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.