Aug 18

Nice People – Switzerland

We were on board the beautiful Golden Pass trains in Switzerland to get to Gstaad from Milan and everything was so beautiful, that i almost forgot about the pain in the ankle. Was reading a book by Guruji, He was saying “What is that which propels our mind towards the senses and the senses towards the objects of senses? … Why is a question asked in misery … Why me? What starts an enquiry. What? … What? … What? Your breath is moving in and out, What is it that makes it do that?!” … It was truly wonderful to ponder on this while looking at the gorgeous beauty all around me.

We reached Gstaad to Hotel Steigenberger. A very pretty little place. And sky high prices, and definite touches of racism.

Our kids didn’t know the “European way” of doing things – for example, they would hold the bread at the breakfast buffet with their hands (omigod!!) while cutting it. And they talked loudly while eating. The manager complained to us about this horrible behaviour. So I gave them a quick lecture about table manners and told them to observe other people and how they were eating, and learn how to fit in with keen observation. Turned out that many of the europeans were also holding the bread with their grubby hands. But that was ok. An Indian doing it was not …

Then there were the peanuts. They served a bowl of mixed nuts (mainly pea) when anyone ordered any drink in the lobby. Many people of course emptied the bowl into their pockets 🙂 … The manager had very strong exceptions to this. I really don’t know why. Clearly those peanuts had been touched by hands (thankfully they didn’t give spoons along with them), so they were “soiled” and by rights the hotel shouldn’t recycle them to other customers given their don’t touch the bread policy. And if they did recycle them, then why would they have any problems with people touching bread? 🙂

When some of our kids ordered pizza in the restaurant, and asked if they could be cut and bought to the table, a snooty type of a waiter replied, you have knives on the table. Use them! It was shocking that anyone could talk like that to any guests in their own hotel.

All this unpleasantness was offset by the pianist at the bar. A guy called Michel who played beautifully and sang pretty well too 🙂 … We became good friends and he invited me to play many times.

We found out later that Gstaad is one of the most expensive places in Switzerland. Why our travel agent would book us in such a place when she knew all were on a shoe string budget is quite beyond me – It was another one of the sucky things she did. BUT, the place was really amazing, and in town there was this fantastic Italian restaurant called the Rialto which welcomed our business and fed us the most delicious food. Their casata ice cream was sooooo yummy. And the manager there – he was the perfect host! The first time we went there in a small group, me, dinesh, shavina, her baby, devang, vishu and JD. So we said we wanted a table for 6 adults and a baby. He said nope. You want a table for a baby and 6 adults!

He said, that (the baby) was the future, then pointing to himself (he is 75 years old) said i am the past … and you are all the present. But that baby is the future! He went on to fuss all over Aadya. His parting shot was, we will make anything you want for the baby – not for you, but for the baby. Baby wanted to eat french fries … And so did vishu, so vishu chimes in saying the baby is very hungry 🙂 … First time i ever heard of the future feeding the present 🙂

We had dinner there 3 times during our 5 day stay in Gstaad – And what a welcome we always got when we compared it with the place we were staying at…

So cheers to Michel and the manager of Hotel Rialto in Gstaad for making our stay there so much more fun! 🙂

We had a trip to Jungfrau one of the tallest peaks in Europe and a boat ride on Lake Lucerne. Jungfrau was my idea. Lake Lucerne was the travel agents’.

Jungfrau was brilliant – everyone had loads of fun playing in the snow – except for me who mainly looked at the lovely snowscape for some time before pestering Dinesh to go one level down where we could wait it out for the others to come. Dinesh being Dinesh made not one word of protest and me, shavina, aadya and him went down to     where we had a superb long lunch with nice haagen daaz ice cream while we waited for the others to finish their frolick in the snow 🙂

I had originally asked that we stay somewhere in Interlaken, she put us in Gstaad. Then for a 2 hour boat ride, she makes everyone drive 6 hours back and forth to Lucerne when there was a perfectly good, huge lake 15 minutes from where we were which also had boats. And the boat ride was just the local ferry. I did mention that our travel agent sucked right? 🙂

From Switzerland, we went on to Paris… But that’s for next week…

Jai Gurudeva!



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