Meghan

The previous nights romp with the locals at the pub gave way to a solid morning of sleeping in. When we did eventually manage to crawl out of bed, we were invited to the downstairs neighbor’s (Ueli) patio for coffee, orange juice and butter croissants. Further evidence that Wattwil is filled with very friendly and welcoming people and friends of the Frohmader clan are treated with special care.

Our conversation with Ueli, Ursula (Ueli’s wife) and Paul covered many broad topics. The main takeaway is that the Swiss are very organized, have no qualms about letting their government ensure the citizens are well cared for and that taxes apply to nearly every aspect of life. But this is not looked down on, rather it is somewhat appreciated as it allows the Swiss to live nearly worriless lives. Or at least, that is the impression Paul left us. In describing our lack of taxation for the many things he is familiar with, he seems to think we do not know what we speak of. Very interesting conversation.

After a few minutes to freshen up and get a load of laundry going, we were rounded up for a luncheon at Paul’s house. His wife had just returned from their summer home in Luganno and his children, Pascale and Natalie, were home for the weekend. This luncheon ended up being quite the feast: chicken (quarters and breasts), famous St. Gallen bratwurst, tomato and cheese salad, fresh bread and fondue, salad and wine. Needless to say, I was not hungry for dinner today.

Paul took the rest of the afternoon to show us around Wattwil and the surrouding towns. The very winding roads climbing to various altitudes got to me by days end and so Ron and I ended our day on a relaxing note, watching a movie.

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Ron

The impression I am left with after a few days in Wattwil is that the Swiss are very personable. The moment we arrived at the apartment we were greeted by a man named Paul Sibold.

Paul, a self made man came across humble and hospitable. We later learned that he owns pretty much half the land all the buildings were situated on around us so when the bartender kept joking that Paul was “the real boss” it turns out he wasn’t lying.

Paul spoke good enough English and spent the night entertaining all of my questions about Switzerland as I had many. The Swiss are an interesting nation. Firstly, all men must serve in the military deep into their adult lives, every year. Every man owns an automatic riffle given to them by the government.
The Swiss are very familiar with “black” and “white” money as I am sure you know what that implies by the Swiss banking practices. The more Paul explained it to me the more I was like “yes, I am totally for this black and white money” and then realized that a lot of my income falls into this “black and white” world.

Paul has a solar farm in his back yard and sells his electricity back to the government. I was AMAZED to hear about this practice and have already been researching how to get solar panels installed in my home. This will be my summer project most definitely. (Meghan: “I think Ron has a Swiss crush”)

Paul explained how the transportation system works all over Switzerland and I must say it’s impressive. Everyone has a “pass” that allows for bus and train travel. Most people don’t have cars and get around quicker via rail. Both his kids come regularly to house to visit from other cities and easily make it to the house via rail and bus.

Anyway enough about my new found crushes on the Swiss, I have to go read up on Solar Panels now.