S: Switzerland, July 2012
BC: DEPARTED | SWITZERLAND | 23 JULY 2012
1: Switzerland | SWITZERLAND | ARRIVED JUNE 29, 2012 | Hi Everyone, We made it! We are here!! It is gorgeous but not at all what I expected. Where are all the mountains? The place we are staying is nice and the family is so generous and running around to make sure we are comfortable. Lynn picked us up from the airport and then she rode the train home and we took her car because there wasn't enough room for all of us:(. We were greeted by her in-laws when we got to the house.. we had beaten Lynn home from the airport. We didn't know they would be here or what they looked like. We were glad she(the grandma) waved us down at the house because we had no idea which one was theirs. We have yet to meet the man of the house or their little daughter but we can imagine what they are like looking at all of their stuff. The couple is about our age. He is a Science teacher and Cam thinks they have a lot in common even though they've never officially/properly met. He's a gadgets guy.. he's wired some kind of system to the pepper grinder so that you can just press a button and it'll do all the grinding for you:). I'm trying to decide if all the toys are old school around here or if it's just this families taste. There is kind of a mix of old school antique type toys. Some Taiwanese decorations mixed with I don't even know how to describe. They are creative and have made a lot of their toys too.. like a cardboard house and car that lights up and they have put together a playset area in the toy room complete with hammick and treehouse type thingy and tire swing(inside). Bernhard has all of his indoor plants hooked up to some sort of cool watering system. I thought we had made the biggest mistake of our lives coming here while in-flight but I think after I've slept some I'll feel a lot better about things. We left at 4 in the morning yesterday and didn't get here until 9ishA today. Greyson didn't cry he just was not comfortable and slept very little and the boys didn't sleep. We are all wasted! We got here and napped for a bit, then went to the grocery store. Switzerland is heavily influenced by France, Italy and Germany. I see a lot of the German influence. Seems like German is the common language. Thank goodness for Cam's HS German! It was tough to grocery shop and pricey. Gas is somewhere around $7/gallon!.. so we can stop complaining now. I think they mostly bike or use public transit. It's pretty quiet. There is a tractor out back drying some grass every hour or 2. Looks like a family business. Saw a teenage son working the field earlier, then the dad and just saw the dad and a young boy ride by. I wonder if they will keep it up throughout the night. We fixed up a delicious salad with bread and cheese. I bathed the boys and then rocked Greyson in the swing on the patio and we could hear church bells ringing. It's an awesome sight! If my eyes weren't so sleep deprived I would have been teary eyed over mom not being here but I am so glad you didn't have to go through that flight!!! So so glad!!!!! There is a small herb garden and then a big grass field and then a forest on a soft hill just out the back window. We will go explore that tomorrow. They have a tiny kiddy pool Cole will need to try. Cam wants to go to some sort of tower look out. Sounds like I can get pictures then. I must sleep now.. Erin
2: We talked a lot about Grandpa Felix today as we drove and looked for his house. His family, his jobs, his hobbies. We talked about how young he was when his dad died and the boys were trying to figure out how he could have kids when he died at 7 and we tried to explain that it was his dad who died when Grandpa Felix was just a boy. Cole then asked, "Did Indians kill your grandpa, Dad?" We just started reading Indian in the Cupboard. I think I need to explain the 1st chapter better to Cole! I don't ever think he's paying attention but he obviously caught the part about the little teeney fierce toy Indian stabbing Omri in the finger. Gorgeous storm last night with a hard rain, thunder and lightning. You would think we would be used to that but we very rarely if ever get thunder and lightning in Seattle. It was awesome. Cole is terrified of being struck by lightning and I'm pretty sure Mal is fulfilling his job of worrying him about it. Here's my food thoughts.. I need more chocolate samples BUT from my options so far I'm tasting nutella. They have a delicious honey and pistachio chocolate. Separate. The cheese and milk are fabulous!!!!!! Love the Sommer Ravioli at the market with garlic butter. Cole thinks lemon ice cream tastes like sticky rice. He must like it because he keeps ordering it. I'm seeing a lot of the Costco options for icecream. Their Straccia. icecream is way better though! Cam disagrees. Mal thinks the canned ravioli tastes like spaghettio's. He's not a big fan of either. He likes our ravioli better!Brauts on top of Santis were the best I've had. Bernhard says it's dog food:). We visited a crystal cave today. Mal was in heaven! The pictures won't do it justice. It was unbelievable. Found by a hunter in the 1600's. We will see a castle tomorrow and hopefully be able to visit a German town(Heidelberg) close by. More Later, Guten nacht, Erin
5: It is 3A but it sounds like it is the middle of the day at our house. All except Mal is awake. It is warm! We are trying to figure out how to get air without air-conditioning. There are no screens on the windows. We don't know how they get cool air AND keep the bugs out. I forgot to tell you about the deer in the backyard. When we 1st got here and the MIL and FIL were showing us around there was a deer in the backyard. I yelled deer and the father-in-law(grandpa) yelled rabbit at the same time. My 1st thought was that they have jack-a-lopes here and then I remembered there is no such thing. I hate to admit it but I didn't figure that one out 'til I was 1st married. The pictures all look so real! As I was falling asleep a couple hours ago I figured out that the FIL's English isn't as good as the rest of the families and was just a little confused with his words:). We are going to try and catch the sunrise at the "look-out" this morning since we are all up anyway. Oh, also, we can't figure out if their lunch meat is ready to eat or if we have to cook it. It looks pretty fresh/raw. The eggs and some of the milk were NOT refrigerated. Hope we don't die after breakfast! Wanting to write things down before I forget-- Before leaving the States Cole was getting really irritated I was spending so much time getting ready for the trip. I told him the night before that we got to go Switzerland the very next morning. In the tiniest voice I've ever heard from Cole he whispered, "I'm so proud". Cole fell asleep in the hammick last night and Mal fell asleep on the swing. In the middle of the night they collided and I guess Mal thought that was hilarious. He couldn't stop laughing. More later, Love, Erin
7: HEIDELBERG Famous castle on the Rhine River. Biggest wine cask in the world, like we care but that was a big deal to pretty much everyone else. Couple come from all over the world to marry here. They are just crazy about the successful arranged marriage that transpired.
8: RHEINFALL | Gruezi, I had forgotten about being stung by stinging nettle until Mal asked me about it the other day. When we went to explore the forest, in what I thought was the backyard, some stinging nettle stung me right on the ankle. I was shocked at how much that stuff burns and surprised when Cam said he's been "stung" many times. I have never experienced that before and I'm not really sure if I've ever even seen it in real life. It's kind of crazy though because just before we left the States I passed on an article on facebook about edible stinging nettle. I was looking for edible flowers or trying to identify some berries in my backyard when I ran across the article and couldn't believe it. Then again, yesterday, when we were at Rheinfall(Europe's largest waterfall) and castle there were fields of stinging nettle! Stinging nettle has been in my vocabulary a lot this past month for some reason. Since I was stung Malachi is pretty sure he has also been stung if anyone or anything touches him.
10: SAENTIS MT. | 9 JULY 2012 | Switzerland
11: I was telling Bernhard about the yummy Brauts we had on top of Saentis and he called them "dog food":).. we thought they were good. I guess they only eat out a few times a year for special occasions. Everything is so expensive.. tourist prices.
12: Ponte Dei Salti & | Bellizona
15: Gruyeres | Chateau Gruyeres At this point in our explorations Cam is still going strong with all of the amazing castles and I'm developing a deeper dis-like for them. I was having a hard time getting over a society worshiping their Kings and Queens and the Kings and Queens taking advantage of their status and building these huge castles they didn't have $$ for. It's not like they actually did anything for that $$ either. It's kind of fun to learn about a society through a castle but for me kind of sad and sickening as well.
17: The Swiss are known for their chocolate and cheese. We were only able to tour the Callier Chocolate Factory . Our favorite part was of course the sampling. Up to this point I had only really had a Nutella/hazelnut tasting chocolate. I was happy to get my hands on their pistachio choc. and honey choc. and Cam finally found a chocolate that was "too dark".
18: Trummelbachfalle A series of about 10 waterfalls within a cave..
20: Lion and Swans @ Lucerne, Hammetschwand Elevator
22: Labyrnthe Aventure
24: Zermatt: really pretty but don't park there! Aletsch Glacier, St. Bernard Pass, Bex Salt Mine and Chermignon