Wednesday we had been told that on Friday, there would be a 24 hour nationwide air, rail, maritime, and local transportation strike in Italy. Needless to say, that left us with the question as to whether or not our flight would still happen, or even if we could even make it to the airport at all. After looking into it, we came to find that our flight would still take off, but the public transportation wouldn't run, so we ended up taking a taxi to the airport on Friday morning. While it cost a little extra, it really was nice to not have to stress about whether or not we would catch our train or if the tram would run on schedule, etc. When we flew in over Switzerland, you could see the tops of the Alps peeking over the tops of the clouds. So amazing. I've never seen mountains that big. We landed and met Raphael at the airport. Since we flew into Geneva but Raphael and Barbara live in Fribourg (1 1/2 hour train ride away) we spent the majority of the day seeing Geneva. The first thing we did was grab lunch. I'll give you three guesses as to what kind of food we ate. Swiss? No. French? No. German? No. Ethiopian? YES. Makes sense, right? NO. But it was so wonderful! I had never had Ethiopian food before and I wasn't entirely sure about it, but it was amazing! The food was served on a large plate and put in the middle of all of us where we were sitting on couches and lounge chairs. The food was a mix of lamb, beef, and chicken with lots of sauces, poured over crepes....or at least crepe like things. There were also other crepe (like things) that you ripped up and used to eat the food off of the big dish. It was so good and was a wonderful experience.
The next morning we woke up and got ready for the day and had a wonderful Swiss breakfast of cheeses, breads, yogurt, eggs, and jam. And coffee. Of course coffee. The breakfast was so good and we talked for so long that we actually didn't leave Fribourg until just after noon! We took a train to Gruyere (yes as in the cheese) which is a tiny little mountain town with a precious town square, lots of shops, and a castle/museum. Everything was covered in snow from when it had fallen a few weeks before and it was just so beautiful! Plus the town square was all decorated for Christmas! We spent some time walking around the town square, the shops and the castle grounds. Since we spent a fair amount of time in Gruyere and hiking a bit to and from it, after we finished there, we just headed back to Fribourg for the night. On our way back to the apartment, we stopped to watch a well known Christmas parade that happens in Fribourg. It was fun to see, but it was definitely different from any Christmas parade in the states! Santa sat on a donkey and threw bread into the crowd. Totally normal. That night we had a wonderful dinner of cheese fondue! I had never had fondue before (shocking, I know) and it was even better to have it for the first time in Switzerland! We spent a lot of time after dinner just sitting by the fire and talking.
I can't believe I have so little time left here in Rome. While there are certainly things I'm looking forward to about being home, I'm don't really want to leave Europe. Hopefully I'll have even more stories to tell about the coming 11 days, and I'm so happy that those 11 days will all be spent here in Rome.