Welcome With Alphorns
Sunday, August 17, the real fun began—and so did the early starts.
Up by 6am to race to Zurich Airport to meet the rest of the K-Team, Mr K’s family: his mother (Mum K) brother (P1), niece (Miss K), our son (Son 1) and his fiancé. Drove into the airport car park where Mr K became confused and drove out again and then in again. After finding a park we made our way to arrivals where an English man chatted to Mr K.
‘We’re from Australia,’ Mr K said.
The English man nodded. ‘I can tell.’
A young woman accompanied by a man dressed in Swiss costume who’d been standing next to us spoke, ‘Are you Mr and Mrs K? We’re your 2nd cousins.’
We then waited together for the K-Team fresh from Australia to roll through the arrival gate. Tired of waiting, Mr K wandered down the hallway and there near an alcove of shops, he found our weary travellers.
[Photo 1: Zurich]
Must be the atmosphere in Zurich, or just jet-lag as after greeting us, they stood around for at least an hour discussing what to do. Mr K and I took custody of their luggage, and had a coffee while they lingered in the hall in suspended-animation apparently organising the lease car and then debating how to change Australian dollars into Swiss Francs.
Just as I pulled out my diary to write, movement, and then we were on our way to the farm near Wattwil in the district of Toggenburg, in the Canton of St. Gallen.
There alphorns, and cow-bell-ringers, the stunning green hills and blue mountains of the Santis greeted us. Mr K’s mum shrieked, then cried and hugged her relatives. Our niece exclaimed, ‘It’s all so beautiful!’
[Photo 2: Welcome with alphorns]
Willing members of the K-Team tested their muscles swinging the huge cowbells, and then their lungs playing the Alphorn. Some had more success than others. I escaped the test by recording the event with my camera.
[Photo 3: P1 with cow bells]
Then a banquet of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) on a balcony with the view of the Santis. Perfect…until Miss K said, ‘Ugh! I have a fly in my plate.’
‘Is it doing backstroke?’ I asked.
‘It’s on its back and struggling.’
‘Oh, you have a fly!’ Mum K stabbed the fly several times with a knife. ‘There.’
‘What did you do that for?’ Miss K said.
‘I put it out of its misery,’ Mum K replied.
‘You murdered it.’
[Photo 4: View of Santis]
After the insecticide incident, our hosts showed us our rooms and one of our cousins gave us instructions about the bathroom and how to place the flyscreen in our windows to keep out the “fleas”. I think she meant flies.
[Photo 5: Evening View of mountains and Hemburg]
Mum K went missing. Found her in the dairy—yes, we were on a dairy farm that is owned by her cousins. I was amazed that Swiss farmers have as few as ten cows and yet they make a living! Wouldn’t happen in Australia. And our hostess promised us fresh milk, dare I say it, raw milk, straight from the cow the next morning. Ah, the advantages of living on a dairy farm in Switzerland!
‘Actually,’ Mr K stated, ‘the Swiss Brown milk is known for its high fat content, so the milk is used for making cheese.’
As the T-Team talked to their dairy-farmer cousins, in this barn for the cows, I held my nose and edged towards the door. The up-and-personal experience with the cows and their calves in their enclosures, proved too much for my senses, and I suggested, ‘Let’s go for a walk to the forest.’ I moved out of the barn, sure that my bovine-close-encounter would be used in some future story—maybe in the Lost World of the Wends. (I still love raw milk, though.)
From the barn, the K-Team took a ramble to Mum K’s beloved forest—a smaller forest than one she remembered from her youth, but one she has recalled vividly in her soon-to-be released novel, A Teenager Long Time Ago.
[Photo 6: Promise of milk from the family farm cow]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014 (original); updated 2017
Feature: K-Team heads for the pine forest © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014
All photos © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014
If you are a fan of “The Sound of Music”, or “Heidi”, stay tuned for the debut novel, a romance set in Switzerland in the 1950’s…
A Teenager Long Time Ago by Rosemarie Kling
Soon to be released on Amazon.