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Thursday, August 28, 2008

A few of my favorite things

Well given that my children are a few of my favorite things, I just have to share a few of my favorite Swiss things. Sadly, they are all foods. No wonder why I am going to need to hit the gym as soon as I get home. I am going to need to take back my words when I was warned about the chocolates here in Switzerland. I thought I could resist, but temptation was just too much.


This is a Berliner not really Swiss,but very yummy.
It should be called a pillow instead of a donut because
when you bite into it the dough springs back a mile high.

This is a choco Koffli translated a chocolate head.
They are filled with a very creamy marshmallow
Suchard is a famous chocolatier. This is similar to a chocolate truffle.

Before I say goodbye to Switzerland, I also have to say thanks to my new friends in the American playgroup out of Zurich for including me in your activities though I didn't really to go to very many. It is nice to be included when you are so far away from home. I hope you all have a fabulous stay here in Switzerland, and I look forward to reading about your adventures.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

American Invasion

As we wrap things up in St. Gallen, we were lucky enough to have some friends visit us from back home in the states. It was fun having them here and showing them around. Our boys had a blast playing with them and didn't want them to go. Now we are just left with cleaning the apartment and packing our suitcases. I have enjoyed my stay here in St. Gallen. I have learned so much about Swiss culture and made new friends that will always have a special place in my heart. We also had a visit from our friend Nadja who lives in Austria. She was our nannie for two summers. However, she has become more like a part of our family. The boys had fun playing with her at the pool. We showed her the city center, the local mall, and Peter and Paul Wild animal park. We will miss her. We wish we could kidnap her and bring her back to the states.




We will be back home this weekend after making a quick stop to say goodbye to Oma in Germany. See you all soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Dream!



Have you ever watch the movie French Kiss or the movie A Year in Provence and watched the scenes where they are eating outside with their families? Well, last night I had the opportunity to go to dinner at my husbands co-workers house. We were invited along with about 12 others from his work. Anyway, it was a dream right out of the movies. The scene was perfect. An apricot colored stucco house with inlaid tiles from Portugal and a red shingled roof. The house had a million dollar few overlooking adjacent farms, but also the Bodensee. The garden was dressed in Ivy, Pink Hydrangeas, Roses, and various other flowers. The air smelled of earth and wet grass. The attendants were dressed casual, but yet still had an air of sophistication as the men had sweaters draped over their shoulders. One might have thought we were in the Hampton's or a photo shoot for a Ralph Lauren advertisement. The conversation was lovely and it was nice to enjoy an evening without the children. The tables were covered in golden yellow tables clothes with ivy running down the length of them. The food was delicious as we were served a variety of grilled meats on Kabobs, tomatoes dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, potato salad, cantaloupe with blueberries, and a basket of yummy bread. Dessert followed which was chocolate and vanilla bean mousse with raspberries and blueberries. One could not have asked for a more perfect evening.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Afternoon in Konstanz

Our time here in Switzerland is almost up. We can't believe it has been almost 4 months since we left our home in the States. We have had a wonderful time, but we are also ready to go home. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "There is no place like home there is no place like home." I am ready to click my red shoes and return home. However, before we go we are trying to squeeze in a few more places to see and visit with friends. On Sunday after church we left the older two boys with a girl from church, and we headed to the Bodensee. The Bodensee is also known to us in the U.S. as Lake Constance. We went with a collague and also good friend of my husband and his family. Since we hadn't been on the ferry boat we started off in a neighboring village. The boat goes from one town to another and you can get off when you want. The weather wasn't that great but the company was. We got off in Konstanz which is in Germany. It is a really great town. The harbor is lined with restaurants and places for the children to play. The inner city is vibrant and buzzing with activity even on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Throughout the city you find beautiful old painted buildings, really cool water fountains that are really art work, and beautiful old churches. The photo of this statue in the harbor is really a prostitute that lived in Konstanz. The story goes that she was so desired that not only the king visited her, but also the pope. Oh My! The joke behind the statue is that who really held the power in the city was the prostitute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bern Part 2

I just wanted to add this photo of Zeitglockenturm. If you have a chance to ever go to Bern this is a must see. At a quarter to the hour the show begins. It only last for a view minutes where the figurines move, but it is one of the best examples in Europe of European clock work. Also, on another note the city is really easy to get around and has at least a mile of covered walking space where you can go to one shop to another where you will not get wet from the rain. This was a precursor to the American mall.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bern

On Saturday, we took a trip to Bern. Bern is the capital of Switzerland and is on the UNESCO list of world treasures. The city is known for it's fountains over 40 of them. We only got to see a couple of them. The river Aare runs through the city, and this is where Einstein wrote many of his famous papers. We had the opportunity to see the Muenster church which was built over a hundred year period and was finished in 1588. At least from my perception, I had the feeling that Bern was much more relaxed than for example Zurich. We met up with friends of mine Martin and Susanne, and strolled through the farmers market where we picked up the makings for a picnic lunch. Fresh ButterZoph bread, salami, Emmentaler cheese, green olives marinated in garlic, Ham, purple cherry tomatoes, and apples. Yummy! Then we headed over to the park by the Muenster. The children enjoyed the festival that was taking place there. They had the opportunity to paint their faces, play games, and walk through the labyrinth. We wished that we had a longer stay because not only didn't we get enough time with our friends, but we only got to see a small portion of the city. I guess we are just going to have to go back. We also had the opportunity to visit with our friends Sylvia, Renee, and their children who use to live down the street from us. We use to car pull with them. Sylivia made us a really yummy dinner while the children played outside. Not that I would want to live full time in Switzerland because the winters are too long, but they just built a new house with the most amazing view of the Bernese Oberland (a mountain range here in Switzerland).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

18 months


Wow! I can't believe that Roman is 18 months. Well, he will be on Monday, but since we are going away for the weekend I thought I would post now. He is such a sweet little boy. All smiles; especially when he is being naughty. He has learned to like the swimming pool finally. His favorite food would be chocolate with any noodles coming in second. He says Mama, Oma, and dada. We are working with him to say more, but he has two languages to figure out, so this might be the reason for delay. He can make cars sounds and waves bye bye. He adores his family; especially, his big brothers. He likes to walk in everyone shoes and loves all things ball. This morning he colored for the first time on something other than paper and he was so proud of himself though mommy was really sad. He can throw a full blown tantrum and throw himself on the ground. It is so funny! Funny because he doesn't stay upset for very long-like 2 seconds. He has come a long way from a baby who was really sick and having to have open heart surgery at 3 months. We can't wait to see what else is to come. Being his parent's is such a joy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I did it!

Ok, you are wondering what I did. Well, I climbed Mt. Kronberg which is a smaller mountain infront of Mt. Santis. It has an elevation of about 4800 feet. The views were stuning. I know there are no pictures. I am a total loser. I didn't bring the camera with me. I didn't want to carry it. The weather was forcasted to rain, so I thought we wouldn't get any good photos anyway. So wrong! This photo I borrowed from Webshots. It would have made for the perfect Christmas card. Just imagine the last scene in the Sound of Music where they are climbing the mountains into safety. You could see all the way to the Bodensee which is only 10 minutes from our house, but 40 minutes from there. On top was a cute little church. Winston was so cute he said,"Mommy, why are the cows sitting outside the church." It was just like being Heidi the cows and goats were roaming all over the mountain. My only complaint is the smell. I still haven't adjusted to it because it bothers me just as much as the first day we arrived. One good thing is that it wasn't to hot. I have been actually complaining about all the rain here in Switzerland, but it does make for good hiking. Now, after climbing for two hours straight up I need a good soak in the bath because my knees are killing me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

JungFrau

About a year and a half ago, I was watching the travel channel and saw Samantha Brown's show on Interlaken and the Jung Frau. I made a note of it, and before leaving I went to her website to print out the information. It was everything the show depicted and more. The views were stunning despite the cloudy weather. Frank was more disappointed than me, but what can you do. We picked August thinking it would be the best weather. The only thing I was disappointed in was Interlaken. I thought it was a not very authentic. The other little villages that surround the area are all very adorable and worth visiting. To get to the top you have to take a series of three trains that take approx 2 1/2 hours. The last train you go through 4 1/2 miles of tunnels, but they do stop once to give you a view of the glacier. The advertisements say it is the top of Europe, but that is not really correct since it is not the tallest mountain in Europe. The tallest being in Russia at 18,000 feet. Jung Frau is a little more than 11,000 feet. However, it is the highest railstation and post office in Europe. It is though between Heaven and Earth which is another one of their slogans. We brought a picnic lunch with us and ate dinner in the village of Grindelwald on the way down. Frank had a traditional Roesti (hash browns) pan with veal and mushroom gravy and I had the curry chicken plate with rice. I know not very traditional, but after being here for 4 months I was ready for something not so traditional. Swiss curry is very mild which I like almost better than your traditional Indian restaurant curry. All of the buildings in Grindelwald were dressed with flowers. Oh, the alpine meadows were blanketed in flowers at this time of year. Thanks to the grandparents we were able to enjoy the views without the children. It was the first time we have been alone in over two years.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lucern part two

I mentioned the bridge in the previous post, but what I also loved about the city were the paintings on the buildings. I don't know why, but when I tried putting these photos in the last blog they wouldn't copy. After 15 minutes of trying, I gave up and opted for the second post. I think I must have a slow learning curve because it only took me 3 months two figure out how to make a 4 photo collage. What I realized it that you have to work with 4,8, or 16 photos because otherwise it will repeat photos.

Lucern

This week we had the opportunity to get away for 2 days. Our first stop was Lucern. We almost didn't make it because it just seemed like nothing was working in our favor, First, Frank had to send off some data, so we didn't leave the house till almost ten. Then we kept getting lost or stuck in contruction traffic. It was crazy. I also forgot my jacket. However, we finally made it and it was well worth it. Lucern is my favorite city here in Switzerland. Our first stop was the Lion Wall. It was contructed in remembrence of those Swiss soldiers who fought in the French Revolution. Then we went to the would covered bridge. The city is surrounded by mountains the crown jewel being Mountain Pilatus which is almost 7,000 feet tall. The restaurants along the lake were a little out of our price range, but we went to the top of a local shopping center called Manora and ate at there roof top bistro. Delish and half the price!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Zurich Zoo

All over the zoo are these fun painted camels
Harris
Winston
Roman talking to the chickens
Climbing like monkeys
The Zoo was so much fun!
Great for children and adults too!

Hiking in the Alps

Yesterday, Frank and Harris climbed Mt.Santis which is the tallest Mountain in this region. It took them about 4 hours. Frank was not aware of how difficult of a climb it was going to be. In many place there were ropes to help you up, and it is was slippery. Unless you are a really experienced mountain climber with all the equipement you are not allowed to hike down. You have to take the gondola down. They were both kind of relieved. Afterwards, they joined us at the primary activity at church and played soccer for another hour and a half. I don't know where this kid gets all his energy.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Switzerland!

Today along with being my anniversary and my nephews birthday, it happens to be Swiss National Day. The day celebrates when the first of the three cantons came together and made the country of Switzerland. We spent the evening at a neighbors eating the yummiest of Swiss food. It was nice because we met Claudia and her daughters on the very first day we moved here to Switzerland. We were looking for a restaurant to eat after coming down from Germany and didn't know where to eat. We stopped Claudia on the street and asked her where she thought there was a good restaurant. She pointed to the Hirschen Restaurant which is about a block away from our house. She was also going there. We have seen Claudia on several occations around town and said have said, "hi!". Well, we ran into her about three weeks ago on our way out of town and she asked us how we were doing. She then asked us if when we got back we would like to come to her house for dinner. We said we would like that. When we got back we found a postcard in our mailbox with the invitation. She lives not to far from us and as an adorable garden. We enjoyed Olma wurst which is the sausage of this region and they are really big and mild in flavor. This was followed by salad, roasted potatoes, roasted vegetables, steak that was so tender it melted in your mouth, chicken, and I brought brownies for dessert. We enjoyed getting to talk with her other guest and playing with her children. Then tonight we watched the fireworks from our apartment window.