As we stepped out of the train onto the platform we looked around and soon saw a short, smiling blonde walking towards us in a leather jacket waiving a bottle of champagne. Our friend, and newly minted Stu Sells Oakville Tankard champion, Silvana Tirinzoni was there to meet us as we arrived in her town.
Being able to meet Silvana at a train station in her home town, in Switzerland, is a memory that makes this trip all the more extra special. It was part of the last small surprise I had in store for Marissa. Proposing to Marissa was the first big thing I was excited about, visiting with Silvana and Team Tirinzoni was probably the second.
It was raining in Mellingen (which is NorthWest of Zurich by 30 minutes) so of course I was wearing shorts. And my leather jacket. Classic. But no matter. We set off for adventure to Lenzburg Castle.
It had a dragon on the top. Any castle with a dragon, I'm in (any castle really).
We had a nice stroll through several parts of the castle...
The rainy Courtyard.
Confused at the parapet.
The life sized chess room (little known fact, that's a real historical castle room, no need to look it up).
The "downstairs" kitchen (those might have been real dead pigeons, not really sure).
Also with giant tankards for ale.
And finally the room to learn about the legend of the dragon.
We had a great tour and ended with a walk in the rain around the castle (FYI, Switzerland has plenty of rain so California, find a way to import some pronto).
Finally, the last surprise for this trip was about to happen. We got to crash a practice with Team Tirinzoni. Woo hoo! I knew this was something that Marissa has wanted to do for a while and thanks to the tremendous generosity of all the Tirinzoni girls: Silvana, Esther, Marlene and Manuela (thank you so much girls for making this happen) this became a reality.
First we had a terrible, terrible sweeping drill that I'm going to inflict on my team when we get back home. So tough but good practice. We followed this up with draw to the button drills, hit drills, and finally a 3 on 3 game. Marissa's team had the upper hand but we all had fun. I just hope we didn't ruin their mojo for the rest of the season.
We all gathered around the table after practice and cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate not only our engagement but also good friends (and good curling). This is why curling is the greatest sport. It's brought me so much and even athletes at the highest level are some of the nicest, down to earth, best people you will meet. I love this sport.
We ended the day with a home cooked, authentic Swiss meal, raclette (and Brawt's). It was great. A fine way to end a terrific day.
We only have one more full day in Switzerland but we're going to make the most of it. We are off to Berne to visit more curling friends.
Silvana is so generous to put us up at her place for the night. The girls are already plotting some sort of world domination.
Huge thanks again to Silvana and all of Team Tirinzoni. You've helped make this trip extra special. You're awesome. For the folks back at home who are on twitter, follow @teamtirinzoni. They're the best.