Road Trip 😃

Warning: long non-guitar-related post :open_mouth:

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my brothers Hans, Anders and I were travelling to Switzerland on a 40-year school reunion (happens every 10 years)
I collated some pics to remind me of the experience in my dementia years, and this seems as good a place to store them as any :wink:
Browse and skip at leisure…

Part I
We flew out to Zurich on Thursday, hired a car and headed off to Bern where our family lived for 4 years.
Roadside lunch à la carte


We spent two days at our old friend Nils’ house (centre) with BBQs…

… and pool time :sunglasses:

The river Aare more or less defines the capitol

It’s really fast flowing, and swimming in it is one of my favourite pastimes when conditions are right, but at less than 14 degrees, I was the only one without the need to demonstrate my manhood :rofl:

Visited the house we lived in half a century ago. Nothing has changed except the size of the trees :open_mouth:

(in contrast to our hair which has grown shorter over the years :laughing:)

Oh, yes, Rogier asked for nature pics… Yummy cherries!

Nils put us up in his son Lars’ bedroom. I was pleased to see he plays guitar and test drove his collection. Gibson, Schechter, Taylors… I started retuning them but stopped upon breaking a string on the very first one and stuck to a bit of strumming on the Taylor :smiley:

We set off on Sat morning to stay with our friend Thomas’ family in the hills overlooking lake Zurich. On the way we stopped off at the lake for lunch with an old friend and his daughter. It was good to catch up again after what must be over 20 years.

I’ve been off the sauce for a while now, but gave myself leave to indulge a bit on this trip (although not excessively). Tom keeps a very well-stocked cellar of aged single malt Scotch :smiley:

Sunday afternoon we went for a lovely walk up the hill behind his house will gorgeous views down to Zurich on the one side…

… and up the valley to where our old school in Einsiedeln (circled) lies on the other. The arrow is the Grosse Mythen, a long hike with a small restaurant on top and spectacular views :sunglasses:

Sunday afternoon we made the pilgrimage to the ol’ alma mater, run by the monks of the Benedictine abbey. They happened to be celebrating 100 years anniversary of the ‘Welttheater’, a huge production that many of the villagers partake in. And I thought they were just pleased to see me… :rofl:

Informal drinky-poos in the sunny courtyard, with folk drifting in from all over the country and then off to a meal in a nearby restaurant with chit-chat till late.

The following, morning we had the ‘formal’ part of the reunion with a school tour, classroom visits and Q&A session with the headmaster,
(I always forget how long and bare the corridors were…)

followed by a class photograph (yours truly at the back)

and the official lunch with the abbot in the ‘grand room’

After lunch the school orchestra traditionally plays an outdoor gig for visiting ‘survivors’. They must have included Black Sabbath and a bit of Deep Purple just for me :wink:
My friend Thomas’ daughter joined the band even though she finished a year ago (clarinet in the centre)

Part II

After five days of excessive opulence and luxurious living, it was time to rejoin the ‘real world’ :grimacing:
I packed my rucksack, bought a large salami and loaf of bread and got Tom to give me a lift to the nearest motorway service station, aiming to hitchhike to St. Fargeau, about 200 km south of Paris, where my li’l brother Conor is buried. Hitching used to be my favourite mode of travelling, as you get to meet ‘interesting’ people (who are often quite relaxed about having to listen to me :rofl:). It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone hitching and wondered whether it was still feasible :thinking:
In a nutshell: In Switzerland, no. In France, still ok-ish.


It took me over an hour and a half to get a lift with a Macedonian truck driver two thirds of the way to Basel,

… but got stranded (at a good hitching spot) for 2 1/2 hours on the motorway.

I decided to cut my losses and walked to the nearest town, catching a bus and train to Basel, where I crossed the border, to try my luck in France.
I had more success here and caught about four lifts west, to the autoroute entrance outside Belfort. Happy with the way things were going, I found a sheltered spot beside the motorway entrance and pitched my flimsy 15 yr old, £20, Tesco pop-up tent to settle down for the night :smiley:

At 4 am I woke to the distant roll of thunder :grimacing: From then on there were increasing flashes of lightning with the rumbling approaching. When the pitter patter started on the tent, I was initially hopeful, as it didn’t come straight through, but by morning, I was well and truly damp (although thankfully not soaking).
Do I continue hitching or cut my losses and head up to Paris on public transport? A quick look at the weather forecast (rain for the day and more thunderstorms at night) made my mind up for me.
Up to Mulhouse with the bus and train to Paris, where I ‘checked in’ with my nephew who’s living in my sister-in-law’s apartment in central Paris.
My batteries literally and metaphorically charged, I caught a train early the next morning to Briare (on the Loire) and then a few more lifts, hitching to St. Fargeau.

“You have arrived at your destination!” :smiley:
Conor and his wife Astrid’s house next door to her uncle’s castle:

First things first: off to the local graveyard to say hi to Conor.
There’s not enough music in graveyards, so I decided to join in the birdsong and pay homage in my own way… :rofl:

I next visited the 13th century local church where I had a ‘religious experience’ after Conor’s funeral, to see if God was still there. Well, I’m guessing he was, but must have had more important things to attend to than to stop by and shoot the breeze with me this time :wink:


I still had a couple of hours before my sister-in-law’s mum was arriving, so visited the castle, where we’ve visited so often.

I just realised that the great hall where they had their wedding reception…


lies right beside the chapel that we held his funeral in

I took a long walk around the grounds…

There’s never a guitar and amp when you need one :rofl:

Oh, and more flowers for Rogier :wink:

After a lovely meal and good night’s sleep at the in-laws’, I headed back to Paris on the train in time to catch a good evening’s entertainment as it was France’s Festival of Music day
Pan pipes…

& reggae

God, I love Paris :heartbeat:
A quick flight back home with a smile on my face and a sigh of relief…
Will I do it all again in 10 years time? :thinking: :laughing:

Now where’s my guitar?

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I still have to read more than this point, but I just wanted to say … Hasn’t James @Socio already pointed out to you that you cannot have a 40 year reunion with your class/school/year every 10 years?
Ps hi :wave::ant:

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That is that weird combination of trust and deadly fear when they look at you , will I be killed by my hitchhiker or life an other day :rofl: :joy:

I used to take a hitchhiker with me, and had done that a lot more if our Peugot107 had still room on the way to Italy or any other holiday… :sunglasses: now we have the car but don`t drive that much :grimacing:

absolute not enough…your tribute is beautiful :heart:

At a cemetery that I miss very much with a friend in Italy we used to play and sing a few times a month…

:joy: :cherries: :hibiscus: (see this as an poppy )

But I have seen beautiful nature around the people :sunglasses:

That was a fun read … greetings and now sit and read you but in pain :joy:

:people_hugging:

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Roger Waters ruined this for me…I hitchhiked across the USA in ‘89, landed in Nicaragua. Wouldn’t try again.

That looks like a fun trip! Good times and memories until the next 40th. If it is 10 years and still a 40th, do you lose any more hair?

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That was a great read Brian, so glad you had a good trip and returned home safe and sound (well you know…) Will catch the videos later as off out soon. Your views on hitching made me smile, something I would never have done in the UK post 1980 ! But it is certainly a common sight over here in France and I see some regulars that thumb it to the local town a few times a week, no doubt to do some shopping and then thumb their wait out.

Some great pics and memories for sure.

:sunglasses:

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A bit like this…

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Looks and sounds like a wonderful reunion / holiday / adventure, Brian. Photos and videos across the whole spectrum sure bring it to life. Definitely more treasures for your memory file.

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That was an enjoyable read. You should publish your diaries. I’m sure you’ve got many a tale to tell. I’m glad that you had a safe and memorable trip. While you were away, @roger_holland kept himself busy leaving breadcrumbs everywhere for you to find your way back.

Maybe that explains why the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt :thinking:

So you wouldn’t have given Brian a lift back then on your motorbike.

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That looked and sounded like an incredible trip. Great times with family, friends and complete strangers. The end of your trip in Paris had some fun music. I would have loved that! Nice tribute to your brother :heart:

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Hi Brian, that was an interesting read. It seems, you had a great, even a bit adventurous, time :smiley:. Meeting people is time so well spent. I hope you came back with a rucksack full of great memories :blush:.

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Great read Brian and the photo journalism style really brings your story to life. You’ve certainly had a bit of an adventure and I take my hat off to you for hitch-hiking in this day and age and sleeping in an old pop up tent!

But back to the school reunion part. Not any detail about your old school chums so would I be correct in thinking that as is often the case at these events it’s “no wonder I’ve not kept in touch with this lot”? :smiley:

Glad you had a fun time with your family and friends and were able to say “Hi” to your late brother which must have been quite a moving moment for you.

Welcome home and I now await the original song which I feel sure must follow this escapade.

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Look at you Brian!
Out on the Road…
A modern version of Jack Kerouac…
only older…
and in Europe instead of America…
hitching alone instead of with a group of hippy friends…
and fewer parties…
without a bordello… … … … …

OK…
maybe NOT so much like Jack Kerouac out On the Road… but still a COOL post!!! :rofl:
Thanks for sharing… this was a fun read!

Tod

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Sounds like you had an amazing trip Brian! and a great adventure. I’ve never been game to try hitchhiking. Maybe it’s a different experience in Australia :thinking: (loooong stretches of nothing)
It was fun to read too with all the pics and vids. Thanks for sharing it :grinning: :sunglasses:

I loved your tribute to Conor with January Man :heart:

I’d also love to get to Paris one day, especially being there on Fête de la Musique! It would have been an awesome way to end your trip. I reckon you’ll be having another adventure for your next 40th reunion. :grin:
Hope the reunion itself was ok too :slightly_smiling_face:

It must have been a relief to get home to your guitar though. I’m also looking forward to your original song to commemorate the trip :slightly_smiling_face: :sunflower:

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Aw, thanks @roger_holland :smiley:
Forgive me, if I avoid entering a syntax-war with you and the @Socio-path :wink:
You should have documented your graveyard gigs. Different is good :smiley:

@Jamolay Cheers Josh. Nicaragua… Wow! :open_mouth:
Roger Waters’ thumbing had the opposite effect on me. I suppose it was because he hitchhiked from Beirut back home. That was the same stretch that our family used to drive every summer, ten years later. Shared experiences and all that… :smiley:

@TheMadman_tobyjenner merci, mon ami :smiley:
Next time you pass one, just think: Hey, that could be someone just as cool as Brian!
…before flipping the bird and accelerating :rofl:

Ta @Mari63, indeed it was :smiley:
Life is all about relationships and personal interactions.

Cheers, James :smiley:

I admit, I did spend the odd precious bit of battery and roaming data to take a sneak peak at the forum and noticed a couple of tags, but knew I am not even going to attempt playing Community-Catch-Up. Mug’s game, that :rofl:

Vielen Dank, Nicole,

Genau so is’ es! :smiley:

Cheers, Gordon,
I came back feeling older and younger at the same time, if that makes any sense :laughing:

Hmm… That’s the way my brother, Hans sees things. In fact, he bailed out of the ‘official’ meal on the Monday, as he’d had enough of people he never was close to in the first place.
I guess my curiosity for what makes folk tick and their stories makes me go back for more :thinking: I was struck however, by a general lack of happiness, contentment, fulfillment, esp. in view of the standard of living of the middle classes in Switzerland.
There was a lot of talk about broken relationships/ depression/ wanting to retire and levels of tax etc.
On day 2, whilst strolling through the old city of Bern, Hans remarked: “I could actually see myself living here”
Later that evening, with the next door neighbour shouting from his balcony: “It’s after 10 pm. Quiet please!” he was reconsidering… :laughing:

Cheers Tod :smiley:

Ah yes… more ‘beaten’ than ‘beat’ :rofl:

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Oops, sorry Jasmine, missed you out :smiley:

Haha, I know. I spent hours down the Moonie Highway on the motorbike from Brisbane towards Cunnamulla without passing a single car :open_mouth:

Funny, I don’t feel the muse knocking at all. Maybe I just have to let it all percolate and process at its own pace. I need to get back to practicing. I still have a swiss german song project to complete and the song to learn for the grand final of the West Kirby song contest :rofl:

Oops, @pkboo3 too :open_mouth:
Aw thanks Pam, you’re very kind and much appreciated.
I think the January Man has become my ‘go to’ song for anyone who kicks the bucket :rofl:

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At that time I didn’t have a video or even a standard photo camera with me … in the end I had been coming there for almost 40 years until 2013/or 14 … Ooo so many moments with music that I now think of…if only there was an image…for example of myself in a band :disappointed:

Who knows what will come this year and certainly next year :sunglasses:

(Uhhh Hopefully not on graveyards because I don`t travel that long and hope not nesecary soon here :sweat_smile: )

Greetings

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You made me jealous…
But have fun! And bring more stories :slight_smile:

Cheers Alexey-
Part III in 10 years time :rofl:

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Hi Brian, had some calm minutes to read through your post, nice insight of your latest trip.

:100:% agree, heartwarming to see you sing for your brother! People should do that more often :heart:!

This made me thoughtful. I guess, when we come together with our ex school mates after a decade or two, everyone is still developping or building up, but after 40 years “is der Kas biss’n” will say everything is quite settled for most people, looking back makes us either satisfied or less satisfied. Lots of people seem to have lost a lot of esprit by that time. Maybe it’s the point we decide for ourselves wether we get old inside or go ahead and embrace the options life is willing to give us. Let the music play :blush:!

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Great road trip report, I fully enjoyed reading it!

+1 :smiley:

Funny, isn’t it? It’s interesting how hitchhiking has changed over time. In Germany during the 1980s, hitchhiking was quite common. By the 1990s, it had become less frequent, and from the 2000s onward, it’s rare to see anyone hitchhiking at all.

I fully understand that. My own experience at a reunion with former classmates after 35 years was surprisingly positive. I haven’t expected this at all, but I formed new friendships and connected with people I hadn’t been close to during our school days. Yet an other aspect, we had all grown and changed somehow, it felt really familiar being all together again, as if we had seen each other just yesterday. Both aspects were a real surprise to me.

I agree and think it’s all fine and also interesting to speaking about difficulties in life, but I also would prefer that conversations about material themes wouldn’t dominate the conversation. New gear topics excluded of course :guitar: :wink:

Wise words Andrea, I couldn’t agree more!

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