10: Our Last Double-Digit Day

Schlossmuseum in Nidau

After today, we fall into the single-digit portion of our Countdown to Canada, leading me to go into a little bit of a souvenir panic. Our conundrum is this: We want to bring something back that is distinctly Swiss, however, this desire competes with our goal to pack as lightly as possible. We have found a pair of old wooden cross-country skis at a nearby second-hand shop. They were made in Nidau – a town just beyond the train tracks. The skis have been a subject of discussion since we saw them (I’ve written about them already – click here to see it), and we visit them often. At one point, they disappeared from the shop and Dave breathed a sigh of relief that the question had been resolved for us, but then we found them stuffed away in a corner.

There are multiple problems with shipping the skis, beginning with the requirement that if they go on the flight with us, they must be packed in a molded-shell ski case. Of course, molded ski cases are modern devices made for modern skis. These skis are ancient and very long. They are also very heavy, so mailing them could cost upwards of 500 Swiss Francs (CHF)*. Our frugal natures flinch at such an extravagance. And this potential 500 CHF tab is before Switzerland’s export office opens the package and sees we are trying to make off with some of Switzerland’s precious lumber, albeit very old lumber.

So we seesaw endlessly over the question. In the meantime, I’m going to visit the skis again and see if the shopkeeper speaks enough English to field a question about overseas shipping.

Note: I know 500 CHF sounds like an over-estimate, but when I looked into shipping back a double-shoebox-sized package of books, the estimate came in around 450 CHF. I cannot even breathe when I contemplate the cost for a pair of skis. 

Later in the day addendum: I visited our beloved cross-country skis for the last time this afternoon. After the usual awkward Anglo/German/French conversation, the shopkeeper said she did not provide shipping services. It’s buy it, take it and trust your luck to getting it home.  

For those who know something of my command of  German, the German portion of our conversation was me saying “gruetz” or something like that. It’s all I’ve got.

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2 thoughts on “10: Our Last Double-Digit Day

  1. We just finished packing our bags for Canada (and when I say we, I mean me.) And as I was trying to find just one more space for yet another trinket to bring home to a loved one I resolved, next time…no one is getting anything.

    • Lol – Love the “when I say we, I mean me” comment. We’re not taking any trinkets home in our luggage, although I confess that I’ve been eying those cheesy Swiss baseball caps for a while. I may weaken my resolve for lighter luggage. Have a safe trip, Jambuster. It was great meeting you – it made Switzerland that much friendlier. If you feel like stopping in for a cottage visit (2.5 hours east of Winnipeg, just north of Kenora), let us know. No pressure though – I read your blog post about trying to fit in a gazillion fam&friends in a two-week span.

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