The Lovely Karen and I were married in September of 1988. After a wild reception, we spent a night at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and hopped a Swissair Flight to Geneva for an alpine adventure.
My wedding gift from Karen was a Cannon EOS camera. It was a film camera (this was almost 20 years ago, kids) and I used up (I think) 14 rolls of 36-exposure film on that trip. I've scanned a few of them to flickr as part of my on-going scanned from the archives collection.
We took a train to Locarno, on Lake Maggiore, down by the Italian Border, where we stayed on our own for a few days before joining a hot-air balloon tour. I was counting on my high-school French lessons and the good will of the Swiss people to get by; most people in this part of Switzerland, however, spoke Italian.
It was a quiet few days. We struggled to overcome jet-lag and walked around looking at things like historic and lovely monasteries.
We then took a train through part of Italy and beneath a mountain to Bern, where we joined a small group led by an outfit known as The Bombard Society for a week of hot-air balloon flights and sight-seeing.
This was a wonderful way to see Switzerland. We were two of only four tourists on this trip. Our companions were two elderly singles and the three members of the Bombard staff, who were great tour leaders and cool people.
Each morning we drove to a launch site for a flight planned, based on the day's winds, to take us near fun things to see. We'd land, lunch, tour, have dinner and return to a luxury downtown Bern hotel for a deep sleep.
Our first flight ended with an exciting wind-driven drag across a meadow that left us sideways in the basket laughing and exhilarated while local kids raced across the field to see the excitement. We followed that with morning champaign.
One morning we planned to take off from this hill-side farm. The winds were too strong, so we visited with the farmer, his wife, and 20-something daughter. We got the sense that the tour leader was carrying on a flirtation with the daughter.
We got to see the inside of the farmhouse/barn to the right in this photo. At the center of the building is a massive brick wood-stove that heats the farmhouse on one side and a barn on the other. We breakfasted with the farmer and his workers, who tackled eggs by the half-dozen each. There was fresh-baked cake and coffee and laughter.
When we took off into a clear morning sky, the farmer's parents were waving to us from the windows of their house; the one on the left.
We got to see Bern from very high up. We visited ancient walled towns. We saw geology up close. We soared over beautiful scenery.
We generally ate at small, local restaurants. There was a different local beer in each. There were unique local foods. Our tour guides and staff ate with us and within a very short time we were a tight-knit, happy group.
One day, we traveled high into the mountains for coffee at an outdoor alpine cafe. I took a photo looking out over a deep green valley and high white mountains. It happened that, a few years later, our local theater group, the Possum Point Players, performed The Sound of Music. I took the part of Max. Karen was in the orchestra. I was thrilled to have this photo used on the program cover.
All in all, it was a perfect honeymoon and gave a strong start to a marriage that will turn twenty this fall. I'm indebted to my parents, who paid for the trip and to a now closed travel agency in Rehoboth, where I stumbled across a note about the Bombard Society in a Swissair catalog.
Now I just hope that the dollar's value improves against the Euro. I'd like to go back some day.