Ken's Visit

May, 2001

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     Ken is a friend of mine that I had worked with at Tycom. He was the first visitor to our home in Oberwil. Actually, it wasn't really even my home yet. I was moving there, but still had my house in Minnesota. He wanted to celebrate his 40th birthday in another country and choose Switzerland. Because my house was sold and I was simply waiting for it to close, I flew in to be here for his trip.

     I showed him around our favorite parts of Switzerland and then Herbert took a week off of work and we went on a trip that included Southern France, Monaco and part of the eastern coast of Italy. We didn't have a real plan for our trip, just a general idea of where we wanted to go. We stopped when something interested us, or when we were hungry or felt that we needed a beer. We also had no hotel reservations. But, it was just before the beginning of the busy season and we were very lucky to find great places with low prices and friendly people.


     (We shared our camera with Ken and unless one of us is in the photo, I'm not sure who took which photos. So, Ken gets 'photo credit' for his share, which ever ones they are.)


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1 - Ken, who had a little bit of jet lag, used his early morning time to go running from Oberwil to neighboring villages.   2 - We were on our way to the Jungfraujoch in the Alps. Herbert's father Hans joined us for the day. We had to wait in Wengen for a train to go up to Kleine Scheidegg and decided it was time for our first beer of the day.   3 - I like this picture of Ken, with the Swiss flag and a beer in the photo.
4 -  This is Ken and Hans going down the hallway of the ice palace that has sculptures carved into a glacier.   5 - Ken and I at the 'glacier bar'.   6 - By the time we had gotten up to the Jungfraujoch, it was completely covered in clouds. It was a shame because, when it's clear, you have a beautiful view of the valleys below. But more importantly, it's an expensive train ride to open a door and see only a misty cloud, especially for both Ken and Hans who had never been there before. On our train ride back down, I was able to get a smile out of Hans.
7 - Herbert's parents, Hans and Frieda, invited Ken for dinner at their house, as they do with most of our visitors. Herbert's daughter Natacha and Han's sister and her husband were also there. But where is Ken?   8 - Here he is... sleeping on the patio. The jet lag was still affecting him.   9 - Ken at the stream that flows next to the Blue Lake.
10 - We had some gardening to do while Ken was there and he pitched in and helped.   11 - A raclette dinner outside on the patio.   12 - Ken's birthday celebration. (His birthday was actually the next day, but we were going to be leaving early in the morning for our trip to France and Italy.)
13 - We had just started our trip, and stopped for lunch and beers in Aarberg. (Still in the German part of Switzerland.)   14 - We stopped in Lyon, France to sleep for the night. This is me on one of unusually un-crowded streets.   15 - This is more like the streets in Lyon. They're known for their food and we had a hard time finding a restaurant with space. We ended up having one of the best meals of our trip at a small restaurant on a side street.
16 - The Pope's Palace in Avignon, France. During the early 1300's, six of the popes lived here.   17 - Herbert and Ken sitting at a patio restaurant in front of the Pope's Palace.   18 - These statues seem to be all over France. They stand still and hold a pose, but if you put money in their collection box, they move to another position. Ken stood next to the guy for a photo and the guy didn't move a muscle.
19 - This is Herbert and I in Arles, France. Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters and he did a lot of paintings here. I have a print of his 'Bedroom in Arles' hanging in our office and so this was an important stop for me.   20 - Our first Southern France beach, in Saint Marie de la Mer.   21 - The market in Saint Marie de la Mer.
22 - Ken at the end of dinner in Cassis, France. It was a long, relaxing and delicious dinner, probably our best on the trip.   23 - The marina in Cassis. The hotel we stayed at is in the back corner.   24 - Ken usually got up early and went and took photos of the local areas were we stayed. This is Herbert and I waiting in front of our hotel wondering when Ken would show up. Ken took this photo of Herbert motioning for him to come. We were on our way to Marseille and need to get going.
25- Part of the story of mine and Herbert's 'love story' includes fondue. This is the 'La Tour-Fondue' and when I saw it on our map, I had to go there. It was a slow drive down to the point of the cape where it was located and ended up being a bit disappointing. Herbert later explained that the direct translation was 'melted tower'.   26 - Men playing a game in the park in St. Tropez.   27 - There is an overwhelming feeling of money in St. Tropez and the large yachts in the harbor were a visible reminder. We asked Ken to take a photo of us next to one of the largest. When we got back to the car and reviewed the photos we had taken, we realized that he had misunderstood us and didn't even get the boat in the photo.
28- We arrived in Cannes, France a week or so after the film festival ended. We sat at one of the bars along the beach and relaxed.   29 - After finding out how much a beer cost on the beach in Cannes, we went across the street to an outdoor cafe where the drinks were about half the price. We also switched from drinking beer to pastis, a licorice flavored liqueur mixed with water. It seemed to be a more appropriate drink for Southern France.   30 - After a few pastises, (I can make that plural, can't I?) Herbert started taking photos of me sitting across the table from him. I tried to look away to encourage him to stop.
31- We spent a night in Menton, France. It's right on the border with Italy and a fifteen minute drive from Monte Carlo. We walked around the town looking at menus and decided to go back and eat at our hotel. I don't know if we had a language misunderstanding with the waiter, but it was one of the worst meals I've ever had in my life. A big bowl full of tiny dried silver fish, eyes and all.   32 - Monte Carlo at night.   33 - Herbert and coming down the steps of the casino. We didn't lose any money because we never got in the casino. Ken wanted to pay our way in, but none of us had our passports with us. You need them to get in because the citizens of Monte Carlo are not allowed to bet there. What's that tell you about gambling?
34- About thirty minutes into Italy, we stopped for a beer. We found the restaurant and the owner to be so charming that we stayed for lunch. The owner took a bottle of homemade Limoncello, a lemon liqueur out of his freezer set it on the table and told us to finish it, on the house. Herbert had to drive, so Ken and I had to do it.   35 - This is the owner. He was amazed when we showed him this photo of himself in the viewer of the camera. He asked me to mail him a copy. Three years later, we hand delivered it on our trip with Sherry and Steve.   36 - The view from one of the terraces in Riomaggore, Italy, one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre.
37- The view from our hotel room in Riomaggore.   38 - There are paths that you can hike to go from village to village in Cinque Terre. We decided to do the one that is known for being the most difficult. This is Herbert and I on the path from Monterossa to Vernazza   39 - The path leads high and low along the cliffs. This is me and Herbert on our way to Vernazza, which you can see in the distance.
40- Ken as we progressed even closer to our goal.   41 - Finally, we arrived in Vernazza and ken is demonstrating how thrilled we all were to have made it.   42 - Back in Switzerland, we took Ken for a tour of Bern. Here he is in the square or the government and bank buildings.
43 - We drove a lot during Ken's visit. I took this photo to show what he looked like for most of the time.   44 - He took this photo to pay me back. He said it was the view he constantly saw of me.


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