Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arriving in Switzerland

It's sad, really. I'd been planning this trip for so long, anticipating it, stressing out about it, that it's really sort of sad it's all over. In an effort to relive it for just a short while longer, I wanted to really blog about it in depth. After all, this is the only journaling I do anymore.

We arrived in Zurich, Switzerland after a great many hours on airplanes. We flew in to Atlanta and met my mom there (who was coming from St. Louis) and then we all got on the big airplane for the next nine hours. The girls were good considering. Fortunately, we each had our own little console so I watched a bunch of movies, read, and the flight attendants really kept the food and drinks coming.

Mom, Bianca and Portia glad to have arrived in Zurich
We rented a car at the airport, a little silver Audi A4. We were supposed to have a bigger car, but we were glad we didn't as so many of the village roads we found ourselves traversing over the next two weeks were so very narrow and the parking spaces teeny. We spent the next three hours driving through Switzerland (counting waterfalls as our in-the-car activity with the girls) until we reached our home base for the first four days, Stierva.

We stopped along the way at an aquarium restaurant and we discovered our waitress knew absolutely no English. So I got to use my German for the first time in over 15 years (which I had taken in both high school and four semesters in college). I was surprised by how much I retained after not using it for so long. Unfortunately, we also discovered that if you ask for "wasser" (water) you're going to get fizzy soda water, which is just as expensive as soda. A hard lesson to learn, considering Portia wouldn't even drink hers. I learned a new term, though, "leitungswasser" which sometimes worked to get us tap water at the next restaurants. We had pizzas, and they were okay. We went to the grocery store Coop afterwards and picked up a few essentials--milk, bread, Swiss hot cocoa (of course) and Nutella.

The 66 steps to our house
It was raining most of the day. And wow are the little roads winding up the mountain! When we arrived at our little Swiss chalet, we realized there were 66 steps just to get to the door (hard in the rain and with the kids trying to lug their own bags, but we made it). We were shrouded in clouds way up there. Portia discovered the giant Swiss snails that were out for a rain party (I think there was only one casualty and it was thanks to me; I can still feel the crunch under my shoe) and really quite enjoyed collecting them over the next several days. But my was our little house cute! And the view was amazing out of each window. The owners of the house had kids so Portia was delighted to find a stash of toys. And we found playing cards (we quickly discovered that Swiss playing cards had Ds on the cards for queens (Dames, maybe?) an Bs for jacks (bruder's?? but we called them the babies of the king and Dames to remember). We unpacked our bags and settled in for the night.
Bianca and Portia showing off their Swiss snails

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