Monday, September 26, 2011

Trip to Zurich--Visiting The Interlaken Region

Our next journey was to the Interlaken Region.  We began by driving from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen.    Our car ride was a couple of hours through absolutely incredible scenery.

Unfortunately, I couldn't capture the color of this lake--it was INCREDIBLE.  Believe me taking a picture from a moving car is not that easy ; )

We stopped at a grocery store and picked up some groceries so we could have a little picnic.  

We rode the cog train up from Lauterbrunnen to Kleinne Scheidegg which sits at about 2050 m.  I think BREATHTAKING would be the best word I could use. We had a little couple from Kent England on the train with us.  They were kind enough to keep inviting me over to their side of the train so I could get pictures out their window.   I had to laugh because when they asked me where I was from and I told them, Canada, they said, "Oh, then you must be very familiar with this kind of scenery."  I laughed--they obviously have never been to Winnipeg ; )

Some of the pictures from the train.

We got off the train had Kleine Scheidegg and hiked to Mannichen.

Here's where we stopped to have our picnic.   I would love to sit every day and have this as my view while I'm eating my lunch.

As we were hiking, we decided to have a "create your own statue" contest. I'm not quite sure who won--Here is Amanda's creations. I think she did a great job.

And Allan, of course, would not be outdone and worked very hard:

I just couldn't find quite the right rock to get started:

Wow--such incredible beauty.

I kept asking Amanda to tell me about the three mountains from left to right--the Eiger, the Monch, and the Jungfrau.  

Each group that Amanda has taken on these tours has had to stop and try to reenact their own version of "The Hills Are Alive"--well, you know ; )  Frankly, I think I kind of look like I'm trying to scare someone.  Amanda, on the other hand, has it down pat ; )

I think this will definitely have to go on our Christmas card/letter this year.  WHAT A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT.

We took the tram down to Wengen.  We found a lovely souvenier shop where I picked up a beautiful butter dish which will be a great reminder of this amazing trip.  We've been looking for something for Amanda's birthday--she found some placemats that she liked.   We then got back on the train down to Lauterbrunnen.

Allan and Amanda having some fun.

Allan trying to grab an alpine horn away from this poor guy ; )

One of the cool things that I loved about Switzerland was the fountains where you could fill your water bottles.  It was SO GREAT.  I have a few pictures of me filling my bottles at the different fountains, but this is by far my favorite.  Look at those mountains behind me ; )

We sat here and ate a Magnum ice cream bar--Amanda had been telling us all about them and we had to have one.  I told her I was pretty sure they had them at Safeway in Winnipeg.  (They did and we have had them and I think they are just as good as the ones in Switzerland ; )

Got back home and went to an Italian restaurant for dinner.  Had a big salad--thank goodness Amanda was with me or it would have been HUGE SALAD--probably big enough for all of us.

This was the day I think Allan and I went back to our "hotel" and said to one another--THIS WAS EVERYTHING WE HAD HOPED IT WOULD BE.  And the words of Nat King Cole's song kept going through my head, "And I think to myself, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD!!!"  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Memories

I will post more on my Switzerland trip, but just wanted to put this up today.

I have heard a few people talk about pinterest and I had to check it out.  I now have an invite and will have to start "pinning" ; )

I found this quote and LOVED IT: "Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory".  (Unfortunately, I saw it before I understood how it works, so I can't link back to the person's board where I saw it)

I love memories. I have some great ones (and a few not so great ones). Sometimes I worry that one day the memory will go--maybe that's why I'm so fanatical about pictures--hoping that will help bring back the memory.  It's funny when we were in Switzerland, every so often I would look at Amanda and my mind would be flooded with memories of her as a little girl.  I remember that day in September when we got the phone call that she was born.  We got in our car and left our little ones at home with the bigger ones and drove to Utah to meet our first little granddaughter.  When I held her, she had me--what a sweetie.  I knew it IMMEDIATELY.  It seems like just yesterday.  Here she is on the day of her blessing.

 There was a time when we lived fairly close to one another and we saw her quite often.  It was so great.

We have visited many times with our grandchildren.  In fact, in 2000 we brought several of them to Winnipeg to have time with them without their parents.  It was a blast.  I know our little Hannah (who was born that same year so obviously missed out on that trip) wants to come here to see us--I would love  to bring her here this summer after our reunion.   But our trip to Zurich was the first time we have visited with a grandchild alone--without parents or their siblings around.  AND I LOVED IT.

It has convinced me that I want to make more memories with my grandchildren--I'm afraid they won't remember the things we did through the years--things like this:

We've made some great memories--and I have loved each and every minute we have spent together.   I'm so looking to making more memories with these great kids.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Trip to Zurich--Chocolate, Cheese and Olympic Museum

We got up early on Wednesday morning--it felt very early.   Allan and Darren headed to Hertz to pick up our rental car.   

When Amanda sent us our itinerary, I was very excited to see that we were going to go to a chocolate factory--AND THE REAL DRAW, you could have all the free samples of chocolate you wanted at the end of the tour.  (I'm happy to report that I didn't eat so much that they had to ask me to leave ; )

Notice my yellow jacket, I packed it because I wanted to make sure the gang didn't lose me in the Alps somewhere.  Actually, it came in handy in the chocolate factory--I was in the "store" which was so big and full of SO MANY CHOICES that I think Allan and Amanda lost me for a moment ; )

The tour was a little cheesy but I was willing to do whatever to make sure I could get my free samples.  So many choices.  Of course I HAD TO TRY THEM ALL!!!!

You have to love Amanda's answer to their question:

In case you can't see it, she wrote ANY TIME!!!

From there we headed to the town of Gruyeres to go on a tour of the cheese factory.  I sure learned a lot about making cheese.  Gruyere is apparently one of the finest cheeses for baking and a great cheese for melting--used in fondues.   I didn't know anything about the process so it was quite an interesting thing for me.  I learned that cows consume 100 kg. of food and 80 litres of water.

Then it was time for lunch.  Amanda knew about this cute little place.

To make sure I got in all my veggies for the day, we shared this yummy salad.  They have the best "French" dressing--it is nothing like normal French dressing.  It is green and we loved it.  It is the only dressing I had on all the salads we had while we were there.

We also had some wonderful fondue.  I have not had a lot of fondue, but this was by far the best fondue I have ever had.  The cheese was so yummy--that Gruyere cheese.

Walking around the town was so fun.  (With all the chocolate I ate, I really should have RAN AROUND THE TOWN ; )

 Amanda and Allan enjoying the view.
The Chateau de Gruyeres was apparently built in the 13th century.

We then headed to Lausanne to go to the Olympic museum.  I love the Olympics so this was a real treat for me.

The only thing that was disappointing was that I could not take photos inside.  The displays were wonderful.  They had the torches from the Olympics.  It was fun to see the different styles--who'd of thought they were all so different.  As well, all the medals.  Again, so very different.  I loved seeing all the uniforms, shoes, skis, hockey sticks, helmets, etc. Our time was limited but it would have been wonderful to have been able to go through it more slowly--to have been able to watch all the videos they showed and to have been able to read EVERYTHING.

Allan and Amanda both did high jump in high school--Allan has always been very disappointed that the Fosbury Flop wasn't "invented" until after he graduated from high school.  He was still doing the Western roll, which wasn't nearly as effective.

I guess they figured this might be the ONLY way they'd give over that bar ; )

I loved this statue--no, I wasn't inspired to think about perhaps a gold medal in the marathon at the next Olympics in London ; )

I loved this statue which is across the street.  That is Lake Geneva in the background.

We walked down to a little restaurant for dinner--it must seem like all we do is eat ; )

We had yummy crepes for dinner.  I had a delicious mushroom and cheese crepe.  It was HUGE and so tasty.  Fortunately, Allan had a dessert crepe so he helped me finish mine.  I decided to have a dessert crepe AFTER my meal.   No, I didn't need ANY help finishing that ; )

A few more pictures--

Some random guy waterskiing on Lake Geneva.

It truly was a perfect day.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our First Day in Zurich

As I mentioned on my last post, our flight from Toronto to Zurich was delayed by four hours.  But who cares--we weren't going to let that ruin our trip.  I think both of us got about 3 or 4  hours sleep on the plane, so we felt pretty  good when we landed.

I should add that we were very surprised as we were coming in to land.  It was so beautiful and green.  We took a sort of people mover to the main part of the airport.  It was so funny because as you ride it, you hear all sorts of sounds I guess from the Alps--cows mooing, yodeling, etc.  As well, there is what looks like pictures moving on the walls of the tunnel.  It is so cool.   Allan and I were laughing.

When we arrived at baggage claim, there was our cute little tour guide.  We took a train to the hotel where we were staying, "The D&B Hotel and Suites"--which included free high speed internet, free breakfast, hey, let's face it FREE EVERYTHING ; )  Darren and Amanda were so kind to let us stay at their apartment which is so lovely.  I always love visiting family and seeing where they live.  When I talk to them on the phone or read e-mails and they talk about their place I can then picture it in my mind--same thing when I visit their cities.  I know what they are talking about and it makes it all so much better.

We had planned to arrive around but didn't get there til around 3 p.m.  Before we headed out to tour the city, Amanda made sure we had swiss chocolate.  Apparently that is something she has given to each of the tour groups that have visited them this summer.

We went to the downtown area and walked around.  We saw so many beautiful things.  I just recently started a new challenge with some friends so I have to burn 250 calories exercising a day--fortunately walking around in some of the places we visited on this trip made that part of the challenge fairly easy.

Allan and I have been on several cruises and have taken many tours, but there is nothing quite like having your own personal tour guide who seems to know everything.  I know Amanda has done this several times, but she was great.  I carried my little notebook and she was quite patient spelling everything and explaining things.

The temperatures were perfect.  She took us to a couple of Churches.  The one with the two "towers" is Grossmunster--which is a Romanesque style Church.  We went inside--I love stain glass windows and this one had some beautiful ones.  We also went to Fraumunster, another beautiful Church.

We met up with Darren and walked around and then headed to our restaurant--Zeughaskellar--for a lovely dinner.  Amanda had sent us an itinerary before we arrived and so I used google to check out the restaurants she suggested.  Allan loves Wienerschnitzel  and was quite happy to see they had it on the menu.  HE LOVED IT.  I had a delicious sausage with some wonderful gravy and yummy potato salad.

In fact, we went back to this same place for our meal our last evening in Switzerland.  You can see our tiny little portions ; )

After dinner we headed back to the "hotel"--Allan and I were a little (ha, ha) tired.  Slept pretty good that night even though I was excited about our plans to go to the Chocolate factory the next day ; )