Thursday, September 27, 2007

Changes all over the place!!

Wow it has been TOO long since I updated my poor blog! Sorry guys! I caught this icky cold or virus or something and have been coughing like a fool for just over a week now. Poor Colin caught it too and stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday. I think my friend Karen who USED to live around the corner from me shared HER cold with me and I am just sending it along as well. Mom always taught us to share right??! Now lets see how long it takes before Bill starts coughing.

The scrapbook site I usually hang on at...Scrapbook Chalet is in the process of a huge change. The owner has a brick and mortar store in Maine and is in the process of fostering to adopt some kiddos! All this means she has more than enough on her plate and has to let the website go. But all us Chalet gals NEEED a place to play so she handed things over to one of the DT members Kat and she is busy moving everything to our new place....The Scrap Shanty. So far it is just the opening page that is up...but I am sure that moving things is a HUGE task so I will be patient.

In the meantime I have been busy learning how to do some more scrapbooking things digitally. WOW there is a LOT out there! So far I have 'just' been downloading freebies and lemme tell ya...there are SO many available and new ones every day that you could do that only and be perfectly satisfied. I have 2 sites I check for goodies each day...Ikea Goddess and DigiFree. If you haven't dabbled with should give it a try, it's fun! Look I made this layout the other was my first try with a template and both the site that offered the template Designs by Amy and Theresa and the site I got the background paper from Scrappin Digi Creations put it up on their site or newsletter for all to see. Ooooo ahhhhhh!

And don't worry about me going into message board withdrawal either! My friend Tammy sent me a link to a fun site ScrapHappy KT that has been going through changes of its own. I guess they lost ALL their stuff and are having to start over from scratch. OUCH! There is an AMAZING store too with tons of goodies and lots of nice gals to talk with and share photos. I can't WAIT til they get the gallery up and running too. Come say hi if you get a chance!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Colin experiences Global Warming

Before we headed home Monday we decided to go over to Grindelwald and take a little hike up to the glacier caves. We had visited there when we lived in Germany 12 years ago and remembered how amazing it was to walk right up into the foot of a glacier and wanted to let Colin experience this. The first part of the hike was much as we remembered it, but then we came upon a huge cliff of rock with wooden stairs leading straight up it. Bill and I wondered how we could have possible done that with a stroller back in 1994 and figured we must have taken a different path to the glacier. Bill's love of heights (NOT!) made him decide to wait for Colin and me with his feet firmly on the ground while we climbed the over 800 stairs to the top. WHEW!

At the top of the stairs we walked across the rock to a newly built rope bridge spanning a chasm with rushing glacial runoff many feet below us. There was a corral of safety fences at the other side of the gorge and that was the 'end of the line'. We weren't at the foot of the glacier, in fact we couldn't even see the foot of it, it was way above us and around the corner. Disappointed Colin and I walked back to the little hut on the rocks by the stairs that served drinks and snacks. While I drank my Coke I looked at some postcards sitting on the counter and talked to the lady who worked there. Here are scans of the postcards:

I wanted to know where we could go to see this and she told us that the last year they had caves like this was the year 2000. The photo on the left with the planks going across was where the bridge we crossed is today. The foot of the glacier is nowhere near this spot only 7 years later. We talked more and figured out that the reason we didn't remember climbing all those stairs when Jeffrey was little was because we didn't need to! The glacier was way down there and we could stroll up the the foot of it. Colin kept shaking his head and saying that he had heard about global warming but THIS is experiencing it! Sad.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Day of Trains

After we left the Open Air Museum we had some daylight time left so we drove over to see the place that Colin and Jeffrey have gone several times with their Boy Scout troop. Usually it is winter when they come, but Colin camped there this summer also and was eager to give us a tour.

Sunday we spent the day riding the Brienz Rothorn Bahn. It is Switzerland's last remaining steam cog-railway. The train took us from the level of the lake all the way up to the top of the Rothorn mountain, 7500 feet above sea level! Again we had wonderful weather and enjoyed the sunny skies and green grass and trees as we rode up the mountain, through tunnels and past cows. A few times the train conductor had to hop off the train and shoo cows off the tracks! When we got near the top we noticed that we were above the clouds. We walked around at the top of the mountain for awhile, taking lots of photos, looking at the snow capped mountains across the valley and watching the clouds roll in, surround us and then blow past. After some souvenoir shopping and a snack lunch we headed down the mountain (again by train of course...some people did hike but we did enough of that the day before!)

On our way back to our cottage we passed another steam train stopped at a station. There is a historic steam train that only runs a few times a year that happened to be going this weekend! We whipped into a parking place and ran over to get a few pictures of it before it pulled out of the station.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Why have we waited so long to revisit Switzerland???

What a BEAUTIFUL country!!!!!!!!!! I think we must have had the best weekend to see it too....we had sunshine and not a bit of rain to worry about the entire time we were there. It wasn't until we drove out of the mountains on our way home that we hit the rain...but we were so happy to not have any during our trip that we didn't mind. We started out on Friday and stopped in Bern before we headed to where we were staying in Lauterbrunnen. We had visited Bern before when Jeffrey was around 2ish and I know we saw the bears and walked around but I barely remembered any of it, I guess I was too busy herding Jeffrey around to let it all sink in. WOW...Bern was so nice! It is built up on a bluff where the river curves around it and the buildings in the main part of town are quite tall so the streets are like valleys cut into it. The street level parts of the buildings are open arcades and they also have cellars below them in some places that are thrown open with cute little shops to go down in and explore. All along the street there are pretty fountains with figures on them....the buildings are all waving flags and have flowers in the windows and morning glories snaking up from the street level. The river is this amazing color of almost looks like that 'fake water' you see on water rides at theme parks ya know? That is because is it glacial runoff.

Of course we HAD to stop and see the famous Bern bears! We parked our Jeep right across from the bear pits so we visited them before and after we explored the town. They sure know how to look cute for the people! One kept rolling onto its back and holding its feet with its paws. They have food you can buy and toss down to them (I didn't notice this until we already tried to feed them some fruit we had brought along for US to snack on) Do you know those silly bears don't know that bananas are good!? They both turned their noses up at the bites we tossed to them but eagerly caught the bear chow stuff in the air when people threw it to them. Silly ole bears!

After we tore ourselves away from the bears we headed into the Alps on our way to our cottage apartment in Lauterbrunnen. It is a village near Interlaken which may or may not sound more familiar to you. The village is at the floor of the valley and there are sheer cliffs rising up on either side of it with waterfalls coming down all over the place. It said in the guidebook that there are 72 of them. We didn't count but it is possible. Here is a photo of the 'main' one that is right by the town. We hiked up to it one evening and get misted on. Can you see it just to the right of the red Swiss flag?

Here is another one...this one we took from right in front of our cottage door. What a view!! That yellow thing is a train that you must take if you want to visit the town that is up on the mountain. There are no cars there, so if you don't take the train you better have good hiking boots!

Saturday we spent most of the day at a fabulous open air museum in the town of Brienz on the edge of one of the lakes that Interlaken is in between. There were hundreds of houses and farm buildings brought in and reconstructed from all over the country that we could go inside and learn about how the people lived and adapted things to the unique challenges of the different terrains. There were also lots of farm animals around to look at and people baking bread, weaving on looms, making lace and lots of other cool exhibits. It was a very extensive place and they did very well with the landscaping and all so each section was distinct and seperate from the others. We stayed there until they started closing up the buildings and we still didn't get to go inside every one of them.

Here is one of the bigger homes that was there:

Here are a couple more pictures we took at the museum. I just couldn't get enough of that amazing valley view!

Of course I had to get some pictures of the animals too. Here is a wonderful Brown Swiss cow...complete with bell! They all wear them...not just museum cows hear the bells ringing when you go past the pastures. I worried that the constant clanging every time they moved their head would make them nuts and Bill said "Only you would be concerned about hearing damage in Swiss cows!" And look Mom....goats with bells! Yup...the goats and sheep get to wear little bells too. But not the pigs....heehee...I had to get a picture of this one for Dad...he had just been fed a big bucket of whey or something...they farmer said it was what came out of the cheese they made earlier. It looked icky but the pig sure was enjoying it!

Doesn't this big black cow look intimidating? Actually she was a sweetie! I got her to come up to the fence and eat some grass from my hand and then she started licking my hand for the longest time. I guess she liked the salt on it or something. Silly cow!