*Another excerpt from my stay in the France/Germany/Switzerland region in mid-March 2016*
The day started off great. I was up early and had fixed the family pancakes – it’s sort of become a tradition for Saturdays. They really enjoy this treat and I myself, of course, enjoy it. I love European food and all… but it’s a nice change from bread, Nutella, butter and jam every day ;P And the boys always get excited when they enter the kitchen. ‘Jennifer, was machst du?” And I as I pour the batter onto the skillet, I reply with a deep richness in my voice, ‘Ich mache Pancakes!’ and watch their faces break into huge smiles and they practically dance around, ‘Pancakes! Pancakes! Pancakes!’ It’s great… xD
After pancakes, (I always think of Shel Silverstein’s ‘Pancake’ poem, especially when I create a tall stack of ’em…haha) I got together my backpack, purse and phone and was ready to head out the door. My adventure began at the SBB station. I spent the morning trying to figure out how to get to the Basel Munster and Kunst Museum (art). The thing is, despite my having studied where it was on google maps, I couldn’t quite remember where they were… no big deal, I could just use the navigation app as I went on my way..
It was then I figured out my phone’s data wasn’t set up properly. I was given a phone to use with a prepaid SIM card for when I went traveling by myself, etc. We had set everything up the day before.. but why wasn’t it working?? I had walked a bit aways from the Bahnhof (station) in my high heeled boots (remember.. I wanted to blend in with the locals). I’m one of those people that when I’m out in public traveling, I don’t like to stick out like a sore thumb, draw attention, or you know… be a typical tourist. I like to blend in. However, sometimes I doubt I could ever really cover up my Americaness completely. I’m stuck with it, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, haha.
Anyways, my feet were killing me. I mean, they ACHED. I knew I was gonna have blisters the next day. Not just from my shoes, though. I’ve gotten out of shape walking period. But I knew I couldn’t get through the rest of the day walking in those boots so I decided to find a store that sold tennis shoes. I walked back to the station, reconnected to WIFI, and studied google maps again. And searched my friend’s address, just in case we missed each other and all else failed. She was to meet me at the station around 2pm. It was getting close to 11am. So back outside I went, scanned the bus/tram route map and decided my best option was a day ticket.
2 minutes later my tram arrived.
I like trams. They’re fun and I always enjoy watching the people get on board and just the whole feeling of being on the road but not in a car… It’s just neat xD
So I walk into a store called NewYorker and bought a pair of 25 CHF tennis shoes. They are, unfortunately, made in China. I say unfortunately because I would rather have a genuine Swiss or German made pair of tennis shoes but there ain’t no way I’m paying at least 99 CHF. Forget it.
And that was the cheapest I could find in that particular side of town….
So they’d have to do. And really, I’m happy with them. They’re just like my old pair back at home. (My old pair is ’bout falling apart anyway so now I have a brand new look-a-like pair).
After some browsing I left the stores and caught the tram back to the station, where I purchased a piece of Italian pizza cause I was STARVING. And by the way, nothing beats genuine Italian pizza.
You have not lived if you’ve never tried authentic Italian pizza. It makes all the other pizzas seem like doodily squat compared to it. No joke.
So I woofed down my pizza (probably too quickly because I had several gawkers stare at me as if I had corncobs growing outta my ears….I was thinking, “what? It’s just pizza.”)
And I head to a book store. It’s always a bad idea when Jennifer goes to a book store because she ALWAYS buys something. I’m a kid in a candy shop when it comes to books. Then I spotted the language book shelf. Uh oh – now I’m definitely buying something.
After much browsing and debate I settled for 2 books that will further help with my learning German (and for the rest of my family). They were 25 CHF each.
I’m still telling myself it was worth it.
Heading back up to the front of the station to wait for my friend, I was just replying to her text when someone ran up and hugged me squealing! It was her xD And boy was I glad to see her again… We spent the rest of the day together touring Basel, shopping. eating out and heading to Germany to do more shopping. I met up with her sister later on too.. And the following Sunday, I attended her church. It’s crazy really. I still sometimes pinch (or slap) myself to think of how much fun I’d be missing.. how depraved I’d be of all these special times and moments if I hadn’t of bothering posting my penpal ad on this website. Nearly 2 years later, we’re seeing one another and are like best friends. It’s amazing and crazy… it’s like we already know each other and were best friends as soon as we had met in person.
I had told her, “Hope you don’t mind being a tourist today.. Cause I’m taking LOTS of pictures.” She just laughed and shook her head. “And don’t worry, if we encounter any stupid moments or situations, just let me do the talking. People will understand!” xD and to this we both burst into laughter.. I had told her of the first time I had traveled to Switzerland 2 years ago, and had caught the wrong bus at the station. I rode til the end of the route, being the last one on the bus and when the driver stopped, he turned around and just looked at me like, “What the heck? Why are you still sitting there?”
Embarrassed, I ran up to the front and the first thing that came outta my mouth was, “Oh, I’m sorry, .. I’m an American.”
THEN I explained my catching the wrong bus and he politely helped me out to catch the next correct bus.
I know. Dumb.
But it seems once I open up my mouth and play the ‘I’m a dumb American card’ people immediately understand and get this funny, knowing smile. No joke. (This is not to say I’m dumb, or that Americans are dumb, but as I find stereotypes kind of funny/interesting, and I just play along with it, as it doesn’t bother me 😉 besides, my true friends know I’m anything BUT dumb)
But I’m still American.
Yes, I’m kind of discovering just how American I really am on this trip. That’s for another day, though.
And last but not least, a few photos of my weekend:
My Swiss friend and me (I’m to the right) in Basel Munster. We, unfortunately, weren’t able to climb the towers because we arrived too late and they closed them a half hour early. Go figure.
It was a lovely church… I would personally like to go back so I could capture a full range shot of the city Basel 🙂
so at least there was a ledge to look over. This still offered some nice views 😉
My friend -we enjoyed a short little ferry ride afterwards -* the church in the background
“Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.” -Pablo Coelho