Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sunshine in Switzerland

We love to save our stale bread and feed the swans on Lake Luzern.  None of the bread has preservatives, so it's only good for a couple of days.   Everyone wins, we get the most delicious bread and the swans have lots to munch.

On Sunday evening we went for a long walk and the swans were our first stop.

You can't believe how beautifully clear the water is.

Throwing rocks in the water

We found another park across the lake.

It means 'exit', but it sounds really funny.

On Monday we headed up to Mount Pilatus, the highest peak visible from Luzern.  Read all about its rich history here.

We rode the world's steepest cogwheel railway to the top.

Headed up

The views from the train were stunning.


The treeline here is so low that the mountain top looked like the surface of the moon.

Chilly on top of the mountain

Look at that valley behind us.

A mountain picnic

Braving the mountain path

The girls making an Alpine echo

Above the clouds

Our first encounter with an alp horn.  Did you know they actually play music?  I always thought they just made a couple of notes.  The girls danced around to the tune.

Ava watching the paraglider

See that white church on the ledge below?  None of us could think of who would travel to such a remote chapel for services.

On top of a smaller peak

Overlooking the city of Luzern

After a slippery, stumbly, pretty stinkin' terrifying climb, we arrived at the summit.

So proud of all of us for making the climb!  (Cole made it in 3 minutes.)

When we returned from the topmost summit, we all celebrated.  
Josh and Tim with a beer,

Gabby and Ava with some ice cream, 

Cole with a coke, 

and Suzan and I with coffee.

Two little messes

We're riding down the mountain on that?!

As fun as the cogwheel rail was, we all preferred the cable car.  It was quicker and the views were unobstructed.

The church again

 After watching plenty of people fill their water bottles at these nifty fountains, we are finally brave enough to use them ourselves.

After some fun on the toboggan slides, we traveled the rest of the way down the mountain on a smaller cable car.  From the cable car drop off, it's only a short bus trip to our flat. 

On Tuesday we took a boat cruise on Lake Lucerne.

We knew the end of the week would bring cooler temperatures and rain, so we tried to get in as much outside time as possible.

It was warm enough that even I shed my jacket.

The boat stopped at a little village called Weggis and we spent about an hour exploring.

We've all been amazed by the flowers here.  Ava took a moment to stop and smell the roses.

We had time for a quick ice cream treat, (shocker, I know), before the boat returned.

On Wednesday evening we took paddle boats out on the lake and had a picnic dinner.

Two peddlers, and one navigator.

Such a fun trip.

Once we got into the center of the lake, we tied onto the Bunson's boat and had dinner.

Such a serene dinner

As the sun went down we headed to the dock, 

and then walked over the bridge to the carnival.

Ava had been begging to ride the Ferris Wheel for days, so we obliged.

I was tempted to skip the ride and keep this ticket.  So cute!

Josh and Cole on the Ferris Wheel.

The city of Luzern at night from the top of the ride.

The couple on the wheel in front of us were mugging down, so Ava and I decided to do some smooching too.

Haribo, the company who makes gummy bears, is German.  Their candy is everywhere in the stores.  At the carnival they had an entire Mercedes bus full of everything gummy you can imagine, and a few gummy things you cannot imagine (I would go into it, but this blog is G-rated).

 Another shot of the Ferris Wheel

Because Mount Pilatus is so close to us and the weather was still nice, we used the second half of our 2-day pass on Thursday morning.  Josh and Tim have class from 1:00 - 3:15, so we woke up super early and headed up the mountain on the cable cars.

Forgive our sleepy eyes.

The toboggan slides are very fun, but there isn't a good way to get a picture of us on them.  The slides go down a tame, grassy hill and then a lift pulls you back up to the top of the hill.

Well, good morning gorgeous mountain!

Yodeling a little, and listening to the echo.

Dandelions here are huge.

It's quite a trudge to the toboggan hill top. 

It took us 2 weeks to have our first injury.  Cole tried to climb a tree and slit his hand open (a small cut).  Thankfully Suzan came prepared with antibacterial spray and bandages.

The slides were a little too wet, so we had to kill some time while the employees dried the tracks.

It was a tough morning.

Really rough.

We all sledded down once, and then Tim and Josh had to travel back down the mountain to class.  The rest of us stayed to slide one more time.

Then we rode the cable cars part-way down, and stopped off at a playground.

We had seen the playground from the cable cars on Monday, and knew we had to let the kids play.

We keep seeing things here that would NEVER happen back home.  An example? Right in the middle of the park was a 4-sided open flame grill.  Children were running all around, but no one seemed alarmed by the blazing fire.  The brats smelled so delicious.

The girls waited in line for the zip line.

Yes, those are cows in the background.

Ava petting the sweet Swiss cows.

Swinging with Cole

Remember the grills in the center of the park?  There is even a huge supply of firewood to use for cooking.  Crazy!

 Men's haircuts are insanely expensive here, so Josh informed me that I would be cutting his hair.  I was so nervous, but after a couple of YouTube videos I felt brave enough to start.  It took about 45 minutes, but we were both happy with it. 

This morning (Saturday) we headed out for a brisk, puddle-jumping walk.

While here in the valley of Luzern we have rain, up in the mountains surrounding us it is snowing!

Another thing you'd never see back home?
Dogs are everywhere, even in department stores.

Freezing our booties off, but enjoying the sights.  Yes, those hydrangeas are real.

We're back home now, warming ourselves in multiple layers.  Tonight we're planning to watch the OU/Texas game with friends.  We are still loving our time here, and trying to make the most of every minute.

To see all of the photos from this week click here and here.

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