Day 9- The First of August- Swiss Independence Day! We started with a bigger-than-usual breakfast, including homemade bread with Swiss crosses cut into the tops. We went to a very cool playground- a water wheel park. When we make our first million, Chicago will get one of these (along with the crystal clear Alpine spring to feed it.) It had water troughs, blocks to make dams, water wheels, a pond and great big wooden chairs. We played in the COLD water for hours. After long naps, we headed up the mountain to Marianne's sister, Karin's mountain farm. Beat, Anita, Karin and her husband Hosi and kids, Thomas, Ronja and Jan and their grandparents were there. As they finished up milking and chores, the kids played. Violet and Ronja played with the wooden barn and toy cows for quite a while. Play is a universal language! Dinner was delicious- several types of grilled meat, kabobs, green, pasta, corn and caprese salad, peppers, carrots, chips, and of course, bread. Afterwards we had a drink (Eve beer...whose slogan is "its a lady thing) and dessert...mocha mousse made by Beat, as well as blueberries and cream and a cake. Mmmm!
The best part of the day was yet to come- we walked down the driveway and lit a HUGE (I'm talking 10 feet) bonfire- and watched others light fires all over the mountainsides. Then we (and others all over) started shooting off fireworks- sparklers, Roman candles, and other bigger ones including a big gold one that sent of Jan's last pacifier! Eventually thunder and lightning sent us back to the house. We headed home to Darstetten. It was once again so neat to see how another family lives- particularly Karin's family. She is roughly my age, the oldest of 4 kids, married with 3 kids of her own. Born in each other's places, our lives might look quite similar! It was such a joy to celebrate the First of August in Switzerland!
|Water Wheel Park|
|The kids had so much fun in the COLD water!|
|Blocks just the right shape for damming up the water troughs|
|Hard to beat the backdrop!|
|The treehouse at Water Wheel Park|
|The awkward pair of photos that looks like I dropped my baby off the side...|
|Some pigs who vacation near the park for the summer months|
|Relaxing back at "our" house|
|More VERY mountainous roads up to Karin's|
|I love how they hang the cow's bells up on the side of the barn|
|Violet playing cows with Ronja- "they like to sled on the roof!"|
|First of August dinner- isn't the table beautiful!?|
|The moon was almost full that night.|
|It got cold, so we borrowed some clothes.|
|The firework to send up Jan's last pacifier|
Day 10- Our last day! We had yet to see a real castle, so we headed to Spiez to see Spiez Schloss. We started with lunch on the lake- I had wonderful risotto. Then we went to the castle. They were filming another Bollywood movie there! The five Handleys toured the castle- the first tower was built in 650 ad....that is REALLY OLD! It was built onto over many years. We saw a knight statue of one of the owners- Adrian Von Bubenberg. Matias kept telling us how this was just like the Magic Treehouse Book Number 2, The Knight at Dawn...his latest love. We also saw armor, spiral stairs and other "castle-y" things. The kids really enjoyed it.
Then we took a little "fun train" around Spiez. We ended with dishes of ice cream and then headed back to Darstetten, to sadly pack our bags. The evening ended on a high, however. We had a babysitter for the kids, and Marianne, Anita, Matt and I went into Thun to sit on the side of the lake and watch an amazing production- Titanic Das Musicale! The stage was floating, the set was an enormous front of a boat which rotated, moved and even sank. They used boats on the lake for one scene, and projected images onto a "screen" of mist as well. It was really neat and a great end to our trip.
|lunch in Spiez|
|The grounds were lovely|
|Adrian Von Bubenberg...Matias loved it, but didn't want to get too close- I think he wasn't quite sure if it was a statue or a person.|
|Inside the castle- the kids were so excited!|
|We went up and down LOTS of stairs!|
|Peeking out the windows at the Bollywood stars dancing.|
|The fun train|
|Ice cream on a really hot day!|
|The floating stage at Thun|
|The Titanic set...the boat rotated around so we could see inside. Amazing!|
|Coffee after the show|
|A great ending to our vacation|
|The "family room"at the Zurich airport. The Swiss are so family friendly.|
|Our plane flight home.|