Ahhhh Switzerland….I had no idea how much I missed it until we crossed the border and suddenly everything was so SWISS again. After the complete culture shock of moving from Canada to Switzerland five years ago, I thought the transition from French-speaking Switzerland to Paris would be so simple. It certainly was easier (speaking the language helps!), but I’m constantly amazed at how different the two places are. As much as I’m loving life in Paris, it was so special to back and enjoy a long weekend with family and friends!
Marc and I chose to come back for a couple reasons, the primary one being that we were overdue to see his family…he has a young nephew and nieces, and they are growing up WAY too fast! It was also the weekend of the Swiss Alpine Battle, which is a CrossFit competition that takes place in a mountain town called Villars. It’s organized by friends of ours, and we have worked at the event the past couple of years. We had a little less time to hang around this year so we didn’t volunteer, but we knew that the event would be a great opportunity to catch up with all our CrossFit friends.
The journey went really smoothly- the rental car company upgraded us to an Opel Zapira, which is a seriously ugly, family-sized car. I would never willingly own a car this hideous, but I am willing to admit that it was sooooo spacious and comfortable for our road trip- Murphy had enough space in the trunk to do a full yoga routine (which he did every 100km or so… he is a firm believer in getting his stretches in).
The drive took about six hours which felt LONG. I know, I know….I’ve become soft after living in Europe for so long; six hours is only about half the length of the drive between Calgary and Vancouver and I used to do that without blinking! We packed lunch and stopped only twice to let Murphy run a little and to get coffee. Most of the journey is on tolled motorway, which means there are rest stops every twenty kilometres or so, some only with restrooms and picnic areas, while others are fully equipped with restaurants, grocery shops, cafes, etc. The tolled motorway is annoying and expensive, but the rest stops do make life easier on the road- I’m a big fan!
We stayed with Marc’s older brother Sylvain, his wife Lorraine, and their three kids: Kyle, Ellie, and Charlotte. It was so great to see them all again and get caught up on what’s going on in their lives. Marc and I are genuinely terrible communicators. We are both very much ‘out of sight, out of mind’ people, and we haven’t made the effort we should have to stay in touch with his family. It’s been five months since I moved (six for Marc), so we had lots to catch up on! The kids are adorable, they love Murphy soooo much!!
We went to the Marché in Vevey on Saturday morning, which was wonderful- Marc and I used to go quite often, so it was a cool walk down memory lane. It was quite funny though, I always remember it as being super busy, but I guess living in Paris has shifted my perspective on crowds a little. Marc and I spent the whole time wondering where all the people were!
CrossFit was a huge part of our lives in Switzerland, and I was so excited to go to the Swiss Alpine Battle (SAB) this year and see all our friends. It’s such a cool competition: it takes place in Villars, which is a beautiful mountain town, and the venue is pretty small and intimate. There are always ‘super teams’ who come from all over the world, and you get a chance to meet/watch crazy athletes. This year we got to meet: Sam Briggs, Patrick Vellner, Lindy Barber, Jen Smith, Lukas Esslinger and Adrian Mundwiler. They are all such nice people- Pat Vellner even apologized to us for being sweaty after a workout….so Canadian!!
We also used this visit as a great opportunity to catch up with our old neighbourhood friends, Tony and Fiona, who kindly took Murphy while we went to the competition and then had us in for an epic curry night.
Next to the people, what I miss the most about Switzerland is the mountains. We didn’t have spectacular weather while there, but the scenery was still stunning- I sincerely believe this is the most beautiful place in the world. Murphy agreed, he was absolutely jumping for joy to be back!
All in all, the six days we were away flew by, packed full of fun with family and friends. It was completely wonderful, but we were still happy to get back in the car and head back to Paris…. head back home. Having multiple homes is such a strangle thing. I feel so divided sometimes: I am from Canada and proud to be Canadian, but I also consider Switzerland and Paris to be home….even though in both places I will always be an étrangere (a foreigner). It’s strange but I love it, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to live in so many amazing places.
Anyways, this has been a long one, so I’ll wrap it up here. Thanks for reading, and please follow my instagram if you want to see what I’m up to these days (@murphy_takes_paris)! In a week Marc and I will be heading to Amsterdam and meeting my parents there, so there are more travel stories to come!