Stans: Last words

Our month in Switzerland is over and it is time to move on. We have had a wonderful time. Our house-sitting experience was fantastic. We were nestled in the mountains with 360° views. We lived in a large, spotlessly clean and uncluttered penthouse apartment with high-end appliances, enjoyed weekly house cleaning service, drove a very nice car, and had the company of two really friendly Bengal cats (who shed very little).

Our home for a month with windows facing in every direction

We were initially concerned about our lack of Swiss-German (or German of any kind), but we ended up having no trouble at all getting by. A simple “Englisch?” received a positive response in most places we visited. And back home at the grocery store Google Translate helped us to buy the food we wanted (and avoid the stuff that we did not).

We spent Christmas in this mountainous winter wonderland. On Christmas Eve, we walked around the village, which was entirely shut down except for one very packed cafe at the train station (we couldn’t find a seat so didn’t even stay).


A fresh milk dispenser at a nearby dairy – bring your bottle, drop in your money, and fill ‘er up


On snowy days, I was reminded of our annual visit to Whistler, BC, Canada, where we have spent the majority of the last 20 or so New Year’s weeks (and the occasional Christmas) with our son and, in recent years, with our daughter-in-law and grandson. My heart hurt a little, as I gazed at the snowy trees, thinking that the three of them would be in Whistler on Christmas Day with 8,000 km between us.

Thanks to Skype, though, we enjoyed Christmas morning with our family, and even watched grandson Alex open up a few gifts. When they headed off to enjoy their day, it was time for us to put together our Christmas dinner, Swiss style.

Swiss cheese fondue for Christmas dinner

As much as we enjoyed our time in Switzerland, we found ourselves imagining a warm winter again for next year. We think we have been as cold as we will be on our journey this time around. We knew we were going to be in Switzerland in winter, and expected it to be similar to temperatures and weather we experience in Whistler over New Year’s, which it was. We had to pick and choose our mountain-visiting days to ensure we had great views and reasonable temperatures. For much of the month that we were in Switzerland, we experienced temperatures that were 10-20°C warmer than we would have been had we stayed in the last place we called home, Calgary, Canada. And that was just fine with us.

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