Saturday, February 25, 2012

Country Day - Switzerland

First, the food. Cabbage casserole (mine) and fondue had no chance against a chocolate fountain. Wish I could have caught on film each child's eyes as they saw it flowing!

K did her presentation on St. Bernard dogs. She did a great job, but got irritated when some of the kids in the audience (driven by enthusiasm, not meanness) started chirping, "I knew that" after each statement she made. She loves dogs, but her favorite (see her look at right below) was a presentation about a Swiss company that makes James Bond-like auto creations, including a car that runs underwater. We also heard about how chocolate is made (and what the Swiss contributed to that process), Swiss banking, other Swiss dogs, how the alps were formed, how fondue is made and its history, Swiss trains, yodeling (history and demonstration), and Swiss army knives.

Memories: These are a few (of many) of my favorite images of Switzerland. On the left, the Lauterbrunnen Valley; on the right, a view toward Mt. Blanc from the Swiss border.

Looking at all of these photos again brings back such wonderful memories - my first trip out of the U.S. with a tour group called Exodus from London. Those two weeks were such fun and somehow - improbably! - gave me the confidence the following year to quit my job and travel alone to all seven continents for a year. I focused on the mountains, spending weeks exploring as opposed to days in cities. Met incredible friends. Fueled all sorts of imagination for future adventures. On one two-week trek I did, a friend and I used Kev Reynold's guide for "the Haute Route," which goes from Chamonix (in France) to Zermatt (in Switzerland). His words to describe one final view have always stuck with me, epitomizing the wonder of Swiss mountain beauty but also reflecting the awe I feel in other mountain ranges: "No matter how many mountain ranges I'd visited in the past, no matter how many views had won my heart, what was spread before me, before us, was a priceless gem of perfection, an unsurpassed, unparalleled vision of glory." "Traveling" through studies for Country Day is always fun and ignites dreams about future possibilities.

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