Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What a Week

Tuesday, May 22, Keith and I walked around Zurich for awhile, had dinner, then headed to the airport to pick up Syd and Tim.

Wednesday, we all spent the day walking around Bern and seeing the sites.  The kids didn't come because Josh had a soccer tournament and Kelly went to a water park with some friends.   It was a little rainy but Bern is beautiful rain or shine.   It cleared up in the evening and Kelly babysat while Tim, Syd, Keith and I took a  bike ride along the river.

Thursday, I babysat while Syd and Tim spent the day in Zermatt.  Their little boy Oliver has the sweetest disposition and we are all loving him.

Friday, Kelly hung out in the evening with some friends from school.  It was the first time she had plans with kids from school and it made her happy to be getting to know them better.  Syd and Tim spent the day in Murten and Avenches.

Saturday was incredible.  We had a lot of things planned so we headed out early.  We took a train to Grindelwald and then a cable car to the top of First, a mountain past the town of Grindelwald.  After enjoying the amazing views Kelly, Syd, and Tim took a zip line down the mountain and loved it.  We grabbed some cheese and bread and had a delicious lunch at a park in Grindelwald.  Next, we took a train to Lauterbrunnen and then a bus to Trummelbach Falls.  The waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen are extra big this time of year.  Kelly and I stayed with Oliver while the others toured the falls.  We then took another cable car to Gimmelwald which is a small undeveloped town with a population of 120.  After walking through the town we took a cable car to Mürren.  When we were walking through Mürren we happened upon  a group of people standing in the street playing their Alphorns.
Seriously!  Not a bad way to end the day.
Grindelwald and First

Sunday after church we packed a lunch, took a train to Interlaken, and then a two hour boat ride across Lake Thun.

Monday was a holiday so we had another day to travel together.  We had big plans to go to a museum and spend some time in Lucern.  We started off the day with a boat ride across Lake Lucern and then a cogwheel train up to the top of Mount Rigi.  It was so incredible we stayed longer than we planned and left no time for anything else.  I had heard of Mount Rigi but had never been there before.   It is my new favorite place in all of Switzerland.  We watched the hang gliders and then had lunch at the restaurant on top.
We got home late which would have meant cold cereal for dinner but Syd and Tim were so sweet and made us a delicious dinner despite the late hour.

On a clear day you can see Germany and France from Mount Rigi.

Today, Tuesday, Syd and Tim are off to Lausanne, Montreaux, and Chateau de Chillion.  I am babysitting Oliver and I'm happy to have a day to play catch up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The B & B is Officially Open

We have all been excited to have friends and family come stay with us again.  It has been a long time and even though it is crazy and crowded, it is also very fun.  My sister, Kristi, has a darling daughter whose husband just finished medical school and they and their 10 month old are here. A week after they leave, my friend Natalie and her two boys are coming, and a week after that my sister's four kids will be here for a couple of weeks.  We are looking forward to all the visitors.  To find out the goings on of these next two weeks you can check out my nieces blog.   http://sydandtim.blogspot.com/ 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Beatus-Hohlen and Harderbahn

Today we took a train to Thun and then a bus along the side of Lake Thun that I had never been to.  The beautiful bus ride alone was worth the trip.  We spent a few hours at the Beatus Caves.  The area was beautiful with waterfalls, a play area, a restaurant, and a great museum.  A tour guide took us through the caves and it was quite interesting. 

After the caves we took a bus to Interlaken.  It just happened that a parade was about to begin so we stopped and had lunch at a restaurant outside where we  could watch the parade go by.

After lunch we headed through the town to the Harderbahn Funicular.  It was a beautiful steep ride up the side of the mountain.  The views of Interlaken and the two lakes were amazing.  We hiked around for awhile and then headed home.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mulhouse, France

Saturday was spent in Mulhouse.  Mulhouse is a nice little town but no where near as magical as Colmar and Strasbourg.  Keith and Josh went to a cool museum and Kelly and I went shopping.  As I sat outside eating lunch with Kelly I was overcome with emotion.  I am so grateful for my incredible daughter but I realize more and more how amazing this last year has been.  The amount of time I have with my kids without all the outside distractions has been a huge blessing.  I feel sorry for Kelly at times and the isolation she has felt from being here.  But what an opportunity for growth for her individually and for us as friends.  I don't know how I am going to go home and share her again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Strasbourg, France

Friday we had breakfast in our hotel and then took a train from Mulhouse to Strasbourg.  Strasbourg is a fairly large town in the Alsace Region.  It was beautiful and we had a great day walking through the town and visiting all the interesting sites.

The River ILL

First Dominican, then Lutheran... Le Temple Neuf
Ooh la la
Notre Dame de Strasbourg (a very tall cathedral)
Chateau Strasbourg
Hungry for some Flaming Tarts
(Tartes Flambee - an Alsacian Pizza - Yumm!)
European Parliament
Protecting the Gelato
Locks on the Canal

High Gothic (466 ft)...
World's tallest building for more than 200 years
and Romanesque... Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Kammerzell House, 1427

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monkey Mountain and Colmar, France

Thursday was a holiday so we decided to take Friday off and make it a long weekend.  We left Wednesday afternoon and took a train to France.  We spent all five days in the Alsace Region of France and discovered some great little towns.  

Thursday morning we took a train to Sélestat and then a bus up a hill to Monkey Mountain.  Monkey Mountain is a huge nature preserve for Barbary Macaques, an endangered animal. There are monkeys all over the place and you just hang out and feed them popcorn.  Pretty much what I do every day.  The funniest thing was all the monkeys were quite friendly to all of us and would come up and grab the popcorn out of your hand. All of us, except Kelly.  A bunch of times when Kelly would offer a monkey her popcorn they would ignore her popcorn and stare at her with this funny look and their mouth in a circle.  It was so funny, but kind of scary.  We found out later that that was the face they made when they felt threatened.  Another time we were all sitting next to this monkey and feeding it and as soon as Kelly sat down it turned the opposite direction as if it were snubbing her.  What is it about Kelly that monkey's don't like?

Josh sat next to this monkey and it was happy to take his popcorn.
But the minute Kelly sat down next to the same monkey, the monkey turned its back to her.
This was one of the youngest monkeys born within the past few weeks.
Kelly and two cute little monkeys.
The thinker
A close cousin
Josh thought if he acted like a monkey people would start to feed him.

The afternoon and evening was spent in the town of Colmar.  The town felt like a street in a Disney movie.  They had the cutest shops, colorful cartoon like buildings, beautiful parks, and amazing cathedrals.

Lunch at the park.
The kids fighting as usual.
16th century houses on Old Schädelgasse (Skull Street).
The designer of the Statue of Liberty was born near here. 
This is how Josh looks every time after he eats a gelato.
St. Martin's Church
House of Heads, because of all the tiny heads sticking out of the casings.  
Old Customs House, 1480
Quartier des Tanneurs
Little Venice