Surprise! A two day road trip.

surprise road trip to Switzerland

Elmer surprised me with a two day road trip to …. 


Elmer:  “I have a surprise for you this weekend.”
Me (Nicole) : “I know!” – giggling
Elmer: “What ?!”

Well, for a few days I had the feeling Elmer was up to something.

He insisted I didn’t make any appointments those few days. And he “casually” asked, while doing the dishes, if I always had an ID or passport on me … So it wasn’t that hard to figure out he was up to something – although he claims it because of I’m a Psychologist I can read his mind. Yeah right 🙂 !  I had no clue what exactly the surprise would be.

On the morning of he finally says I have to pack my carry-on for a two day getaway.

– “Where are we going to?!” I cheer while jumping up and down on the bed.
– “Haha,  you will see!” Elmer replies.
– “Arrrgh….So what kind of clothes?” This should give me a clue.
– “For freezing and tropical weather” he smiles.
– “Damn!”
– “Your thermal underwear and bikini” he adds, clearly enjoying himself.

Did he emphasize thermal underwear???


Once everything is packed we hit the road in my little Honda. A buzz of energy races through my veins; I can hardly sit down in my seat.

We’re approaching a strategic road junction. If we go left we are heading in the direction of the truck. If we turn right, we go to the airport.

– “And what do you think, left or right?” Elmer asks, aware I’m paying attention.

–  “I don’t know. I had to take my passport with, so the airport? But you also brought our pillows and blanket along, so that would mean the truck.”

Elmer grins mischievous.  At the absolute last second he turns right – airport.

 – “Which city will it be? Barcelona maybe?” I squeal out of excitement.


However, when we approach the airport Elmer doesn’t take the airport exit.

What? Wait! Is he taking the other route to the truck?

– “You cheeky bastard!” 🙂

– “Funny to see how your gears are turning in overdrive” Elmer points out while glancing at me. It seems to be very noticeable how I’m racking my brain to figure out what he is up to.

But no, we are not heading to the truck. I’m totally lost. He is driving without navigation and I have no clue where is taking me.


Every few minutes I look at the clock. Time moves slowly when you have to wait for a surprise and Elmer is clearly amused by my impatience.

I try to distract myself by focussing on the beauty of my surroundings. When we pass “Schwarzwald” (Black Forest, Germany), the storm clouds in front of us slowly disappear. We might be in luck and see some sunshine the next few days.


“Maybe we are staying overnight in a castle?” Elmer teases.

Too late! I spot more and more Swiss number plates.


– “Switzerland!!! We are going to visit Matthias!” I shout excitedly.

Between the ages of 9 and 13 Elmer lived in Switzerland. I knew he wanted to visit his childhood friend again, who was still living in the same area where he grew up. But Elmer is not confirming my hunch. I will have to wait!

Note: Switzerland is not part of the EU, so we first have to pass border controls.  However, no passports or ID-cards are checked. We “only” have to pay for the road vignette (40€) – which is good for the entire year.

It is only when Matthias opens the front door that Elmer confirms, with a smile from ear to ear, my –admittedly very late– guess.  I have never been to Switzerland so it will be all new impressions for me.

Panorama from Swiss Alps


What I discovered in Switzerland:

1)   80km/hr speed limit is not an exception on the Swiss highways.

2)  Everywhere you can still admire the old swiss architecture. (So watch out when you are driving your truck in the narrow streets)

3)   Swiss German is gibberish for me, but very easy for Elmer. (The other 3 national languages are: [Swiss] French, [Swiss] Italian and Romansh)

4)   We were lucky to see,  even from far away,  the Alps and the Jura in all its glory. We were told that such clear skies are only to be seen 10 – 15 days a year (in that area?).

5)   Food and alcohol is expensive in Switzerland. For 1 dl of Pinot Noir I had to put 4.5 Swiss Franks down.

6)   Raclette is absolutely yummy. And of course we had to make a stop at the cheese store (“Käserei”) before heading back.

7)   On the Swiss highways Tesla owners can turn on their autopilot. So strange to see a car switch lanes and turn curves on its own. Just freaky.  But it did make us dream of a zero-emission, all electric expedition truck; wouldn’t that be cool?!


Overall, we had a great time in Switzerland and will return one day for a longer visit.

Nicole & Elmer with the Swiss Alps in the background


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