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Dick and Carol in Switzerland

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Dick from Singapore, 1.10.2002

Our first taste of Hospitality Club in action certainly leaves us hungry for more.

We are: Dick, an American living in Singapore for many years, and my wife Carol, a nurse. A last-minute company meeting in Paris caused us to cancel our well-planned vacation in India, and we rapidly arranged an "ad hoc" vacation in Europe. We both enjoy meeting local people who can give us a 'feel' for the area, and we're very flexible on lodging and food.

Thus, a reference to Hospitality Club from Veit in another hospitality newsgroup looked like it catered to just our kind of people! We contacted a member in Switzerland, based partly on her profile, and partly on a very nice comment in the profile from a previous guest. Our E-mail was replied to with a "please come visit". That fit beautifully into our schedule -- between visiting friends in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany, and other friends in Lyons.

I don't know if we just made a lucky choice, or if ALL Hospitality Club members are gracious, interesting, and well-traveled. But we could not have had a better hostess than Maryse-A. Perret. Within an hour of arriving, we were taken off on a walking tour of La Choux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the original center of Swiss watch-making. Maryse seems to know every detail of the history, and of the current goings-on. We were treated to visit to an old church, now the "atelier" of a fascinating painter. And watching people bring the mushrooms that they collected in the forest to a center for identifying the poisonous ones is not something one sees in Singapore !

Her tip to see the "Musee des Horologies" was an excellent suggestion. Anything you have ever wanted to know about time-keeping -- from church clocks to atomic clocks -- is explained and displayed in a beautiful, modern museum. Maryse's home is a museum in its own right. Over 300 years old, it was originally the town granary -- thus the name "Le Grimier". One day would not suffice for all of the fascinating sights, and we quickly took up her offer to stay for another day!

It wasn't all walking and museums. Perhaps the most interesting time was spent with Maryse -- talking about her growing up in that town, her work with the world-wide AFS organization, and reading her voluminous guest book.

The weather was signaling the Fall season, with a cool drizzle much of the time. But the warmth of the experience chased away the chill easily. It was with reluctance that we continued our journey - now a day behind in schedule, but weeks ahead in experience. It would be lovely to be able to return the favor to her here in Singapore !

Dick & Carol

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