As I write this, I am currently in Biel, Switzerland, my mom’s hometown. My mom, Markie, and I are four days into our trip to Switzerland – staying in the cities of Biel and Lugano – with a brief 24 hours in Milan at the tail end. We are mostly visiting family on this trip, although we have done some exploring of our own in the downtime.
On Saturday, we arrived in my mom’s hometown of Biel. After a brief walk around the La Vieille Ville, the old town area of Biel that dates back to the medieval ages, we headed to my mom’s cousins house for a family BBQ. The last time I was in Switzerland was ten years ago, so it had been quite some time since I had seen my family here. They were so welcoming though and we had several hours of great conversation. I am SO proud to say that my French comprehension is actually quite good with the Swiss accent; I was able to understand a good portion of what was said and my mom translated the rest.
My mom’s hometown is on Lake Biel, so on Sunday we went for a lakeside BBQ with my mom’s best friends from childhood, and Markie was able to swim in the lake. Her friends were so kind and gave Markie a Swiss hat and t-shirt as a present.
Monday we took a day trip to visit my mom’s cousin and his family in the town of Thun, about an a hour from Biel. Thun is an absolutely beautiful town with a really nice historic old town and a lake. We walked around the town and lake a bit before heading to my mom’s cousins house for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. On the way back to Biel in the evening we also stopped in the capital of Switzerland, Bern, for a quick walk around.
This morning we met up again with some of our family for a mid-morning cafe visit – I love how strong coffee is here! We also went to visit a winery in a town called Twann this afternoon. Twann is a really pretty town with historic Swiss houses by the lake. At the winery, I was able to sample five different Swiss wines and bought a few bottles to take home. Switzerland actually produces a fair share of wine, but 98% of the wine produced here is consumed within the country, so it’s quite hard to buy except for in Switzerland.
What’s next on this trip?
Tomorrow morning we are heading to Lugano, a touristic city on a lake that is near the Swiss-Italian border. We have more family there that we will be visiting until Saturday, at which point we will head to Milan for a day of exploration before heading back to London on Sunday.
What is interesting about Lugano is that while the vast majority of Switzerland either speaks German or French, Lugano is in a canton (like a state) called Ticino, where the main language is Italian (due to it’s proximity to Italy). My great-grandparents and great-great grandparents were all born in the Lugano area, and this is my first time visiting, so I’m looking forward to seeing an area that is such an important part of my family history.
Till next time all!