August 30, 2010

"Le Château".

My sister would probably disagree with amusement, but in my opinion; she indeed lives in a real Château.
But let me start at the beginning.

As I have mentioned many times in the past; I am a nervous flier. Actually, I have been a non flier for the past six years. The reasons to my phobia are too illogical and too uninteresting to discuss here, but they are nevertheless very real to me. Over time though, I slowly began entertaining the thought of boarding a plane again and recently decided to try to conquer my fear of flying.

Thus, a few weeks ago I found myself at an airport, a place that used to haunt my dreams. After consuming a few drinks that helped me to loose a bit of that control I so indefinitely crave, I boarded (and survived) two flights that took me to Switzerland to see my sister and her family. I did almost crushed the hand of my companion at starts and landings, but eventually I made it through the flights. And what is even more amazing, I might consider to fly again.

My younger sister met and married a French-Swiss gentleman and today they reside in his hometown by Lake Geneva, or Lac Léman, as it is correctly called. The family, including three children, live in a tranquil Château, which used to house a line of family of a distant relative to my brother in law. My sister and her husband consider it only a big house, but to me it looks like a Château indeed, complete with towers, attic and maybe even a haunted cellar.

It is in any case a beautiful mansion, set in a park like garden with stunning views of the French Alps, surrounded by wine yards and meadows. Our room was situated on the top floor with breathtaking outlook across the lake over the mountains and the famous town of Évian, whose lights flickered reflecting in the water in the evenings. Every morning as I woke up to the sound of water fountain and cow bells (belonging to cows that would graze on the nearby meadows), I had to pinch myself to make sure I was indeed still not dreaming.

My sister, without a doubt, lives in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. I enjoyed every second being in her company and that of her family. When we all sat at the dinner table I felt happiness to the extend I can not describe in words, as I was surrounded by people that mean so much to me. All in a beautiful setting, with a sensation of peace and security.

There is nothing stronger than a family bond. I have never appreciated my entire family more than I do now, when I get to see them once a year at the best. Still, not even the distance - geographical or in time - can erase the bond of blood, that is so very palpable when we are apart. And even more when we are together.


Blogaire said...

I have never been to Switzerland Zuzana but it seems to be really beautiful and hopefully I will get there some day - fear of flying notwithstanding! You see I also have this phobia and although I fly a lot because I have a home in Espana, every flight is an extremely scary experience. I especially hate taking off and landing and I have to have a window seat to be able to look out to see what is happening(as if I could do anything anyway if there was a problem). But although I am resigned to the fact that my fear will never go away I will still fly in the future, so I think you can live with this fear Zuzana and conquer it to an extent by not letting it stop you from seeing loved ones who are far away or wonderful places in the world which are waiting to be explored. Of course it will always help if a mysterious Irishman is sitting beside you - holding someone's hand is definitely half the cure!
Enjoy your week my friend.;)

A Bit of the Blarney said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've not lived near my family for 40 years. And visiting yearly is a time I treasure! Now even my children live at distances that allow us to visit some only once a year! Such a wonderful post! Cathy

Nessa said...

Your sister does love in a very beautiful place. Congratulations for beating up your fear. Your desire to see your family has helped a lot.

tony said...

What A Beautiful Home!
I fly a fair bit, but Fear Of Flying is fairly logical.(heavy metal in the air! I still dont understand how this works?)
Its the landing I dont like........I never believe its going to stop on the runway! Plus !(now i think about it!) That bit where the plane approaches landing.It suddenly seems to stop in midair!!!!Arrgghhhh............
Hey-Hoy! Anyway, Good For You ! A Journey is always worth the effort whan you have Family at the end of it.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Zuzana! First let me congratulate you on your flight! BRAVO! Please DO it again!

Your sister's home is truly BEAUTIFUL beyond words and an idyllic setting for enjoyment! I enjoyed every single photograph!

Family...such a wonderful blessing.


Elizabeth said...

Congratulations, you did fly to Switzerland and consider to fly again. A 'new' world is gonna be open to you again. Enjoy your new found strenght, I am proud of you.

Keith said...

Your sis lives in such a stunning place.

Glad to see you're back. I missed you. Hope you had a wonderful time.

Take care. Have a fantastic week.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you, Zuzana! Such a beautiful place, spent with those you love. I cannot imagine a more perfect vacation!

Kath said...

A chateau! What fun for Halloween parties :D I am glad you overcame your fear of flying, well done!
It sounds like you have a wonderful time. I am feeling rather like you, as since we moved, there is a 3.5 hour drive between our family and ourselves. Not as far as a plane journey tho.Beautiful photos as ever.

Brian Miller said...

oh it looks and sounds like a wonderful place...those are not bad sounds to be waking up to either...glad you over came the fear so you could enjoy this, then share it with us...smiles.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Bravo for facing your fear. Statistically, flying is safer than driving, but I still resort to mind games to calm myself during a bumpy ride. For instance, I think,"Well, this isn't much worse than a bumpy dirt road..." Your sister's chateau is breath taking.

Claus said...

First, congrats on fighting your fear!!! Good for you. Not many of us are that brave.
Lovely and gorgeous house! Postcard perfect I should say, and movie-like for my eyes. It must be wonderful year round in regards to weather and seasons.
So glad you had a great family time Zuzana. Those are important memories and precious happy moments that fulfill your heart and soul during the "alone" times.
Have a wonderful week ahead!

PS how's the birch tree? I was thinking about it as September is practically upon us. Any changes on it already? :-)

S. Susan Deborah said...

Your sister lives in a dream, if I may say that. And to be part of the dream, you conquered your fear of flying. Bravo! Zuzana, fear is just a construct of the mind. I am just the opposite of you. I love flying!!! Your eye for colour and life is lovely. Ask me why? We all get treated to the wonderful sights and vibrancy of the landscape.

Joy always dear Zuzana,

sprinkles said...

Congrats to you for overcoming a fear of flying to visit your family! I'm really proud of you because I know how difficult that must've been for you. Although I'm sure that it was made infinitly easier having the Irishman there for support. :)

Your sister's home is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Zuzana, congratulations for facing your flying phobia head on! I'm so proud of you! Now you can come and visit all your blogging buddies in Australia! :P

Château is an apt word for your sister's abode, I think. What a stunning place! Thanks so much for sharing those beautiful images with us!

Regina said...

Wow such beautiful dream mansion.
And I'm happy and proud that you overcame the phobia.
You are a winner my friend.

Rajesh said...

I am glad you have overcome fear of flying to some extent. Your sis definitely stays in a mansion and what an location for the house.

Rebecca said...

How beautiful!- not only the chateau but that you and your wonderful Irishman had the chance to be with those you love and have some quality time together.

This post warms my heart!

Donna said...

Your sister's house is gorgeous! I can only imagine what it must be like to live there. Cow bells in the morning....ahhhhhh. You must have had a lovely time, Zuzana. Glad you're back.


Bossy Betty said...

Ah, a sister's love it stronger than a phobia! Beautiful description and pictures! So glad you took this trip!

steviewren said...

I'm so glad you were able to conquer your fear to the extent that you were able to go see your sister. I applaud you for the fact that you are willing to consider flying in the future too. Yea You!!!!! You have so much fun family time to look forward to now.

Your sister's home is so something out of The Sound of Music. I love all of the colors, the mellow sun, the green earth and the blue skies. Just lovely.

I know the beauty of the surrounding countryside because I was fortunate enough to spend a few days on Lac Leman in 2000. We stayed in Montreux and drove up to Gruyere one day, so we got to see the lake as well as some of the Alps. SOoooooooo Pretty!

Hilary said...

I'm so glad for you that you took flight (so to speak) from your phobia. Of course it had to have helped to have that wonderful, strong hand to hold.

Your sister sure does have a beautiful place to live. Wonderful post, Z.

SandyCarlson said...

I'm not much for flying, either. I have always had a good relationship with gravity. Not a problem! I admire your courage. And you sure did have a good time once you got there! Beautiful place.

Reading Tea Leaves said...

I will stop by again tomorrow and have a good read of your post Zuzana. It deserves my full attention!!


Paul C said...

This is storybook wonderful. The setting and home is breathtaking.

Holly said...

Wow!! It looks like something out of a Jane Austin movie. I can't believe that they actually live there. What a wonderful adventure to have with your Irishman.

I have to agree with you about the strength of a family bond. Especially when you live so far away from them.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

What a lovely place and so glad you enjoyed your visit there! I share your fear of flying, and it is only because I want to see more of the world that I brave it all!
Yes, family bonds are stronger than anything else on earth-
So glad you are back!

Mimi said...

Hi Zuzana, "feel the fear and do it anyway" -isn't that it? Congrats!
we all have our phobias, and the motivation of seeing your family got you over the hurdle.
What you describe, in words and photos, is beautiful. Waking to the sound of cow bells must have made you glad you took the flight. And i'm glad you did too!

United Studies said...

Congratulations on overcoming your fear of flying! I have been flying since I was 3 months old, and absolutely love it. And now Emma loves it as much as I do.

But I have to admit, I always get a little nervous flying over the ocean...I do have nightmares of crashing into the water.

And WOW...your sister lives in the most gorgeous house! That is my live in a large estate somewhere in Europe overlooking tranquility. She got quite lucky there meeting her husband. Would she ever want visitors from the US?

Zuzana said...

Blogaire, Cathy, Nessa, tony, Jill, Elizabeth, Keith, Zuzu, Kath, Brian, Richard, Claudia, Susan, sprinkles, Tony, Regina, Rajesh, Rebecca, Donna, Betty, Stevie, Hilary, Sandy, Jeanne, Paul, Holly, C or V, Mimi and Jacki, thank you all for your lovely comments. Glad that I could share with you some of the picturesque surroundings of my sisters home.

Your kind words are definitely appreciated by her as well this time around.;)


Maja Miusow said...

Ur sister's house looks amazing. I was always so curious about Switzerland, hopefully one day I will get there. think U r so right-having Ur family far away- helps to appreciate each other, and in a strange way-but really brings people closer. x

Reading Tea Leaves said...

I have returned for a more leisurely read Zuzana!

Switzerland looks absolutely gorgeous - I have never been - but I intend to now after this and Steviewren's recent post.

I'm so glad you managed to put your fear of flying to one side - it was very brave of you but with the Irishman by your side nothing is impossible - right?:-)

Your sister's home does indeed look like a chateau - the grounds are just wonderful, as captured in your photos. I love the one where you are walking through the vineyards.

Off to catch up with more of your adventures!


Gal Friday said...

I can only try to imagine what it must have felt like to be a guest at your sister's "chateau"! Such a beautiful place she lives in and around...lucky her, and lucky YOU!

I know so well the same anxiety about flying and I also SQUEEZE the hand of either my husband or daughter when taking off or landing(hate the landing part!), and it has been quite a few years since I have flown(seven years). Like you, though, as much as I dislike the actual flying in a jet part, the "getting there" part is what makes me ultimately brave enough to fly.