Swiss Family Stender: Kids and Beer

Switzerland continues to be excellent. We walk everywhere, or take a train. Ferrari’s regularly wind up right past our balcony. The kids sing unintelligible tunes in French. And occasionally watch Netflix in German. What else do you need?


They continue to provide entertainment. Some examples:

  • When Maren wants to ride on my shoulders during an excursion, she claims it because her nose hurts.
  • The director of their school is a British woman named Becky. As such, Milan is now referring to Sarah as “mum”, tells me her snack was “brilliant” and refers to her pants as “ponts”.
  • Swiss etiquette suggests a formal approach to meeting new people. So when the kids say “BONJOUR!” to every stranger walking down the street, it seems to be quite startling.
  • Riding the train is great for saving the planet but terrible for when even 1 out of 3 children isn’t feeling it. Nothing better than dragging Maren up onto a crowded train at 8 am while she whines about her kitty cat that got left behind.
  • Milan ate a bowl of meatballs for breakfast. And yogurt with oatmeal. And toast. And fruit.
  • The Parent Interrogating is completely out of hand. Milan quizzes me on addition, while Hendrick jabbers about the Smurfs and Maren gesticulates wildly about cats with a mouth full of food – all at the same time. It goes like this:

“What’s 8+6? Smurfs don’t aren’t the dragon? My kitty is named Larry? What’s 1 and 2 in the shape of an H plus 14? The Smurf dragon is not the sky? My kitty cat is stinky.”

And so on. Somehow all statements require an answer from me. It feels like having a 20 pound medicine ball bounced off my face repeatedly, with no apparent end in sight. It’s literally 50/50 whether I laugh or cry.



I recently purchased a used bicycle to get to and fro. I do use it to get to the pool and it’ll come in handy to get over to jiu jitsu. But the truth is I needed a bike to obtain beer. The supermarkets mainly stock old style German lagers. The new craft beers coming out of Switzerland and Europe are either in the bigger cities or in a rumored craft beer distributor that sells direct to the public “just up the road” from downtown Vevey.


When I Google mapped the location, it came up as a 25 minute bike ride. What I failed to note was the elevation change between My Location and the destination. We live 1 block from the lake and are surrounded by hills and mountains. So, unless you are tracing the lake perimeter, everything is uphill. In my excitement to discover beer, this fact slipped my mind.


The bike I purchased runs like a top even though it’s likely over 10 years old. It used to be painted purple judging by the chipping black paint. And comes equipped with 3 speeds, 1 hand brake and 1 coaster brake. As a young boy, we had coaster brakes on a tiny bike with red tires. I recall leaving red skid marks on the neighbor’s white concrete sidewalk with much glee. So I naturally assumed coaster brakes, as an adult, would be neat. Wrong.


I left our apartment with a raincoat on and began pedaling. In short order, I was going uphill and then more steeply uphill until I realized that I would be going straight up until I found my destination. Determined not to stop until I arrived (because I was afraid I wouldn’t start again), I made it. Peeling my raincoat off and un-suctioning helmet from head, I walked into the store looking like a drowned rat.


Walking around, I decided I had better stuff my backpack to the gills so as to avoid making this trip too frequently. Mission accomplished, I headed out and began sliding down the wet mountainside as my quads threatened to seize from the unabated coaster brake pressure. All the while my overloaded backpack slapping back and forth, threatening to shatter the precious cargo and put me on the ground at the same time. When I got home, I wondered whether my sweat-soaked, leg-cramped, dehydrated state was worth it. Then I unloaded my backpack and realized it was, OH YES, it was.


Tiffany and Howard will be visiting us in short order so I’m sure there will be more stories to come!

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