For two days in a row, we’ve been the recipients of amazing gift baskets.
First, my brother and his family sent us an assortment of sweets.
Next, we found a fruit arrangement sitting in the backyard. It was actually addressed to the previous owners of the house, but we figured 15 months is enough of a statute of limitations not to try to pass it on to them. There was no sender information on the wrapping, I don’t know whom to contact regarding the delivery, so chances are, in 12 more months, they will still not know that different people live in this house…
I am a fairly indifferent homeowner when it comes to decorating for holidays, even though the family customarily forces me to get out the ladder and hang icicles on the roof and other lights around the house. I do, however, enjoy seeing illuminated displays around the neighborhood.
This year, with the new baby, I managed to leave almost all of my allotted vacation time till the very end. Spending three weeks at home in quick succession would be a challenge both to my wandering spirit and to my saintly wife’s patience. Although she cannot yet join me on voyages away from home, we mutually agreed that it would be in everybody’s interests if I were to go someplace for the first week.
Where does Ilya go when he is on vacation? If you are surprised to hear “Europe”, I welcome you as my new readers.
I don’t really enjoy travelling on my own, though, so I had to pick a destination where I could count on company of friends. Switzerland provided an obvious choice – a number of old friends make it their home nowadays, and I’ve only seen limited country sights in my former forays there.
As it turned out, I had plenty of company, spending quality time with several friends, some of whom joined me on my sightseeing expeditions. I managed to explore Zurich to a greater degree than in the past. I visited architecturally-striking and overall engaging towns, such as Bern, Luzern, Lausanne, Fribourg, Solothurn, each with its own highlights and unique atmosphere. I toured a cheese factory in Gruyere and a chocolate factory in Broc. I drove around the breathtaking Lake Maggiore under brilliant azure skies. I had a grand time.
I even took a detour one evening to drive into the Duchy of Liechtenstein. Can’t say that there is much to see there, but it’s one more country on my list of “been-to”.
(I also managed to mislead my GPS into taking me into Germany once, which I realized only as I was crossing the border. I turned around right away, but can now say that I actually visited 3 countries on this trip.)
Made new memories. Caught up with old friends. Didn’t think about work for a single second. What else can one ask from a vacation?