Thanks to our fearless leader, David Tait, we returned to Neuchâtel for our fourth reunion there: our 50th, just 2 years later than planned. We agreed that our bumper car days were behind us so we decided to go 1 week prior to the Fête des Vendanges. As is our tradition, we began with a fondue dinner on Thursday night. Dave reserved La Brasserie du Cercle in Pl. Pury. The staff prepared and served 7 pots of fondue to our group of 23 and it was good to the last crunchy cheese bite! Our last reunion was 7 years ago in Quebec, so it was wonderful to see old friends again, as well as meet new additions to our NJC family: Laurence Thomson, Chris Love, Jürgen Meisel and Fernand. Kudos to Kathy Love for coming despite a broken foot and upcoming knee surgery!
I had volunteered to replace Brian Groos as the leader of the Friday morning “4.4 km Gorges de l’Areuse” hike with the stipulation that I’d be at the back of the pack. As expected, I was last and all the hikers took the wrong trails. Armand Conant’s iphone app led one group on a 7.7 km mountain hike. Leslie Taylor Smyth (with Peter) and I stayed beside the gorge, but on the wrong, very hilly, 6.3 km side. We made it to the train station at Champ-du-Moulin where we were joined by Dianne Smith Delva (with Nick) and Gail Forsyth who, after doing the mountain climb, found and did the gorge hike. This hike is highly recommended, but stay on the left side of the river!
Later that day, Head of School, Mr. Andrew Keleher, his family, staff, and many of the students welcomed us to the Salon where we enjoyed a lovely party. Andrew and I, with retired teacher, Larry Barnes, set up my slideshow in the media room for a trip down memory lane. Old pictures from our year and all of our reunions including three Toronto Galas made it very clear that we’ve come a long way! At the end of the party, we were treated to wonderful piano performances by David Goldbloom and Bob Love. We finished the day with a Swiss dinner at the Beaulac.
On Saturday morning, eight adventurous people went off to do the correct hike and they returned with rave reviews. Dave and Andrée Tait and I wandered through town enjoying the quieter, non-Fête streets. Dave went to Le Cardinal to confirm our dinner plans: Andrée and I shopped. The rest of our gang enjoyed their free time in this beautiful area.
Our final outing before dinner was a Lac Neuchâtel boat cruise which included the NJC students, staff families and pension owners. It was a gorgeous afternoon and everyone had a great time. Again, Andrew & Larissa were wonderful hosts.
We enjoyed our final dinner and Dave’s sendoff speech and then quite a few of us met at the Beaulac rooftop bar for final toasts and goodbye chats. Those we have lost too soon were remembered and those who just couldn’t make it this trip were dearly missed. Emotions ran high and continued throughout the following week via emails. NJC was a very special year and our long-lasting friendships are a testament to that.
One final note: thank you to the current NJC students for their help throughout the weekend. They are a great bunch and with them in it, the world could become a much kinder place.
Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12 high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.
A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap
Neuchâtel Junior College Crêt-Taconnet 4 2002 Neuchâtel, Switzerland 011.41.32.722.1860 (from North America)