for skiing!

Photos / videos of "Back in Basel":

The tail end of Lake Como, as we passed by The city of Como Caffe d'orzo (barley coffee) my new favorite non-caffeinated drink Propped up in the car Parasailing (-gliding?) over the mountains Poker dice... More fun than cards! My host sister, Brigit Her partner, Marcus, and their older son, Maurin Sarala made a big pot of pumpkin soup. Yum! Flurina, 9, is their oldest and always has a lot to say For dessert, roasted apples with ice cream (or glacé)