Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm Swiss!

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At the beginning of August we got another visit from family members--two of my husband's brothers.  His youngest brother was taking his first trip to Europe and his older brother had time off to join him.  We'd been wanting to get to Switzerland and it seemed like the perfect place for the four of us to enjoy together.

We met up with them in Bern after a long drive from Marburg.  In the morning we did a short walking tour to explore the city and then moved on to a small town called Murten.  We had a nice picnic by the lake and did another short walking tour that took us by some amazingly cute houses and along the old city ramparts.  I fell in love with the town and tried to convince my husband he could commute from there!

After that we enjoyed some Gruyere fondue at a nice place in the country and continued our drive to Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen.  In the morning we set out on quite the hike through the Alps after a bit of help from a gondola.  The hike took us through loads of noisy fields with cows (all have bells around their necks), the town of Gimmelwald and Mürren.  We had a nice dinner outside at a nearby hotel (great weather!) where we enjoyed some traditional dishes including rösti and more fondue.  After dinner we drove into Interlaken in search of ice cream.  After not having much luck, I finally spotted a neon ice cream cone like a beacon calling us home...well, you know, sort of...

We spent the next day doing an easier hike that was all downhill, though downhill for quite a steep distance can still be pretty tough.  On our way to Lugano that evening we had a scenic drive through some of the most beautiful country we'd ever seen.  Absolutely wondrously amazing.  Several stops were made to enjoy views, take pictures, and build little tiny snowmen :-)  Upon our arrival in Lugano we headed to a recommended spot for pizza (this city is practically in Italy) and enjoyed some great food before a huge rainstorm hit and we tried to make it back to the hotel without jackets or umbrellas.

In the morning we explored the town a bit with another walking tour, grabbed some gelato, and took a boat tour out on the lake.  The boat dropped us off and we walked along the lake back towards Lugano and then took a bus the last little bit of the way.  From there we drove to Lucerne and had a nice dinner at a micro-brewery the boys wanted to visit.

The next day was less than ideal weather so started with a walking tour and lunch and then made our way to a museum with a large Picasso collection.  I had never had the chance to see so much of his work before and the museum had a nice guide that gave more information.  There was also an exhibit of photographs of him at work and play.  In the afternoon we hung out at an Irish pub watching the Olympics since it was still very rainy before having another Italian dinner.

The youngest brother had to leave early in the morning to catch a flight to London for the Olympics so the remaining three of us had a low-key day with another boat tour and a couple of other sites.  We decided to head back early and visit Strasbourg again along the way.  We had visited for a short time back in May during our trip to the Black Forest, but my brother-in-law had never been.  The weather was lovely and we just strolled around and took some great pictures, saw the church, and found my husband's namesake clothing store.

My brother-in-law stayed two nights with us in Marburg and I spent a day taking him around to all the sights in Marburg; the castle, Elisabeth church, Wilhelm Tower, the gardens, etc.

It was a great trip and nice to have more family here.  It is very funny to us though to see people from our American lives over here--makes it all seem a bit more real.  I highly recommend the hiking and scenery in the Alps to anyone.  A simply beautiful area of creation.

Here are the photos:

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