Sunday, October 2, 2011


Every day we explore more of our surroundings.  We made our way across Luzern to the lion monument.  Read about its history and significance here.

Wearing Daddy's shades at the monument

A quick shot between tour groups

All of the  cows here wear bells around their necks.  Some of these bells are so loud that we hear them through the windows of the train.  Ava insists that she needs one of the souvenir bells, but we're trying to make her wait until the very end of our time here - for obvious reasons.

Cheesing it up in front of one of the fancy watch stores

How Ava spends the end of most of our days.  We walk so much, but she's way too big for a stroller.  Most of the kids her age who live here ride scooters, but I'm not sure that's the safest idea for a kiddo who has never really ridden one before.  I guess we'll have to continue holding/dragging her along for now.

We couldn't bring Ava's dollhouse or princess castle, but we brought all of the toys that go with them.  Thankfully the girls have wonderful imaginations, and are happy to play with the toys in the floor of our flat.

Want to hear something crazy?  In this land of the most amazing chocolate, they have no chocolate chips.  Yes, seriously.  I put my two little friends to work chopping some chocolate bars into small pieces.

It took a while, but the thought of warm chocolate chip cookies kept them motivated.

Oh, you know, just recycling some cardboard.

The Coop has little grocery carts!

The next day we finally got around to making our cookies.

Of course we swirled in some Nutella, the generic here is just as good as the original.

Holy kitchen goodness:  pre-cut, perfectly pan-sized parchment paper.  (Hear that Reynolds company back in the U.S.?  Be expecting some serious correspondence from me as soon as I return.)

We had to clean the Nutella spoon somehow

Carefully placing cookies on the pan

Since it was our first time baking in this oven, we watched our cookies very carefully.

They came out delicious, but a little more cake-like than usual.
Any ideas why?  I'm stumped.  This is my tried-and-true recipe.

On Friday we headed on another little trip.  After our last train trip to Grueyere, and 6 total hours spent on the train with two 4-year-olds, we wizened up  and brought some gadgets to entertain them.

Even though the girls missed a lot of gorgeous scenery, it was a good trade. The adults enjoyed a quiet trip.  Yay!

Some of the foothills

 Sun shining through the foggy morning

Breathtaking architecture along the way

Puppy dog Tim

and puppy dog Josh

I wonder if Tim Burton knows about this spooky tree.

We arrived in the Zellweger's hometown of Rapperswil and headed straight to the children's zoo.

We were amazed at how close they let us get to the animals.

Daddy and Ava with her favorite animal

Petting the ponies

Braver by the minute

Giddy up


Such a natural little Texan

Playing inside a hut near the camels

Ava was a little too happy with this tragedy, don't you think?

Silly girl

She paid no attention to the 'Do not feed the animals' signs posted everywhere.

Watching the elephants

Petting the goats

Climbing like monkeys

On a walking tour of Rapperswil, with the best guide ever - Dina

A fountain just outside another castle

The view of Lake Zurich from the castle walls

We couldn't really walk around inside this castle because it's been turned into a Polish museum and restaurant.  We did learn a sweet story about one of the ladies who used to live in the castle.  Once, on the night before a big battle, a deer came to her and gave her a sign of impending danger.  She heeded the deer's warning and they were saved.

 Because of this, there is a large deer population that lives on a grassy hill within the castle walls.

Dina had promised the girls a slide, and boy did she deliver.

I know it looks like that sign is saying not to slide, but it has tiny raindrops on it.  Meaning, do not slide when it's raining.  See how good I'm getting at reading German?

The girls had SO much fun on this slide.

And so did the boys.

Thankfully, Dina knows about every playground in these parts.

Ava was delighted that all three of them were wearing pink shirts.

Sometimes Cole gets a little worn out too.

This picture is of a building in our neighborhood back in Luzern.  Something about the previous picture reminded Josh, Cole, and me of this mural.

After all that walking we paid the kids off with gelato.

Sweets seem to be the perfect motivation for this group, have you noticed?

While the girls played at another playground with Dina, the rest of us walked out onto a long wooden bridge on Lake Zurich.

Next we headed to the Zellweger's house for dinner.

The girls had a blast running barefoot in the backyard.

The girls enjoyed some healthy appetizers.

While they rested in the backyard, the adults and Cole headed to an apple and pear orchard just around the corner.

There was a precious little store at the entrance.

We couldn't believe all the produce,

 sausages and cheeses,

and the most delicious apple juice you've ever tasted.

This was a real pear!

We're going to come back and get pictures of the girls in their Halloween costumes.

Outside, they constructed Noah's Ark out of gourds and pumpkins.


I really just want to move into this orchard.

Another gourd animal

So many different varieties of pumpkins

A lot of the apples and pears had already been harvested, but we found a few still on the trees.

Everything here is green and lush.

I know there are apple orchards back in the U.S., but I've never seen an apple on a tree.  It's just beautiful!

Just us four

We returned to find the girls happily building with wooden blocks.

Gil prepared a delicious dinner on the grill.

Mmm. brats.

They walked up quite an appetite.

Chicken, brats, salad, bread, and Dina's yummy brownies

Thank you Zellwegers!

Decked out in her Halloween clothes to celebrate the first day of October.  We ventured out on Saturday and walked through old town in Luzern.

We bought a real Swiss fondue pot and melted Gruyere to go with dinner.

Delicious cheesy goodness

 Negotiating the stringy cheese

Finally getting a bite

Today (Sunday) we went to the English-speaking church in Luzern.

Ava was such a big girl, and went to children's church all by herself.  Her sweet teacher, Rachel, made her feel right at home.

Outside the church

Picture proof that we all went to church this morning

Walking home from church
As we rounded one corner a car was driving on the sidewalk behind us.  We're still not sure why, but assumed they lived in one of the buildings along the sidewalk.  Josh and I commented to each other, wondering what it was doing.  Ava, still holding my hand, tapped on the passenger's window and pointed her finger, in a very authoritative way, to the street as if to say, "Look buddy, I'm walking on this sidewalk and you need to move it over to the road."  We hurried along, and DIED laughing at her rule enforcing.  Can you imagine what would happen if someone gave her a badge?

 On our way home we passed this bakery, so we decided to stop and make sure they didn't have anything we needed.

Four pastry-purchases later we were ready to continue home.

We have loved our Sunday afternoon.  The Swiss require (by law, yes really) that Sundays are quiet.  Vacuuming, lawn mowing, having large groups of guests, playing music loudly with the windows open, and even their beloved glass recycling are all illegal on Sundays.  Also, the grocery stores are closed for the entire day, and they close at 4:30 on Saturdays.  It really is a different planet over here, but so far we're loving it.  We're trying to embrace the culture as much as possible, and soak in the differences in lifestyles...though we do manage to stay current on our American TV.  Did anyone else snooze through that menswear episode of Project Runway?  Ick.  Anyway, adieu for now.

If you want to see all 200 pictures from our week click here.


Lindsey Merritt said...

Love love love reading your blog!!!

The Broaddus Family said...

Looks like so much fun! Tell Ava that my favorite animal is a giraffe too. :) And can I please come take Ethan's Halloween pictures in that orchard?!? Oh my, that is beautiful and way better than anything we'll see in South Texas! Love you all!

Candice said...

We had such a hard time with our baking when we first moved here... especially the chocolate chip cookies! Maybe try fewer eggs? Also, our oven was different, the flour was different, etc. etc. I know you'll get it just right after some experimenting. Looks like you guys are having an awesome time!

Anonymous said...

I loved every picture!! It is so interesting to learn about another country and their culture. I would love to live there...I think.

Love you all,
Mom (Baba)

The Richter Family said...

Dear Locketts: So much fun and such beautiful scenery - we are so happy for you! My favorite picture is Josh in the dinosaur's mouth.Love the A&M gear in Switzerland - have I said "welcome to the SEC" yet?
We miss you!