October 2004 Archives

The Wedding day of Myrta & Rene as seen by Monte & Kathy Kirsch

Awake 6:15 am Quite foggy here at the Stoll farm house

Oskar has a nice breakfst waiting for us @ 6:30. Kathy & Katrina shower
first, then eat.

Oskar has to leave for the local flower shop this morning in Andelfingen.
The shop will decorate his car with a flower arrangement, then he will
pick up the wedding couple & transport them to the Church Oberarth, about
1.5 hrs away.

At 10:40 am. Thomas, our driver, Kathy, Katrina & I leave for the Church
of Oberarth...stopping @ Buloch(near Winterthur) en route to pick up
Oskar's friend, Sylvia. We pass several wedding cars along the way with
their hoods decorated with flowers; another Swiss tradition. I admire the
neatness of the country side, the quaint little villages & the smooth
roads as we travel.

The early morning fog has dissipated now & the sky is a clear blue. When
we arrive in the village of Arth Goldau, Oskar has already parked his car
near the church & he, the proud father, is displaying his flower
arrangement. The church service begins @ 1:30 so we have at least 40 min
to linger. Oskar (with David, his grandson)invites us over to a nearby
courtyard cafe for coffee, beer or juice. Soon we are joined by Rene's
sister, Doris & her guy friend....then Myrta's childhood friend Heidi &
her guy friend... then Sylvia, Oskar's friend.

Only 105 people could fit into this small Lutheran church with most of the
pews filled. The wedding service lasted one hour & it was all in Swiss
German ... except for the 10 member Univoice Gospel choir, hired to
perform for the wedding....they were fantastic & sang mostly in English.
Myrta & Rene sat up front near the sanctuary for the entire service. The
Minister(who by the way, baptised Myrta as a child) gave quite a talk to
Myrta & Rene as we heard later from an interperer....focusing on family
values, being faithful & true to one another....etc.

As the wedding party processed from the church, they were led by little 3
yr old David(son of Gigi & Gabriel), dressed as a chimmey sweep in a
special, black chimney sweep outfit & top hat & carrying a small ladder.
He is really a handsome young fellow. Having a chimmey sweep guy @ a
wedding is another Swiss tradition. Cleaning out the "old soot and grime"
brings good luck to the wedding couple. Pascal(son of Ruth & Urs) was the
ring bearer...dressed in a Tux & looking quite handsome as well.

Outside now, the wedding party is met with a dozen or more Swiss Comm
guys, Rene's colleagues, who are holding up sticks with circuit boards
dangling above their heads making a canopy to walk under. Beyond the
church steps, another group of people(Members of the ski team Myrta & Rene
belong to) are holding up ski poles to form another canopy for the wedding
party. Then the individual & group pictures are taken on the slope of the
hill...this takes some time. A short break in picture taking occurs when
David has to relieve himself. Gabriel took David over to some nearby
bushes, pulled down his pants and held him waist high so he could
accomplish what he needed to do. That done, picture taking could resume.

Now the Apero(like a mini-reception) for everyone who came to the church
wedding, is gathering across the street & 500 ft further down to the
church parish house. Here some light refreshments (fruit, cheese, bread,
etc) & drinks (wine, juice, water, etc) are being served while we wait for
the wedding party to join in. During this time, Kathy & I introduce
Katrina to many people we already know from our previous Swiss visits.

When the wedding party joins the Apero, there is also a pickup truck
nearby & a few men unloading (2) long crates with wire mesh covering. They
set these crates on the ground...and Rolf makes some kind of an
announcement in Swiss German...suddenly about 150 homing pigeons were
released into the sky. Another Swiss tradition. The pigeons are from a
farm only 10 miles down the road so they should have little difficulty
finding their way back home.

Now a line is forming for " Congratulating " the married couple. This also
takes some time & is a signal for the winding down & closure of the snacks
& drinks of the Apero. This mini-reception was very nice as it gave us
time to visit with people we'd met over the yrs but haven't seen for some
time plus time to meet new friends & relatives of the Stoll & Zuercher
families. Quite a few people who have not been invited to the wedding
dinner tonight will be leaving now.

Now Rolf uses the megaphone & asks the crowd to follow him. We all start
walking down the road, across the street & past the church where, by the
way, another wedding is taking place. Then Rolf stops...and we stop. There
is nothing here, only an empty field. What's happening? We know zilch.
Some people think we will be picked up & transported by bus to where the
wedding dinner will be held, others think maybe a sky writing airplane
will have some wedding script up above. So we wait, patiently.

The sky is a deep blue, wind calm....suddenly out of nowhere an airship, a
dirigible, flying low over the village & slowing down to maneuver itself
lands on this empty field. This airship seemed huge in relation to the
size of the field. Also out of nowhere are the ground support crewmembers
who help with the tethering of the machine. The landing was no problem.
Rolf proudly guides the bride & groom & Myrta's goddaughter across the
field where the pilot greets, assists, & helps them into their seats &
they were off toward the mountains. It was amazing to us what little space
was needed for the machine to land & takeoff. Rolf then announces on his
megaphone: "Follow that airship or follow me in your car!"

We join the line of autos following Rolf up this well traveled mountain
road from the village of Arth Goldau...gaining maybe a thousand feet along
the way to the village of Sattel. Occasionally we could spot the airship
well ahead & at a much higher altitude. At Sattel, we turn off the main
highway into an area that resembled a large parking lot exclusively for
patrons of a nearby small amusement business. Here we calculate is where
the airship will land. Sure enough, 20 min later, out of nowhere...the
airship & then the ground crew appear. The landing is routine.

An SUV (sports utility vehicle) backs up slowly near the airship. This SUV
is pulling a flatbed trailer & on the trailer is a snowmachine. Rolf makes
another announcement in Swiss German. Myrta & Rene are helped out of the
airship and onto the flatbed trailer & onto the snowmachine. Now Rene
takes the megaphone & explains " what's happening!" The snowmachine has
been completely renovated by the ski team that Rene & Myrta belong to.
Rene spent many hrs usng this machine over the last 20 yrs during the ski
racing events they held each yr. He has fond memories & is very happy to
see the machine in like-new condition again.

Now the SUV...pulling the flatbed trailer with Rene & Myrta sitting on the
snowmachine, leads the way out of the parking lot & begins climbing a very
steep mountain up to the area called, Hochstuckli. The road is basically a
one lane road with an occasional widened area for opposing traffic to
pass. By the time we reach the Hochstuckli ski resort parking area, we see
Rene & Myrta, still in their formal wedding attire, getting their ski
boots buckled & preparing for their next adventure. They have to lock
their ski boots into a pair of skis built for two....and ski on the
asphalt the remaining distance up the hill to the parking area. Every
step(so to speak) has to be taken in unison together. When they do arrive
at the finish line, Myrta has that look of exhaustion while Rene has that
look of: " What's next?" " Bring it on!"

Sure enough, there is more...but only for Rene. Their ski team buddies
take these wedding pranks seriously. Now Myrta can relax while Rene
releases his ski boot locks from the skis built for two, dons ski overalls
over his tux, & gets help fastening his ski boots onto a small track
rolling ski unit that allows one to ski downhill on grass or other dry
material. This will be a downhill race between Rene & a tough competitor
from the ski team through a zig-zag course marked off by the other team
members. The downhill grade is plenty steep, and one scary thing about
these track skis, they have no brakes & no way of snowplowing to a stop.

Some of the crowd walked down to the bottom of the hill to the finish line
the long way around, others choose to watch what they could from atop the
hill. Kathy & I walk half way down to try & capture some of their high
speed race on film.

A shot rang out & they were off & moving fast. It was all I could do to
click one action photo. It was nearly neck & neck most of the way down but
close to the finish ribbon, Rene inched ahead & went flying not only
through the ribbon finish line but also thru a cattle fence quite a
distance past the finish line. With no injuries, the crowd went wild. What
a Finish!

After watching that thriller race, coupled with all the other interesting
activities we've been exposed to so far today, we are ready for some sit
down...do nothing but relax kind of inactivity. I can just imagine how the
wedding couple must feel.

So next, our crowd is checking into the hotel/restaurant " Berggasthaus
Herrenboden " not far from where Rene skied through the fence. We are
lucky, as we take our suitcases up to the 3rd floor, there are our names:
Kathy, Katrina & Monte...assigned to an end room of the hotel with 4 beds
& plenty of space. It's very nice. We freshen up for the next social
rendezvous to be downstairs & outside on the veranda...white wine as a
social time before dinner. Kathy & Katrina didn't stay outside very
long...the sun is down now & the air is cooling in these mountains.
Soon....the call for dinner is announced.

We are seated at a " non Swiss table." So developed so that we could all
speak English....especially us 3 Americans. An exception to our non-Swiss
-table was Thomas(son of Oskar). It must have been an oversight but we had
no problem accepting Thomas. Besides Katrina, Kathy, Thomas & me, there
are Bernie & Monika from Germany as well as another guy whose name I have
forgotten...plus Joseph & his wife from Austria. Most of our conversations
the entire evening were in English....and Bernie from Germany was our best
interpreter, explaining " what's happening " not only at the main wedding
table, but also for any other outburst of activity that brought laughter
that we were curious about or needed to know.

After a few more refills of white wine, some appetitzers & social talk,
the glasses are exchanged & the red wine began flowing.... & really didn't
stop flowing throughout the rest of the evening until sometime early
morning. We estimated the dinner crowd to number 75 to 85 total. Yes we
know a lot of these people but certainly not all of them.

Sometime during the 1st dinner serving, the assigned skits began to take
place. Most were relatively short, some were simply poems read to Myrta &
Rene & obviously very clever & funny. Others were done with music,
singing, dancing etc.

I think it was about 9:30 pm when we were notified our skit was to be
preformed in 30 minutes. Now you've read in previous journal days about
the BIG Binoculars being constructed, Katrina wearing a Bikini, things
like that. Well, to begin with, we needed a good interpreter to vocalize
our skit along with my English & our actions. Luckily we had Bernie who by
nature is quite funny & speaks very good English. He made our short
performance come alive this evening.

Before I go any further, I'll explain just how our particular skit came to
fruition: Last year, October 2003, we were attending a rally in our
motorhome in Key West, Florida. At the same time, Myrta & Rene were on
holiday in Miami, Florida. We agreed to drive in & spend the weekend
visiting them & their friend Teresa @ the Marriott @ South Beach.

Mid afternoon at this beautiful beach ...just a casual walk from the
Marriott, we lazed around in the sun soaking up rays & catching up on
life. I couldn't help but casually notice Rene looking at other sights &
scenes on the beach...and they weren't sand castles, low flying aircraft,
power boats pulling water skiers or kite fliers. Something he was focusing
on magnified 10 times over, would obviously have an effect on his facial
expression, his breathing & would occasionally produce some light audible
guttural sounds.

Then I would look at Myrta...she said nothing while watching Rene &
shrugged this obvious voyeuristic behavior off with "no big deal!" So
this experience at the beach was the basis of our theme for tonight's

A runner comes up to our almost non-Swiss-table & gives us the word:
You're on in 15 minutes.

Now we have Katrina wearing a Bikini under a short skirt, carrying a
towel, relaxing on her beach chair & representing a good looking beach
girl(like she is); Kathy in her swimming suit carrying a towel & imitating
Myrta; I in my shorts & bare chest carrying my powerful BIG binoculars &
acting as Rene.

Bernie announces in Swiss German to the audience our entrance into the
room & sets the mood....of BEFORE MARRAGE: SCENE I

I vocalize to the audience that.." I am Rene " as I puff out my chest!!
"And I am the best Swiss Comm worker; The best skier on the ski team; the
best hi-teck gadget guy in town & the best girl watcher on the beach."
Bernie translates this message to the audience. Then we somewhat duplicate
the beach scene that Rene demonstrated at South Beach, Florida. And like
Myrta, Kathy ignored & poo pooed my obvious voyeuristic hehavior aimed at
Katrina & some of the younger girls in the audience with my BIG

Then we leave the audience & return to our small room off the main dinning
room to prepare for scene II:

Again Bernie announces to the Audience our entrance into the room and says
into the microphone: " AFTER THE MARRAGE, SCENE II ": Now I come into the
room wearing a shirt with a rather large pillow tucked underneath...giving
one the impression of Rene's stomach prutrusion, considerable weight gain.
And, in lieu of those powerful BIG binoculars, I now have a very small,
not so powerful pair & that just don't magnify well at all. No matter how
much I clean the lens, I am frustrated. Meanwhile, Kathy as Myrta, is
watching my efforts of girl watching & looks downright disgusted & comes
flying over to me with her towel, taking my little binoculars & hitting me
over the head with that towel and dragging me off back to our room. We
could hear a lot of laughter & a round of applause as we left the scene. I
think it went over pretty well especially with Katrina, Kathy & Bernie's
help. Only a few more skits were performed after ours and they were quite
entertaining as well.

Back to our almost non Swiss table, we find new plates & another dinner
serving. Wow! I am still a little hungry so I do eat most of what's been
served but no dessert. Whereas Kathy & Katrina ate much of the additional
food and then sampled a little of everything on the dessert table. Later
they admitted being stuffed. In retrospect, they had a better idea.

Most of the crowd are finished eating when the D J begins spinning
records. This is the same D J that spun records during the Gabete (like a
wedding shower) on Sept 11th in the barn on Oskar's farm. His selections
have been terrific & tonight is no exception. The wedding couple begin
dancing, followed by other members of the wedding family, and eventually
anyone. I dance a few songs with Kathy, a few with Katrina & a few other
nice ladies....and then...and then... I finally dance with the beautiful
Bride Myrta. The evening went quickly at this point because we were mixing
& meeting new relatives & friends of the wedding party plus doing a lot of
gabbing. It was about 2:00 am now & only those of the younger crowd were
still partying. There is talk of us all moving downstairs to a smaller
room where there is a bar with no bartender and the bar is open and
then.... WE can do the SCHLUME. When I first heard of this I let them know
that I don't know how to do the SCHLUME. They laughed. They said it's not
a particular dance, it's just doing the "last dance!" Well let me tell
you, that last dance went on for hours & we finally had to sneak out of
that bar/dance room & slither thru the young crowd to make our get away
around 4:00 am.

That's about all I can remember...it really was a GREAT DAY!

Lights out: 4:15 am

Some photos are on line of this wedding: www.foto-reinert.ch
Click on gallerie...then Rene & Myrta. I had to click on gallerie several
times to have the list of wedding couples appear. If you look closely in
the church photo, you can see the lovely Kathy & her almost bald
husband...way to the back right.

Awake 6:30 am A little foggy

" Breakfast is ready!" says Oscar the chef @ 6:40 am.

Rene arrives @ 7:35 in the VW diesel Gulf. Kathy, Rene & I are traveling
into Zurich this morning to meet Katrina @ the train station. She has
taken the overnight sleeper train from Florence, Italy to join us in
celebrating Myrta & Rene's church wedding tomorrow. Just like a fine
Swiss watch, the train is exactly on schedule.

Katrina is looking good & good looking as she approaches us from the ramp
& we are delighted to see her. Rene volunteers to give us about an hr
walking tour of downtown Zurich focusing on the Banhofstrasse, the main
shopping street. Every now & then, Rene would duck into a store & quickly
emerge with some Sprungli chocolates...yummy! We covered some of old town
Zurich before getting back into the car & driving up into the nearby hills
overlooking the city. A stop @ FIFA(Federal Int'l Football Association)
gave us a great view of downtown Zurich. Then we drive back to Andelfingen
& make a stop @ the Castle grounds to show Katrina the small building
where the civil ceremony took place for Myrta & Rene yesterday.

Myrta fixes us all a nice lunch...Swiss style. Then Kathy, Katrina & I
walk to the Oskar farm(25 min). As we approach the house, I see Oskar
mowing grass with the lawnmower so I volunteer to finish the job for him
which takes another hr. During this time, Kathy gives Katrina a tour
around the farm house & machinery barn & they talk with Oskar.

Dinner: Sandwich meat with cheese, bread & jelly. Afterward, Oskar's
friend Sylvia arrives by train & walks down to the farm house & visits
with us. Sylvia & the girls talk quite alot about the High German vs Swiss
German while I finish making the LARGE binocular for our skit @ the
wedding dinner tomorrow night.

Later this evening, Oskar takes Sylvia back to her home by car to Winterthur.
Kathy & Katrina begin arranging their clothes they will wear @ the church
wedding, plus Katrina shows us the bathing suit she will wear during our
skit @ the wedding dinner. Katrina, demonstrating her artistic skills,
draws a nice picture of a bikini girl in each lens of the LARGE binocular
we will use.
Lights out: 11:30 pm

Awake 7:30 am Some clouds & cooler air

Today is the day for the civil wedding of Rene & Myrta. Myrta leaves early
to have her hair fixed & nails done in Andelfingen.

Kathy & I pack our suitcases this morning...we are moving to the Oskar
farm house @ 11:30 am for a few days & we are also invited for lunch with
After Oskar's lunch, we start constructing the BIG binoculars out of
poster board for our skit at the wedding day dinner.

Then we dress nice as to attend the civil ceremony on the Castle grounds
in Andelfingen @ 4:00 pm. Kathy & I ride with Oskar to the apartment where
Rene & Myrta are waiting...then Mrs Zuercher (Rene's Mother) Rolf(Rene's
brother) Heidi(Myrta's girlfriend), Gigi(Myrta's sister) Oskar, Myrta,
Rene, Kathy & I all walk through the town of Andelfingen to the castle
grounds & the small building where we gather for the civil ceremony to
take place. Meanwhile, Thomas drives his car with a table, some snacks &
white wine for after the wedding ceremony & sets this up outside the small
building. Thomas is also the main photographer.

We meet the official lady that has the power to marry in 28 counties. It's
an elected position. She's a young person with a nice smile, sense of
humor & a nice laugh. Kathy & I understand little as every word spoken is
Swiss German. The civil wedding lasts approximately 30 min. Afterward, we
congratulate the bride & groom & Rene's Mother, Myrta's Father, etc. We
toast with white wine, take pictures, snack & mingle for over an hour.
Only a few selected people attend this ceremony so Kathy & I are honored
to be here. Ruth Maugweiler, her husband Urs & their 3 sons: Seuvern,
Paschal & Claudio also attend plus Myrta's Godmother Alice & her husband

Then @ 6:00 pm., only the wedding party members go to a special dinner @
an exclusive & very expensive restaurant. Kathy, Thomas, Ruth with her
boys, little David & I bring back the table, leftover wine & snacks to the
Oskar farm house. Ruth & her boys then head back to their home in Teuscher
while Thomas, Kathy & I babysit 3 yr old David(son of Gigi & Gabriel). At
the Oskar home, we play games with David, make paper airplanes, watch a
DVD on TV about the A 340 Airbus of Swiss Air to hopefully tire David out
but the only one to fall asleep during this exciting real live action film
was Kathy.

Gigi arrives home @ 10:45 pm with 3 month old Nicole. Gigi had to leave
the wedding party dinner early with no desert because Nicole was crying &
not feeling well. She said it was OK because it was not her special
had her special night 5 yrs ago when she married Gabriel.

It was Thomas's first babysitting job with David and he did good. Our
dinner was late & small: Swiss bread with warm milk. That was good enough
for us.
Lights out: 10:45 pm

Awake 8:25 am Light rain early morning

Casual morning for us. A light breakfast is suggested because Myrta will
be serving a special lunch. And..lunch it is: Smoked trout with bread &
cheese. It was very good.

Early afternoon we take a car ride with Myrta & Rene across the border to
Germany(only 25 min from the Oskar farm). We have to ask to have our
passports stamped " Lottstetten " for authentication. A few miles down the
road, a turn here & there & we are back into Swiss country again. We drive
to Oserfingen, an old & small town where Oskar's grandfather & father
lived until 1918...then they moved to Andelfingen for the more fertile
land of farming. As we passed through this town, we saw the Stoll name on
several building. Fascinating!

We continue our countryside touring & stop in Newhausen to buy a small pie
with jam for later. Next stop: Rheinfall, where the car is parked & we
walk to watch the widest water falls in all of Europe. Some unknown person
to us takes our picture in front of the falls.

And then...we drive a few more miles to the town of Teuscher where we
visit Ruth Maugweiler, meet some of her children, have some coffee & a
snack & take a tour of her (2 year old) home. First though, we watch as
she makes coffee for us on her " Less Cafe " coffee maker using very small
containers of coffee. As the lid closes, it punctures the small container
on top & on the bottom & the hot water passes through to the cup. The
small containers are color coded for strong, medium, or light. The unit is
very compact & unique. It would be an ideal unit for our motorhome except
for getting those small containers of coffee. We haven't seen this " Less
Cafe " unit in the states yet.

Their 3 story home has a nice view of the rolling countryside & is a very
functional & well built home. They have 3 boys: Severin, Pascal & Claudio.

We have some homemade pastries & some of our pie with jam pastry from our
Newhausen stop. The town of Oerlingen & the Woodshop business of
Maugweiler is only a few miles down the road from their home. It was a
nice visit. Ruth has been a close friend of Myrta's since elementary

Next we stop @ a small RV sales building. They sell the van conversion
motorhomes off the lot but inside the building, they are converting a
large 4 wheel safari vehicle as an expedition unit. We didn't go inside to
check any further.
Next stop: A cord & string manufacturing factory. A very old & well
established business. We only visit the small sales store & look around.
Kathy & Rene both make small purchases. The factory itself was closed
because of the late hour.
Back to the apt @ 5:40 pm. Myrta makes a cheese fondue dinner. Thomas &
Oskar join us. We dip the bread bites first into a small container of
Kirsch liquor, then dip the bread bite into the large bowl of melted
cheese. It really made a tasty difference & we ate more than we thought we
would. Again, we easily find many things to talk about late into the
Lights out: 12:10 am

Awake 8:45 am Some clouds

A typical Swiss breakfast: Bread, an assortment of cheeses, jams, yogurt &
After breakfast Kathy & I walk to town & visit Christen @ the travel
store. A few days ago, Myrta & Rene talked to us about playing a joke on
Christen & pretend that we want to live & work on a Swiss farm for 2
weeks...maybe the Oskar farm. That we had heard that this guy will take
tourists in his home & show them how the life of a farmer is. Christen
speaks good English, he knows this guy Oskar & his farm but is surprised
that he might be doing this sort of thing. We both keep our serious act
going while Christen looks up the Oskar Stoll phone # is about ready to
call when I admit it's all a joke & that Myrta & Rene put us up to this
prank. At first he didn't believe we were trying to trick him but
then....out came a BIG hardy laugh. Next time he sees Myrta & Rene, he
will talk to them about this!

Next we visit the paper & pen store next door to buy poster board for
making our skit for the wedding dinner. While in the store, we meet Ruth
Maugweiler & her son Pashal. We talk for awhile then continue our shopping
down the street at the apothecary store to buy herbal candy for Kathy's
dry throat. Then back to the apt.

Rene wants to take us for a local car tour of several small towns...Altan
where we biked to the second day we were here(9th Sept), Marthalen & to a
high road above the river Thur where a view of Oskar's farm, Andelfingen &
the vineyards can easily be seen. He takes our picture standing in the
vineyards. Next we go to the town of Oerlingen & we tour the woodworking
business of Urs Maugweiler(Ruth's husband). Their products are many:
Doors, windows, cabinets, tables...just about anything made out of wood.
You name it & they do it 1st class. I was particularly impressed with the
windows which we see throughout Switzerland. The woodworking machinery is
also high tech with a wide assortment of different equipment.
Now we drive back to the apt, pick up Myrta & drive over to the Stoll barn
where Myrta & Rene open the remaining wedding gifts that are still on the
decorated farm trailer. This process takes about an hour...and we are
lucky to be witness to all the fine gifts they are opening from their many
Back to the apt where Oskar & Thomas join us for an appetizer with white
wine, then dinner: Steaks, noodles with mushrooms and red wine. We have
some good talk late into the evening & nighttime.
Lights out: 1:26 am

Awake 7:45 am High clouds

After coffee, Kathy & I walk to the local bank & exchange some greenbacks
for Swiss Francs, then stop @ the post office for stamps.
Early afternoon, Myrta, Rene, Kathy & I drive over the the Stoll farm to
pick up some of the empty food pans & dishes belonging to individuals from
last night's party.

Then we drive into Zurich(45 min) & pick up Rene's sister Doris, who is
visiting their Mother for the week. Doris is currently living in Germany.
From here, we drive Northeast of Zurich to tour the Zoo & the newly opened
Jungle building. This huge tropical Jungle building we walk through has
temperature & humidity control. It's like a a thick dense forest..
difficult to see any wildlife unless we stop & study carefully a
particular area, then we begin to see birds, animals, small creatures
roaming around all in their natural habitat. It's a very impressive
structure, well planned with wildlife & natural plantlife.

We leave the Jungle bldg & walk up the hill further to the Zoo. Spend
several hrs walking around looking at the various animal & bird
sanctuaries. Probably the most impressive thing to see was the Tiger's
den. They had an expansive area to roam around, complete with a flowing
stream & pond, large rocks, many trees, several caves, etc. We watched
behind a plate glass as a tiger chewed on a large meaty bone while he was
sitting on a rock out in this pond...all very close. Then the meaty bone
dropped into the water. Instead of simply going under the water to grab it
with it's teeth, he used his paw & dragged it to shallow water, then
grabbed it with his teeth..thus avoiding having his head under the

Back to Zurich & drop Doris off at her Mother's place...then drive to the
town of Effretikon(15 min) to drop off a food pan that Mario & Claudia had
brought to Saturday's party. We met these people 3 yrs ago when they had
many cousins visiting at their place at the same time & it was difficult
to know " what's happening?" ... they were all speaking Italian.

We are invited to hang around & have a little white wine with snacks while
Claudia makes us a real Italian pizza. This is a fun Italian family to
spend time with. Soon their 2 daughters arrive home from work & school so
now the young people enhance the mood. Then the pizza(really great) & red
wine...Wow! We just dropped by to return a pan...5 hrs ago!! We exchange
e-mail & home addresses with them...& drive back to Andelfingen.

On the way back to the apartment, we drive by Myrta's friend Heidi's place
to return her jacket that was left in the barn on Saturday. It's after
midnight now so Myrta just takes a jacket from the back seat & rushes it
to Heidi's porch & away we go. When we get back to the Andelfingen
apartment & I ask for my jacket, it's gone...Heidi's jacket is still in
the car. So Rene & I leave the girls at Andelfingen to start doing some
laundry & we drive back to Heidi's place to exchange jackets again. Oh
what a night...
Lights out: 1:20 am

Awake 10:00 am. Light rain

By the time we woke up, the apartment was empty. Today is Sunday so we
take a chance & try to find a nearby church via the bike. The town of
Andelfingen has only the Lutheran church but we were told that the
connecting town of Klein Andefingen has a Catholic church. So across the
covered bridge we go...up & around that town looking for a sign of a
church. Sure enough, just at the end of town, there is a Catholic Church.
As we enter, we realize we are about 10 or 15 min late but...we didn't
know where this church was or what time the service began. Anyway, the
entire service was also in Swiss German. The church name was Kirche
Kleinandelfingen. The priest was from Nairobi.

After mass, we ride our bikes to the Stoll farm. A lot of friends are
already here helping the clean up process. Kathy & I get right with it &
start helping to remove the sunflowers stalks. They still look good & a
lot of people commented on how nicely decorated the barn was for this
function. The tables & benches were already stacked up on a farm trailer
ready to be returned to the local farm co-op. Sometime around 2:30 pm, we
ran out of things to do so we all went into the farm house. Kathy & I
haven't had any coffee or food yet & when Gabriel found out, he made us
each a cup & brought out some food from the refer to munch on.

Later in the afternoon, Gabriel, holding Nicole & I sat on the backyard
swing & enjoyed an hr of casual getting to know each other better. I've
know Gabriel since 1998 but haven't had any one on one time just talking
with him so this swing time was nice for that. About an hr later, Gabriel,
Gigi & their 2 young ones leave for their home about 1.5 hrs drive away.

Then Oskar, Kathy & I swing away some time in the backyard...reminiscing
about the party & some of the people we talked with. Then Ruth Waugweiler
& her mother Katie walk into the backyard for a visit. I had danced with
Ruth last night & met her husband Urs. Ruth & I had a good time dancing.

Early evening, Kathy & I ride the bikes back to the apt & Oskar joins
Myrta, Rene, Kathy & I for a dinner of many cheeses with 2 bottles of
white wine ..sweet for the ladies, dryer for the guys. It was another
great day.
Lights out: 12:05 am.

Awake 7:30 Light rain

Bike over to the Stoll farm. Already they have the 22 tables & benches for
tonight's party set in place. The hired chef Arnold, is busy cooking pork
loins on the Oklahoma Joe BBQ grill for us workers for lunch as a taste

I volunteer to water the 54 sun flowers we hauled in yesterday to keep
them looking healthy. After that job, chef Arnold asks me to start setting
the tables with place mats, eating utensils, napkins, wine glasses for
white wine & wine glasses for red wine. Each table will sit 10 people.
Arnold instructs 2 of us how to properly set a table and it must be done
correctly. Yes sir!

This is going to take some time...the knife goes this way, the napkin is
folded that way, the wine glasses need to be arranged in a cross like
manner...etc. After about 5 tables, more help arrives...first Thomas, then
Rolf(Rene's brother) and then Rolf's girlfriend Bernie(she's a girl) &
later Kathy joins in. Kathy was recruited by Myrta to round up 30 jars,
some canning & others from jelly found in the Stoll cellar. She cut small
sunflowers from the garden & made 22 small flower arrangements for each
table & two larger arrangements for the gift trailer.

Oh yes, the gift trailer....sometime earlier this morning, one of their
flat farm trailers was pulled into the barn & moved next to the South
wall. Then a few benches were stacked on the back side of this trailer &
all of this was completely decorated with white paper.

With all the extra help, we finished the table setting job in a little
less than 2 hrs. Then Myrta asks me to water the 54 sunflowers
again...I'll get a good man right on it...hey, that's me. Anyway Kathy
joins in and that job get done quickly. By this time, chef Arnold has
lunch ready to eat for us 20 workers, including the guys who are hooking
up the spotlights, the sound system, the DJ panel etc. The pork loins are
terrific plus there's noodle salad, cream style corn, potatoes & the best
french fries I've tasted in a long time. His test passed with flying
colors & Arnold is pleased & ready to do it all again for a larger crowd
in a few hrs.

After lunch we bike back to Andelfingen, the town where we are staying,
and try to exchange some US dollars to Swiss Francs. Oops, the bank is
closed...it's Saturday & they close early. Well, that's OK so we just
continue back to Myrta's apt & Kathy takes a good nap to recharge her
batteries for tonight's gala.
Three hrs later, we bike back to the Stoll farm. Now there are
cars....plenty of cars...all parked in a designated parking field & the
barn is filled with people. We begin looking for an empty table when Oskar
motions us to join him & Sylvia in the newly formed buffet line. Wow! Lots
of food, a lot more than what Arnold was cooking up. I think many of these
extra dishes were brought by friends as a specialty. Oskar had saved 2
seats for us at his table with his farmer buddies. As the Swiss custom
goes, first the white wine & socialize then the red wine with dinner. We
missed the socializing time so we just sip & eat... The red wine served is
from locally grown grapes & both wines tasted great.

Throughout the evening, Rene & Myrta were either busy visiting friends &
relatives or being roasted by their respective peers. All of this talk was
in Swiss German so when we didn't have an interpreter to tell us " what's
happening " we had to read lips or just plain guess.

The DJ spinning records played a nice variety of tunes throughout the
evening & into the night.....and at a comfortable volume level. Later in
the evening, Kathy & I danced a number of times & I had the ok from her to
dance with a few other young ladies who were looking for a partner.

By the way, before we left the party @ 2:30 am, that gift trailer was full
of some very nice looking presents. Obviously the Bride & Groom to be have
a lot of really nice & generous friends.

Oskar hung out with us until sometime around 2:00 am then disappeared.
That's pretty late for him, he's usually up @ 6:00 am every morning like a
farmer should be.

The evening party scene is somewhat difficult to describe in more
detail..it's one of those times that..." you had to be there " to really
watch & understand how well everything flowed so smoothly. I really didn't
want to leave @ 2:30am...we were having such a good time!!! Anyway, we did
and rode those bikes back to the apartment using the bikes little
generator to show us the way. Lights out: 3:00 am

Awake 8:15 am Sunny

We are still not sleeping well. It's not the bed nor our room. Our
symptoms are: we are tired when first turning out the light...sleep very
well for an hr or two, then wake up & unable to get back to sleep for
several more hrs. The big Lutheran church bells in town ring each 15 min &
for nearly 2 hrs, we whisper & casually communicate until more sleep
overcomes us again. UGH!

Oskar has invited us for 12:30 pm lunch so we check & write e-mail in the
morning time...then bike to the Stoll farm & have a good lunch with both
Oskar & Thomas.

After lunch, Oskar, Kathy & I spend over 3 hrs digging up large sunflowers
from their garden...putting the roots & dirt in a plastic bag, hauling
them 4 & 5 at a time into the BIG barn using a wheelbarrow & place them in
a decorative fashion around the huge space we swept clean for Saturday
night's party. When we finish, we are sweaty, thirsty & dirty...so we have
some local beer with bread. During this time, Thomas is using one of the
farm trailer's to bring in the tables & benches from the local farm co-op.
Then @ 4:00 pm, Thomas leaves for another concert @ the Kloton Zurich
Kathy & I ride the bikes back to Myrta's apartment, take showers, get
dressed & return to the Stoll farm house for an inside dinner.
Gigi(Myrta's sister) greets us @ the door as she is breast feeding her 3
month old Nicole Patrica daughter. We kiss in the typical Swiss fashion:
left cheek, right cheek, then if we are dear friends, the left cheek
again. Gigi & her husband Gabriel have 2 children with 3 yr old David
being their first. David is learning English & says hello to us.
7:00 pm Dinner: This meal is called rocklet(sp). With a portable electric
grill & 6 small skillets, we have a choice of different cheeses to
boil(french, plain, pepper corn, etc) in our individual skillets. Then we
pour that hot melted cheese over our asparagus, string beans, potatoes,
peas & carrots before eating. The cheese before boiling doesn't taste so
good, but afterward, it's delicious. I end up eating a lot more than I
expected to. We talk for hrs + having a few cordials before biking back to
the apt for the night. It was another great day. Lights out:
11:20 pm


Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2004 is the previous archive.

November 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.