Friday, September 30, 2011

How to Fit Eight People in a Shoebox

     Jenny, Ty  and the boys finally arrived Wednesday afternoon.  Keith, the kids, and I took a one and a half hour train ride to Zurich, waited for the exhausted travelers, got back on the train with two very tired kids, 6 suitcases, a big stroller, and what seemed to be a ton of other stuff.  From the train station we had to walk with all the stuff to the tram stop, take an 11 minute tram ride, then walk 6 minutes to our flat.  Then up five flight of stairs with no lift.  By the time we got home I was exhausted, and I wasn't the one who had been traveling with two small kids across the world.  Poor Jen and Ty.

     Thursday, after Jen was up with James all night, we went to the bear pits, took a funicular to the top of the Gurten where we played and had lunch, toured downtown Bern, went on a tour of Einstein's house,  and took a bike ride (without the kids) along the Aare River and out to the Muribad pool.  After dinner we took  the tram back into town to listen to street musicians and have ice cream.  Needless to say, everyone was completely exhausted by the end of the day, so when James pretty much screamed from 10:00pm - 2:00am, it was not good.  My poor neighbors must want to kill me, my poor husband had to go to work today, poor Jen and Ty are headed to Lausanne, and poor me is baby-sitting all day. 
 And this is only day two.

Hunter has Arrived

Ryan and Mel have a new baby boy.  Hunter Taylor Moore was born Thursday, September 22 and he is beautiful.  Mel is doing great and they are both so happy. This is one of the biggest negatives of living out of the counrty - not being able to see your grandbabies.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Salzburg

    We left early Friday morning and took a train to Austria.  It took about six hours but was a beautiful ride.  We checked into our hotel and headed to Old Town.  Unbeknownst to us there was the largest Festival of the year going on with tons of booths, tons of entertainment, and tons of people.  We watched dancers, yodelers, and guys in lederhosen flip their dance partner upside down and slap each other's bums.  (See pictures)
We had dinner overlooking the beautiful city of Salzburg.  Keith had goulash and I had schnitzel.  The food was average, but the view was exceptional.



Bum slapping dancers.

Salzburg Castle - one of the biggest castles in Europe.

Salzburger Dom Cathedral



Mozart's Home
     Saturday, after a great breakfast, we took a train to Hallein where the Durrnberg Salt Mines are.  When we got to the town we thought we were lost as there were no signs and no people.  After walking around town for a bit, and almost giving up and going home, we found a taxi to drive us the few miles to the mine.  To start we took a cool ride into the mines sitting on a platform.  Then we walked through the mine with a tour guide and videos about the history of it all along the way. We then took these cool slides that are made of wood and you just stick your feet out and slide down.  Then we took a small barge type boat across what they referred to as the Salt Lake.  It was a cool place to go and I'm so glad we didn't give up and go home when we were lost in the town.  (Traveling can be tough, especially when you don't speak the language.)  After the salt mine tours we walked a mile or so up to a town that had the longest alpine slide in Austria.  It was one of the funnest things we have done so far.  The slide was on a track, was so long, and you could go so fast.  We went back to the festival that night which was one time too many - stood in line for 30 minutes for a bratwurst, found out I don't really like bratwurst.
    


Riding into the salt mines




The amazing view from the alpine slide


     Sunday we woke up early, had breakfast at McDonalds (so much cheaper in Austria)  then went to Maribell Gardens where we went on a bike tour of Salzburg and all the Sound of Music sights.  It was so fun to see all the places where one of my all time favorite movies was filmed.  We saw the two houses they used (different homes for the front and the back.), the graveyard they hid in, the trees they hung from, the gazebo they sang in, and so many other places.  The bike ride itself was really beautiful and definitely was the best way to see Salzburg.  Much better than getting on and off a bus.  
     After walking around some of the famous sights downtown, we took a boat down the Salzach River and back out to where we had just been on our bikes.  There we went to the Trick Fountains and took a tour of Hellbrunn Palace. (This was okay but I wish we had gone to Hitler's Eagles Nest or taken a hike in the town of Hallstatt by the lake - maybe next time.) That night we went back to the hotel, relaxed, had Chinese food in our room while watching german t.v., and swam.
     


A sculpture of Mozart meant to poke fun of what a big deal
Salzburg makes of Mozart  being  born and living in Salzburg.

The door they drove through in the movie when they performed at the festival.
The graveyard they hid in.

The real church the Von Trapp's were married in - different from the movie.



The back side of the house.
     Monday morning we just had enough time to have breakfast, 
swim some more, and head to the train.

Monday, September 19, 2011

settling in

     Last Saturday our Ward rented this place on Estavayer-le-Lac on the south-east bank of Lake Neuch├ątel where you water ski without a boat.  I was confused when I first heard about it, but it was really cool.  There are cranes in the lake that hold up a cable that goes around in a very large circle.  You put your skis on, stand on the doc, and wait as the rope pulls you in and around the circle.  If you fall, which most people did, you simply swim away from the middle and wait for the boat to come get you.  It was wild.  I didn't try it but Keith and the kids did and had a great time.  Afterwards we had lunch on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine.







Kelly, Erin, Elayna, Lara, Natasha, Nadine

A castle near the lake.

     Sunday was a very interesting experience.  After church, we went to a "Remembrance Ceremony" for 9-11 at the Ambassadors home.  It was a beautiful mansion behind the U S Embassy.  The Ambassador spoke, they had a few musical numbers, and my friends daughter read a poem.  Afterward they planted two trees on the grounds and everyone had the opportunity to be a part of planting them.

This picture I took from the Embassy website because I didn't have my camera.  I would have loved to have taken pictures of the Ambassador's mansion - it was amazing.

     It was a busy week as we continue to try and get settled in.  Monday I did some more shopping with my friend Monique who helped me navigate the grocery store and find some things I had not been able to on my own. We then met our husbands for dinner and had a wonderful evening. Tuesday I met with Kelly and Josh's new principal and we talked about classes they could begin taking in the afternoon in order to get to know the kids at the school they will attend in November.  Wednesday I waited for our Internet stuff to be  delivered (which it never came), got my haircut by my friend Lori who just moved here from Portland.  She then took me to a great grocery store where the prices are much lower than I'm used to.  After that we went to a book club with some really nice women, most  of whose husbands work for the Embassy, and all who had lived all over the world and were very interesting to talk to.  Thursday I was planning on going with the kids to their first after school classes, but ended up not getting the okay and will now wait til Tuesday.  I went to a few more used furniture stores because the company van was available and it was a chance to get a few more things.  Friday morning I had a great time at my friend Monique's house where she taught me to make polymer clay beads.  It was so much fun, the craft and the company.  That night we went to a  birthday party and dinner for some really great people that we met at church.  They are from Uruguay and have now lived in Switzerland for two years.  (Interesting side note - his parents were just called to be mission president in Peru.)


Monique took these pictures of our days work, they were so fun to make.
     Saturday we took a train to Interlaken and spent the day zipping through the trees.  We went to this really big outdoor park that had a ton of rope courses and zip lines. (the best part was we pretty much had the place to ourselves.)  As we were up 20 meters on a platform we heard this loud ruckus and looked over to see a parade of cows coming down the hill with huge cow bells and head pieces.  You don't see that everyday. We got to the zip lines at 12:30 and had to pull Josh off at 5:30 because they were closing.  Needless to say, we had a great time and Kelly and Josh had no fear standing 20 meters in the air on a small platform around a tree, hooking their zip line on the cable, and jumping off.








Picture taken from 20 meters up a tree.


     Our new flat - Ugh!  Jana and Elinor, I need you!



I found this great iron rack for 15 francs.
Keith and my room is the worst - I'm just using bedding we were given.
Josh's room


Kelly decorated her own room and really wanted this sliding table so she could have breakfast in bed.
She's still waiting for that to happen.
My funny hutch and mismatched chairs.