Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hikes hikes, baby...

This was the kind of weekend that makes the thought of moving away from here almost impossible to contemplate.

On Saturday, Mr K and I headed to Vevey for the Street Artists Festival - mimes and clowns and magicians, oh my! I have to be honest - it was nice, but this festival didn't quite stand up to either the yodeling festival or the barrel organ festival. This one was just a bit too organized and crowded. We expected the performers to be spread throughout the city, but instead they took turns performing in set locations that we always arrived at far too late to get close enough to see anything. Still, the weather was gorgeous and it was nice to walk around a bit. (I was very impressed with the guy who managed to climb up and then back down a ladder he had balanced on a tightrope.)

Today, though, was just perfect. Steph and I headed out around ten in the morning (we left the husbands with their computers as is becoming our tradition.) We drove to nearby Schwarzee where we parked the car and hopped on a chair lift for my first chair lift ride - so much fun! Ten francs and minutes later, we were up high above the town. Steph pointed to a white dot of a chalet in the distance. "Our lunch destination." I clutched my tummy, my tiny ham sandwich from breakfast already half digested, and we started walking.

The sun was out but a nice breeze coupled with periods of walking in the shade kept us from getting too hot. The walk went surprisingly fast - we made it to the chalet in just under two hours. Upon arrival, our first goal was to secure a table in the shade. Moments later, the owner of the chalet, a charming old man with a pipe in his mouth and white hair to his shoulders, came out and greeted us warmly. Steph asked him what was for lunch (sausages or cheese) and we both decided on sausages and iced tea. Our lunch appeared a few minutes later - two still-sizzling sausages each along with a couple tomato wedges, some mustard (served in 12 gram packets), and a basket of tasty bread. The sausage were studded with whole cumin seeds and cooked perfectly, with a slight crunch to the skin - I was in food-heaven.

After we finished our lunches, we continued to sit as we sipped our tea. Another couple arrived with their St Bernard. After ordering two beers, the couple settled at a nearby table and the dog flopped down underneath it. I got a laugh when the woman pulled a bottle from her backpack and poured some liquid into the table's ashtray (after checking to be sure it was clean, of course) which she placed in front of the dog. I giggled because I just saw this out of the corner of my eye and I would have sworn she poured beer into the ashtray until I saw the water bottle make a second appearance. Hydrated and fed, we paid our bill (8.50 CHF each for lunch and drink - so cheap) and headed back down the last stretch of hill - the last really steep and small-pebble-covered stretch of hill.

This last hill was the important one. Part of our goal for today's walk was to put my new hiking boots to the test before our weekend hiking trip early next month. Well, I'm proud to say that after 17884 blister-free steps (or 8.45 miles) they passed the test!

Once we reached the bottom of the hill, however, our day was still far from over. We changed back into our sandals and threw our boots in the trunk of the car before heading back to go for a ride on the SUMMER TOBOGGAN RUN! It was way too much fun for words and I can't wait to go again. After our ride, we grabbed cold drinks and sipped them while we soaked our feet in the lake for thirty minutes or so before heading home.

Just when I thought my day couldn't get better, when I got home I remembered the kilo of IKEA meatballs in the freezer! Less than half an hour later, Mr K and I were chowing down on a dinner of meatballs in sauce on noodles with lingonberry preserves on the side. We topped the evening off with a little dvd watching and now, slightly sunburned and thoroughly tired, I'm ready to head to bed. What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Caution - mushy ahead

Happy anniversary, mom and dad!

I just thought I would take this opportunity to say thanks for everything you've done and for the amazing influence you've been! When I was younger, I used to always say I would never get married and a large part of this was due to my observations of my parents' marriage. I know kids say that kind of thing all the time, but the difference is most people say it because they come from broken or unhappy homes. I said it because my parents have always had such a solid and loving relationship. Up until a few years ago I had never experienced anything that would compare, and as a result and I wasn't going to settle, hence the "never get married." I did finally meet the perfect person for me, as we all know, but this post isn't about me - it's about my family.

I can only remember one fight my parents had during my childhood and I feel so very very fortunate to be able to say that (I should add that by dinner time everyone was reconciled and laughing about it). Instead of arguments, my memory is full of images of my parents holding hands, laughing and joking, and being visibly in love. Growing up, I remember after dinner, after first taking care of my sister and I, mom and dad would go into the living room to watch the news and have "grownup time." They would sit together on the couch, mom's feet in dad's lap. As a kid, I had a vague notion that this time as important to them even though I couldn't understand why, but until I got married, I never understood how important or how special.

Thank you for always finding the time for Katie and I, but thank you also for always finding the time for each other. I couldn't ask for better parents or for better examples of what a happy marriage can be!