Fasten your Seatbelt, S’il Vous Plaît

Three days of rain and two more in the forecast have us Jersey Shore residents running for cover.

Looks like it’s time to take an armchair dreamcation to a time and place far from here until the sun shines again.

So please stow your baggage on the overhead compartment, and hop in. Today’s destination is Switzerland–the land of cheese, chocolate and breathtaking scenery.

I enjoyed each of those in abundance during my junior year of college (1987-1988), when I studied at the University of Fribourg through the American College Program sponsored by LaSalle-In-Europe.

Me at Interlaken...a long time ago.

The truth is, I didn’t so much study, as soak in the culture, and by soak in the culture, I mostly mean soak in the scenery, as well as the wine and beer. The Swiss, by the way, display rare genius in several important ways, don’t you think?

Here is a photo of a ritual soaking with old friends from LaSalle and Providence College, as well as Norway, Brazil, Germany and Switzerland. Together, we attended weekly meetings at Le Club des Etrangers (Translation: Foreigner’s Club), as well as almost-daily meetings at Café du Gothard.

Postcard of Fribourg

Fribourg is a beautiful place with a preserved medieval section on the Sarine River. Everyone in that section of town speaks German. In other words, while imbibing there, it is necessary to order, ein bier. Beyond that, at the top of a massive cobblestone hill is the newer section of town, where everyone speaks French, and it is necessary to order une biere.

postcard of Fribourg

So, as you can see, I am now practically trilingual, when it comes to getting a drink.

Our beer of choice was Cardinal, which is produced in a small brewery in town. And not to be Debbie the Downer, but unfortunately, it was reported today, that Cardinal is slated to close its doors next year after over 200 years of brewing.


Honestly, I got a pang in my heart when I heard about it, and I thought about all the great people and memories that I associate with that place and that beer.

And I wondered if I might get back there for one more bier, or even a biere before the closure. And I fantasized about what a Fribourg Reunion might look like. I haven’t seen or heard from these folks in so long.

Nonetheless, I am brushing up on my French and German. Un vin and ein wein are on the top of the vocabulary list so if a return trip ever happens, I’ll have a good back-up plan to toast that moment of friendship so long ago.

A final toast to Cardinal and 'our moment of friendship'

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