Friday, September 17, 2010


My latest adventure begins in Switzerland. I have never been to this country before, and it is the one that I have the closest family connections to- which is why I have started journey here… and accompanied by my older brother and 79 year old Grandma. A desire to connect with our roots in a curiosity for my family history, this has brought us to Giswil. A small village nestled somewhere in between Lucern, and Interlakken. Farmland for those in sync with the slower, simpler pace of life. Half of the town shares the last name of Abacherli- which I also share through the branches of my family tree. The single commercial grocery store offers cheese made by local farmers, hand knitted wool socks from a neighboring home, and milk from the dairy which you can hear the bells from as you exit the store. This is the village that my great grandmother, at 19 years old stood proudly on the soil and made the dedication to herself to board a ship and go start life in a foreign country- America.

My German-speaking Swiss grandmother has held our hands in making transactions and interactions with locals fluid and easy. While we have held her hands down narrow European stairways, and up steep mountain trails to witness the glory of this spectacular landscape. One that she has not seen for almost 20 years, and one that she assumed she would never see again.

A trip up Fronalpschtok via train, ski lift and by foot on clear and cool September day, we followed signs for “Apkase”- Alp Cheese. A round woman with rosy cheeks and rubber boots on her feet, greeted us at her front door. Then escorted to a space bellow her house where she makes and stores the cheese from her cows. 7 francs for a half a pound of beautiful summer-milk Alp cheese. I walked my wedge of Swiss-bliss from the hands of the farmer, through the moist pasture, past the cows that created it, and down to the bottom of the mountain. I was so happy that my whole body was zinging for hours to come.

16 days of strong cheeses, cold cuts in the sunshine, Post-hike Alp mac n cheese (with applesauce), plum Kuchen, Apple kuchen, warm Lebkuchen, weak beer, strong schnapps, and the best tasting milk and butter I have ever had. 2 days left here, and then on to the next….. How do you say “DETOX” in Spanish??