I’m telling you, you can’t go wrong in that place.
Of course, Anita, being the super-spectacular trip planner that she is put an alternate “rainy-day” plan on our agenda. So we took it and headed to the Swiss chocolate factory one of the days.
We drove through the most stunning countryside to get there.
I’m sure I would have driving my family crazy with all my gasps and ooos and ahhhs about all the beauty surrounding us in every direction but they were right there with me in awe too, so it all worked out great. There were random waterfalls spilling out of some of the velvety-green mountains and we stopped at this one to dance a little bit.
They were dancing so much we kind of missed catching the pretty waterfall behind them, but it was there.
…and it brought on some pretty nifty dance moves.
After all those rolling hills of green velvet we arrived at the CALLIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY which truly filled the air with a pretty luscious chocolate aroma.
The only picture I have of the tour is the chocolate tasting room at the end where we got to taste all kinds of deliciousness.
Too bad Lucy didn’t like that part too much.
Lucy really wanted to do the “jump” sometimes but was happier doing a front jump.
Oh man I love these girls of ours.
But you saw my little screenshot weather above, right?
We took a little detour to explore LAKE GENEVA in the French part of Switzerland.
Oh man it was just like we were in France.
We stopped at CHATEAU DE CHILLON which was pretty beautiful.
I had to capture the flowers growing out of a wall where we parked the car:
Then we drove and drove and drove through that long valley that leads to ZERMATT.
We kept seeing little patches of blue sky just hoping the weather might change:
We got there just in time for the sun setting somewhere beyond the clouds and had dinner at this really delicious spot:
Despite not being in love with the not-overly-impressive town, we had a pretty interesting family discussion about the church and how and why people believe what they do. Dave read us an article that spurred a lot of thoughts. I love that our kids are old enough to have discussions like that.
We played scum back at the hotel and enjoyed our kind of funky 70s room that night:)
Claire and I took a little walking date to the town square in the morning.
That part was pretty beautiful too. I LOVE all the churches in every town square.
We sat there and talked as we waited and waited to see if THE MATTERHORN might just pop out, but this is as blue as it got where it was supposed to be:
We had plans to take the gondola up to it’s base, but we decided the weather didn’t merit that so we just turned around and headed back on the train to get back to our car and see some other things.
(Zermatt is a car-free town so we had to park in the next town over and take a steep train up to where we stayed.)
On our way down the mountain on the train, a guy came over and commented that he was impressed with our small amount of luggage, especially considering we were traveling with all these girls. We hadn’t seen or talked to an American for a while and as we got talking we found out that he happened to go to the same high school as Dave did and he and his wife (who he was on an anniversary trip with) were in the same ward (church congregation) with Dave’s cousin in California.
How’s that for a small world? So crazy!
Had to include them in a little family selfie as we said goodbye at the station:
Next stop was my brother’s house!
We were so excited to see them!
And we were also excited to see this en route:
Can you even stand how breath-taking this view is?
This field of flowers on the other side was pretty stunning as well.
I love this picture:
It was a good little detour for our afternoon drive.
Check out these hairpin turns below:
Whoa what a joyous reunion that was!
We went on an evening walk up the mountain behind their home.
Even though it started pouring.
And played a pretty great game of scum to finish off the night right there in their great little kitchen.
Nothing like spending one-on-one time with siblings and their families.
Especially when there are nine kids and when you’re all together it’s sometimes hard to get a word in edgewise.
The next day we hit LUCERNE. It was raining (sometimes pouring) so we opted out of the trip to the Alps from there, but we soaked in that beautiful wet city with people we love so much.
I especially loved hearing all kinds of imaginative stories Claire made up for her in the car.
These girls sure adore this uncle who used to live right by us.
It was burned in the 1990s but has been restored.) It’s the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe and gets it’s name from St. Peter’s Chapel which is close by.
There are paintings in all the little trusses on the inside which reminded me so much of the walkway at the Summer Palace in China.
The architecture in Lucerne is so beautiful.
We visited the Hofkirche which was gorgeous as well…
..and happened to have a wedding going on inside.
We checked out the “Dying Lion” on our way out of town too:
That night we had a great little barbecue back at Tal and Anitas…
…and played cards all night.
That night was one for the record books that will be remembered fondly for years to come as the night when Lucy ruled as “President” six consecutive times in a row.
Yes, you can bet that she was pretty excited about that.
Claire somehow taught her to say “Boom, in your face!” with a huge smile across her face as she put down her last cards with a huge arm flourish.
Pretty delicious stuff.
We also made our own butter.
(Actually we were still at the tail-end of it at this point), and at every mountain we saw throughout our Swiss adventure Claire and Lucy exclaimed, “that looks like Grandfather’s Hut!” over and over and over again. So much so that Elle was saying it in jest by the end even though she never read the book.
Claire was pretty excited about this little side trip.
And Lucy insisted she needed a picture by herself where they recreated the place where Heidi made up her own bed.
There was a little museum and a little house all with pretty original Swiss things (kitchen food prep, food storage, beds, cradles, etc.) from the time when Heidi was written.
It was made extra interesting to me as Anita told us all about each thing and explained that she had a lot of the same things in her own family’s little cabin up in the mountains growing up.
We had lunch at this cool little pit stop Tal recommended and then headed to FLIMS where Anita grew up.
We took a lot of pictures because how could you not?
We didn’t have a whole lot of time so we were thankful for this handy-dandy elevator thing to get us up and down.
We went to take in Anita’s home she grew up in one last time since they’re selling it.
We felt a lot of joy about that awesome spot, and I LOVED that my kids got to see where she grew up. Her “back yard” is my favorite part:
…and theirs too.
I was so grateful for the opportunity for these kids to get to their aunt’s roots and see the wonder of why she loves living in Switzerland so much.
On the way home we were graced with a gorgeous rainbow out the back of the car.
…as the clouds parted and let us in on the faces of the gorgeous mountains that surrounded us.
Pictures could never do that drive justice but had to try a few.
We ended our Swiss adventure with a delicious dinner at Tal and Anita’s.
…and a few rounds of scum, of course.
Now go get a little finger massage to ease out those cramping fingers from trying to scroll through that mass of pictures because if you made it through, you deserve it! I think these are easier to find later if I don’t break them up into too many posts so thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far.
On to France!