New Farm Park, Brisbane

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MEETING THE IN-LAWS

(Continued from here: A Jumbo Drama in New York)

After we were married in  Papua/New Guinea in 1969 we left the country intending to live in Switzerland. We travelled via New Zealand, Hawaii, USA, Toronto and London. We picked up a new car in London and drove through France to Switzerland. Bill was getting very excited about seeing his parents again while I was getting nervous at meeting my in-laws for the first time, especially as we weren't able to understand each other.

For the last year I had been so excited about going to Switzerland. It was one of my teenage wishes to go skiing in Switzerland and here I was just about there. Luckily, I have a diary and a few photos of this trip.

We drove all day through France. Bill was in a hurry now. We got lost trying to get through Paris at peak hour. Luckily Bill could speak French and asked a policeman which way to go. No GPS in those days and the road map looked like spaghetti. Eventually, we were in the beautiful French countryside and we pulled into the small town of Avallon for the night.

The next day we found our way through the back blocks of France to Nuchatel on the border of Switzerland where we had planned to meet Bill's parents in a restaurant. We had lunch together and I felt a little under scrutiny from the in-laws but they seemed very happy to have us in their homeland. Bill had to work overtime at translating for me.

The drive from Nuchatel to Bern and on to Thun was magic. Switzerland is a beautiful country. Bill lived in the main street of Thun.(say Toon) It is a quaint, historical town with a fairy tale castle dominating the skyline. The town sits on the edge of the Lake of Thun and the River Aare splits in two and passes through the middle of the old town. It is the most picturesque town surrounded by the towering Alps. (Bear with the 40 year old, scanned, slide photos.)
 This is the brochure that I poured over in the months leading up to this trip. I couldn't believe I was actually going to be there soon. It was one of those places you thought you would only ever see in a brochure in a travel agents window. Bill's parents lived in The Balliz, the main street running down the middle of the island in the River Aaare as it leaves the Lake of Thun (Thunersee). This is where I would be living for a while. Thun is dominated by its castle and church on the hill to the left of the river. The towering Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau Mountains are in the background. Thun's position at the hub of a rail, road and ferry network make it the gateway for excursions into the Bernese Oberland. (The Swiss Alps in the Canton of Bern)

Bill outside his parents apartment block in the Balliz, Thun. 1970. The road was closed for an impending festival. Today the road is permanently closed to traffic and is a pedestrian mall and market place.

 The ancient castle presides over the town. It is a Romansque square tower with four corner turrets in Norman style, built in 1186  by Berchtold V of Zähringen. Today it houses a museum including tapestries from the 1300's, armour, weapons, pottery, uniforms and costumes.

 We climbed up into the turrets and we could see all over Thun, where people have been recorded as living here since 1130.

On this day in town it was the bull market. That was a first for me.

Bill's parents in their 60's still rode their bikes to work.

Thun sits on the northern edge of the huge lake. 

 Bill and his parents were keen to take me sight seeing and we started with a steamer ride to Interlaken at the southern end of the lake about 20 km away. But the steamer criss crossed the lake stopping at many of the villages on the way. They were lovely picture book villages with traditional Swiss chalets.

 Castles also dot the edge of the lake. We strolled through the tourist town of Interlaken with the mountains breathing down your neck.  We had a delicious Swiss lunch of G'schnätzlets and Rösti (finely sliced veal strips in a creamy sauce with grated fried potato).
I had to keep pinching myself to make sure that I was really here and not dreaming. The holiday was only going to get better............................(stay tuned)

25 comments:

  1. What fun Diane, gorgeous photos! Nice shot of Bill's Mom and Dad on their bikes.

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  2. Diane; great to red your memories. Thun is a beautiful town; was there in 2007 and it was very, very busy. Glad you had a lovely welcome as a young bride.

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  3. I can imagine that for a young Australian woman these little towns and castles must have been as amazing as for me seeing a kangaroo ! From Switzerland I only know the area of Geneva and the lake of course, but I have been to Interlaken when I was 13 or something, so yesterday, lol ! The plates you mention I know of course, my friend in Geneva came from near Zürich so the "German" speaking part of Switzerland. Imagine what we will eat tonight ?? Röstis !!!!

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  4. Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places on Earth! How wonderful you got to live there. Your photos are in much better condition than my old ones. You needn't apologize for them at all.

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  5. Diane, your photos might be forty years old but they're perfect! And I'm sure Bill's parents loved you!

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  6. Diane it is a country where i would like to live forever .your memories are fantastic thanks for sharing

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  7. Very nice wonderful story photos brought back some memories to me passed through this area in 1976

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  8. I couldn't go to bed without reading this post you dashed off in a couple of minutes, in spite of my travel weariness. Dorothy was not in Kansas anymore but in the a very picturesque European town. I can imagine your nervousness about meeting the non English speaking Bill's parents.

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    1. It took me a lot longer than that to do this post. Check my diary for memories, then find the slides, scan the slides, process the images to get rid of the magenta and blue hues and then compose the story and publish. I'm glad it captivated you after all that.....in spite of your travel weariness. Where are you this time jet setter?

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    2. Yep, I can see hours went into this post. I know and appreciate the effort people make with posts like this. We were just half an hour's drive away from you in Paradise for a few days. Back home now.

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  9. Hello, Diane what a wonderful story and wonderful memories of meeting your in-laws. Switzerland is gorgeous, I love the photos. I was there in 1992 with my hubby and really enjoyed our visit. Have a happy day and week ahead!

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  10. The thing we end up doing that we didn't think we would...came true..
    A great experience for you and excitement also for Bill, to introduce you to his parents, no doubt wondering what they would think of you...

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  11. Sounds like an especially happy time for you both! And how wonderful to visit beautiful Switzerland, and even live there for a while. I really enjoyed reading all about it and look forward to more.

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  12. How fantastic that you've managed to hold onto photos of these special times Diane. Meeting the parents in law is a pretty intimidating prospect :) I remember meeting mine for the first time, nerve wracking, even more so for you with the language barrier :)

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  13. The castle gives the town a fairy tale look. Can't imagine how nervous you must have felt meeting in the in laws but they were no doubt charmed by you at first sight.

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  14. such a beautiful town, the view is amazing, and i like looking down on the town. i would have been scared to death. that is a real fairy tale type castle.. it is great you kept your photos and brochure..

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  15. I also met my In-laws after we got married, so yes I know how you felt. (Another thing we have in common!)

    I love Switzerland but have not been there for many, many years, time we returned! Interlaken is a beautiful spot. I can also understand getting lost in Paris,even with a GPS it isstill possible!! Keep well t'other Diane

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  16. Oh what lovely photos, it looks like a nice place and how lucky it was that you were able to visit and spend some wonderful days there. Meeting the in-laws can be hard, it is harder when you get the impression that they don't like you, I am sure T

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    1. We actually stayed there for nearly a year.

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  17. You certainly had an incredibly beautiful setting for meeting Bill's parents. I think your scanned photos are beautiful.

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  18. Oh, Di, that must have been like stepping into a fairy tale. What a place to find yourself after living in New Guinea! Some culture shock although we'd never heard of such a thing then, had we?

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  19. Switzerland is such a lovely country so I can understand why you'd be so excited to go there. What a curious mix of feeling though, to be excited and at the same time apprehensive. How wonderful that everything turned out so well!

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  20. Switzerland is so lovely, have been there only twice but certainly enjoyed it. The first time straight from PNG into a European winter but I was young and didn't feel it much at the time. Meeting the in-laws would be rather scary. I met mine about the same time as I met my future hubby so didn't have to jump that hurdle.

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  21. How amazingly lucky you were to be able to go to Switzerland. On my list of places I'd love to see but I can understand how the cold would make a tropical girl a bit frozen! LOL

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