The second we crossed the border into Switzerland, I felt giddy. Ever since I was a little girl, Switzerland represented the place with endless possibilities. The fresh air and green glow of the super fertile land makes you feel hyper and sort of dreamlike. I feel like I can create my own little fairy tale with each visit. mmmm. Grindelwald. I couldn't wait to visit our house (with an exterior made with thousands of tiny wood shingles, a very old chalet) and walk up to our little forest where we grew up building tiny forts and little bridges and houses for newts by the stream. This small forest is my favorite place in the world.
Since our house is fully rented right now - we stayed at our good friend Salvi's hotel. Grindelwald has one small main road that is lined with restaurants, shops, and hotels. Very small and compact. Most of the locals know our family, and so it's fun to see how long it takes before everyone starts saying hello. No matter how long its been - they know when a Rubi is in town. Small town style.
It was drizzly a lot of the time, so instead of hiking and exploring we got into a rhythm of walks through town and up into the hills and down again. The 'Tarassenweg loop'. We hit up each family friend's restaurant and since it was Adrian's first time to Switzerland and sort of his induction, I had him get into the full range of traditions. I love fondue, but there is an old chalet in town that serves 4 different types, one being 'tomatoe fondue'. This one is incredible. Oh, and the Swiss breakfast ( zopf, yoghurt, emmenthal/appenzeller, ham, rolls, muesli ) is my most favorite breakfast in the world. Gondola rides up to various high points in the surrounding mountains and long hikes back into town with a picnic spot is pretty much the summer daily routine around here. There was one morning where it was a little bit sunny, so we raced to the Gondola and took it up to First (pronounced feerst), one of the smaller peaks. We started our hike down some pretty jagged slate trails and felt really proud of ourselves for finally getting up into the mountains (I heard my father's voice in my head telling me to get up into the mountains already!). THEN, out of nowhere it started to snow! In the middle of summer, we were on top of First with sneakers and sweaters and it was a full on blizzard with huge fluffy flakes. We found a little forest cave and had a picnic with mountain strawberries and sandwiches, joux joux chips and rügen brau. All was good. Kind of the best way to picnic if you ask me. Such a sanctuary. We were giddy once again.
We make our way in and out of the forest , through the blizzard with our umbrellas to shield the snow from our non-waterproof outfits. When we made it back into town, the strassefest was about to begin. Every Wednesday in the Summer, Grindelwald has a street festival with a raclette station , crepes, käseschnitte, hotdogs (weinerli) and live music. We ended up at the local disco, The Plaza, and enjoyed the cave style design of the club. It was sort of Planet of the Apes meets Logan's Run meets the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. sweet.
Salvi (who is the Godfather of Grindi) had us at his grappa bar every night for an aperitif and stories (and more Adrian induction). I feel so at home around Salvi. He looks after us Rubi kids.
When we went to my father's grave it was still quite cloudy. But when Adrian and I touched his grave stone together, the sky cleared and it became sunny very quickly. As soon as our hands left the stone, it became cloudy again. These things happen in Grindi. My father knows.
Our last night we switched over to my brother's good friend, Daniel Heller's hotel, Hotel Eiger (the Eiger mountain is Grindelwald's most famous peak). In exchange for the 'panoramic sweet', I shot photograph's for him. Mostly portraits of his team and candids in the lobby and kitchen of his employees. Lots of fun. He also had us dine in his restaurant that night - more fondue and grüner salad with swiss white dressing. oh. my. god. SO good. im a tiny bit addicted to swiss salad dressing. I even brought a bottle home. And lots of cheese from the cows that graze on our hills. Next best thing to eating Rubi cheese like my dad used to make.
The morning that we left it was starting to clear up. The hills were clear and the views were in full force. I was happy that Adrian got to experience the whole scene. Im sort of glad it was cloudy during the time we were there. It forced us to get into great conversations with people over grappa and hot food. The sun on the last day was a sneaky last minute reminder that when we come back we get to frolick in the hills. That reminder will bring us back to Grindi sooner than if it was sunny the whole time. That's the way I see it. Bye Grindi!
We trained it up to Basel to visit my friend Dan Solbach and spend the night at his lovely flat before flying back to London the next morning. It was Dan's first night at his new job. His job was at the "Friends Bar". As in the American t.v. show. Very euro-glitch style and sweet. He sort of made the bar popular in that good ol hang-out-at-the-late-night-random-spot-that-turns-hip sort of way. His hours are something like 11pm - 6am. Crazy. He had a few slip ups but soon poored the perfect beer. yay Dan! The coolest thing happened the next morning. Dan worked all night long at his new job and returned home with a fresh zopf (special swiss braided brioche like bread...absolutely scrumptious), and set up a super-cute swiss breakfast on the table for us before our flight out. What a friend.