Sunday, January 3, 2010

Planet Hoth

To start the year 2010 off on a humorous note, I bring you the guest blog post from our good friend and most recent visitor, Marc-ie Marc Perlman. Happy New Year everyone!


Over the past nine or so days that I spent with Josh and Deb here in
Switzerland, I've been struggling to come up with something to blog
about. The Peterthals had already posted pictures of the Rudy's BBQ I
snuck into the country, her brother has posted some stupendous
pictures of the Matterhorn, and Deb was planning to write about the
amazing New Year's Eve experience we had in Herisau for
Silversterklausen.

So, instead of boring you with tales of how I'm a better skier (and
drinker) than Bode Miller, I thought I could tell you about how my
trip to Switzerland has actually just been a series of scenes from
Star Wars.

That's right folks, I came to Switzerland to visit Josh and Deb and
all I can talk about is Han Solo. Not the majestic Alps, the pounds of
wurst, or the gallons of beer. Just Star Wars geekery!

Since Deb already shared a picture of the BBQ with her faithful
readers, I'll just take the time to explain a little bit about the art
of international meat smuggling. If you're like Han Solo and happen to
have your own aircraft designed for smuggling, you can skip below --
but for anyone else who is coming to visit the Peterthals, pay
attention. They are going to expect illicit deliveries from now on.
You will not be able to pass off some Swiss Beaverwurst as Grade A
Jalapeno Sausage no matter how hard you try, so you better get used to
the fact that you, like Han Solo, are flying with illegal goods.


First up, pack your meat products carefully. Thanks to our friends Jay
and Alli (who, I believe, coined the term "Peterthals"), I had access
to a vacuum sealer, but some sturdy ziplock bags would probably work
too. If your perishables are actually perishable, freeze them. Freeze
them in carbonite if you've got to! The seven pounds of BBQ I brought
sat in my freezer, freshly vacuumed sealed, for over a week. You don't
want lukewarm squishy meat products and neither does Josh.

Next, stuff your goods to be smuggled into your luggage. The cargo bay
of an international flight isn't toasty, so your animal carcass isn't
going to thaw out. Also the TSA doesn't really care about what you
take out of the country; They are looking for things that'll blow up a
plane, not things that will piss off the folks on the other side of
the pond.

But here's the thing: the folks at the Zurich airport customs area
probably couldn't care if you had an entire suitcase filled with
heroin, much less meat. They (might) ask you how long you're staying
for and if you're here on vacation while stamping your passport. When
the kind woman stamped my passport, she didn't even look up and she
didn't even acknowledge my existence. On the way out of the baggage
claim, it's literally up to you if you choose to say "I have something
to declare in my bags" path or just walk out of the airport. Choose
your own adventure! There's no Jabba the Hutt checking up on you
'round these parts.

I chose to make like Han Solo and smuggle the meat.


The Han Solo parallels sadly didn't stop with becoming a smuggler (or
with having a vacation beard like a scruffy looking nerf herder).
Unlike Deb's brother Dave, my trip to the Matterhorn was not all blue
skies and skiing. In fact, it was no skiing and no blue skies. Were it
not for a brief glimpse of the Matterhorn from Zermatt, I wouldn't be
sure if Josh and Deb took me to the right place. (Truth be told, all
the souvenirs also featured the Matterhorn so that's probably an
indicator that Zermatt is somewhere near the Matterhorn.. right?)

Instead, the three of us somehow wound up on Hoth.

As Dave mentioned, the Igloo Bar wasn't open for his trip but that's
because the bar doesn't open for the season until Christmas. That
meant was Josh and Deb were easily cajoled into checking it out!

Sadly, we couldn't rent tauntauns for our trek across the snowy
expanse between us and aforementioned igloo. That's right, since I'm
actually not a huge skier, we rode a lift and a train half way up the
mountain to get to the bar. Except that the bar is actually halfway
between two stops, which meant the three of us hiked down a mountain.
Why they didn't put the bar about twelve feet from the train stop is
beyond me.

And, by that point, the mountain really did look like Hoth: grey
skies, blowing snow, and low lying clouds blended with an endless
expanse of snow to create the least interesting visuals known to
mankind. We couldn't even see the Igloo Bar, but after asking for
directions, off we went. Sadly, we don't follow directions too well.

Instead of immediately crossing over the ski trail as instructed, we
hiked down the edge of the ski trail. What kind of fools hike down a
ski run, in the Alps, to get to a bar? These fools.


After some slipping and sliding by Josh and Deb (shockingly the guy in
jeans and not snowpants didn't fall once) we made it to the "Igloo"
which was actually just a wooden bar standing in the middle of Hoth.
Next time someone advertises something as an "Igloo Bar", they better
get more than 50% of the description accurate. I'm not kidding folks,
there was a wooden bar with some folding lounge chairs and wooden
stump seats... in the middle of the ski slope. No igloos here on Hoth!

It didn't stop the three of us from enjoying some (literally) ice cold
beer, jagermeister, and hot gl├╝hwein. While other people skied up to
the bar, the three Americans sat on lounge chairs sipping our
beverages wondering when those huge Imperial AT-AT Walkers would come over the horizon.


Welcome to Hoth!

So my trip to see the Matterhorn was kind of a bust, but we did have
the story of hiking down a ski slope. And the rest of my time here was
great: Plenty of rosti, more than enough wurst to last a lifetime, a
great view of the Alps and a glacier in Saas Fee, and wonderful hosts.

Next time I visit though, I want to make like Han Solo and ride a
tauntaun. Or at least find out if Victorinox makes lightsabers.

1 comment:

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