I missed a couple more days as I’ve been working a LOT on tweaking my website (more about that later), but keep on keepin’ on! Today is Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The suggested blog post is to tell a story – either a true or make-believe one. In Scotland and the UK, today is “National Tell a Story Day.”
I’m going to share part of our trip to Switzerland that we took to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. My grandfather Gentry had died, leaving a small inheritance to divide among my aunt, my 2 brothers, my sister and me (my mother would’ve received it with my aunt, but she had died before my grandparents did). I knew immediately what I wanted to do with my portion – travel overseas with Ray, something we had always dreamed about. Our pastor agreed to officiate for us to renew our wedding vows in front of our church congregation.
When I received my inheritance, I had tried to book a trip to Israel and surprise Ray with a card that read, “Are you game for Israel? My sister said she would baby-sit while we took our honeymoon there!”
But the trip was cancelled by the travel agency, because fighting broke out in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine on the West Bank (Gaza Strip).
So our travel agent arranged a flight to Switzerland instead. After arriving, we would rent a rental car, driving to whatever towns and cities we wanted, and choose our own lodging as we traveled, with the partial refund from the Israel travel package.
I journaled while there and when I came home, I wrote a booklet about our travels for our children and grandchildren.
I want to share the Tuesday, October 31, 2000 entry as my story for today’s blog post. It is inspiring and one part is pretty funny.
We are on our way to St. Moritz, the highest mountain peak here. Then down to Italy. We pray. Rain is falling softly; clouds cover the mountain like a soft wool sweater. We pray it does not snow. Heizenberg now – another country or town? It is so hard to tell, because borders are so easily crossed here.
Gorgeous mountains. Still raining, a castle on the mountain in the distance. We are entering Thesis-Nord. A country town, hay bales, cows with bells on the hills. The bells echo beautifully through the mountains. The road here is more like a U.S. highway. The water in the river beside the road is an exquisite green, clear, beautiful. We must move on.
Three miles from St. Moritz, we stop for gas. We just saw beautiful waterfalls, from a stone bridge off the main road, in Graubunden (on the mountain pass). We stop to take pictures. I love the waterfalls, and want to stay. Will You have a waterfall beside my mansion in heaven, Lord? Just for me?
We drive to St. Mortiz, to Juniper Peak, have our first argument in Europe because I feel Ray is driving too fast around the mountains in the rain and snow (no guard rails) and I am too scared to drive further (all the other cars are driving DOWN the mountain – we are the sole car braving the snow that far up). The higher we drive, the more it snows.
I can just see us plunging to our deaths on the Alps and the paper reading, “Unknown, foolish Americans try to drive up highest peak in Switzerland in rental car.” I start crying because we are fighting on our honeymoon (we have not fought one time since we arrived, but this one was a doozy).
Finally, wisdom hits, and Ray decides to drive no further up the mountain. We pick a spot on the map and go on to Milan, Italy, just so we can say we have been to Italy.
Then, I see the most incredible waterfall I have ever seen, tucked in a tiny country village. We stop to look at it. I want to stay in this village, but there do not seem to be any hotels nearby. I listen to the sound of the cascading water – “His voice like the sound of many waters.” (Revelation 1:15) Watching the magnificent waterfall in the rain in this remote town of Italy, I say a prayer of thanks to Him who surpasses our understanding.
We drive on, admiring the quaint, centuries-old log homes where people still live. How different it is from the States, how country life it still is here. It is as if we have stepped back in time – the ancient days preserved here in Europe.
Now we are approaching more city life – beeping car horns, clothing stores, billboards, littered streets. Ray goes into a bank to exchange our money. When he entered, he walked through “something like a tube” that was encircled with walls (a metal detector). “It was like I was going to be beamed up,” he joked later.
Alarms immediately went off and guards ran up to him, shouting, pointing at him with machine guns, gesturing for him to empty his pockets. He showed them his police badge (that set off the alarms) and said, “American polizia!”
Their countenance immediately changed to impression. “Ah, American polizia!” They then bent over backwards to help him. This is one of the high points of the trip for Ray.
When we went to the gas station, I panic at the amount of money the attendant is charging us and tell Ray he is ripping us off. Ray just pays the amount and drives off to find a place to eat. We were famished. The sooner we are out of Italy, the better. Ray doesn’t want to have to carry around all the Italian dollars and coins.
Italy is dirty, gross, and oppressive. But at least I buy some nice, knee-high, black, leather boots here. We order slices of real Italian pizza and walk down the cobblestone street in the rain. Ray is irritated at the bad weather, but I laugh and say I think it is very romantic – we are walking in the rain on a sidewalk in Italy, like something out of a movie. We kiss in the rain.
There was more to this entry, but this blog post is getting long, so I will stop here. I may create an Ebook from this booklet I wrote from our trip to Switzerland. It was one of the most amazing times Ray and I have ever had traveling.
At the time, I wasn’t impressed with Milan, but we probably didn’t see enough of it. I’d love to travel back to Italy and other places in Europe, especially France, Switzerland, Ireland, and Scotland. I love traveling and want to travel all over the world!
Where is your favorite place that you’ve been? Leave your comments below.