Thursday, April 30, 2009

Girls Trip Part 1: Lausanne/Ouchy, Switzerland

Phew this is going to be a long post. We did a ton in one day in Lausanne. Are you ready? Good.

We arrived in Lausanne Saturday April 18, the same day Brian and my dad took off for St Andrews. It was an easy drive from Zurich and our hotel, the Nash Carlton was easy to find thanks to Garmin. We checked in and found our rooms right next to each other- Grammie and Marion in one, Betti and I in the other. The Nash Carlton was a very nice hotel in an excellent location (right next to the train!) but the rooms were tiny. But hey, this is Europe. Tiny hotel rooms are everywhere.

Betti and I decided to rest a bit and Marion and Grammie took a walk around the area to see what was nearby. They came back with reports of an Italian restaurant so we went there for an early dinner. After dinner we went straight to bed with big plans for Sunday.

Sunday morning we decided to head down to Ouchy (the area of Lausanne on Lake Geneva) for the Sunday morning market. We hopped on the train and were there within a couple of stops. We got off the train, walked across the street to an open area, and Marion squeeled "Yay! I found it!!!!" while throwing her hands up towards the sky. Grammie and I looked up and saw the biggest playground we both have ever seen. Marion bolted. The guy standing next to us laughed and said "C'est magnifique!" and followed Marion to the playground where he watched her enjoy her discovery with the pure joy only a toddler has.

Next we walked around the Sunday morning market. We bought some pain au chocolat for breakfast and found a stand selling bags and soap where we bought Marion a basket. This probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had as she ran around looking for easter eggs the rest of the day... eh, oh well.

Betti was ready for a feeding so I took care of her while Grammie took Marion to the large checkers set. Marion promptly rearranged all of the checkers.

Then Grammie took Marion over to feed the ducks. Marion met a friend there who had never fed ducks before so she showed her how to do it.

It was time to walk over to the Olympic Museum so we tore Marion away from the ducks and walked over, stopping briefly to enjoy the view.

It wasn't a very long walk but it felt like a major hike because a certain toddler didn't feel like walking. Note to self: bring two strollers (or my new double stroller- still sitting in the US) next trip.

We enjoyed the walk nonetheless. When we got there we were saw a pretty cool statue

and an awesome fountain. Marion loves fountains, she has to stop and touch the water at each one. So this one, well, it was a very exciting stop.

The museum is located on top of a hill up from the fountain. There is a nice park that you can walk through to get there. But after lugging Marion on my back, we decided to take the escalators up to the museum and walk down through the park after our visit.

Once we got to the top we saw the Olympic flame

and a high jump set up demonstrating the new world record set at the last summer games.

We then went inside and bought our tickets (naturally). The woman selling us our tickets asked us where we were from for statistics purposes. We told them Baltimore and then added "You know, Michael Phelps' hometown!" She got a kick out of that.

Then we had some fun in the museum. Marion made the cover of a magazine,

Roger Federer showed us what he does to sassy toddlers,

and Marion placed first in the 'run away from mom and Grammie' competition.

After our visit, we headed back down through the park, admiring all of the artwork along the way. Then we walked back to Ouchy (Grammie got the pleasure of lugging Marion on her back this time) for crepes!

Oh they were yummy. So so good. Nutella and banana = heaven.

After we were full on chocolate hazelnut yumminess, we headed back to the playground.

Where, who would've guessed it, there was a carousel!

(Brian and I are going to go broke on carousel rides.)

After a half dozen rides on the carousel, we ran into a mime. So, naturally, we made Marion put change into his tip box and watched him come to life.

Marion wanted to "make him move" again but was a little skittish about putting money in the tip box a second time. After some pushing she did it and loved watching him come to life. But sadly, mom had spent most of her change on the carousel, so two times was enough and it was time for goodbyes.

It was also time for a nap! So we hopped on the train and went back to our rooms where we crashed for a couple of hours.

But only a couple of hours. As soon as Marion woke up, we were off to Lausanne's
Old Town area, only a couple of train stops in the opposite direction from Ouchy.

Once we arrived in Old Town, we walked to the Place de la Palud to see the Hôtel de Ville, aka the town hall.

Since it was Sunday we couldn't go in but it was nice to see anyway.

Also in the square was the Fontaine de la Justice.
Next to the fountain was a clock display that has a show every hour on the hour. Luckily, we made it just in time for one of the shows.

Next up was the Cathédrale Notre-Dame. Unfortunately we had the stroller so we couldn't take advantage of the Escaliers du Marché.

We had to walk up the very steep hill the long way around. It was quite a work out but it was well worth it.

We played "find the cow on the cathedral" with Marion

and then headed over to the Church of St. Francis.

Now, I've been to a lot of churches and cathedrals in Europe. It's hard not to, they are everywhere. But this church was by far the most modern I have ever been to. First of all, the doors open automatically for you.

And then, once inside, the organ starts to play muic automatically.

All you do is sit back and enjoy the church and the music.

Or chase your toddler around and try to discipline her in your best 'not yelling but stern' voice possible in my case.

Our day came to a close with dinner at La Brasserie du Grand Chene at the Lausanne Palace and Spa hotel. And it was goooooooooood. Almost as good as getting back to our hotel and putting our feet up after a long day of fun and sightseeing. Now that was nice.

Six weeks.

Betti's doing great. She has started to smile and has dimples like her sister (although I have yet to catch it on camera). She is really close to discovering her hand.
And she has some fantastic blue steele looks she is working on. I, unfortunately, was not able to catch magnum with my camera. However, here are some of her other looks in progress.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A beautiful Sunday in Zurich

Hoppy left on Sunday morning so, after Brian took him to the airport, we went out to Sunday brunch at one of my favorite spots in Zurich, Movie. They have omelettes to order and waffles there among other yummy things. It's the little things when you haven't been home in almost a year.

I was a wee bit late in making a reservation so we sat outside. At first we were concerned about this because it looked like it was going to rain at any second. And then, typical for the weather here, it changed on a dime. The sun came out, the clouds disappeared, and the temperature jumped a couple of degrees. I haven't checked a weather forecast since we moved here last June and this is why. The forecasts are never right and the weather can change here before you know it anyway!

After we enjoyed our delicious brunches and proseccos, we decided to wander down the Bahnhofstrasse and window shop at the stores we will never set foot in: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Armani... you get the picture.

We walked until the end of the Bahnhofstrasse at Lake Zurich. Brian had Marion on his shoulders in front of Grammie and I. All of a sudden we heard a shriek. "Daddy! I see something! Go back, I found something!!!!!"

Brian had turned the corner of the street and walked towards the Burkliplatz. And that's when he walked straight towards a Chilbi.

Marion flipped. We couldn't believe her good luck.

So we spent some time enjoying the games. First Marion went fishing.
She won some sunglasses.
Then she rode an airplane. We forced her to because it went up and down.
But she really wanted to ride the truck. That's my girl.
Next up was the slide. This thing terrified her last fall. She couldn't get enough this time around.
Then we went on the ferris wheel.
The views were spectacular. We saw people finishing up the Zurich marathon,
mountains out in the distance,
and a unique view of the Zurich sights.
Because Marion was so good, we got her a treat of her choice. She chose a yellow guitar. Such a rock star.
It was a fabulous Sunday. And now it is raining. But hey, I'll take the good weather whenever I can get it.