I've always envied people who had friends or family overseas. If you have a cousin or former roommate in Germany or Spain, how could you not go visit them?!? I've never had someone to visit in a foreign country. Until now.
One of my best friends in Seattle met a Swiss man in Peru, married him, and decided to make Switzerland her new home (bummer for me, but who could blame her?). Visiting them in their home together was the best way to start our Europe trip.
A couple years ago, we traveled to South America with Zhanna. She was our beloved third wheel. So when she found a cute Swiss guy with a French accent in our group on the Inca Jungle Trek, I thought, "oh good, she has someone to keep her occupied". I thought it was a harmless crush and she'd never see him again. Much to my surprise and horror, at the end of our travels, she bought a one-way ticket to Switzerland with Gary, and decided not to come home.
I never thought I'd see Gary again, just like I thought Zhanna would forget him in a week, but here we are, staying in his home on the other side of the planet from Peru, in a small town in Switzerland. One of the first things we did was a small hike with a killer view of the town and lake below, the perfect place for a picnic lunch of cured meats, cheese, and bread—my favorite food. We took it easy the first day or two, stopped by a castle near their home (how is that possible?!), drove though a few small towns, enjoyed home cooked meals, played boardgames at night, and ate Swiss chocolate with every meal. It was amazing not to have to google anything and not feel like you're missing something. We went where they took us, and we were happy. Having a personal guide and translator everywhere we went was such a treat.
Zhanna and Gary dedicated a week to showing us around, and we'll share more from a snowy trip to their mountain chalet and climbing up rock faces in the next few posts. Though I lost a friend in Seattle, I gained two friends in Switzerland.
P.S. I didn't realize until later just how much I was shooting with my phone and Moment lenses, so a handful of the images below are from my phone.