THIH, Swiss Edition: Why My Husband Shouldn’t Host Visitors

Back in 2010, our friends Andy and Michelle visited us all the way from Switzerland. They were traveling to several places in the US and their Connecticut stopover coincided with the end of my travels in China. I saw them for a day or two at the end of their visit, when I was so jet-lagged I fell asleep mid-sentence while Peter drove them to the airport.

Last week, we returned the visit by staying with Andy and Michelle in Switzerland. It was only then I found out exactly how Peter “entertained” them during their 2010 visit. You see, with me in China and unable to supervise the happenings in Casa THIH, Peter was in sole charge of activities. And so our friends’ visit consisted of

(1) visiting a seafood market to try deep-fried soft-shell crab sandwiches (which probably scarred our friends for life – Andy: “Yeah, they had … an interesting texture.”),
(2) putting them to work walking our dogs, including hyperactive Madeline who has a knack of knocking you over with twelve pounds of pure energy,
(3) and that’s it. Seriously.

Once you see what we did in Switzerland while enjoying Andy’s and Michelle’s hospitality, you’ll see why I was dismayed to learn the above. Instead of going into detail about our adventures and risk embarking on an unnecessarily extensive what-I-did-on-vacation monologue, I’ll show you picture highlights. Feel free to ask me for more information about any part.

Zurich, which was apparently so interesting that I only have pictures of candies and chocolate:


Edited to add: Wait! A few forgotten pictures of Zurich (nice job cleaning out your camera, Jessie):

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We partook of Sprüngli luxemburgerlis (mini macarons) and visited the Lindt factory, where we took pictures with their snazzy Smartcars.

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Peter wanted me to point out that the wool hat he is clutching in the above picture is lost somewhere on the streets of Zurich. He’s still heartbroken over it.

Maison Cailler factory tour in Broc, where the air smells of chocolate:

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One of the best things about the trip (you know, besides seeing our friends for the first time in years amongst the gorgeous landscapes of Switzerland) is that Andy is a talented photographer. That meant that every time I spent ten minutes photographing every possible angle and lighting situation, Andy was right there with me. Peter couldn’t grouse about me crawling along on my stomach to get “just one more shot” because then he would have to hurry his friend along as well. Andy, you should visit more often!

(Peter did, however, commiserate with Michelle.)

For example, a pretty awesome shot of Peter contemplating the history of chocolate at Cailler:

[Photo credit: Andrew R.]

And a rare shot of me in full photographer mode:

Why yes, I'm about to sprint off into the Swiss Alps.
Why yes, I AM about to sprint off into the Swiss Alps.

[Photo credit: Andrew R.]

I took my revenge later in Montreux:


I hope you’re a good loser, Andy, because I totally beat you at the “Ridiculous Poses Captured While Photographing Something Much Nicer” contest.

On the way to Montreux, which is in the southwest part of Switzerland, we stopped at Gruyères Castle as well as the factory where Gruyère cheese is made (i.e. my idea of perfection):


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Peter modeling in front of a 16th century sundial:


A jambon and (what else?) Gruyère sandwich:


[Photo credit: Andrew R.’s camera]

La Maison du Gruyère:


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I will take ALL of those cheese wheels, thanks.


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[Photo credit: Andrew R.]

Lutry, a tiny medieval town between Montreux and Lausanne:

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Lausanne cathedral:

[Photo credit: Andrew R.]

Château de Chillon, near Montreux:

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Golden Pass scenic train from Montreux to Lucerne:

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While staying with our friends, we were treated to homemade raclette, which involves melting cheese on foods like potatoes, garlic and bacon. Peter was a fan of this meal.

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And that, dear reader, is a ridiculously cursory look at our travels in Switzerland. We arrived back home late Friday, only to be greeted with eight inches of snow a few days later. And so it goes.

As you see from this tour, Andy and Michelle were thoughtful and gracious hosts during our trip. Peter’s “hospitality” from their 2010 trip doesn’t quite compare. And that’s why he will never host visitors by himself again.  I hope they will visit us soon so we can rectify this deficit and show them all Eastern Illinois has to offer HINT HINT.

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post, where I reveal the secret whirlwind trip we took in the middle of this adventure. Enjoy your day!



  1. Sounds like an amazing trip! I love all your photos. 🙂

  2. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Jess! I can’t believe you were in Switzerland almost the same time that I was in Switzerland! 😀 I was there two weekends ago! Just Zurich and Lucerne though. It was magnificent and the weather was amazing, we even dined al fresco in Lucerne!

    I am ashamed to say I didn’t try raclette (though scraping the melted cheese off the wheel and onto potatoes sounds like fun!) and that the very smell of the restaurants where fondue was served made me feel sick. No idea what kind of cheese they use for that but it smells disgusting… But I did have my fair share of chocolate, especially anything that had hazelnuts in it! Did you try the Laderach chocolaterie on Banhofstrasse?

    1. What?? Christa! We just missed each other by less than a week! Rotten luck 🙁 I’m glad you had a great time, though! The raclette cheese itself is not all that nice (I prefer Gruyère, myself), but the experience is fun. We didn’t get to Laderach, but we did go to Honold, which I think is also on Bahnhofstrasse and has excellent hazelnut chocolates 🙂 Did you go there?

      I hope our paths will cross again in real life!

  3. Yay for visiting Europe! My family used to have raclette for New Year’s, and special occasions. I love it!

  4. Switzerland is amazing. I’ve been twice and I think it’s one of the most beautiful countries. They have some great hiking!

    I can see your point about Peter not being allowed to host guests anymore, but in his defense I don’t think Connecticut is quite as interesting as Switzerland. Though I guess he could have taken them for some road trips to Boston or New York or something.

    1. I just like poking fun at Peter. In truth, he’s a thoughtful host, if not the most inventive 😉 And I agree: despite the charms of CT, CH is a bit more interesting!

  5. Your pictures look absolutely magical. There’s such a wonderful flavor of the eclectic fun that you all must have had during your visit to Europe. 🙂 Needless to say, your journey inspires others to want to travel!! 🙂 I’d like to try the raclette. That sounds super neat. 🙂

  6. Looks & sounds like a wonderful time! Plus, a country that’s known for its chocolate and cheese – what could be better! 🙂

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