Where is the edelweiss?

Our 11th month. The passage of time here has been both rapid and snail-paced all at the same time. 

With the decision to stay, it means our approach to this next month will be with the excitement of an upcoming visit back home. Had we stuck to our original 13 month schedule I know there would be a feeling of angst, so much left to see and do! 

And yet we have seen so much. Exploring every corner of this tiny country and soaking in as much as we can. But it struck me the other day that we have not yet spotted the Swiss-symbolic edelweiss. In a landscape where flowers grow everywhere, one would expect the national flower to be well represented too. Evidently I’ve been looking in the wrong places. Perhaps this can be a goal to rectify this month.

Our final holiday weekend before the summer break we were lucky enough to return to Lugano for some lazy days in our favourite paradise.

Have you tried a gin & tonic with blueberries and basil yet? It’s my new favourite. So delicious. The freezy isn’t necessary but works like a hot-damn when you’re out of ice.

The luxury of two long weekends in a row was interrupted by a bought of the flu. Sickness is something I live in absolute fear of here considering the lack of amenities our home offers for dealing with such maladies. With the amount of public transportation we rely on, combined with children who still put their hands in their mouths all too often, catching the odd bug is a certainty.

Thankfully there were no dramatic moments of fighting over who got the toilet to themselves. Everyone was very civilized in taking their turn, even perfectly timing it all to not disrupt one of our holiday weekends while also landing on one of our twice-monthly laundry sessions. 

(It is the combination of only 1 toilet and my access to laundry only every two weeks that makes sickness so scary!)

Despite the overwhelming sense that there is so much to still see and experience here, we are drawn back to the same places again and again. After all, it is the familiar that makes a place feel like home. Creating the memories that are the foundation of nostalgia. 

Despite having another year ahead of us, I am already deeply aware of how much we will miss the tranquility of the view in Lugano. Soaking in as much of its beauty as possible is my goal.

This weekend we were particularly grateful to be there as it was the trip that nearly didn’t happen. With both kids puking through the week it felt like just a matter of time before I succumbed too. That is the order of illness in our family. One of the kids is patient zero, soon after the second child is down too. I nurse them through, wiping their brows, changing their sheets, spooning in crushed ice and kissing their sweet foreheads. All this while knowing that it’s just a matter of time before I become the patient. 

I ALWAYS, eventually become the patient. I take on the germs in a super-bug form, rendering me helpless and humiliated.

So the question was, to be sick in Winterthur or Lugano? Lugano would be just as good a place to be ill as Winterthur, if not better. Kids have more independence and happiness there, lizard hunting, tree fort living. So we decided to forge ahead while I still felt good…ish.

We were packed up so that we were ready to go down Friday afternoon at the earliest moment possible. But the closer we came to being ready to go, the more I started to feel that gross lump in my throat. Being sick in Winterthur would be fine. Being sick in Lugano would be fine. Being sick on the train would be NOT FINE!!

So 10 minutes before the bus I pulled the plug. “We’re not going anywhere guys. Mom’s next with the flu.”

So we waited. And waited. And nothing happened. I still felt that nagging feeling that I might be headed on a one-way-trip to puke-ville but nothing was happening.

After a couple hours when I realized that if we had left on the train, we’d have made it to Lugano without any incidents, I decided to risk it. Popped 2 gravol just in case.

“Ok guys, we’re going to try! Get your bags.”

The kids were cautiously optimistic. Having witnessed Mom wiping out on the train, they know that mortifying embarrassment is possible. Mom puking on the train would be a whole new level of mortification. With a few emergency turn-back points identified on our route if worst-case presented itself, we set out.

We excitedly arrived at the train station and proceeded to the ticket office to enquire about reserving seats on the next train. We’ve learned the hard way that during peak travel times, a reserved seat is a very good idea. Evidently everyone else also knows this as we were told “I’m sorry Frau, all the trains to Lugano are sold out. All trains are booked for the rest of the day and Saturday too.”

“Oh. Darn it.” But I’m still not puking so that’s a plus…

“Of course there are always seats that are not reserved, but you have to take your chances. With the long weekend this is a very popular time to travel.”

Evidently. Bummer.

All packed and ready to go, we decided to go as far as Zurich and see if we could get on a train.

All the trains are sold out, she said.

The trains are full, she said.

Nothing available until Sunday, she said.

This, my friends, is what a sold-out, long-weekend train looks like. Yippee! (Plenty of room to lie down too should the flu hit…)

We made it!

Feeling awfully excited by our good fortune and the fact that I was still feeling pretty good, I decided to have a celebratory Hugo on the train to officially kick off the holiday. (A Hugo is similar to an Aperol Spritz. It’s a Prosecco based drink with mint, lime and a simple syrup. Yum!)

Now I’m no pharmacist but I am pretty sure that you aren’t meant to mix gravol and alcohol. Wow did I have a good sleep on the train. The head lolling, drooling, gaping mouth kind of sleep. Classy.

And then we were there – back in the lap of luxury. Against all odds stacked against us, we made it. It made being there that much sweeter.

A coffee on the terrace in the warm sun is the very best way to start the day.
Coffee for Mom, tea for Helena
The pretty streets in Lugano.
This makes it a perfect day in D’s book. A McLaren driving the strip.
We came upon a wedding at the spectacular Arts & Culture center.
This woman’s hat was amazing. So European and sophisticated. Pretty sure I need one.
H swims at every opportunity possible. The house in Lugano is on the hill behind her.
Our favourite swimming hole. Thankfully not a polar-bear swim like in April.

This sweet dog had a tennis ball pushed just outside of his gate in hopes someone would come along to play with him. This is now a gate we’ll walk by often!
Helena made a buddy at the swimming hole. She would throw the stick and then race the dog to be the first one to retrieve it. (Spoiler: the dog wins, every time.)

The weirdest thing…I didn’t ever get sick.

That. Has. Never. Happened.

I’m still not completely certain that I’ve dodged the bullet. The act of writing this blog is tempting fate so badly, I’m already starting to feel gaggy again.

Get the wipes ready…



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