Sunday, December 18, 2011


Yes, it's almost been a month since my last post.  We've returned home to the most wonderful cast of family, friends, and food.  There has been no time for blogging!  I have another post (Christmas) that will come in the next 24 hours and then I'll be caught up.

We spent our last few days in Luzern packing and trying to soak up as much of the gorgeous surroundings as possible.

Beautiful snow-capped Alps across Lake Luzern

The Advent calendar building

Signs of Christmas everywhere

This photo was snapped on our very last walk around town.  Sadly, the clouds were covering Mount Pilatus. Within an hour after this picture was taken we made our way with over 400 pounds of luggage from our flat to the train station.  I'm still not sure how we did it.  Ava would wheel her small suitcase along with Cole and I each pulling trunks and a large suitcase while Josh stood with another load of trunks and two large suitcases.  I would leave my bags at a spot slightly up the sidewalk where Cole and Ava would stand with luggage while I went back to help Josh bring the rest of the load to them.  Then the whole process would begin again.  It was just a little over a quarter mile but it seemed like thousands.  Teamwork prevailed though, and we made it to our train on time.

The train we took from Luzern to Zurich was so fun for Ava.  It was a two-level train and one car had room for bicycles (or 3-months of luggage) on the lower level and a playground on the upper level.

After a long time with no kiddos her age to play with  Ava was in heaven!

With the help of TWO taxis we made it from the Zurich train station to our hotel. The next morning we were thrilled to find a Starbucks right next door.

We finally saw our first snow in Switzerland.  According to the locals this was the latest snow in over 100 years.  Call it Texan luck I guess.  Never quite enough snow to suit us.

We spent a few days in Zurich.  One of our favorite stops was a huge Christmas market.

This entire tree was draped in Swarovski crystal.

Hot spiced wine kept us warm all day.

Ava enjoyed a hot orange punch.

Talk about Sparkle

 For months Ava had been begging to make a snow angel.

Her wish finally came true.

She even rounded up enough snow

to harass Daddy and Cole.

Tongue wagging and booty shaking?  Maybe Daddy was asking for a snowball fight.

Merry Swissmas?

We had to have a picture of HLS in front of this cleverly named bakery, though I'm not so sure about his plea myself.

In downtown Zurich the boys drug us into an Apple store.

On a bridge to old town Zurich

Another snowball fight broke out in front of the opera house.  Yeah, we're classy like that.

The largest clock face in Europe

Josh took this next series of pictures.  I included them on the blog because they're lovely.

At a toy store that I can only imagine is Zurich's answer to FAO Schwarz we found a 2-story slide and the perfect toy for little Nolan.

Soon it was time to head to the airport.  Thankfully a wonderful airport shuttle made this task way less drama than we anticipated.  An extra-large cart made our airport time even more pleasant.

Ava and I had to have one last heavenly chocolate-filled croissant before we left Switzerland.

With all of the snow falling in Zurich we were worried that our airplane might have trouble departing.  The snow was falling in large chunks, not flakes.  If we'd only known that snow was just the beginning of our adventure.

10:25 am - we board our plane
10:45 -  the captain comes on and says we are waiting on catering services and will be a few more minutes before leaving the gate
11:00 - he announces that we will have to de-ice the plane before takeoff and informs us that the line to de-ice is backed up and that takeoff is still about an hour away
11:02 - we all talk and agree that our 4-hour layover in Philadelphia will allow us plenty of time to go through customs and grab Chick-Fil-A before our last flight to Dallas (I call this period of time "We Are Stupid")
11:45 - a flight attendant comes over the speaker and asks if there's a doctor on board
12:00 - a woman in our area is rumored to be having seizures and the doctor on board recommends we take her back to the gate so she can seek further medical attention
12:01 - the captain announces that we are getting out of line to de-ice and returning to the gate
1:00 - the captain announces we will have to refuel and get back in line to de-ice
1:45 pm - we finally take off

11:30 pm Swiss time (5:30 pm Eastern)  - we arrive in Philadelphia (our flight leaves for Dallas in a little over an hour)
12:30 am Swiss time (6:30 pm Eastern) - customs thinks my bag of Swiss chocolate is dynamite.  Yes, really.  Needless to say we did not make our connection to Dallas.
12:45 am Swiss time (6:45 pm Eastern) - we (thanks to a pilot friend at church and Cole's parents) find a flight leaving for Charlotte, NC that will connect us to a flight to Dallas
1:15 am Swiss time (7:15 pm Eastern) - we take off  for Charlotte.  None of us has eaten in over eight hours and we had no time to grab even a bottle of water between our flights.  Ava and Cole were such troopers as we ran and scrambled to avoid spending the night in Philadelphia.

2:30 am Swiss time (8:30 pm Eastern) - we land in Charlotte
4:00 am Swiss time (10:00 pm Eastern) - we take off for Dallas
6:00 am Swiss time (1:00 am CST) - we land in Dallas!

Our journey began almost exactly 24 hours before when we woke up at our hotel in Zurich.  Despite the crazy travel experience the only thing that really matter is that: