I feel especially grateful for her this week as I am fighting jet-lag upon “re-entry” into the real world after a pretty fantastic trip with her and the rest of “MFME” (a little acronym she came up with for all the women enveloped into our family).
My Mom, in her deliberateness and foresightedness (not sure if that is an actual word…) that is somehow part of her, knows there is strength in bonding and ideas and discussions and being together. So she decided years ago that we needed gather every so often to buoy each other up, to learn from each other and to really KNOW each other. And she figured out how to make it happen. Sometimes it’s for an evening get-away after the Bear Lake reunion, other times it’s a little more extravagant like a trip to California (see the last one back HERE).
But this trip last week was the granddaddy of the others because we went to Europe. We’ve been trying to figure out a time to get over there for a few years, and last year, since we knew three of the women in our family would be living over by this Fall, we decided to make it happen. (My brother and his Swiss wife moved back to her motherland last spring, my other brother and his wife have been traveling around Europe, kind of backpacking style also since spring and have just settled in Spain, and my baby sister and her husband just moved to London.)
So, it was no easy feat to work around nine womens’ schedules, but we made it. And I’m sure we will be reveling in all the beauty and bonding that took place there for a long time to come.
We all met in Zurich, traveled through much of Switzerland and parts of Germany and Austria. We had two cars that followed each other through the most breathtaking scenery:
We gaped at the flowers spilling out of the windows in practically every building we saw:
Explored all kinds of ancient, beautiful cathedrals:
Walked over miles upon miles of cobblestone streets and pathways:
Learned so much about our Swiss ancestors:
Took in that gorgeous country our sister-in-law has told us about for so many years:
(Anita, the one from Switzerland is third from the left.)
Got lost only a couple times:
Took in breathtaking vistas:
And we talked through just about every topic you can imagine under the sun…and filled ourselves with wiener schnitzel and Swiss chocolate.
But let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with my seat(s) on the airplane across the Atlantic:
(because when the stars align to make that happen you just have to glory in it a little bit.)
As everyone started to trickle into ZURICH, hugging with huge smiles, some of us went out to explore the city.
The Limmat River:
We took the stairs up into one of the towers of the Grossmunster cathedral.
…where the views knocked our socks off.
Once everyone arrived we headed to SCHMIEDRUED where my mother’s Grandmother, Ida Weber was born.
Her family joined the Mormon church when she was very young, and by the time she was six-years-old they headed out to make the journey to America to join other converts there.
Part of me was so sad that she had to leave all this beauty. One of the most beautiful little towns I’ve ever visited.
We took in the view from a ridge top waiting for the other car to arrive.
There is a museum in Schmedrued run by a pretty impressive historian. He only spoke Swiss-German, but luckily Anita could translate everything for us.
The museum was built into the old school where my Great Great Grandparents must surely have attended (it was the only school).
Much of it has changed since then, of course, but see that minty light green color on the ceiling? That was the color it was back then and see these stairs my cute little nephew Dean is “owning”? They were there way back then as well.
He was so excited we were there to pick his brain and he knew so much that he took us to the mill he would have imagined my Great Great Great Grandfather would have worked.
Once again, with an incredible view.
(Keep in mind this was the first day…back when I didn’t realize that every single place in Switzerland has an incredible view.)
We found the very church our ancestors would have attended.
It all gave me the itch to do more genealogy. So fascinating to think through those who’s blood runs through my veins, what they sacrificed, what they loved, how they lived.
That night we stayed, most of us quite jet-lagged, in a great bed and breakfast. This was right before we left to go to Tal and Anita’s church.
I love going to church in different countries. I love that the gospel is the same anywhere you go.
Everything was in German, luckily they had little translator headseats for us.
(My parents have been in Europe doing a whole slew of speaking things for the last month, so my Dad shared in Sunday with us.)
We got to see where Tal and Anita live in their new Swiss life (in an apartment on the second floor of this gorgeous place):
Anita made us a delicious Swiss meal:
And we had the most fabulous Sunday walk that I’ll have to tell more about tomorrow.
To be continued 🙂
Part 2 is HERE.