The birthrighters made it to France with the help of a Swiss, Italian, Croatian, a few French, and the Swiss police.
Oh yes, we had another encounter with the authorities.
Fortunately for us, the Swiss police are much kinder than the German police. They spoke kindly, and even drove us many kilometers to a better hitching location. Unfortunately they didn’t share with us their abundance of sandwiches that I spotted tucked away in the front seat.
But we made it to Paul and Karan’s! Right to their doorstep, and it felt like home. For those of you who are unaware, Christy and I stayed with Paul and Karan on our first venture out of the States, we consider them to be our bonus family.
Since we arrived with daylight to spare (how novel!), Karan took us for a walk down at the lake in Pontcharra. Then, then it was time for pizza movie night. A wonderful, great, splendid tradition. One which I was glad to re-experience. So much so, that we had two pizza movie nights during our stay.
We went mountain climbing the following day. That’s right. We took a lift up the mountain, and then, well, not so much climbing as hiking. (We don’t have mountains in Florida, so you’ll have to forgive my flawed/nonexistent knowledge of mountain-related things.) Initially it was pretty easy, but once we chose to take the second path, then it got difficult. After some slipping and climbing and hiking, we felt pretty accomplished, but we weren’t at the top. Christy and Valerie decided they were satisfied with their achievement and decided to wait for us there (due mostly to inappropriate footwear, I think). This is the part where I point out that Paul and Karan are grandparents, and Karan has had multiple knee surgeries. So, needless to say, I was pretty impressed. We pressed on, and the terrain became more and more difficult, but finally, finally we were almost to the top!
It just appeared to be the top.
Actually, it was just hiding the next stretch of mountain. “Well, we made it this far”, Paul said. So we continued. It looked tough, but in fact was slightly easier. It wasn’t too long until we made it to the top.
But oh no, no.
Again, the mountain was merely hiding a whole other level of mountain. “I really wanted to make it to the top!”, said Karan. So we pressed on. It was even a bit easier now. “Wouldn’t it be funny,” I asked, “if it happened again?”
It was only a little bit funny.
But this time we were certain that it would be the last rise. And if not, we would just pretend. This climb was really easy. And indeed, it led to the very top. Our climb produced a really breathtaking (for beautiful and terrifying reasons) view. It was well worth the work. At the top we sat down and had lollipops for our reward. Well, I suppose the real reward was spending a long while admiring the spectacular forms, colors, and depths surrounding us. But the lollipops were cool too…
Getting back down was a different challenge. Karan managed mostly by sliding. I made my way in slow and careful steps. But we made it.
Before returning home we stopped to see their son Stephen and his wife Elodie. The last time I saw him, we were both about to start university. Between then and now, I attended university, moved three times, dropped out of university, spent several months in Spain and Ireland, and a slew of other things I consider important in my life. And he had graduated from university and gotten married. It definitely provoked a lot of thought. Time is eerie. Anyways, we all got ice cream, which is always a great decision.
The next day was sore and lazy, but still happily pleasant. We weren’t exactly thrilled to leave Paul and Karan’s. But fortunately for the rest of our trip, they too, were leaving.