02 June 2008

Weekend Switzerland Trip

What an adventure. You won't believe everything that happened on this trip. I know this blog post is long. If you don't want to read it all, at least read 2-11, 21, 24, 30-35, and 37.

1. The car we ended up with was a beast of a diesel-sucking Mercedes, great fun to drive and park in skinny German roads. When I first started it, it purred the most quiet purr I've ever heard from a car I was driving.


















For once, I'm grateful someone took a picture I didn't ask for. This is the only visual proof I have that my hair looks okay without blow drying it or curling it.





















2. We ended up bringing three lemmings with us to deliver to a girl in Rheinfelden. (There is a website everyone uses here to give and get rides for cheaper than the train. We registered and put our trip online and got a zillion calls, one of which was to ask us if we'd take animals too.)
3. We were controlled by the police, which means a BMW pulls in front of you and then a sign turns on that says, "Police. Follow." They take you off the next exist and look through all your stuff.
4. The police saw a Book of Mormon at the top of Robert's bag, asked if we three were together, and didn't look through the Mormons' stuff. I suspect I took this picture seconds before their discovery of Holy Scripture. Robert thought it was funny that I was excited to be controlled. That was before I knew what was to come.


















5. They found some drugs in the bag of the guy we were giving a ride to.
6. We drove twenty minutes back from where we came to wait an hour and a half in the police station while they interviewed the guy, even though the police had offered to take him to the train station when they were done and we could drive on. We hoped that he'd remember later that some nice Mormons had waited for him instead of leaving him to pay more for a train ticket. I found it hilarious that the small city where we waited (Hof) had a sign that said its sister city was Ogden, Utah, USA. Ha ha.
7. We got back in the car and our chocolate was melted. Luckily we had taken the lemmings with us. We used a spoon to eat some of the chocolate, which Mike got all over.
8. I said, "Mike. Lehre und B√ľndnisse 89." The guy was in our car and we had politely waited for him in the sweltering heat after he did something to quickly lose our trust, so we figured this was our chance. He learned all about the Word of Wisdom.
9. The sweltering weather turned suddenly against us. It was raining so hard, I made Mike take a video so Tanya and I could compare it with the middle of Illinois video. Unfortunately, since I was driving and Mike didn't know how to work my camera, it is a video of his leg which I won't share here. Traffic slowed WAY down, making us hours later.
10. Weather cleared up, but by then there was an evening traffic jam.
11. We got to Freiburg and said goodbye to our forced investigator. Mike didn't have the guts to ask him for more money since we waited, and I was distracted with the GPS at the moment. Too bad. We headed to Rheinfelden. By this time I was quite fed up and just wanted to be there already. Little did we know, there is a German side of Rheinfelden, and a Swiss side of Rheinfelden. We waited at the train station, and the girl who wanted the lemmings wasn't there. She couldn't explain to us how to get there even after several phone calls, but we finally figured it out after buying the sticker allowing us to drive on the Swiss freeways. She was so glad to get the lemmings, and we realized that had we just walked through the train station, we would have found her on the other side. Whatever. She gave us candles (instead of the chocolate Mike had jokingly/not-jokingly requested).
12. We gave the girl's friend a ride and gave him a Book of Mormon. He said he knew of the Mormons, "The American brotherhood, right?" and that he might read but his ancestors had been monks (I thought monks don't have kids, how does that work?).
13. We found the eensy weensy teeny tiny town of Rickenbach around 11:30, approximately 11 hours after we left Leipzig, five hours longer than the predicted time. There we discovered that we still had the lemming food. We were heartily welcomed into the home of the Hilbers (strangers to all of us) and we gave them a thank-you gift of some candles. (Yep, those ones.) They have one of those huge Swiss houses that is way old. After we were given delicious meat salad and bread (which was exactly what I needed after a day of chocolate), we went straight to bed.
14. We woke up to discover we were in a charming village. Sarah Hilber (age 8) showed us the neighborhood garden where the pigs and chickens are kept. Monica Hilber treated us to one of those fabulous Swiss breakfasts with a big loaf of homemade bread, homemade jam, amazing Swiss yogurt, hot chocolate, etc.

































The Swiss also have cool windows that tilt so the rain doesn't come in, even on a tilted roof.

















15. Elder (Lukas) Wiesner's mom came and we went to the cabin where the party was to be, which we decorated. I can totally see where Stefan got his features. He and his mom walk the same and have the same face.
16. We drove to Zollikofen and saw the temple.


















There's a store called the "Mormon Home Shop" across the street. I loved this, my two favorite things symbolized together:

















17. We drove to Meikirch. Mike laughed and laughed because every five minutes I would say, "Isn't this beautiful?" or "Wow, look at that!" or "I love Switzerland!" We spent an hour and a half with the Bieris. Ursula had made some sweet nutbread that was so good we ate the whole thing. Sophie was darling and fun. I really enjoyed seeing them again and they said I should come back in August so I could see Sue and Bea and Rolf and Sue's new boyfriend.

How can you help but love this?

















A building for Scott:

















The beloved rellies:

















18. I made the other two go through Bern with me, though Mike wasn't too happy about it. We saw the bears for a moment. Thankfully, Mike's favorite moment was here on the bridge. There's nothing like Bern to soften your heart, even if only for a quiet moment.


















19. I wanted to drive through Basel and see some things, but Mike didn't want to be late for the surprise. We were driving back through the beautiful hills and greenery of Switzerland when Mike decided we needed to find a place to buy chocolate and to gas up. He kept getting mad at me for not asking people in the middle of fields between towns if there was a store in the town coming up, but what would they say? "Yep, just keep going straight like you're already doing."
20. The stores were closed anyway.
21. The gas station we found took my twenty-Euro bill and gave out no gas and no one was there to help us.
22. We got back to the cabin and waited a good two hours before Lukas showed up.
23. I fumed because I had not had the opportunity to post my homework online and would either have to do it on Sunday or turn it in late on Monday.
24. The party went well. When Lukas arrived, we were hidden under a blanket. He had to try to guess who we were by our shoes. I had to suppress a laugh when he said, "At least one is a girl," because I was wearing brown flats with big leather flowers on them. He was surprised and pleased to see us. We had a lot of wurst and at least six delicious different cakes while being surrounded by lovely green hills, a huge blue sky, fresh air, and dinging cow bells. Make sure you turn up the sound to hear the bells, and that was before there were many there. I think Heidi's Grandfather's cabin was there, too:






Mike with Gabriel, who spoke such a Swiss-German that we oftentimes had to ask him to repeat:


















Me with Monika and Sister Wiesner:


















25. I went with Stefan (Lukas's brother) to the top of the hill (no, that is not symbolic):


































26. I ended up turning in my homework at 11:45 using the internet at the Wiesners.
27. You'd think since we were all exhausted, we would have slept. I ended up talking with Stefan for another hour and a half. Then I found out all the mattresses had been taken. He wouldn't take mine, so I pulled the cushions off the benches. The next morning I found out he hadn't had a blanket and was cold. Man! I had an extra.
28. Church was great, every one of us bore testimony. Monika and two of her kids came with us. They are the perfect potential members, but she told us how it's hard because her love for the church is countered by her son and husband's hate for it and how it takes her away during the hours that her baker husband is actually home and awake.
29. I forgot how hard the CH sound is in Switzerland. I think when Americans do their stereotyped German sounds, they are combining the Swiss CH with the tones of mean old German men.
30. After church, Monika convinced me I should take a nap before we took off. I asked Robert to wake me up at 2:30 and to make me something to take along to eat for dinner (at the end of my fast). At 3, I woke up and neither of the above-mentioned things had happened. I was quite annoyed and everyone found that out pretty fast, which I feel a little bad about now, but how hard can those two things be, really? Their excuse was they were eating cake. Just rub it in! (They weren't fasting. For the trip, they said, but they weren't driving, so I'm not sure why that would matter.)
31. After Lukas and Rebekka reminded me that they have another brother (whose birthday is next Sunday, road trip!) and after we took a picture in front of their house which has a blown-up copy of the Proclamation to the Family which is unfortunately hid behind us (that's Rebekka, Benjamin, Lukas, Anita, Robert, Mike, and me), we took off for Basel. We didn't really have time to see anything, which also annoyed me. Mike was annoyed because I made us drive through anyway.

















32. Then I said we should at least drive by the Frank Gehry building. The guys were annoyed back because I didn't know where it was, but I asked for directions and got us there.
33. What do you know, photographs weren't allowed. I figured the sign meant from where the sign was and closer, so here's from the parking lot. Scott, this picture is for you:

















34. Mike and I started arguing about picking up the person who was supposed to drive with us back to Leipzig. Here's why:

-When someone called last Thursday, we were both in the middle of church activities, so I had him get me a piece of paper, where I quickly wrote the name and number of the person (who wasn't the caller) and hung up. Then I put the paper with Mike's stuff.
-Mike didn't realize he had the number and left it in Leipzig.
-All I could remember was that the name was Hajo. Boy? Girl? Unknown.
-My cell phone's battery was dead, leaving the person no option to call.

I kept telling Mike to have faith and I drove us to Freiburg. There I asked Robert to say a prayer. In the middle of it, he asked, "male or female?" I said, "I don't know," so he blessed us to "find this person." We walked around the train station. Mike and Robert were bugging me even more because they weren't doing anything. Faith without works is dead, people! I started asking people if they were named Hajo. Then I asked a man at the info desk to announce that Hajo should come to the information desk, which turned out to be announced as "Frau Hilo." Then I made all three of us signs that said "Hajo" on them, which I later changed to "Leipzig," in hopes that we could at least find someone wanting to go there. Then Robert came and said he'd found Hajo! Wahoo! Hajo had seen the sign! Mike was impressed.
35. We saw the sisters, so we had them take Hajo's number so he can go to institute when he goes back to Freiburg.
36. We I drove and drove and drove. My back was killing me and I had to shift my Book of Mormon and my sweater every twenty minutes or so. Sometimes I would drive leaning forward to take off some of the pressure. Plus, my fingers were getting tired of gripping the steering wheel, so I would drive with straight fingers.
37. Our car liked it best to go around 150. Let me check, that's 93 miles per hour. That doesn't mean I didn't take it up to 190-195 a few times. Driving on the Autobahn is so much better than on American freeways. You've got the fast left lane which makes so you don't have to swerve in between many lanes to get the fastest route. Plus, you don't have to constantly worry about how fast you're going. Most places are unlimited, although 130 is suggested.
38. Mike was annoyed that I wouldn't let us listen to anything but hymns and classical music.
39. I was not happy to see we would need to get gas on Sunday, about an hour before Leipzig.
40. Then Mike was unhappy that I got off at some random little city and had to follow winding roads for a while before we found a gas station.
41. Back on the Autobahn, Mike tried to close the window and sun roof, which I stopped because the crazy freeway wind was keeping me awake. Every few minutes he started checking to see if I was doing okay. He even put good Sunday music back in, which I could sing to.
42. We got into Leipzig about 11:30. I was relieved but annoyed at myself for being annoyed about dumb things, but not sure how I could repair things. I had enjoyed seeing the people and the country in Switzerland, but it is sooooooo hard for me to think that I had wasted so many hours when I have so much homework to do! Next time, we are SO taking the train. Or at least another driver.

1860.9 km, all done by me from Friday to Sunday:

















43. The next morning, Mike and I cleaned the car and returned it. Then I breathed a sigh of relief. Mike and I did our signature high five, bought some yogurt and bread for breakfast, and we left our annoyance behind.

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