our 2 weeks in denmark has come to an end and we are back in zürich for a while, our time in svendborg with the brieghel family was just awesome. its a special thing when you can just reconnect with friends after a long time and seemingly just pick up where you left off.
its seven years since we last spent time with them, jonas was just a bump in mie’s tummy! despite the long time apart we just fell into such a comfortable and happy space with mie, thomas, ida, benji & jonas. 8 people is a lot to share a house for 2 weeks and feed at every meal, yet it never seemed to be a chore or an issue, (you would have to check with the brieghels to see if that was mutual!).
it was a joy to watch kai spend time having fun and playing with other kids again, something I am acutely aware has been largely missing on this gap year. ida took him under her wing and they went swimming at the pool with other girl friends of ida’s and went to the theatre together and then caught a bus home, she also got him cooking cinnamon snails and translating the recipe into english!
mie’s parents took us to egeskov, an amazing castle with car, motorbike and plane museums, mazes, treetop walks, playgrounds, gardens etc, where the kids had an absolute ball for the day. sal, thomas & i snuck off early to go and visit a few microbreweries on the island and ended up with a couple of cases of delicious beers to take with us back to switzerland.
benji was also wonderful, playing endlessly with kai, and it was great seeing how much his english improved over the two weeks. (not that the same could be said for kai’s danish!)
once again the highlights of this part of our journey was the people and the food – we had some wonderful times with mie’s parents at their summer house, caught up with cindy whom we spent some time with in italy and met friends and neighbors from the local area.
i had another moment of what i describe as confirmation bliss – the welling up of a feeling of intense satisfaction in the moment cominciding with a reflection on the decision to take off for a gap year. i had gone to one of the neighbors to look for the kids, and when i got there i found thomas with them in their backyard – all sitting round a fire pit, chatting and drinking local boutique beers, so i ended up just sitting with them in the twilight, tasting beers, talking about travel, places, people and so on.
other than thomas, people i had never met, but instantly welcomed like an old friend, special.
it was another of those moments where i thought it alone made the whole trip worth it in one instant.
anyway, enough of the purple moments, like all great things, our visit had to come to an end and it was time to head back to zürich so we said our sad goodbyes, tempered by the knowledge we were all going to catch up in piedmont in italy for a week at a villa in the last week of august!
then it was back in the citroen and down the autobahn to germany for a quick night with carl & dorathea in schöneck before heading back to zürich. due to a mis-communication between carl and myself our arrival at their house came as a total surprise – as they thought we were turning up the following week! luckily they took it in their stride and gave us their usual warm welcome.
we ended up doing about 2800km in the citroen, driving from zürich to svendborg and back along with the side trips. my impression of the autobahns is mixed, its wonderful that they have open speed limits and I was constantly reminded of the stupidity of australian speed limits on divided highways, its an amazing experience to blast along at 180+kmh in a modern car – the trouble is that in germany its an experience that is frequently interrupted by being stopped, or crawling along at 15kmh.
the net result is that its really hard to average even 100kmh, thats with quick pee and fuel stops and a very quick picnic lunch on the side of the road in a forest somewhere. there are just too many times when roadworks, heavy traffic or a broken down vehicle brings the autobahn to a grinding halt.
anyway, we are back in zürich, christian and his family get home tomorrow, we will have a few more days with them, then head up to his brothers house which is about 30km away on the north side of the zürich lake, we are looking after it for a week.
then we will drive across the swiss alps and down to piedmont in italy where we are staying for a week with the brieghel family.