Switzerland - 2017

Switzerland: Day 3

Last night, we decided it might be fun to book a train that would take us up through the mountains. Actually, the first day we were here -while I was out for a walk, I thought it might be a fun idea -and when the rest of us showed up I ran the idea past them and we decided to book.

Apparently, however, when you ‘book a reservation’ on a train here -you are only reserving a seat. Not buying a ticket! Seat reservation is only recommended during peek season -which it is not. Woops! Oh well.

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We got these fancy red tags on our chairs and felt super special. So there is that!

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The train ride itself went from Montroux to Zweisimmen. There were some epic mountain views! The whole journey took about 5 hours to complete I believe. It didn’t seem like that long and after walking all day yesterday it was nice to sit and relax…well, relax is relative with two small kids on board!

It was also quite funny -we met a man in the coffee shop from Australia -who had traveled to Alaska and been in Ketchikan! It was crazy to not only meet someone who spoke English, but to meet someone who had been in OUR town!

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Sadly, today is our last day -we head out tomorrow, so this is au revoir, Switzerland, it’s been a treat!

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Switzerland - 2017, Travel

Switzerland: Day 2

Today was a great day, but that could have something to do with the fact that a few of my favorite people finally made it late last night!

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After breakfast we wandered down to the Christmas market -but since it was still early and everything wasn’t open yet -we changed our plans and began a walk to the Chillon Castle. It was meant to take about twenty minutes -but with our group we ended up taking at least an hour. Or two.

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It was a very scenic walk -and the trip back only took about 20 minutes.

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The castle itself was nice…except we forgot to pack food and by the time we were done we were famished. So off to a little pizza joint we went. The best pizza is always from the little shops in the wall that are dimly lit and unadvertised.

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Then back to the market for some hot chocolate, waffles and shopping.

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We also did another round on the Ferris Wheel -because of course we had to!

Then dinner and back to our hotel. It was a full day -but a lot of fun.

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Switzerland - 2017, Travel

Switzerland: Day Un

I woke up this morning a little bummed out about how things were panning out. I may be spontaneous enough to hop a plane with a few days notice and travel a billion and some odd miles alone -but going to a foreign country where I don’t speak their language? That’s where I draw the line.

But I am here. And there wasn’t anything left to do but get up -and then I looked out the window and saw this:

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…and couldn’t have been happier to be here. It’s seriously so beautiful!

Now I am the type of person that likes to have a plan -even if that plan means leaving in ten days for a five day trip a billion miles away. But I digress. Not having a set in stone plan for where I was going to go and what I was going to do, threw me a bit. Especially since I was already kind of reeling from the fact that I was here. Alone.

But first things first. I knew I had to get an adapter so I could charge my laptop and cell phone, and well everything really, and coffee. Because can one really start their day right without coffee? All that meant going for walk in a town I didn’t know. This could have been a disaster, considering I am direction-ally challenged. Seriously. I get lost in Walmart.

But priorities, folks.

I got up, got ready -opened the door and stepped out.

…and thus began my first day in Switzerland, solo.

I may have walked into a few doors, and may have gotten stuck in a revolving door. I may have also been called a name or two in French -I really couldn’t be for sure. The point is, I went out and ordered a coffee (to go) in what little French I knew, and got just that!

Honestly I was probably a little too excited that I had actually navigated the whole thing. And I’m also fairly certain it was straight espresso. No coffee. But it was good.

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But I got that adapter. And I got that coffee. And I found my way back to my hotel.

And then I went out again -to check out the Christmas Market…and walk along the water….

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I’ve never been to a foreign country alone, before. Sure, I travel alone. But I always have met up with someone. Someone who can help me navigate the roads and the languages. It was a whole new experience -this navigating alone stuff. It was also the first time in I don’t know how long that I didn’t have an agenda, or a plan, or anyone needing anything.

I didn’t have to be anywhere, had nothing but time, and was in an amazingly beautiful place. I couldn’t help but smile.

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Photobombs!

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After I went for my wander I came back to the hotel for a bit. Then just as it was getting dark, I decided to go back out and check out the market at night. To see the lights and take in the sights.

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I went in for a closer picture…

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…and ended up buying a ticket to go on it! I think this is probably the closest I will ever get to buying an “All around the world” ticket. Maybe not tho! One can dream!

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This is my “I am up so high, and I think I just might die if I look down so I will just stare blankly ahead” face.

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…and then I started laughing -because I was on a Ferris wheel, in Switzerland, alone, in the middle of the night…and I couldn’t stop. It took a few rounds for me to settle down and people probably thought I was losing my mind…or had too much warm rum and maple syrup. But I was just having fun. In Switzerland. Alone. In the middle of the night. On a Ferris wheel.

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Travel

Stories From the Road: The Hotel

“RUN! HIDE! GO GO GO!!!!” Yelled another.

I ran about flapping my arms and yelling nonsense in the most helpful manner, when someone opened the door and a silence fell over us all.

……what would he do? Was he going to throw us all to the curb? Would he fine us? Make us buy two rooms?

*****

The day had started out blissfully enough. But don’t they all? We hit the road on time -and we were making good, solid time. Our trip averaged out to us driving about six hours a day -without stops. It made for long drives, but this day was our ‘short day’ -if all went right, we could even stop at the hot springs. We were feeling good about our journey when the phone rang. We ignored it. Being in Canada, where answering the phone meant extra roaming charges -we decided to forego the call.

It wasn’t until we were three hours in, did we decide to check the message…it was the clerk from the previous motel – informing us that we had left our passports in their top secret hiding place from the night before.

This meant we would have to backtrack the three hours we had just driven -collect our passports and drive the original three hours again (for the third time in one day!) and then finish our original trip.

In the meantime -David had picked up the stomach bug that was being passed around the vehicle, making the rest of our trek even longer.

By the time we arrived at our destination – it was 2am. After driving around for a good fifteen minutes -whining, complaining and arguing -we gave up on finding the motel we had previously booked and opted to instead book a new motel for the night.

We pulled into the new motel parking lot and I ran in to secure us a room. Which is when I realized our dilemma.

I was booking a hotel, not a motel.

Let me explain.

When we had originally booked our journey -we ran into a problem with having 6 people. Most motels and hotels only allow up to five people. They don’t charge for extra people -but the fire department only allows up to five people in one room at a time. After talking with multiple friends (who travel with multiple kids) we decided to book motels instead of hotels. Since there were only four adults and two kids (under the age of four) we didn’t see the need to book two rooms for every stop, and instead chose motels over hotels. Motels -with their doors on the outside, would allow us to take our chances and sneak the extra little in with us.

Up until this point our plan had worked swimmingly.

But this night -we were in a hotel. Meaning we had to pass by the front desk and somehow not declare one of us. So we hatched a plan. Which at 2am might not have been a good idea.

First, we sent mom in on her own. Pulling a single suitcase. She was given strict instructions not to talk to anyone. Simply smile, nod, and make her way to the room.

A few moments later -David would follow suit. Wrapped in a large sweater, feeling and looking rather ill still -he would go alone. Carrying no bags. He too, was to talk to no one. The weary, lonely traveler was he.

Five minutes later -Amanda and I would follow. With the rest of the bags, travel potty, diapers, kids and other assorted goodies too important to leave in the car for the few hours we were there.

After waiting the five minutes we had given the previous two to make their way to the room -Amanda and I began our journey. Hauling enough bags and suitcases to easily accommodate a party of ten. We smiled, nodded, rounded the corner and waited for the elevator…which popped open…

…and there stood mom and David, who had apparently bumped into each other at the elevator and been having quite the time attempting to get it to go up. There was a mad shuffle and hushed muttering while we attempted to diffuse the situation and distribute people…

…and then the motel man arrived. He asked if we were having troubles, loaded us all on the elevator, pushed the button and waved as the doors closed. Nothing suspicious about us at all we decided. Just a group of disheveled travelers who knew not each other -heading in the same general direction at 2am.

We found our room, dropped our bags and heaved relief. And just then, there was a knock at the door.

“HE KNOWSSSSSSSSSSSSSS” someone hissed. Referring to the man at the desk, fearing he had come to his senses and was going to surely kick one of us out.

“HIDE!!!!!!!” Someone else yelled

The window flung open “We can’t go out! We are seven floors up! We are trapped!!!” bellowed another.

“RUN! HIDE! GO GO GO!!!!” Yelled another.

I ran about flapping my arms and yelling nonsense in the most helpful manner…when someone opened the door and a silence fell over us all.

……what would he do? Was he going to throw us all to the curb? Would he fine us? Make us buy two rooms? Make the baby sleep in the car?

“Thank you.” whomever had the sense to open the door in the first place.

The door closed.

“You left your ID at the counter. He was just returning it.”

A few of us road-weary stragglers -looking for a place to stay the night.

England - 2017

England Highlights

So, about a month ago, I caught wind of some cheap tickets to go to England.  I was wanting to take a trip but really hadn’t considered it.  Having other commitments already on the burner I didn’t think I would be going anywhere until the fall or winter.  But the cheap tickets (under $600) were more than I could handle….and so I bought the tickets.

Unlike my normal travel stunts where I go for extended periods of time -this trip was just going to be a short one of two weeks, as opposed to a few months.  It was a trip that I could just squeeze in between dog sitting and other odd jobs…which is how I found myself in England a week and ½ ago.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Igtham mote:

Bodiam Castle:

My tour guide.  Since they had just been there a few weeks prior, he had great fun showing me around.

And then of course, the sun came out and spring officially came to England.