First of all, thank you soooo much for all your help and comments in the last post. That meant a lot to Elle (and me too:). Lots of helpful ideas and interesting thoughts along with all the support. I'll let you know how Elle's project turns out...and some other thoughts about social media soon.
Disclaimer: I know that seeing pictures of other people's travels can sometimes do strange things to people. For some it can inspire and uplift, spur future plans and ideas. For others it can have the opposite effect. If you are the second type, maybe take a reading break for a week or so when we are starting school!
I can't believe almost two months have passed since we flew into the wild blue yonder, wide-eyed and excited, and with great anticipation for the adventures that awaited. Although the memories have by now firmly woven into the fabric of "who-we-are" whether I write them down or not, I am emotionally attached to them and want to keep them close. I am more grateful than I can ever say that we got to do this and hope these posts can be almost like a little song of gratitude for our family to look back on and remember.
My brother and his wife live in Switzerland and my sister and her husband live in England so we figured there couldn't be a better time to head over to see them before Elle left and spread her wings into "the-rest-of-life" after graduation. We tried to make this trip happen last summer when Elle was heading out on her post-junior-year-internship over in London (more about that back HERE) and Max was still home, but we couldn't make it happen, mostly because of the opportunities Max had to play in the Nationals volleyball tournament.
So this year, we made it work.
We missed Max like crazy.
I had several moments of silence amidst all the hoopla reaching deep into my mother-heart of "missing." Some things almost don't seem right to so without your whole family. But the reality that things are going to be constantly changing from here on out hit us pretty hard and made us realize we can't put life on hold until it's all "back to normal" because it never will be.
So off we went.
Before I start, I want to just explain a couple things.
Dave decided long ago that the best way to document life is to take selfies (or "groupies" as he might call them since they're rarely just him"self."
His reasoning? He would so much rather do that than hassle with asking someone to take a picture, and it's quick and easy as pie.
His selfies became a total staple on this trip.
Sometimes he got all of us perfectly framed in:
Often-times only the very tops of Lucy's glasses made it:
And sometimes he added a whole slew of extras:
I had to crack up how everyone clamored over to his phone every time he exclaimed, "selfie!"
Those pics he took are so precious to us (and I'm sure mean a whole lot more to us than to anyone else).
Some time I'll have to do a whole post of selfies because there are some pretty great doozies in there (if I can get his permission...he's a little protective of those things to which Elle let him know he was "selfie-ish" one night...which cracked us all up).
Something else that turned even more into a "thing" for our family than it was before was our "jumping pictures." This little tradition started a while back when we were trying to figure out a "signature pose" for all the places we wanted to visit. Elle had the idea to "turn" the jump back in Cambodia like this:
We kind of turned it into our own kind of "art" on this trip. Dave was the photographer for these shots too so he wins the prize for being the one to have the best photo ideas out there :)
Again, sometimes it was four of us,
Sometimes Lucy joined in,
And other times we added special friends:)
Not sure who came up with this one, but somehow we started getting "grumpy tourist" pictures of Dave. I think he figured there were enough pictures of people smiling at all these awesome places and they needed a few "grumpy" ones for contrast.
He was an excellent "grumpy tourist," but my favorite shots were the ones I snuck right after he broke out of "grumpy" mode:
Especially love that last one.
Oh man, I get to be married to that guy.
Ok, with that introduction, let's go!
We packed our suitcases up and headed out.
We allotted ourselves each one half of a small carry-on rolling bag which was not easy (especially considering we needed pretty warm clothes), necessitated finding airbnb hotels with washing machines, and made us want to burn those few items of clothing we wore and wore and wore again when we got home, but I have to say, it was so freeing to have so little to lug around!
We were pretty excited to fly into all this gorgeous green in Switzerland.
We rented the biggest car we could get:
...which was still so small we thanked our lucky stars over and over again we didn't bring much luggage:
...and headed in to see ZURICH first since we flew in there.
Here are our girls fresh from trying to sleep on four different connecting airplanes to get there:
Nothing a little Claire-bear couldn't fix up.
After exploring Zurich a little, and having a little panic when we thought I broke our car navigation system, we realized it was ok and headed to our bed and breakfast/airbnb.
**Side note: airbnbs are the BEST. What a genius idea to rent someone's home right where you want to go...cheaper than a hotel and with the added bonus of a kitchen so we could have our own breakfast and snacks where we stayed each night. If you don't know about airbnb and you have travel in your future you should definitely check it out HERE.
En route to the place we were staying we stopped at the TEMPLE in Bern.
This was built in 1953 and was the first to be built in Europe.
We touched the temple since I'm a firm believe that "If you allow your children to touch the temple, the temple will touch them."
I need to figure out where that quote really came from so I can give someone credit for the positive way our road trips have changed since I heard it.
I should also give someone credit for Lucy's serious good mood too :)
Then we drove on through the most picturesque, beautiful towns you can imagine towards INTERLAKEN.
Honestly, Switzerland is so amazingly gorgeous there's not really a way to describe it.
Yes, I have been there before (back HERE with my mom and sisters), and I thought maybe I saw the most gorgeous spots back then. But I'm here to say I don't think you could fine a "non-knock-dead-gorgeous" place if you tried.
I mean, what other place do street signs have little boxes of flowers to make them look beautiful?
...and flowers spilling out of the windows everywhere you go?
We arrived at our bed and breakfast just in time to check out the cows (it was on a little farm):
...and to watch the spectacular swiss sky transform into this:
The next day we woke up to a delicious Swiss breakfast our host whipped up for us.
I tried to get last-minute advice from the cute farmer's wife as we packed up the car.
Murren and Wegnen or Grindelwald depending on our timing, and hike and glory in the granite faces of the Alps surrounding us.
But the clouds were heavy above, gosh dang it! There was a video camera that showed the view from the top and you couldn't see anything but fog.
So we opted to hike/walk along the valley which was breathtaking itself.
We walked up flower-lined streets...
Passing by fields of wild flowers:
...which necessitated filling up our hair with those natural jewels:
There was a hiking trail that took us up behind the waterfall.
How cool is it that they had this bucket of walking sticks for people to use who may want them?
Yes, people in Switzerland think about nice things like that.
After our little waterfall hike we walked by fields of cows with their bells ringing gently as they moved.
We stopped for a late lunch here:
Where Dave and Elle promptly fell sound asleep (jet lag was catching up by now). I love this picture:
I don't even know for sure what they were trying to do, but somehow it just made my heart so warm and happy. Oh man I love these people.
On the way back we stopped to watch a whole slew of paragliders drop down into a huge park area.
I guess Europe has the perfect kind of leaves.
Lucy got pretty into it.
We passed by LAKE THUN which took our breath away so much that we had to stop to take it all in.
(the first of a lot of bread and cheese)
...followed by a good round of our favorite card game.
As the sun was sinking Claire and I did a little yoga to bid farewell to that good day.
You are a gem if you made it through that whole thing!