Family vacation was always very important to us when I was a kid. After I started school, we always piled in the car during the summer holiday for a week to visit some (usually natural) attraction within driving distance. We were not a family of Disney Land goers (too far away to drive) or skiers (what mountains in the midwest?), or even beach bums (either ocean was too far away). However mom and dad always figured out a great plan of sights for us to go see. And since my brother and I spent so much time outside with dad going camping and hiking, we inevitably ended up seeing some natural wonder like the Smokey Mountains, the great lakes, and even that one trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Of course as my brother and I got older, we also wanted more action during vacation. So mom usually managed to find an amusement park along the way as well. But the goal of vacation was still aways some state or US park. Now I am not a naturalist, but I believe that this early exposure to and respect for the beauty that nature offers is one of the reasons why I am where I am today. It was my father showing me how wondrous nature could be that led me from living in the city for so long, to now moving to the country. And I couldn’t be happier.
In the spirit of these long-ago family vacations, Elise and I set to planning a memorable trip for mom and dad with a focus on the natural beauty that Switzerland has to offer. However after checking Rome off her list years back, I also knew that mom has always wanted to see Paris. So we had them fly in there where we met them and spent several days seeing the sights including a cruise on the Seine and the obligatory trip to the summit of the Eiffel Tower.
Just a short 3 hour TGV ride back to Basel and we switched gears and focused on our new country with an old-timer tram tour of Basel, visits to vineyards, viewing Roman ruins, and hiking through the countryside. And of course a trip through the Alps on the Bernina Express, the Unesco-listed world heritage railway, with panoramic views of Alpine wonder.
We had a fabulous time and it was great to be able to show my parents some amazing sights and see them in awe as I was so often as a kid. And none of it would have happened without Elise’s terrific planning and organization.