train from Milan to Zurich
running through Milan train station / so happy to be in Zurich!
When Tim and I took our lovely trip to France, so long ago, we really enjoyed traveling by train. It was so quiet and peaceful to relax into our chairs and watch the scenery slip by. Maybe have a snack or a nap. Nothing but enjoyment.
The same does not hold true for train travel with 3 and 1 year old boys. I assumed they would love the trains (and they did!), but they didn't want to be stuck on the trains all day (and they were!) We also found out that it wasn't as efficient or easy a means of travel as we remembered. We had to drive from Pienza to Florence, drop off the car, walk with all of our gear to the train station, ride one train to Milan, change trains (we almost missed this one), and ride another to Zurich. By the time we got to Zurich it was dark, we hadn't had dinner, and we still had to pick up a rental car and find our way to the Zurich house. Not ideal. In hindsight, it would have been much easier (and quicker, and even less expensive!) to have kept our car rental and just driven from Pienza to Zurich. I wanted the boys to experience traveling by train in Europe, and I'm glad they did but I'm not sure we'd do it over again with little ones.
the cows (and their bells) were my favorite / pretty wildflowers everywhere
the neighbor's woodpile / pretty scene in Appenzell
One way or another, we made it to beautiful Switzerland. It surpassed all of my expectations! Italy has a history, a patina, that makes everything beautiful - the buildings, the land, the food, the people - and I was sad to leave it behind. But Switzerland appealed to another side of me with its neat little farmsteads, bright painted houses and velvety green fields. I wanted to roll in those fields and hug those beautiful cows and gather all the wildflowers. Everything just seemed so fresh and tidy. It was lovely in a very different way than Italy.
boat ride on Zurichsee with Gigi and Papa
AND, we got to meet up with my parents in Zurich, which was so fun! The boys love their Gigi and Papa so much, and they were thrilled to share this part of the adventure with them. We all were. We rented a little house in the country (in Wetzikon) about 20 minutes outside of Zurich, and from there we made excursions around the area. On the first day we stayed close to home, gathered some groceries, and hosted my cousin and her family for dinner! The next day we drove East into the Appenzell region to the town of Appenzell. It was a beautiful drive through dramatic green hills with tiny little towns nestled in the valleys, like pictures in a fairy tale. In town we walked, lunched, took lots of pictures, and let the boys play in the park. The next day we went into Zurich and took a boat ride on the lake, walked around a bit, and had lunch. Like always, we tried to combine some sight-seeing for the adults with a fun adventure for the boys, and this was really great! We all loved the boat ride, and it was a beautiful way to see the city. It was a chilly, drizzly day and I'll never forget how cozy it was, sipping hot tea in our seats and watching the boys play with the mountains going by in the distance.
boat ride on Zurichsee with Gigi and Papa
Zurichsee / Dad: "stop looking at me, swan"
out on a date in the neighborhood / some of our neighbors
On our last full day in Switzerland my parents made a day trip over to Lucerne. Tim and I would have loved to go on this excursion, but we knew we had a long trip back to the states ahead of us the following day. So, we chose to stay in Wetzikon to allow the boys to nap when needed, and spend their waking time being as active as possible, rather than sitting in a car. Tim found a local farm where we could pick out some (tiny) pumpkins, have lunch, and let the boys play. This turned out to be one of the highlights of our time in Switzerland, in my opinion. The farm was just beautiful and the boys had a blast climbing hay bales, petting goats, running in the orchard, and of course, picking out a pumpkin. (Michael named his "Scary Harry".) It was a perfect, crisp fall day. I'll always remember it.
running around the orchard at Jucker Farm
It was so special, getting to share this trip with you, Mom and Dad! We have such happy memories of our time together in Switzerland! A few more photos...
out the front door / Michael meets one of the locals
dinner at our swiss house / playing with Papa
our last night at the swiss house / saying goodbye to Switzerland