A Trip to Masein, SW

Andreas (Andy) Juon from California sent us an article and pictures from his trip to Switzerland along with a very generous contribution to help with the costs of publishing and research.  Many, many thanks, Andy!


Last September, early in the morning, I took the train from Bern to Thusis through Zurich and Chur.  The weather was good.  With no plan and a small backpack, I started walking up the hill to Masein.  My roots were calling me.

It was hunting season.  After a long walk, my dinner was fresh deer meat and Swiss beer.  It tasted great as I meditated on the mountains where my ancestors probably also hunted deer.  The waiter directed me to Schloss Tagstein for a room.  It was an old castle which is a youth hostel.  I was the only guest.

From there I telephoned Rita Juon.  After work she showed me her house, which she is restoring.  It was built by Philip Juon (1790-1826).  He had two sons Johann (1817-1889) and Simon (1814-1864).  Simon, my Great Great Grandfather, immigrated to Russia where he worked as pastry cook.  My Grandfather, Edward (1874-1959), escaped the Russian Revolution and came back to Switzerland with my Dad.  My Dad immigrated to San Francisco.  Rita’s Great Great Grandfather, Johann, stayed in Masein.

I hiked up the “Hoch Buel” high above Masein.  Meditating on the view, it almost seemed as if I was back in time.  The “Buranglage Hohen Ratien” is an ancient monastery on the other side of the valley on the edge of a 2000 ft. cliff.  Inside the monastery I wondered if any of my ancestors ever prayed there.

The next morning, I said goodbye to Rita.  It was a pleasure meeting her, seeing her house and having wonderful conversations about our ancestors.  Then I took the Glacier Express to Zermatt and back to Bern.—Andreas Juon


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