March 15, 2012

Another Swiss Day trip.

First up, the Chateua de Chillon. We drove our way to Monterux and the Chateua de Chillon. The whole city was again charming and adorable, but not in traditional swiss way, but rather old French style way. It was funny how a short drive made things so different. The mountains and lake genevea and the archetcture made it another unforgettable site. The picture above is from google. For some reaon Jeff wouldnt pull the car over this time when I asked to take a picture. Perhaps he didn't like the idea of his wife outside the car on a one lane road winding around lakeside cliff?
We didn't know before our visit, but it is famous for gruesome reasons. The witch hunts of Europe started in this area in the 1400's before spreading all over the world. The
chateua seemed very authentic as in how you may have pictured ancient French
countryside. Monty Python lines kept popping into my head.
There were so many little rooms and pasageways. There was no guide, and without a map we could have easily gotten lost. We even went through a secret, dark passageway. Somehow we found ourselves at the very top of the chateau walking around old wooden walkways. It was a little spooky. A few times one of us would be reading the description cards outloud and would just stop as it approached information I am sure would be forever embedded in Kaylies imagination. It was a great chateua/castle to visit because of how much access they let you have to everything.
After we weren't sure what we were going to do on our way home. I had thought I had seen the temple as we drove through Bern so we decided to go and see it. After searching for almost an hour ( the TomTom totally failed us) we decided to call it quits. And as soon as we stopped looking for the temple we noticed that we were right by the Bear garden. It seemed like perfect place to get out and let the girls be out of the car for a minute.
How lucky we were to not have missed Bern. We were lucky too as we were going to drive away , the closest parking spot to the old town opened up and we slipped right in.Another adorable, incredible medevil city….cobblestone streets, old houses stacked side by side up and down, grand
cathedral, clocktowers.
We stopped and had dinner at a resturant near the river. It is abolutely springtime here and it is gorgeous. We had a spectactular view of the whole old town Bern. Audrey was cracking me up just eating. Picking up her noodles and being a bird. Blindly searching fro her straw with her mouth. Even just coloring her placemate while she waited, she was impressively naming all her colors.
We went and said good bye to the bears and then let the girl play in this little play area with bear statues. The city of Bern was started in the 1100's and was originally a village of hunters who hunted bears in the area. Every since then they have kept a few in a pit. Now they have a nicer home along the river, and what seems like a whole city that love them.
We even had a fortunate car ride home. Both girls napped almost the entire way and Audrey didn't loose her lunch. I think she must just be the car sick type. When Kaylie woke up she was talking German. First she said "Danke" and I asked her what that meant. She responded correctly "Dankashane, thank you". Then she continued to make up German words. She was totally making them up, but she has been hearing so much of it that she totally had the sounds down. We were cracking up at our three year olds impersonations.

March 12, 2012

I will say charming a thousand times

This is the city and castle of Gruyere set on the hill. It is not in the same city as Gruyere cheese. We made the silly mistake of thinking they were the same thing, but it turned out being a great thing. I didn't think that things here in Switzerland could get much more charming or adorable then I already knew them to be, but yet somehow they did.

Gruyere is a no car city so we parked at the bottom of the hill. Audrey insisted on climbing the hill all by herself.
Our first stop was the castle of Grueyre. Kaylie decided quickly that it was Sleeping beauty's castle. Do you notice a theme here? She turns ever castle we see into some princess's, but we will tell her she is 100% right if it means a more willing sight seer. The caslte itself was impressive to walk through.
And the views from the top were incredible.
And the little town was the quaintest thing we had ever seen. Cobblestone streets with a center fountin that were lined with old houses and resturants and at the end of it all an old church and the castle. Because we had been in Switzerland for almost two months now and had yet to try traditonal fondue we decided there wasn't a better time then this charming setting. Of course the girls had fun dipping the food, and we discovered a new favorite...raspberries with guyere cream and sugar.
As we walked down the street of this very tiny town, we thought we spotted our hotel. And sure enough (we checked the iphone) we had somehow booked a hotel in this little tiny adorable town.
When I had gone to reserve the room I had typed in Gruyere on the search and it only came up with two choices. I thought it has something to do with us wanting a triple room. Four people in two twin beds is just not something you want to do. But it turns out there were only two choices because there were only two hotels. We were thrilled that our confusion and led us to stay in this special place.
Our adorable hotel at night. We opened up the windows, the girls loved waving to all the people and we loved that we got to soak up the charm all night long. The next morning we came down for breakfast and the hotel girl had prepared a table for us with plastci cups and a highchair. The hotel only had 8 rooms and we loved the little personal touches. We sat there and ate a little breakfast looking out at the magnificent view and I told Kaylie that she should look becuase it is one of the most beautiful places she will every see in her whole life. "Mom, we have trees like that at home, the sky is just like that at home." She is right, but is really a sum of products type thing. She is not the easily impressed type. This Saturday was one of my favorite so far, and has me convinced that Switzerland is the most beautiful country in the world

March 09, 2012

The hills are alive....

I love this, so much it makes my heart hurt. We are just driving, and I say to Jeff. pull over right now. It is a farm in the middle of no where. But perfect for picture taking.

The most beautiful girls in the most beautiful world!

Can't get more Swiss than this....

Cheese and Chocolate. Isn't that what Switzerland is famous for. I would venture to day that I could probably only come up with a few more things Swiss before coming over here. There are many more things the Swiss do well, but really there is a reason that cheese and chocolate are on everyones minds. We had to do the touristy thing and tour the famous factory of each kind.
The Callier chocolate factory, the best chocolate in the world. I am addicted to the kind they make with honey bits in it. And if you see Callier chocolate anywhere in the world, you know that it is absolutely made in this building right here. It is kinda Charlie in the chocolate facotryish....train running through the factory, air smelling like chocolate, there is even an animated and semi-scary tour. No ompa lompa though.
At the end was a giant room with plates of evey kind of chocolate you could imagine. This was of coure a hit.
A token picture of the four of us all together. Dont' mind Tiny's face. She just wants to get back to the chocolate.
And then next to the cheese factory. Gruyere cheese. Also the only location in the world. The tour was funny, givin by a cow, and was mostly smelling things, but of course you got to see all the vats of cheese and such.
At the end, Kaylie told us that it was her favorite thing and when I aksed her why she said" becuase I didn't know that cheese came from milk!" So inquistive. Now whenever she is eating something she says we need to go see where it is made. It was barely intresting to us, but another hit with the youngest crowd.
And of course it is all set in the most beautiful countryside. Really this is what Switzerland should be famous for. I know this sounds like optimistic goo, but the sun is the brightest here, the sky the bluest and the mountains the most majestic.

March 08, 2012

Kaylie models at the zoological museum.

I feel like before I begin this post I need to preface all of these pictures by saying that Kaylie (nor I ) have ever watched an episode of Top Model or similar show. Ok, I may have watched an episode or two, but we are talking a whole other lifetime ago when I had time to waste on such things/aka before children occured. Maybe with all the thousands of pictures of her I have taken in her lifetime she just wanted to shake things up.
These photos are phone photos, so they are not great, but see what I mean. I have no idea where all these poses and pouty faces are coming from. I took the girls to the University of Zurich's zoological museum. The whole area reminded me of Salt Lake, the University, the teaching hospital and the zoo all up on the hill together. And the museum was filled to the brim with every animal you could thing of....
...and some you would not. That bear type thing is actually real. It said on the info next to it that it was constructed with the real prehistoric bones and then obviouly the fur and facial features were a palentologists renditon of what the animal looked like. I am sure in his time he was fierce, but I thought he was adorable. That blur in the second picture is Audrey running screaming away from the remains of a wolly mamoth.
The whole museum was free, only a five minute tram ride from our house, and so easy, it was one of my favorite me and the girls outings so far. Audreys favorite part was that a lot of the cases had a telephone that if you pressed the number of the animal, it made its sound. It was pretty awesome place for the 1 to 4 year old crowd.
Kaylie's favorites was the giraffe ( her favorite animal) and that for the majority of our time inside, I let her have the phone and used it to snap a picture of every animal she liked. There was plenty to choose from. I was really amazed. It was even better then a zoo because they had absolutley ever animal, and none were hiding or hard to see. Yes, they were stuffed dead, but the girls are barely old enough to notice. And there was little walking and it was warm.
This was the best part of the muesum for me. A huge map fo the earth with all the animals placed in their region. Can you spot the rhino in upstate new york? The exhibit was under glass so it is not like it had been moved, and it was the only randomly located animal. I am sure it was some ones idea of a joke, and I thought it was sure funny.


That is what Tiny shouts over and over agian if she sees any signs of swimming. I have to be very careful to make sure waterwings and swimsuits are put away out of sight or I will have a very dissapointed little girl on my hands. We thought Kaylie was a little water bug when she was little, having a pool in your backyard will do that to any toddler I am sure, but Audrey may rival her sister in water loving and toddler swimming skill.
Although Kaylie is still quite the swimmer. Lately she is being so brave. She asked me to take off her floaties yesterday while we were in the shallow end and was loving sinking to the bottom and then pushing herslef back to the top of the water. This is her patiently playing in the kiddie pool, untill I take her over to the big swimming pool. And that is her new (and only Swiss) friend Chloe. Although Chloe is not Swiss. Coincedently enough Chloe is half Heber girl, and her mom (an expat pro) has been kind enough to let us tag along with them to the pool every Wednesdays as well as advise me on all things a novice Swiss like me needs to know. It has been really wonderful for all of us, but especcially Kaylie who desperately misses her friends back home.
A favorite moment of mine caught on camera....I positioned the girls like this at the edge of the pool hoping to get a picture of both of them, but Audrey was only strong enough to hold on for a second. She started to drift away from the side and instantly went into floating mode. Love that she is learning. And, also instantly big sister Kaylie went right after her. There is not shot, because by then I had put the camera down and hoped in the pool, but picture Kaylie hugging onto her sister saying "I gottcha, don't worry" as they both drifted away the second before mom
grabbed them both.
These girlies are seriously the best in the world, and being thier momma is the best job in the world!