Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baby Birds...

We have a few new residents at our house!  I would like to introduce you to Ralph, Ramona, and Roy Richardson, the baby birds living in a nest at our house.  Oh, let's not forget the mama, Regina!

I cannot wait to see these baby birds fly.  I just hope they do not fly straight into the path of a husky.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throw Back Thursday...

Headlsburg, CA - July 2010

This picture is from one of my very favorite vacations that Ken and I took back in 2010.  We were supposed to go to Key West, but Ken's work got in the way.  He called me to let me know of the issue and told me instead of going to Key West the week before, he would take me to Sonoma.  I love that he delivered his unfavorable news in a way to make it up to me.  We visited countless wineries in both Sonoma and Napa on this trip and enjoyed a day trip to San Francisco for a Giants game.  I will never forget this vacation.

We also became wine club members at Christopher Creek Winery, where we are in the photo, so that we receive a little bit of Sonoma County every few months.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Germany and Switzerland: Day 10...Heading Home

We had an early wake up call on Friday to get to the train station to take the train back to Zurich.  Ironically enough, this was the best both of us slept the entire trip.  I think it had something to do with it raining outside.

Good bye Lucerne!

We had a long day traveling but it was much easier going home than getting there.  When we got to my car at the airport we were lucky enough that my spare keys were inside!  We made it home just around midnight, which was 7:00 am according to us.

A few final thoughts to note:

  • I came home with 12 chocolate bars and sadly only four are left.
  • I should have carried a larger purse instead of a cross body bag.
  • I did not flat iron my hair the entire time, since I fried my (old) flat iron in Germany.
  • We were thought to have been locals too many times to count.
  • Francs and Euros are much prettier than US dollars.

We had such a wonderful time!  I know that this was not our only time to venture to Europe.  I know we will be back and will spend two weeks making our way around.  

Until next time!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Germany and Switzerland: Day 9...Lucerne

We woke up on Thursday and I decided that I wanted to go for a quick run around Lauterbrunnen.  I made sure that I ran back by my cow friends that were chasing me earlier in the week.  I was curious to see if they would chase me again.  Never fear, the one cow started prancing around.  It was hilarious.

Of course I stopped for a picture with my favorite cow!

We had breakfast at our hotel and had the opportunity to thank Maria for all her wonderful advice during our stay.  She was so kind to us and made wonderful recommendations on how to spend our days.  If you ever find yourself in Lauterbrunnen, by all means, please look into staying at Hotel Staubbach.  

We packed all of our stuff and said our goodbyes and made our way to the train station.  It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get to Lucerne.  Right before we pulled up to the train station in Lucerne, Ken asked me if I had the keys to my car (at the airport in KC) because he did not have them.  I did not have them and that is when we realized that they were left in the hotel in Lauterbrunnen.  

For some reason, I was pretty sure that my spare set of keys was in my car, so I was not too worried.  I knew they were either in my car or sitting on our desk in our kitchen.  My friend Jill was checking on my cats, so I asked her to verify they were not on the desk.  She was so kind and told me she would come pick us up at the airport if we needed her to.  Luckily, the keys were not on the desk, so I knew they had to be in my car.  Fortunately, since my car is a Lincoln, it has a key pad on the outside that allows you to unlock the doors.  I felt pretty confident that we were going to avoid a disaster and were able to enjoy our last day.

We got to the train station and walked a block to our hotel, Hotel des Alpes.  I had reserved us a room over looking the famed Chapel Bridge.  We got settled and decided to walk around to get a drink and something to eat.  

The view from our room

Right away Ken and I felt like Lucerne had a very Italian feel.  Neither us have been to Italy, but everything about it screamed Italian to us.  Lucerne (Luzern) was a beautiful, quaint city.  One thing that I loved was that all the restaurants had outdoor seating along the water.


They serve pretzels in the place of bread for sandwiches.  It was at that moment that I told Ken I was not going to back to the US.  I was staying to eat all the pretzels and croissants I could in Europe.  

We sat around for a while and then decided to go wander around the city for a bit.  

We walked across the Chapel Bridge and ended up being witnesses to a swan fight.  I know, what violence.  Clearly it was mating season because big Brutus was totally defending his territory.  He had his wings fluffed out with an attitude.

See the trouble maker?

We relaxed for a while, had dinner along the water at an Italian place and did a little shopping.  We ended up getting a bottle of wine and going back to our room and enjoying it on our balcony.

Ken looking handsome and enjoy a little Swiss wine

A storm started to roll in over the mountains.  The peaks that were visible earlier were now covered in clouds.

We went back out to see the city at night.  I may have been secretly hoping we would stop for dessert as well.

A view of all the restaurants along the water.  Our hotel is the the one on the right with the flag at the top.

We stopped for drinks and dessert

Nothing beats ending the night with apple strudel!  Or in Ken's case, a beer.

Lucerne was the perfect place to spend our last day.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Germany and Switzerland: Day 8...Murren and Snow

We woke up on Wednesday and poor Ken felt worse than he did the day before.  We went to the Co-op hoping to get him some cold medicine but learned that this type of medication is only sold at a doctor's office.  We made our way to the local Swiss doctor and 12 Francs later, we had some Swiss cold medicine made by Bayer.

We got a little bit of a later start that morning so that Ken could get a little extra rest and then made our plans for the day.  We had really wanted to over to the other side of the valley and hike Kleine Scheidegg, but after pulling up the webcam we saw too much snow and did not want to chance that we would have to turn around.  This really bummed me out because I really wanted to explore this area.  Oh well, I guess we will just have to go back!

We decided to walk down to Stechelberg and catch the cable car to Murren and then hike on the mountain trail to Allmendhubel and back around to Grutschalp.

We knew that we were likely to see a few BASE jumpers on the walk to Stechelberg.  Ken was really hoping to see one from the ground, since he saw one actually jump off of the platform in Murren.

Such a beautiful walk to Stechelberg

As we were walking we heard this loud wind sound and realized it was a BASE jumper pulling his chute.  We missed seeing him free falling by two seconds!

We knew that there had to be more jumpers so we stood around and watched for a bit.  Sure enough we saw one leap of the cliff.

It's a bird, it's a plane...no wait, it is a BASE jumper!  Click to enlarge.  He looks like a little bird!

We were pretty excited that we saw one.  Then we saw another and heard him yell WAHOO!  He landed right by us and looked like he had quite the rush.  It seemed a little too scary for me!

This ended up being one of my favorite pictures I took the entire trip.  The walk to Stechelberg was so pretty.

We got to Stechelberg and ran into the Asian Invasion on their way up to the Schilthorn. Let's just say that it was very clear that they annoy the hell out of the Swiss as well.  We stopped at Gimmelwald to change cars and they were literally running like they were going to miss the cable car.  They were running into both of us.  It was really annoying.  Let's just say that anytime I see a video of people running or being trampled in China will come at no surprise.  We could not get off the cable car fast enough and were grateful that we were not going to the Schilthorn.  

We arrived in Murren and stopped for lunch and drinks right away.  

All glassed in Germany and Switzerland are marked with a fill line so you know how much drink you should receive.


We left Murren and the trail went straight up.  Yeah.  One of the KJ's was not very happy about this.  

I think this picture pretty much sums that up!

Despite the attitude of one of the hikers, it was a gorgeous day to be hiking.

There was a debate that took place at one point because someone did not walk to continuetowalkallthewayuptheeffingmountain.  I did my best sales presentation that we had to be coming to a flat section eventually.  Quite honestly, I am surprised he did not kick me in the shins and run away.  He was such a trooper going straight up and not feeling well.  

View of the Schilthorn.  I did my best to try to reassure Ken that despite what he may have thought, we were not hiking to the top.

We ran into a little bit of snow and I think this is when Ken started to feel better.  It may have been because I kept falling in the snow.  I guess there is just something about watching your Ironman wife bite it in the snow.

We made it to Allmendhubel and instead of being greeted with a hut for drinks and snacks, we were greeted with more snow.  As in, a lot of snow.  We decided to try to cross since it was not in an area with a steep drop off.

I cannot speak for Ken, but there was definitely f-bombs coming out of my mouth at this point.  Plus, I fell at least two times.

We lived!

Looking back at the hill we came down

I wish I could say that this was the only snow we encountered, but it wasn't.  I also wish I could say it was the only time I fell, but it wasn't.

The three peaks, Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau

This is another one of my favorite pictures of the entire trip!  With the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau

I zoomed way in to get a picture of the Spinx on the Jungfrau.  Look how deep the snow is!

I could not believe the clear views of the mountains.  It was kind of like they were shouting Take our picture Keri!

Soon enough, we were back in the snow

All of that snow.  We were the only people hiking in this area too.  I was kind of getting tired of hiking in the snow.

While I was tired of the snow, Ken was loving it.  He said it reminded him of his childhood and being out on an adventure, making his own trail.  

Since we were at a higher elevation, we ended up running into farmers that were building their fences for the cows to come up for the summer.  The strangest thing was walking all over and opening gates and closing them because you were on someone's property, which was totally legal.

The beginning of Staubbach Falls

We finally made to Grutschalp and decided to take the cable car back to Lauterbrunnen instead of hike down.  The hike down was pretty steep and we did not think our knees could handle another steep descent.  
Since it was our last night in Lauterbrunnen we went back to Hotel Oberland for dinner, which was our favorite restaurant in the village.  Ken had rosti and I had fondue, again.  It was sooooo good!

Rosti and fondue, how Swiss of us

After dinner we walked back to our hotel and sat out and had a few drinks.  The wind had picked up like it was going to storm and the falls were all blowing like crazy.

Staubbach Falls blowing in the wind

The end of a wonderful day

We loved our time in Lauterbrunnen!