Post holiday hangover

The scenes of merriment and festive bliss we left you with last post were quickly replaced with scenes of winter storms, snotty noses and sick Canadians.

The scene that took over our holiday bliss.
 Thank goodness our early Christmas bliss was so abundant. It carried us through the dark days of Mediterranean-like blizzards and a nasty bout with the Swiss flu.

It would seem that our desire to share a full Swiss Christmas Holiday experience with Mom needed to include the good, the bad and the ugly. Thankfully some of the bad aligned perfectly with the ugly so we maximized our return.

According to the news feeds we get here, Switzerland experienced a flu epidemic this season. So, in pursuit of the fully Swiss experience, we got on board too, allowing Mom to test the waters first. Luckily her worst days of aches and pains aligned with the worst 2 days of weather in Lugano. Weather that motivated one to wake up, look outside and pull the covers back up tight. Real stay-in-pjs-all-day kind of weather. Diego quickly followed her lead and the two of them convalesced together while Helena, Manolo and I pretended that the weather really wasn’t that bad.

When the busses chain-up in Lugano, you know it’s bad. 42 years living in Canada and this was my first time witnessing chains on a bus.

We packed a good 3 seasons of weather into the 3 weeks Mom had with us. The glorious, warm, sun-filled days did eventually become out numbered by the dreary, wet and blustery days. But as we watched the forecast for each approaching day we were often pleasantly surprised with how the day unfolded. I was the only one stupid enough to repeatedly venture out into the truly hostile weather moments. I’ve had my fill in these last two weeks and am seriously contemplating a future as an indoor girl.

I waited until we returned from Ticino for my turn with the flu. Spent the better part of 3 days in bed while Manolo and the kids toured Mom around town here in Winterthur. The further afield destinations I had so hoped to show Mom on this visit were replaced by those sights accessible by foot. We were all forced to take things a little more slowly. Maybe that’s for the best.

We did still find some time for adventuring and even caught some blue-sky!
We were pleasantly surprised by the delightful town of Aarau.
A canal reveals the river flowing beneath the city.

Pretty thatch covered roofs on the street below.
The purpose of the outing, a tour of the Frey chocolate factory.

One of the two chocolate fountains, offering either milk or dark at the sample table.
Unlimited samples, restocked constantly. The two rows were in constant movement, bringing the samples right to you in opposite directions. It has an immediate motion-sickness feeling which we’re pretty sure was on purpose.
Willy Wonka style, one turns into a cocoa bean if you have one too many samples.

The best part? Our own chocolate bar design session.
Helena was a natural.

One final stroll through Winterthur on the eve of Mom’s departure.

Rather than sending Mom back to Canada exhausted and slightly over-indulged, this year we sent her home well rested, getting to bed by 9:00 each night, and down a pint or two from the flu-inspired appetite suppression. No need for New Year’s resolution guilt from this holiday. You’re welcome!

Grandma and Helena constructing our post-Christmas gingerbread treat. (Thanks Aunt Janey!)
Even our very own Pike’s Place gingerbread-store didn’t cause Ma to overindulge.
And thankfully every missed destination or postponed experienced merely gets added to the list for the next visit. And thank goodness there will be more visits. Having a wing-man during the holidays to share in the meal planning and prep, to cut the kitchen clean-up in half and to indulge together in late night tiramisu desserts was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for. Worth sharing a flu for. When you can’t go home for Christmas, bringing a piece of home to you is the next best thing.







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