The shops here open at 8 in the morning and close at 7 at night. Last night before the shops closed I had a look around to find a wristlet watch which I had promised myself for a long time. The man attending to me noticed my Rotary badge and he asked me if I would like to meet the president of the Lucerne club. This happened to be the proprietor of the shop and he was very pleased to meet me, as a district conference of the Switzerland clubs was being held at the moment. He therefore invited me to their banquet the next night.
This was a most interesting experience. Although she was invited, Elizabeth preferred to go to bed, as she was very tired after the day up the mountain, so Rozie, Lois and I duly arrived at the Schweitzer Hotel. We were taken to the banquet hall, where over 5,000 people were in attendance, and were give three seats reserved for us at the president’s table and right opposite to him. They so seldom have visitors from New Zealand that they made a great fuss over us.
The banquet started with the usual moderation, followed by soup. So far, it was just like our own banquets, but the change was made at that moment. The President here rose and gave his address before the next course was served. Also, on account of the several nationalities represented, he spoke in four different languages – German, French, Italian and English. The last language was only used to speak about “The English visitors from New Zealand” and to give us a very hearty welcome. I afterwards heard a very good joke about this.
The two little daughters of the proprietor of the hotel were sweetly dressed to present some bouquets to the wives of some of the special representatives. They knew sufficient English apparently to know what was said about us and they immediately went out to their father and told him there were three SAVAGES from New Zealand present. The president of the club told me about this the next day.
To return to the dinner, after the president’s address we had another course and then we had another speech and afterwards another course, until the last course and the last speech were over and the time was exactly three minutes to eleven. We had started the banquet just before 8 o’clock and it had therefore taken three hours to get through. It was a very pleasant experience for us. Lois was sitting right beside the mediator and he could speak English quite well. Before he knew the full facts about Lois he asked her where her husband was.
After the banquet a party of peasants in native costume gave some fancy dancing and then the whole party started to jazz. I was too tired for dancing, but as I wanted to go for a trip the next day I went out when the dancing started and found a taxi driver who could speak English and engaged him to go to Interlaken next day.
At midnight we left quietly, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
As the next day was Sunday no trip had been arranged by Cooks and our taxi man arrived promptly at 8.30 to take us out for the day.
We had a wonderful drive through mountainous roads to Interlaken and then on to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. This is considered the best trip to take from Lucerne and we quite agreed.
We saw the famous Matterhorn and Jungfrau. Both were white with snow, in spite of the summer season. We had a picnic lunch at the Trummelbach Falls and then started on our return journey.
Our chauffeur was quite a character. He spoke four languages and was also an instructor in skiing. He brought his concertina with him and amused the party while I was away taking photos. by playing and yodling. The yodling was specially for the benefit of Rozie, but we all enjoyed it.
We got back to the hotel shortly after 6 o’clock and will ever remember the sights of the day.