Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fondue as the Swiss do

This weekend marked Nick's big three oh and our first trip together in Europe. We decided to make the journey to Switzerland to visit Nick's good friend Dan, his wife Beth and their beautiful baby girl Taylor. We caught a flight out of Brussels early on Friday morning and landed in Geneva an hour later. A shuttle service picked us up at our front door at 4:20am....ouch! Good news, they had Starbucks at the airport :) This quickly made up for the very early start. I haven't had a Starbuck's latte in two months. I LOVE STARBUCKS!
The travel was easy on Easy Jet and as we descended upon Geneva the snow capped mountains poked through the clouds. A truly breath taking view! I love the combination of both the mountains, water and beautiful trees. Beth and Dan live in Laussane where he works for the Nestle Research Institute and Beth teaches at an international school. Beth and Dan welcomed their baby girl in July. When we arrived we drove home with Dan to meet the new baby. We brought Klompen (wooden shoe slippers) for the whole family, Taylor too, and they really liked them. Dan took us into Lausanne for a walk on the waterfront of Lake Geneva where we explored the Olympique Musee which was very cool. Nick and Dan really enjoyed the greek inspired athlete statues. A little too much if you ask me ;) The architecture of Lausanne was not what I expected. I think I expected the city to look like a little mountain village with Saint Bernard's and gingerbread houses. It reminded me more of San Francisco with all the streets and buildings built into the hills. It was a mix of both modern and french inspired architecture. Similar to Quebec City. The lake was beautiful and we could just make out the swiss and french alps in the distance through the fog off of the lake. I enjoyed a coffee and the boys a beer at a small pub at the waterfront. The perfect way to spend a sun shiny day. There were Geckos and palm trees at the waterfront which was a big surprise to me. I had no idea it was warm enough for that. That evening Dan and Beth took us out for dinner to an authentic Swiss Chalet and we had fondue. My very first ever fondue! There was live music and it was wonderful to spend time with good friends in an authentically Swiss setting. Taylor, T-bone as I like to call her was the best baby ever. So cute, well behaved and what a sharp little dresser.
On Saturday they took us to to the village of Gruyere (the place where Gruyere cheese is made). The drive was beautiful. There were beautiful lake and mountain views and vineyards were built into the side of the hills. The cows in the fields all had giant cow bells hanging from their necks and the highway drove through tunnels carved into the mountains. We bought cheese and spent a relaxing evening with Beth, Dan and Taylor. We made dinner for Beth and Dan to thank them for putting us up for the weekend at "Hotel Moore". Our next adventure will be Amsterdam in two weeks and Paris at the end of November. We met a very nice older American man on the shuttle ride home who invited us for a visit at Christmas. He lives in a village about 10-min outside of Maastricht and teaches at the University as well. We are thinking we will go the Christmas markets in Germany for our December trip. I'm looking forward to the markets but Christmas away from home will be a challenge.

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