Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our arrival and first day in Switzerland

Our flight to Switzerland was at 8pm Thursday night, so after Jack woke up from his nap (around 3pm) we headed off to Denver airport. We got to the airport by 5pm thinking we had plenty of time to check our bags, go through security, get a nice dinner, etc. When we went to check our bags they informed us that our tickets had not been purchased. Luke's work had been handling the flights and they had sent us confirmation for our tickets so we assumed that everything was ready to go. But apparently, reserving our seats and paying for our tickets are two separate issues. We made some frantic calls to people at Luke's work but it was already past 5pm. Luke ended up having to call directly to American Express Business Travel and tried to get them to place the order to pay for the tickets. The ladies at the check in kiosk informed us that we had until 7pm to get everything paid for or we would not make our flight. At 6:45 we finally got the go-ahead that everything had been paid for. Thankfully there were no lines at security and we were still able to grab a quick bite to eat, change Jack into his pajamas and get on to the plane.

Once we were on the plane we were able to breathe a sigh of relief. Jack really enjoyed having his own seat and was so excited that it didn't look like he'd be sleeping at all that flight.
But finally around 10 pm I got him to go to sleep... much against his will as you can see he had a pouty face to show he wasn't happy about the situation. As a side note: One thing I hate about these overnight flights is that they take FOREVER to dim the cabin. You would think that everything would be quiet and dark so that people could sleep on the plane, but they spend 2-3 hours serving snacks/dinner/wine/etc. so by the time they dim the cabin it is already 11pm. Jack couldn't sleep with the bright lights in his face so I had to use the facemask.

Jack slept most of the flight. Luke and I, on the other hand, felt the need to catch up on movies that we had missed. We finally saw Avatar, although I have to say that seeing it in 3D on IMAX must be a much different experience from watching it on a 5 inch airplane screen.

We had a layover in London and from there caught our flight to Geneva. This flight was much more difficult even though it was only 2 hours. We were all tired and Jack was cranky so we tried to keep him happy with the chocolate snacks they gave us on the airplane... a very messy plan
We finally got into Geneva around 5pm local time (10am Colorado time). We gathered our bags, rented a car and drove to our hotel in Neuchatel.
Once we got to our hotel we ordered a salad and an entree from the Hotel restaurant. The bill was $50! Luke took the suggestion of the receptionist and ordered the pate (see top right of photo below). I'm pretty sure that was the first (and last) time we will eat raw least that's what I think it is.
Jack enjoyed the fries though
The complimentary breakfast at the hotel is awesome! Lots of breads, cheeses and meats. Jack discovered the wonderful breakfast spread Nutella:
We spent Saturday afternoon walking around Lake Neuchatel. It is a beautiful lake and much larger than I thought.
This place is so green and lush. There are huge trees everywhere and the branches come down to form a sort of "tree cave" to play in
Of course Jack could spend all day throwing rocks into the water

Jet-lag caught up to us late Saturday afternoon:
We decided to take a drive while Jack napped in the car seat. We drove to Luke's new work and then we drove around the surrounding areas. Here are some pictures from the road:

We stopped once Jack woke up and took a walk through the forest

Here you can see how the forest almost goes right up to the water:
Just outside the forest is the river
As a mom, the first thing I noticed about Switzerland is how many playgrounds there are. It seems you can't walk 100 ft without seeing some sort of playground or play equipment.

Once we got back to Neuchatel we headed out for dinner. It was Saturday night at 7pm, but the streets were empty!

We finally found a small little italian restaurant that was delicious!
Jack loved the tortellini.
They did not speak much English so we were flipping through our translation book throughout dinner trying to converse with them. At one point I ordered a coke and pointed at the soda fountain and this is what she brought me. Can't say I complained though.
All in all we had a very good flight and first day in Switzerland. We have made several observiations in our first days here.

1. Eating out is very expensive. We sort of knew this before we came, but it still is a shock when you pay $50 for a salad and raw beef.

2. We thought that we would blend in with the Swiss people (being blonde hair and blue eyes) but in this part of Switzerland the majority of the people have dark hair and a darker skin tone. There were many more blonde haired people in Colorado Springs. Here, everyone stares at Jack like they can't believe how white his hair is.

3. Anyone that had been to Switzerland told us how clean and immaculate they thought it was. I guess I had the perception that the streets would be sparkling, but we've found that it is not the case. There is a good amount of graffiti along the highway and the beaches seem to be littered with glass bottles. It is still amazingly beautiful, but I don't get the perception that it is immaculate.

4. Spell check does not work for my blog. Since I am a horrible speller, I apologize in advance for all the errors. (When I click the button to spell check, everything shows up as being misspelled since it is checking it in German).

5. The landscape is not filled with Yodlers and cows. Okay, so I didn't think that Switzerland was this way, but Luke some extent. He says this feels more like France than what he thought Switzerland would be like. We are going to drive to Interlaken this weekend to see some cows and yodlers and the Alps just to make sure we are really in Switzerland.

6. The language barrier is huge! It's hard to know beforehand what it would be like living in a city where you don't speak the language... but it is a big obstacle. In just a day we have learned a good amount of phrases to be able to communicate a little bit, but we really need to dive into our French lessons and start learning FAST!

7. Jet lag is a b*tch. None of us (Jack included) could sleep last night. We were all up until 3am and then Luke made us get up at 8am to try and get on a good schedule. Hope tonight is better.


  1. Hi Jenny! Welcome to Switzerland and to "Swiss Expat Bloggers" :)

  2. Hello my wary world travelers! This is Dan Holt. Wendy was just showing me your blog and I have to say it is extremely interesting. I can't believe you moved to Switzerland! that's weird! did you know that your in a whole other country, all far away and stuff? Moving so far looks like a great adventure but it seems its also got its difficulties and challenges. I have to say I am proud of you guys for taking on such an endeavor. I hope everything goes well. Won't it be strange that Jack will view himself as a Swiss citizen if you stay there? you have to learn a new language! what an adventure. Well Wendy and I Love you guys and look forward to seeing how things go in the future. Dan, Wendy, Wes and Ruby.