Tuesday, August 5, 2014

BE Society August Challenge - Day 5

Click the button above to be taken to the main challenge site, to sign up, and/or to visit the other participants!

Today's Question:  

Share a story about the furthest you've ever traveled from home.

Probably the farthest I've ever been from home is my mother's hometown of Davos, Switzerland.  The distance is:  4,563 miles (or 7,342 kilometres, or 3965 nautical miles).  

I've been there twice.

Once in 1971 with my mother, father and brother.  We were visiting mom's relatives.  Mom, my brother and I stayed with "Tante Betti" (actually my mother's cousin) and Dad stayed with Tante Erna (Betti's mother, I believe).  Apparently it is or was a custom there to shake your housemates' hands in the morning (as opposed to hugging?).  That was where I learned to have a firm handshake.  Tante Erna was convinced that all Americans had to have a meat and eggs breakfast every morning, so that is what my Dad got.  We did a lot of sightseeing and hiking and stopped in at (I want to say) the Heimatmuseum.  There were a lot of centuries-old furniture, works of art, suits of armor, etc.  Most interesting was the "Stammbaum", or family tree.  It went, with increasing numbers of gaps back to around 1365, where one of our ancestors was a standard-bearer for a French king.  My mother and uncle were listed in the book, as well as my aunt and cousins, but not us.  I felt a little slighted (hey, I was 9  years old!) ... but that's the way records were kept then.

I also went there in 1984 on vacation at Easter.  I had been working in the capital city of Bern as an au-pair.  I went to see Tante Betti and we had a mineralwasser at a restaurant.  She said that some waitstaff did not care for Americans because they would order tap water (which was free).  But I had developed a taste for the bubble water.  I also went to Schaffausen where Tante Pauli (Betti's sister) lived, which was in the north near the border with Germany.  She told me about a picture in an old album of two American soldiers sitting outside a hotel.  They had been confined to quarters for ripping the flag down off the Nazi HQ in town.  (They had everybody in Davos, during WWII, Allied and Axis powers.)  They were smiling, though, because even though they could not go off the porch, people would bring them drinks and pastries and a wink or two.

I also went back to the Heimatmuseum and saw the stammbaum again.  I explained that I had come there years ago with my family.  They lady said she remembered me.  All these years, I have believed that she had incredible powers of memory.  The thought came to me earlier that she might have just said that to make a visitor happy.  Maybe she did remember; maybe she didn't.  I'm staying with my first belief. ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment