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So far on this trip, it seems like we couldn’t plan things as well as they happen by accident. As it turned out, the day we arrived in Basel was the same day they won the Swiss Cup. So after finishing off our remaining absinthe and taking in a free organ and chorale Bach performance (in a church, drunk – I love Europe), we found ourselves drinking wine from the bottle in the middle of a few thousand people who were screaming in German, setting off fireworks, and, unless I’m mistaken, throwing up the occasional sieg-heil salute.

The rest of the night is a little hazy; fortunately, I hooked up with a couple of kindly Swiss guys who watched my backpack while I was wandering around drunk. One of them, Patrick, even put me up for the night. He mentioned that he would be touring the US later this year, and I offered to reciprocate. We shall see. It’s understandable, then, that I devoted a lot of Tuesday to hangover maintenance. Yuri and I narrowly missed each other in Zurich, and I killed a couple of hours (Yuri: “Time isn’t for killing, it’s for enjoying.”) at the Kunsthaus (art museum). I was there, primarily, to see one of my favorite paintings: Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue. Checking the directory for the collection, I saw that it was in a room with the likes of Warhol and Klee – my kind of guys. It turned out, though, that it had been replaced temporarily by some German’s self-aggrandizing room installation – plaster casts of himself in various poses, amateur footage of his friends hanging out projected on a dozen screens; utter dreck.

Tuesday night, though, was amazing. We met back up in Bern, and had dinner with Ronny’s parents. Think fruit and cheese by their backyard pond, with fields and mountains on the horizon. As the weather cooled off, we retreated inside for drinks and an amazingly wide-ranging, trilingual conversation. Libor lit up the grill, and returned brandishing something like 2 kg of bacon-wrapped pork loin – “Americans eat lots of meat, right?” Long story short, Ronny’s parents were incredible hosts, and I wished we never had to leave, but we needed to get an early start with Ronny in the morning, so with parting gifts of Swiss chocolates and desserts, we bid farewell to Switzerland, though probably not for the last time.

Swiss snack

Swiss snack

National champs!

National champs!

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