Monday, December 1, 2014

Switzerland Adventure: Part I

by Meghann on December 1, 2014

We’re back!


Talk about a whirlwind of a trip! I have to say, 5 short days was not nearly enough time across the Atlantic, but it was all we had and that was perfect for us. 🙂

Derek and I had a direct flight from Tampa to Zurich on Tuesday night. I had a lovely cocktail of NyQuil and red wine and was out like a light before the plane even left the tarmac.


Unfortunately Derek wasn’t quite as lucky. He was wide awake for the entire 9 hour flight. When I woke up a couple of hours before we landed, Derek was in the middle of his third movie. Poor guy.

We breezed through customs in Zurich, discovered Starbucks is ridiculously overpriced in Europe ($8 for a grande cappuccino?!), and caught our connecting flight to Geneva.

By the time Delphine (Derek’s former au pair and a family friend) found us at the Geneva airport it was already Wednesday afternoon and we were walking zombies. We were never so thankful to see a friendly face, especially one that provided espresso and chocolate.


And cows. Can’t forget the cows.

We spent the evening with Delphine and her family. We hadn’t seen them since our wedding two years ago and the girls had grown so much. Time flies way too fast.


After a delicious dinner, Delphine dropped us off at the train station and gave us directions back to the city. It was far too short of a visit, but we promised to return when their ski chalet is ready in 2016. I mean, who wouldn’t promise that? 😉


Ashley and Bo met us at the train station and brought us back to their flat, where we slept on a real bed for the first time in 48 hours. It was beautiful.

Ashley had organized a local Turkey Trot for the next morning (Thanksgiving!). It was interesting to wake up at 6:00am Switzerland time and be able to message to my brother in California, who what still awake from the day before (it was 9:00pm his time).

The casual Turkey Trot was just what my jet lagged legs needed. We met up with a group of Ashley’s friends (randomly two of them were from Tampa – small world, right?) and ran an easy 5K around the quiet early morning streets of Geneva. I learned that the Swiss are generally not early morning runners and the majority of locals run after work. We were the oddballs out running before the sun.


The 5k took us on an out and back path along the water. It was a nice introduction to the city and the perfect way to celebrate our American holiday so far from home.

After the run, Ashley headed to work and Derek and I explored a bit of Geneva with Bo.






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And then it was turkey time!

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Bo and Ashley hosted 21(!) friends for Thanksgiving. It was amazing – full of great food, new friends, and lots and lots of wine.





Everything was amazing, unfortunately I woke up Friday morning not feeling great. It was a mix of starting my period, a bad head cold, and too many glasses of wine the night before. It was the type of morning where the European espresso wasn’t going to cut it and a venti $10 Starbucks was worth every penny.

After re-fueling with copious amounts of caffeine and Advil, we decided to spend the free day exploring Gruyere.



What I love about Switzerland – or really all of Europe – is the abundance of good bread, good wine, good chocolate, and good cheese. Gruyere is on the top of that cheese list.



The factory tour was a little on the slow side, but the samples were delicious.


Right down the street from the factory is the adorable little town of Gruyere, complete with a castle and cobblestone streets. 20141128_082931



And what’s a visit to Switzerland without fondue?






We had our only fondue experience of the trip in Gruyere and it was fun and delicious. We took turns dipping bits of bread, boiled potatoes, and dried meat in the gooey cheese.








It was a pretty cloudy, dreary day, but the clouds parted just long enough to let a little bit of the view peak through.



Our final stop of the day was at the Cailler Chocolate Factory.


We were unfortunately too late for a tour, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the most delicious hot chocolate drinks ever.


Bo made amazing steak for dinner and we toasted the day with champagne.



Derek and I took a very casual approach to this vacation. When I travel, I’m usually in the mindset of needing to see and do everything while I’m there. That means early mornings, long days, and a to-see list that’s about a mile long. I took a complete 180 to that role this time and it was a wonderful change of pace. We slept in, got late starts, and spent our evenings staying up late playing games, watching movies, and drinking good wine. It was relaxing and exactly what we both needed. Having the opportunity to spend quality time with great friends was also a huge bonus. I can’t thank Ashley or Bo enough for letting us crash at their place and showing us around.

I’ll be back with the rest of our trip, but for now I need to get to bed.

Stay tuned!


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