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3 generations of Sarina family visit their native Switzerland
Sarina Switzerland P1020294 LT
William Sarina, left, of Manteca, his grandson Nathan and son Dennis pose for a picture during a three week visit to Switzerland in a recent summertime trip. - photo by Photo Contributed

It was a dream of a lifetime for William Sarina to once again visit his Swiss roots with his son Dennis and grandson Nathan in the Alpine countryside of the Confederation of Helvetica or Switzerland as it is commonly called today.

William’s father and mother were born in the towns of Guibiasco and Carenain in the canton (county) of Ticino over 100 years ago. It was Sarina’s third trip to his homeland but the first to the picturesque area for his son and grandson. 

Their trip was in the planning for some six months as they coordinated to be able to touch base with as many relatives as possible. Their adventure started out flying from the San Francisco Bay Area to Phoenix and on to New York and Zurich. After their three week stay they returned via London to Los Angeles and back to the Bay Area.

While in Switzerland, the Sarinas drove more than 3,400 kilometers from their home base in Lenzerheide in the Alps. Lenzerheide is well known as a family recreation site for both summer and winter activities. A motor classic and professional tennis tournament is held there each year in June. The town is near Davos and Saint Moritz. The cities and towns visited were Zurich, Chur, Saint Moritz, the capital of Bern, Lausanne, Luzern, Basel, Ascona, Gubiasco, Carena and Locarno.

The trio also visited the Swiss National Museum, the Olympic Museum, the Lion of Luzern stone carving, the Munster and other famous and less famous churches in each city and town. The most impressive exhibit was seeing the four original pages from Albert Einstein’s laboratory notebook and a film which documented the experiment in which he determined that the speed of Light is a constant. Sarina also noted that the Alpenhorns were amazing for them to see and hear in a church courtyard.

Their conversations over wine and family dinners were very lively since many of the younger cousins speak English fluently. Switzerland has changed dramatically even in the past 10 years, Salina noted. So you can imagine what it was like to see the 200-year-old stone house his mother lived in before immigrating to the United States.

It is a beautiful and vibrant country with friendly people, he said. As a warning, tourists should be careful while driving as all the tunnels in the country are automatically monitored for speeding. The monitoring system doesn’t play favorites and issues speeding tickets through the mail or through car rental agencies for any infraction of the speed limit by six kilometers per hour.