We've been so busy lately!! After we got back from our road trip, we went to a cooking class on Wednesday night together. The topic was making pasta by hand. I've now been to quite a few classes taught by this couple who run a company called Laughing Lemon. I really like their classes because they are fun and laid back, and they serve wine the whole time! We learned to make three kinds of pasta dough, and shape it into fettucini, orrechiette, and ravioli. They were served with a lemon cream sauce (my favorite), a puttanesca, and a goat cheese herb filling in tomato broth respectively. Yum. We took home some dough from the class that was left over and made ravioli at home for dinner one night. We came up with our own filling using the ingredients we had in the house, green onions, eggs, herbs, gorgonzola, and parmasean. (Since we're trying to deplete our pantry in advance of our move, it's like Iron Chef every night around here!)
The weather this weekend was schlecht. Even if you don't speak German, I'm sure you can guess that that doesn't sound too good. On Saturday morning, we went to a big flea market downtown at Bürkliplatz. Brian even bought a little metal sign for a Swiss mountain railway.
Then, we window shopped a bit and had lunch. Next order of business was finding a box to use to ship a few things home. You'd think this would be relatively easy...but, you'd be wrong. We started a few weeks ago by looking for places where we could buy boxes. No luck. So then we went to some stores and asked. One of the big grocery stores, Migros, sent us to another of its locations. Once there, they told us they had no boxes. We started to walk out, dejectedly, when we spotted on near the entrance holding shopping bags. We casually restocked the shopping bags for them and took the box once it was empty. Hah! It turns out that most stores in Switzerland use plastic crates instead of cardboard boxes for shipping and receiving inventory because it's more enviromentally friendly. It's a good policy, but it's bad for us when we need a moving box!
On Sunday, we had arranged to go hiking with some friends of ours, Carine and Roman. We know that they are pretty hard core outdoorspeople, and like to do something called ski mountaineering
, which is basically back country skiing where you do BOTH the ascent and descent on skis. Anyway, we thought that hiking with them these days would be okay because they were bringing their daughter, Elina, who just turned one-year-old this weekend. Howeer, when we showed up, we were informed that we were going to learn to rock climb! We figured that meant walking over boulders or something, but then when they got out the harnesses and rope and carabiners, we knew we were in for something a little more intense. Gear loaded, we drove and hour west and south to Solothurn, and the weather cleared as we drove. We hiked about three hundred meters off the road to a rock face, got some instruction from Roman, and it was time to climb!
Because I am smaller and lighter, it was a lot easier for me than for Brian, but he made it to the top nonetheless! It was really a lot of fun and always something I've wanted to try, so it was great to have the opportunity to do it with experts.
Once we were back on terra firma, we started on our hike, which was a steep ascent to a viewpoint that overlooked the Aare Valley. Carine explained to us that many of the trails in Switzerland are centuries old. They aren't officially maintained the way trails in the US are, so they either get used and stay in good shape, or they are reclaimed by nature.
After hiking, we decided to go and walk around the old town of Solothurn. The town still has much of its midieval wall around it, which gives it a nice character and effectively closes the center part of town to almost entirely pedestrian traffic.
To finish off a very satisfying day, we had dinner at a little Italian restaurant, run by a family from the Abruzzi region of Italy. The lasagne and canneloni were some of the best we've ever tasted!
On Monday, Brian had the day off for Whitmonday, or Pfingstmontag. This is somehow the flip side of Ascension Day. What does up, must come down. We decided to go to Lucern and take special boat trip on the lake where they serve lunch. On the way there, the train station was very crowded with soccer fans on their way to a soccer match of Zürich vs. somebody. Check out the time, and check out what they are drinking.
It wasn't the best possible weather for our excursion on the lake, but it was still pretty with the mountains covered in mist.
That night, we went on an ellicit mission I can't give the details to in case the Swiss authorities are monitoring our blog! We dressed Baxter in a raincoat as a diversionary tactic (and because it was raining). We arrived home safe, but wet, about two hours later, mission accomplished.
Last night, we went to dinner at Douwe and Tonja's house and had a great meal, followed by a German board game, at which we lost miserably. Then, at 12:45 am, we went to the main train station to see Star Wars. For a few weeks in May, they are playing movies in the station
, on what is certainly the biggest screen in the city. It was a fun experience and the movie was the best of the newer Star Wars episodes by far, although a few poorly written lines did detract from the overall experience. The movie was long, and there was an intermission (as there always is in Swiss movies), so we didn't get home until 4:00 am!