We left the lovely Hotel Balm in Meggen, Switzerland to head to Zurich, where we said goodbye to the eldest Kupp kid (Alex). He left us to go spearfishing in the Bahamas – so not completely lame, but we were going to miss him. It’s never the same not having a table of six! Today we saw the Lion Monument (or Lion of Lucerne), which was built to remember the Swiss Guards massacred in the French Revolution; it was a beautiful and sad sculpture carved straight into the rock face. Mark Twain commented that it was “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” (We found out Mark Twain visited Switzerland a good bit!)
We drove to Zurich, and had lunch in a local spot called Cafe Restaurant Obergass (why be one thing when you can be two? A lot of hotels in Switzerland had the same idea, with lots of names like “Hotel Restaurant Cowbell” or something). We had the best stroganoff ever there, but sadly no one got schnitzel. Jake struggled with the wifi password. Then, we walked the streets of Winterthur, which is an area right outside of Zurich, and found a really impressive church. We also visited a museum highly rated on Trip Advisor (where we inadvertently and precariously parked). It was called Kunstmuseum Winterthur, and housed several Picassos and Monets, most famously to me the lily pad painting (which has a fancier name than the lily pad painting). There was also a painting of squares I recognized, one that Carson said “made him mad” because it was so simple. There were some interesting exhibitions as well (more modern and more along the lines of putting a piece of paper in a glass box); one was called “Nothing Should Exist,” and was a bit weird. At one point there was a piece of wood that was supposed to represent a child? And a video of a guy yelling on a stage? If you watch Parks and Rec, it reminded me of Orin’s work. Well – art is art! We went to our hotel, where I found myself a rad pull-your-mattress-out-of-a-cabinet-in-the-wall bed and promptly took a nap. Then, we ended the night with pizza.
On day eleven, we woke up still in Switzerland and still being able to see the Alps outside our hotel window. Agh! It was destined to be a super adventurous and scenic day, since Max and Marianne gladly agreed to be our tour guides and take us on their favorite hike. This meant taking a train up Mt. Rigi, and hiking a little bit to a beautiful view. And they packed a picnic! Sausage, cheese, bread, veggies, and little ginger cakes and “couer de france” treats. Best day ever. The train ride was one of the most surreal and scenic transportation experiences I’ve ever had; it was like every time the trees passed by, the mountains reappeared and were like “Hello! We are the Swiss Alps! Be amazed!” And I was. To make the experience even more scenic, cows were grazing the surrounding fields, and you could hear the Swiss cowbells in the distance.
After our picnic, we took the train back down and alighted on another surreal journey aboard the Stadt Luzern, a very classy boat. We explored the ship and took a nap as we headed from the train station to Lucerne. Max and Marianne took us shopping around downtown Lucerne, where we bought Swiss chocolate because…Swiss chocolate. It’s a big deal; the store had a bodyguard. How good is your chocolate that you need a bodyguard? Is chocolate theft is a common thing? Well, it was some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had, so thievery of the cocoa variation is not completely unfathomable. We ended the day at a restaurant by the lake called “Seehof” (“see” means lake in Swiss German), which was – you guessed it – super scenic. And behold! A group of musicians came by playing the traditional Swiss instrument, the Alphorn! There were even flag twirlers! One of the best unexpected, unplanned surprises of the trip.
On the morning of Day Nine, we shed a tear and buckled our seatbelts tightly as we left Monterosso al Mare and Cinque Terre, but we were happy since we were heading to Switzerland, as we call the “Motherland.” Since us Kupp kids are 25% Swiss, and we have relatives in Switzerland, we were anticipating this stop greatly! After a six hour drive, we crossed from Italy to Switzerland, and drove to Lucerne and to our hotel in Meggen. We had dinner with our lovely relatives, Max and Marianne, who hosted us in their home and cooked an amazing Swiss meal for us. The next morning, on Day Ten, we met another set of relatives – Charlotte and Gerhard – for a spot of lunch in Thun and a tour of Bern from their son, Samuel. They showed us old pictures of our grandparents, Granddad Al and Grandmom Alma, which was so special and priceless to us. Plus, we got to see great pictures of our dad when he was younger!!! He hasn’t changed much, minus the gray hair. In Bern, we got to see the “Bern Bears,” which just hang out in right in the city (with fences, of course). Switzerland is a postcard, and every corner is charming and scenic, as the pictures show.