Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time to pick up the pace!

We found a renter for our apartment, but they want it May 4th! This is a month and a half sooner than we were prepared for. I would rather move early just to get out of here and into our new place, so we agreed. Now we have about a month to pack, clean and fix everything that is broken.

Going to be a busy month!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let the traveling commence!

We have a busy 3 months ahead of us. Not only are we moving to another apartment, but we have several trips planned.

First, we are going to Paris for Easter. Luke gets Good Friday and Easter Monday off, so we will head out for a nice, long 4 day weekend

Then, a month later we are going on a 2 week vacation to Greece

And finally, at the end of June we are heading to Portugal with our Portuguese friends.
I am beyond excited to start planning these vacations. After all, it's what we came all the way to Switzerland to do, wasn't it?!

If that isn't enough excitement for the next few months... stay tuned. There's more. But that's for another post.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Countdown begins

Less than 100 days until we stay goodbye to our country apartment and hello to our new city dwellings!

Anyone who has been following my blog from the beginning knows that I never wanted to live in the country. It is much too isolated for me and has made my life very lonely. As soon as we moved in I was counting down the days to move out, and now it's here. We have found another apartment, signed the contract, created an account for them with 2 months rent and set a date. Now we just have to start packing (once again) and get this place cleaned!

Here are some pictures of our new apartment. This is a view from the kitchen looking out at the family room
Family room looking back towards the kitchen
 Main bedroom
Jack's room

That's pretty much it! It is much smaller than anything we've had in a while, but I am so sick of cleaning big places that I can't wait for a small space to take care of.

Here are more things I like:
1. It is all one floor. We have to walk up stairs to get to our apartment, but once we are inside I don't have to worry about stairs!
2. We are the first to live in it since it has been completely refurbished. Everything is new. Even all the appliances. With the apartment we have now it seems everything we touch falls apart. Almost like this place is held together with glue. I can't wait to finally have new things that won't break when we use them.
3. We will live by people again! Our apartment will be in an area with several other apartment buildings so I will have plenty of people around to make friends with (and Jack will have lots of kids to play with). There are at least 5 parks within 5 minutes walk from our place.

And the thing I am looking most forward to:
4. I can walk everywhere! As soon as I can, I am selling my car. Not only is it ridiculously expensive to own a car here (think over $400/month just for auto insurance/car tax/misc. fees) but Jack hates the car and I hate dealing with him in the car. So now we can walk. The grocery store, train station and lake are all within a 5 minute walk. The main part of town is a 10 minute walk. Finally we will be able to be outside more, enjoy the beach more, meet people and hopefully be able to practice my french more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blood and pox

Last Thursday night as we were trying to wind Jack down for bed he was doing sommersaults on the bed (as usual). At one point he ended falling off the bed backwards on to the floor. He's done this several times before so Luke and I didn't think much of it. Until we heard him scream. At that point Luke jumped off the bed and grabbed Jack and said "theres blood"

I hate those words. I jumped up in time to see the back of Jack's head gushing blood. We ran to the bathroom and grabbed a towel to put pressure on his head. The blood soaked through the towel. At one point I was able to sneak a peak at the cut which thankfully wasn't big. It was only about half an inch but it kept bleeding and bleeding. We shaved part of his head and attempted to butterfly the cut. Finally the bleeding slowed and Jack returned to his active self. By that time it was past 9:00pm so I got him to sleep and spent the next hour holding pressure against his cut to help stop the bleeding completely.

The next day everything was back to normal. Except for the ugly bald spot/cut on the back of his head.

The day after that, Jack got the chicken pox. As it was Saturday we had to make and ER run since I recently found out I am not immune (even though I had them as a child). On Sunday, Luke made his ER run since he is not immune either.

Meanwhile Jack dealt with his chicken pox like a champ!

Then the 2nd day was much worse. Lots of bumps popped up and everything began to itch. We gave him oatmeal baths and lotion to soothe the itching but that night he couldn't sleep. He woke up every 20 minutes crying that something was itching. I spent all night awake with him trying to gently rub all the itchy spots.

The 3rd day I went back to the pharmacy to get medication to help Jack. They gave him some anti-itch medication as well as some stronger anti-itch cream.

The 4th day was worse pox wise, but Jack seemed to have less itching.

Finally, by Thursday Jack was back to his normal self (attitude wise). He was happy and full of energy again. Even though he still looks terrible! I feel so bad for the little guy, I can't wait until all these darn pox are gone!
(if you look close enough, you can see he even got pox on his tongue...what a terrible disease!)

Museum, Cheese & Chocolate. Better late than never

Here are some pictures back from January that I never got around to posting.

For New Year's we drove to Lucerne and visited the Swiss Transport Museum.

It was a huge museum with different buildings dedicated to trains, planes and cars. You could easily spend a weekend here and not see everything
 Jack seemed to like the rocks in the train tracks the best
 Here is one of the big drills they used to make the tunnels through the mountains

 We took Jack to his first show in a Planetarium
 Jack's most favorite exhibit of the museum
 This was taken on my way to the grocery store. Quite a traffic jam!
 Another weekend we visited the Cailler (aka Nestle) chocolate factory
 The tour was pretty impressive and entertaining
 But the best part was the chocolate room!
 Every type of Callier chocolate was displayed here
 And it was all you can eat!! Luke successfully tasted one of everything. I was only able to try about half of the chocolates before feeling sick
 The gift store was filled with all sort of wonderful treats.
 After stuffing ourselves with chocolate, we drove a short distance to the Gruyere cheese factory.
They gave us a few samples of cheese and we went through the whole tour of how the cheese was made. At the end you have the option of getting fondue at their restaurant, but we decided to save some money and make fondue at home.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A few of my favorite things

Fresh baked baguette

Swiss cheese sampler. (Include Tilsiter, Appenzeller (my 2nd favorite), Gruyere (my favorite) and Emmentaler (the typical "Swiss" cheese with the holes in it, although it tastes nothing like the "Swiss" cheese in the states)

Double lait chocolate bar is my favorite and Luke likes the chocolate with chocolate fondant filling
Makes for a perfect meal and includes all the (Swiss) food groups.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Luke's birthday in Munich

For Luke's birthday we decided to head up to Munich. Tuesday, March 1st is a holiday here in Switzerland so he also took Monday off and we had 4 days to explore the city. Munich is about a 5 hour drive from our house so we left Friday after work and 7 hours later (after several bathroom breaks for Jack) we arrived at our hotel. 

We spent the next several days exploring the city. One of our first stops was the Hofbrauhaus
The Hofbrauhaus is one of Munich's oldest beer halls. It was founded in 1589 as the brewery to the Royal Residence.
It has a very casual feel and rows and rows of tables of people drinking beer.

We had a few beers and ate lunch here. These are the menus

Typical german (and swiss) dish of boiled sausages with a bretzel (aka pretzel). It was served with the most delicious sweet mustard. 
Enjoying their drinks
Luke wanted to try the 3 different types of beers offered here so he got the "small" glass of each. The regular glass is twice this size
Another day we were able to visit the Park Cafe (aka Lowenbrauhaus)

It had a much more sophisticated feeling

Luke enjoying a Lowenbrau beer
Jack with his fresh squeezed orange juice
Most of the time we spent walking around the city. The main center of the city is the Marienplatz which has been the central square since 1158.

On Sunday there was some type of festival going on so we stopped by to check it out:

Jack wandering around the square with his balloon
Apparently the festival was some type of event for kids. There were hundreds of kids and most were wearing costumes or face paint. Everyone was lining up by the stage to see the show so we tried to get a spot as well.

Since this was a children's event, we expected some clowns to come out with balloons or something. So we were really surprised when this is what we saw:
The kids seemed to enjoy the event...and so did the parents. I was a bit shocked to say the least. It was hours of different groups dancing for the kids in their bikinis. (Don't forget that it was not much more than 30 degrees out)

We left the entertainment to walk around the city some more.

Here are the gates to the city:

There is even a place where surfers can surf on the ice creek.

On Monday, we visited the Residenz which is the formal royal residence of the monarchs in Germany.
It was absolutely huge, with hundreds of rooms!

Here is the chapel which was rebuilt after it was destroyed in WWII
A picture of the church after being bombed in WWII
On Tuesday we headed home and made a slight detour to visit the Neuschwansteain Castle. It is one of a few castles that was used as inspiration for the Disneyland castle.
The only way to reach the castle is to walk or take a horse drawn carriage.

We opted for the carriage
Views from outside the castle

If you can see in the distance there is a bridge over a waterfall just outside the castle

No pictures were allowed inside so I pulled these from the internet. The inside of the castle was amazing. Since it is only 125 years old, the castle is in great shape. Just about everything inside was original.
But only about 15 of the planned 200 rooms were completed. King Ludwig died before he could ever finish his castle.
Leaving the castle
We missed the last carriage down the mountain and had to walk. On the way down we got some nice views of the other castle (Hohenschwangau) right across the way