On the 17th of January we took Lynette to Zurich and farewelled her for her flight to Dubai to visit friends. Reubs, Mum Julie and I went by train to Solothurn where we met with Irina, who lived with my family in 1999. Although she has been back to NZ to visit twice, this was our first opportunity to meet her family – Camille, Elisabeth and Selina – who were delighful. Irina took us to see around Solothurn where we saw the cathedral, city gates, Jesuit church and some of the 11 fountains (11 being a sacred number in Solothurn). After a delicious dinner with her family we headed back to Bern where Irina lives.
The next day we awoke to a beautiful day as forecast. Irina, Mum Julie, Reubs and I went by train to Stockhorn, where we walked through a little village to a cable car going up a huge mountain. We took the cable car up, and at the halfway point got off and got onto a smaller cable car which took us right to the top of Stockhorn.
From here we had the most amazing views of the Alps – mountains which we couldn’t even see from the bottom opened up before our eyes. We spent hours up here gazing at the view, drinking coffee and eating Swiss chocolate, and even sunbathing and napping in the chairs (conveniently they came with rugs and sheepskin throws – the sun was warm but not that hot!)
When we came down, we went to the town of Thun, where we saw the old town and views of the lake. After all our time outside we were hungry for the Swiss delicacy of raclettes, which Irina made for us. To make raclettes, you cook slices of cheese over candles and then eat them melted with potatoes and other vegetables – delicious!