Switzerland

IMG_3628If Switzerland were a person, upon introduction, she would appear to be perfect in every way. Her hair would be styled tastefully with not a strand out of place. No super-long, boho, beachy, messy waves, just hair that is smooth, shiny, clean, and perfectly cut. Makeup would be applied only to enhance her natural beauty. Her clothes and accessories would exude wealth, but not in the Beverly Hills way of being covered head-to-toe in logos. It would be in the impeccable tailoring and quality fabrics that say: I wear 1500 dollar suits to work every day. She would be confident, educated, well-spoken, reserved, and punctual. She would always follow the rules. For leisure she would enjoy swimming, biking, and running during the warmer months, and of course would also be an excellent skier during the winter months.

In short you would discover that you were wrong about your initial assessment. She doesn’t appear to be perfect, she is perfect. I realize that my analogy may be as bad as Julia Roberts’ analogy of creme brulee and jello in ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding,’ but that is seriously what popped into my head as soon as we saw the city.

IMG_3630For starters, the water there is crystal clear. Even near the docks and bridges, where, at least in the States, it’s a bit muddy or murkier, you can see straight to the bottom. Most of the lakes and rivers, as you can see in the pictures above are also a bright turquoise color. Whenever I saw them in pictures, I always thought that they must have adjusted the colors to make it appear brighter, but the water is truly a vibrant shade of turquoise. It’s absolutely amazing!

FullSizeRender (3)The houses and cafes that line the cobbled streets of Old Town Zurich are all painted in soft pastel colors, with colorful flags that hang cheerfully near the windows.

IMG_3627The streets are spotless. Seriously! There was not a single piece of garbage, or cigarette butt to be found. There are also many, many clocks. Clocks on old buildings (seen above, below, and there were two in the picture that was second from the top), clocks on all the churches…they are everywhere, and they are all beautiful.

IMG_3622As beautiful and pristine a city as Zurich was, I have to say that I still prefer the streets of the Gothic quarter in Barcelona, or the tiny winding streets of Sitges. There are brighter colors, and they just seem to have so much more character than the perfect, polished streets of Zurich.

Having said that, I would happily live in the mountains of Switzerland over any city in the world, any day. I have found, having lived in Barcelona for almost two months now, that I am not a city person. There are a million and one things to do and see, and it is very convenient having all these shops and grocery stores within walking distance, but I miss my open spaces.

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Talk about open spaces! How green is that valley?! That was taken on our way to see Berggasthaus Aescher…

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which as you can see is this wonderful restaurant that is built into the side of a mountain. You can actually hike up there from the bottom, but we have a toddler. She ain’t got time for that. She has places to see, people to meet,

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ok make that animals to meet. She and Mrs. Dairy Cow had themselves a stare down. Obviously Mrs. Dairy Cow won. And yes I’m aware that our child looks like an eccentric refugee, but it was very windy, and very cold, so we made do with what we had.

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We also got to see the Swiss Alps while we were there! We took a tram with our Swiss Aunties and their little doggie up to ‘The Top of Europe,’ where you are able to see the three peaks: Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger.

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It was spectacular. Really, no words, or pictures can do it justice. You just have to see it in person to understand the beauty of this place, and how huge these mountains are. It is blissfully quiet. The air is cool and clean, and you hear the jingling of cow bells, bouncing off of hills from cows that graze all over the valley.

IMG_3636Unfortunately I didn’t get a good close up of the charming houses that are nestled down in the valley, but they are like little gingerbread houses. They are little wooden houses that have flowers spilling out of multiple containers by windows and doors. Some of the houses even had lace curtains that framed all the windows. I bet in the wintertime they look just like a dream.

IMG_3602While my favorite part might have been the mountains and crystal clear lakes. Esmé’s favorite part was spending time with ‘Chuckle,’ her Aunties’ dog. They held hands on the tram ride back down the mountains…

IMG_3554 they took naps together in the car after long days exploring multiple countries…

IMG_3556 and every morning we woke up to the sounds of ‘ah! ah! ah! ah!’ (which is Esmé speak for what a doggie says) because she had found the dog, and was barking at her and waving to her.

Switzerland was such a gorgeous place to see, but for me the best part was being able to see it with family. I think that’s what I will treasure the most when we look back on this trip…coming home after long days packed with activities, to good food, and even better company.

 

 

 

 

 

We Officially Have A Toddler

 

FullSizeRender (2)This has been something that we have been waiting and waiting and WAITING to happen. Everywhere we go people are always asking if she’s walking yet, and we always see toddlers that are half her size running around, (she is pretty tall), but right after it happened I turned to my husband incredulously and said ‘How did this happen??’

She was just so fast and happy about crawling I kind of thought maybe she would just carry on that way forever. I realize that this is a good thing, and all part of growing up, but I honestly feel a little sad. My heart feels full with pride, but oh so ache-y and like it’s being squeezed at the same time.

We used our last milestone card, I filled in the last blank space in her ‘So Many Firsts’ section of her baby book, and I’m in a little bit of shock about it.

Baby books are kind of evil by the way. Sure it’s cute, and such a nice way to keep all your baby firsts organized, but it requires you to look through all the old pictures and mementos every time you need to add something. You start feeling all nostalgic, and pretty soon you’re wishing you had another small, squishy baby to snuggle and smell.

I’m onto you baby paraphernalia makers. I’m onto you.

In going back through all of her stuff I realized that this time last year we were celebrating our ability to roll. I’ll say it again…How did this happen??? I mean really, because I swear that rolling thing happened just yesterday.

Today was just like any other day: her pounding crawl following me all over the apartment until she found an object to pull herself up on; vehemently refusing to walk unless she had both my hands to hold on to; proud to stand up on her own (she applauds herself), but firmly shakes her head ‘no’ when you ask her to step-step. Then Daddy came home, and we were all sitting in the living room chatting, when she decided she was ready to walk! Apparently she was just waiting for Daddy to show off her skills. Emile quickly ran to get a phone to record it, and we enjoyed several repeat performances ;).

We are so, so proud of our little monkey.

And time? You can slow down now. Really. That would be super.

Esmé Goes To New York City

IMG_3073I was looking back through photos in my phone, thinking about doing a favorites for Barcelona post, when I came across pictures from our trip to NYC. I had completely forgot about Esmé’s interview about New York! I know, how dare I! So before any more time passed, and she completely forgot about all the things she did, I sat her down to see what her thoughts were on The Big Apple.

IMG_3104Esmé I know you’ve been doing so much traveling lately, but do you remember your trip to NYC? Of course I remember! There were tons of really tall buildings that were so close together. Even though I tilted my head as far back as it could go, I still couldn’t see the tops of the buildings. I was like, wow!

Sounds like those are some pretty tall buildings. I’d certainly say so.

We heard that you got to stay in some pretty fancy hotels. What did you think of them? Yeah, I kind of feel like a hotel is a hotel. My mom was all freaking out about the nice shiny floors, and sparkly chandeliers, and pretty flower arrangements, but they’re not fooling anyone. I know that’s where my torture chamber gets set up, and I don’t want any part of that.

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IMG_3102See that?? Ugh, Mom! I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist putting up pictures of those flowers. Who cares about flowers?! Why don’t you care about your only daughter who has to suffer the portable chamber of torture??

Well, I can certainly see that your opinion of your pack’n’play has not improved with use. No. Absolutely not. On a more positive note, I wore my Daddy down with my wailing and gnashing of teeth, so he let me stay in the bed with them until I fell asleep this time. Suckers! I mean, such supportive and wonderful parents I have. *cough* *cough* 

IMG_3106I mean look at that. Why didn’t they do this sooner? It’s totally comfortable to sleep with feet in your face! 

That does look pretty cozy I have to say. Speaking of being comfortable, I’ve seen that you appear to have found a new pose for comforting yourself. Would you care to share with our friends? Yes. 

Ok here it is:

IMG_3097Wow. So a thumb in the mouth and a foot in the hand, near the head? Yup. I really think more people ought to give it a try. It really helps calm me down when I’m feeling stressed.

I will definitely keep that in mind. Getting back to your trip, you got to see, and eat, so many exciting things. What would you say was your favorite? Well that’s a tough one because I really like sweets, and we got to have cake (twice!) from this place called Lady M Cake Boutique. It was SO good. And I also really love saying ‘hi!’ repeatedly and waving to strangers, making them feel really awkward until they respond back. I also enjoyed all the lights and pigeons that were in Times Square. I fed them lots of my breakfast. But if I really had to pick one thing, it would be Central Park.

Really? What about going to the famous FAO Schwarz toy store? Meh. It was OK, but I love the park. The park had grass, and little people running around, and people playing music, and horses, and swings! I love to swing. Swinging’s my favorite. My mommy and me sat on her jacket afterwards, shared a cookie, and I got a food pouch. You just can’t beat that.IMG_3094Well I’m glad that you had such fun. As always, thank you for your time, and I can’t wait to hear all about your favorites from Spain!