My version inspired by Geoff’s creations.

Not your typical souvenir, but a gift I still treasure eight years later.

In October 2013, I travelled to Switzerland to visit my niece Nicola who was in the middle of a year-long Rotary exchange. Part of the time, I was fortunate to stay with friends Geoff and Tamara, who fortuitously lived a mere two hours by train from Nic.

If you’ve never been, Switzerland is magnificent. Historic sights, beautiful towns and villages, and lots of paths, trails, forests and mountains to explore. When I wasn’t visiting Nic or doing touristy things, I spent hours walking, and met a lot of friendly and welcoming locals along the way.

And then there was breakfast. Most mornings, we sat on the back patio, looking out at the vineyards and the mountains, while enjoying a bowl of muesli. The muesli itself was delicious, but the real star of the show was the combination of fruit Geoff piled on, along with a variety of nuts and seeds. Absolutely brilliant!

Prior to that trip, it had honestly never occurred to me to add fruit to any cereal. Just pour it from a box and add milk. So, this was quite the experience, and one I have not forgotten.

Eight years on, I’m still loading up my muesli – and oatmeal – with various combinations of banana, grapes, strawberries, apple, peach, pear, nectarine, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, hemp hearts, and anything else on hand. An excellent and tasty way to start the day.

Now, muesli might not sound like much of a souvenir, but what better way to remember those wonderful mornings enjoying breakfast with friends and family on a back patio while admiring the unforgettable scenery that is Switzerland!?

Thank you, Nic, Geoff and Tamara. You inadvertently gave me one of the greatest souvenirs ever, and for that I will be forever grateful.

TOP PHOTO: The spectacular view from Geoff and Tamara’s patio across the vineyards to the south end of the Jura, with a spur that curls to the south-east called The Vuache, and the great gap between them, carved by the Rhone, called l’Ecluse.