Bonjour de la Suisse

Hello from Switzerland! ~~ The adventures of a California girl who got married to a great guy, G, and traded in her old life for the chance to live in a foreign land and live the expat life for a couple years. We live in Geneva, Switzerland with our globe-trotting cat, Scout.

Ma photo
Nom :
Lieu : California, United States

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~ G.K. Chesterton

vendredi, janvier 27, 2006

A tale of long flights, good friends, and football

It's 3am and I'm wide awake. I'm bound and determined not to let my jetlag get the best of me this time, although it's still only my first day back, so I expect to be up a little earlier than normal for a while. So, I'm back in Geneva and later this morning I will be heading off to the eastern Swiss town of Thusis, near the Italian boarder. Gary and I will be joining our Swiss friends, Sarah and Kofi at their ski chalet for the week. From there we drive to Turin, Italy to spend the weekend at the Olympics! I am so excited. For those that know me, I'm a true Olympic junkie, taping almost every minute of televised coverage that I can't watch live. To actually be there is going to be great!

My flight was long and uneventful, which is always good. On the plane I was thinking of all the things I didn't get done while I was home. I didn't get my hair cut or get the mani/pedi I had planned on, there were packages that I didn't get to the post office (thanks, Gayle for taking them for me!), and I never made it back to the "Walking Store" to try on the cute shoes that looked so comfortable for the long days of sightseeing that usually make my feet so sore!

But all the wonderful things I did get to do made my three weeks fantastic! The first two weeks were a hectic blur of Genentech business. I worked 16 hour days to ensure that I was leaving my two grave shifts in the best possible place. Quitting that job was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but my boss (and his boss and his boss) all said there is always a place for me in our department. It's nice to know I have options when I get back!

By far the best part of being home was the last week, when I got the chance to see everyone and simply hang out. I had such a great time and had a lot of good laughs! I even got to meet my friend Scott's new baby daughter, Grace (so cute)! Among other things, I helped secure a second place victory for team Patti O'Furniture at trivia night at O'Neils Pub, I spent two days up in the Sac/Yolo/Solano area, and on Friday our rowdy little dinner group cleared out our entire section at Bucca di Beppo! We also got to spend quite a bit of time with our families and were able to finally share our wedding video and pictures with them! Thanks to Gayle for putting us up, and Karin, it was a blast staying with you for the last week!

The saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same" really is so true! I can't wait for June when we'll be back for a few weeks to attend Mike & Georgia and Darren & Christina's weddings and, of course, the infamous houseboat trip. So, thanks everyone for making this trip so much fun! I can't wait to see you again soon.

And finally, I want to give a big shout out to the best team in the NFL (despite what happened last Sunday), the Seattle Seahawks! I've been rooting them on since I was a kid and every year I hoot and holler that "this is the year!" Of course this has got me very funny looks and some laughs over the years, but my faith never wavered. So, after 30 years of blood, sweat & tears (mostly on my part), a Super bowl win was finally in reach. Unfortunately, the Steelers had a slightly better game (with a little help from the refs). Am I sad? Not at all... I will just go back to my mantra, "Next Year!" and book a flight so I'm home again for the big game! :)

jeudi, janvier 19, 2006

There's no place like home... :)

I'm not one to miss a good festival, so I try to work them into our travels whenever I can.

With only two days left until we head home to California, I decided to take one final day trip to a small ski town in central Switzerland called Grindelwald. It takes four hours by train to get there (8 hours round trip), through Interlaken. I went because all I've been hearing about is the famous, week long "World Snow Festival" that takes place here every year. The Lonely Planet guidebook even lists this event as "a highlight".

Stepping off the train in Grindelwald, I was excited... the snow was falling, the little Alpine town was beautiful, and I could see the huge banner for the festival just up the road. Turns out the banner was about the best thing about the festival, which wasn't at all festive. I rounded the corner to see a bus parking lot and along the back side of the lot were 8 large piles of snow that were just beginning to take the shape of something or other.

The Banner:

The Festival:

Which is better? You choose.

Since I had traveled all this way, I decided to make the most of it and wander around town. 20 minutes later I was back at the train station. Fabulous. Now I don't want to be down on the town, but if you aren't skiing or participating in any of the other winter sports, there isn't much to do here this time of year. So, I headed to Interlaken where it was pouring rain. After an hour or so I was headed home. I'm looking forward to coming back here in the summer when we can hike and enjoy the countryside, but unless I have my board with me, I won't be heading back here in the winter.

Last week I took a day trip to the northern Swiss town of Basel. This was a nice place, but again, probably better when it's warmer. After I'd walked around and checked out a couple museums, I had some time so I decided to catch the 30 minute train to Freiburg, Germany in the heart of the Black Forest. Not only had I heard this was a great town, but I had never been to Germany, so this was my big chance.

Now a friend of mine once told me that you aren't officially in a country unless you spend the night or have a meal there (away from the airport or train station). So Pat, in your honor I had a meal in Frieburg, and I can now say I've officially been to Germany.

This brings my sabbatical country count to 8 countries in 10 weeks. We've experienced many new & unusual things, and we've learned to live like locals here in Geneva. And although we're having a wonderful time in all the places we're traveling to, I find that I'm looking forward to going to California so much! Traveling gives you a new perspective of the world and I know how lucky we are that we have this opportunity. But, in the end, there really is no place like home.

I'll be home for three weeks and Gary will be home for two. Once we get back to Switzerland, I'll begin to look for a job and possibly going back to school while we're here. And of course continuing with my French lessons. It's exciting and nerve racking all at the same time, since I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing yet. Another grand adventure waits just around the corner! Let's just hope it's more interesting than the Grindelwald World Snow Festival. ;)

mardi, janvier 17, 2006

3 trains, a plane and the rain in Spain...

(OR... How Gary & I Accidentally Took
Our 1st European Road Trip)

Clowning around at the aquarium.

At the Christopher Columbus Monument.

The view of the waterfront from the top of the
Christopher Columbus Monument.

A view up Las Ramblas.

Gary & the chocolate factory.

Outside the Sagrada Familia cathedral, still under construction.

Climbing to the top of the cathedral.

Sant Joseph Market (La Boqueria) off Las Ramblas.

Just a day at the beach!

I'm not so good at most European languages,

In front of the Casa Mila (and a new umbrella).

Big smiles in Barcelona.

11pm, the journey begins...

About 4am, somewhere in France.

Gary & I have wanted to go to Barcelona for some time now (even before arriving in Switzerland), but it has been on the back burner. Well, thanks to Swiss Air's last minute weekend specials we made reservations and were on our way. I was thrilled! The thought of warmer weather and a chance to see Spain... I was beside myself with excitement.

We landed, took the train into the city and finally stepped out into the Barcelona sun in front of the main train station. It was cold (actually very cold). No worries, we were still going to have a wonderful time!

I have to back up for a second and tell you quickly about our reception at the main train station in Bruges, Belgium. As we were walking out of the station we were handed two poinsettia plants (it was the week before Christmas) and two lottery tickets (yes, valid tickets). No one wanted money from us (shocking) and we actually WON six euro which we cashed in at the local store (and paid for our local guide book & map). What a great welcome to the city!

That was Bruges. Now, here we are in Barcelona, just walking out of the station and we were greeted with a cup full of some sort of watery, corn meal type, lumpy liquidy substance that was thrown all over the back of my travel pack, coat and hat! Of course I didn’t see this when it happened. One minute I was getting a map out of my pack, and the next minute some man is "kindly" telling me I have something on my coat. (Actually it was a runny, yellow substance dripping ALL over me!)

So what do I do? I pull off my backpack (not wise) and Gary & I are standing there shocked, backpack on the ground, luckily, just out of reach of this "kind" man. The only thing that saved us was we were on a landing of a stairway. We scooped up the bag, to get off the stairs, and at the top we again (foolishly) put the bag down. We didn't realize it, but luck was on our side. We were in a parking lot, where a woman was sitting nearby in her car. That scared off the guy who was still very near us and trying to "help".

I'd read about this scam, but never thought "it could happen to me". We soon saw the "kind" man walking with the guy who had been right behind me coming out of the station and acting strange. This team of thieves were working the main station, targeting backpackers holding a map. We were lucky to have my pack and everything in our pockets! I'd like to say it was my cat-like reflexes and lightning-quick speed that saved us, but really it was plain luck. We found our hotel, got cleaned up, and went on to enjoy our day... a little wiser and feeling good that we escaped the con artists - that is until Gary decided to play 3-card Monty with street hustlers, but that is a story for another day.

So, putting that behind us, we were off to see the beautiful city, determined to have a great weekend... and we did! We saw the Olympic stadium, went to the top of the Columbus Monument (with views of the whole city), walked up and down the grand boulevard (Las Ramblas), took a bus tour of the city, walked the local La Boqueria Market, and visited the Sangrada Familia (Gaudi's unfinished cathedral). This is one of the most moving places I have ever visited. The church’s design is a fusion of nature, architecture, and religion. Construction started in 1883 and is not expected to be complete for another 50 years. I hope one day to see it when it's finished.

The next day we wandered through the Gothic Quarter, toured the Gothic (completed) cathedral, visited the Picasso Museum (highly recommend this), went to the Chocolate Museum (Gary loved this!) and walked about two miles to stand in the sand on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. This is about when it started to rain, which wouldn't have been so bad, since Gary was prepared with his umbrella in hand. Unfortunately, this is also about when the umbrella broke! But we are troopers and we weren't going to let a droopy umbrella stop us! With some time to kill before our plane took off, we strolled along the waterfront and even caught a quick IMAX film (since the rain was getting worse).

With plenty of time, we headed to the airport. Easy enough. You get on the #2 train, at the second stop, get off and catch a connecting train one more stop to the airport. Easy. We would be at the airport in 15 minutes, 1 1/2 hours before our flight. We had a train map, confirmed our route with a train station employee, and headed to track five. There was train #2, just like the lady had told us and we got on. A few minutes after it pulled out of the station, the conductor came around and asked us our route. "To the airport" we confidently stated. He replied, in very broken English, "Not on this train. This is a direct train to the end of the line and it makes no stops."

This was very, very bad... mucho problemo, to be exact.

We sailed right by our stop and about an hour later we had reached the end of the line in who knows what small town! The only cab at the station was snatched out from under us. So, we hopped on the return train, that made ALL 18 STOPS on the way back to our stop to catch our connection to the airport. This was slow torture for me, since we had plans to snow board the next day with some people from Gary's office, but there was nothing we could do. We arrived at the Swiss Air counter at 9:10pm, 25 minutes after our flight had taken off and 10 minutes after every Swiss Air employee had left for the night. My first missed flight.

Gary was on the phone with Swiss Air who informed us that our discount tickets were non-refundable and non-transferable (of course), but they would be happy to sell us one way tickets for the 9am flight for 750 Euro each!!!!! Ummmmm... No. (Round trip would have been more reasonable at 125 Euro each, but that, with an extra night's hotel stay, would have been very pricey.) So, I get the bright idea to rent a car! The rental, complete with one-way, out-of-country charges, was 94 Euro. SOLD!

The next thing we know we're driving in the pouring rain, in a country where we can't read any road signs, without a map or even the foggiest idea of which way we're heading. We finally found a gas station with a map and we were set. It was an exhausting trip, and I truly hope the next time I see the south of France it won't be racing through in the middle of the night. 500 miles and 8 hours later... we were home! Our first road trip was complete.

Needless to say we didn't make it up snow boarding. We were both completely wiped out, but home earlier than if we had caught the 9am flight and with a few more Euros in our pocket. It was quite the adventure.

So, you ask, after all that did I enjoy Barcelona? I loved it! I'm returning in April with my mom, when the weather is warmer and I can use my newly acquired street smarts.

Lessons Learned: When traveling you have to roll with the punches, keep your pack on your back, stay alert, and beware of the scariest people of them all... overconfident, misinformed train station employees.

dimanche, janvier 08, 2006

Part FOUR (that's all folks!) :)

Ah Paris!


Our (free) picture in front of the boat picture stand (our picture behind us was going for 10 euro!)

Our New Years Eve menu!

On the way to the Champs-Elysees.

Bonne Annee!

Happy New Year!

The artists of Montmart, even working in the rain!

On the steps of Montmart.

The amazing park job! (Yes, the red truck & silver car in front were there before we parked!)

Our new boards!

The view from the slopes of Megeve, France.

Chapter IV: New Years in Paris

After a three hour delay at the Geneva airport (we put the time to good use and taught Pat how to play hearts!), we were off to Paris! We got in late, so all we had time for was dinner and a little bar hopping. We were all exhausted so we headed back at a reasonable hour so we could save our strength for the big event the next night! In the morning we did some sightseeing and hopped on a boat tour on the Seine River. The tour was interesting, but our guide was amazing! She spoke six languages, including Russian! Very impressive for someone who barely knows more than just "Grazi!" in Italian! After a late lunch and a little shopping, it was time to get ready for our New Years festivities!

We had dinner reservations at the restaurant just across from our hotel. We sat down to (unbeknownst to us, since the hotel made the reservations) a fixed-price menu which offers just one meal since it was New Years! It was complete with venison, foie gras (goose liver), and other scrumptious delights for all the vegetarians in the house. After the boys had a meeting with the hotel across the street and Pat & I, in our best broken French, tried to explain that two of us cannot eat the deer, we managed to piss off the snooty French waiter (he never talked to us again!) and made the kitchen go to all kinds of trouble (so we were told) to get us two heaping plates of vegetables! Bonne Annee to you Mr. Waiter! ;) Oh, there was also fish for Gary & his allergy. Kevin didn't mind though, since he ate everything the rest of us couldn't! Thanks Kevin!

So, after our three hour (average for the French), 7 course dinner (which was very good, despite the waiter), we headed out to the Champs-Elysees. It was closed off to traffic and well over a over a million people filled the 3km avenue. It was really a sight to see! People were drinking out of Champaign bottles, home bought fireworks were being lit off in the streets, people were kissing & singing, and everywhere you turned people were yelling "Bonne Annee!" It wasn't until maybe 12:45 the crowds started to thin out. We were hoping to go to the local casino on the avenue, but of all nights, it was closed for New Years!

We ended up outside a little bar and while we were waiting to get in, the French riot police seemed to be forming a wall and were heading our way! As soon as the bottles started flying, the door opened and we were hurriedly rushed inside to safety. We may have escaped the rioting outside, but we didn't escape the bar bill! Little did we know that our first (and only) round of drinks (two big beers and two rum & cokes) were 94 euros! We were stunned, but then again, it was New Years Eve on the Champs-Elysees! We struck up a conversation with a guy from Brazil whose friends had gone home for the evening, and the five of us ended up next door, where the drinks were only six euros! Much better. This bar even had dancing! So I was thrilled (and so was Gary!) ;)

We literally danced the night away, and at six in the morning, made our way to the Metro station where we bid our little Brazilian friend a fond farewell. Needless to say, check-out time came all too soon! But it was time for more sightseeing! Kevin's sister, Courtenay (with her boyfriend Alexi and their cute baby) who live in Paris, picked us all up and we were off to the artist's district of Montmart. When we got there Courtenay pulled off the most amazing parking job I have ever seen! The cars and parking spots in Europe are small, but this was ridiculously small, and she had no hesitations! So, we had a nice lunch and saw the sights. Montmart sits on a hill that overlooks the whole city and even though it was pretty grey out, Paris was still beautiful!

It was soon time to say good bye. We had a great time with Pat & Kevin! We had so much fun on all of our adventures and I have to say, my first New Years outside California was certainly one to remember.

Gary & I have been taking it easy since we've returned. This past week I've mostly been catching up with organizing the house, since our last sea shipment arrived just as we were leaving for our trip. We did go up snow boarding on Sunday with some of Gary's friends of his from the office. We went to a place in France called Megeve (about an hour away). It was sunny and the snow was very nice. The views were amazing, and we could even see the observation tower at Mont Blanc where Kevin, Pat & I visited the week earlier. Since this was the first time we have been up to the snow this season, we had a chance to try out our new boards! I love mine, and the best part about it is my boots don't put my feet to sleep! For all those who have ever hit the slopes with me, (Scotty) rest assured that there will be no more complaining about my feet! :)

The resort itself was very nice with high speed gondolas and very long runs. The runs have four classifications; green (beginner), blue (intermediate), red (advanced intermediate), and black (steep!). We stuck with the blue & red. In addition to helicopter skiing, they also had paragliding on skis! A guy literally had a parachute on and would swoop down and ski for a second before flying up in the air again. Pretty wild! That's it for now, until next time...

Au revoir!

vendredi, janvier 06, 2006


Under the high jump bar at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

At the Chateau du Grandson

Ready to storm the castle!

After the "wall walk" where the sign warned, "Keep moving and avoid forming groups!" Just how stable is this old castle anyway?!?

The Centre Thermal mineral steam baths

Before heading up to the 12,602 foot observation deck at Mont Blanc!

The breathtaking view from the top!

The "little" town of Chamonix, France from the top of the mountain!

Dinner in Aosta, Italy. "Grazi!"

Chapter III: Kevin & Pat meet us in Switzerland

We were so excited to have our first guests in Switzerland! Pat & Kevin arrived on Tuesday, Dec. 27th and after relaxing a little we were off to do a little sightseeing! It's no secret that Geneva isn't the most exciting city in Europe, especially in winter. I was a little worried that there wouldn't be enough to see or do, but it turns out that we ended up not having enough time to get everything in! I learned a lot about the surrounding area during their visit (and all the great things there are to do here!) I'm looking forward to exploring more and more of this great area and discovering all the wonderful things it has to offer.

We started off in the neighboring town of Lausanne which sits on the Northern shore of Lake Geneva where we ate "exotic" pizza and visited the Olympic Museum in a part of town called "Ouchy". The next day we wanted to venture a little farther, so we figured it would be a good idea to rent a car. Well, I guess a lot of other people thought the same thing, because every car rental desk at the airport was out of cars!!! We went from desk to desk and we almost gave up, but at the last desk the girl said she had one car left! We took it. Lesson learned: Book cars in Geneva in advance! Who knew it was so popular here. ;)

The next day, with our new set of wheels, we headed north to the town of Yverdon-les-Bains which is home of the 14,000 year old mineral hot springs that the Romans discovered and has been in use ever since. We first stopped off at the 13th century Grandson Castle which is a little further north. We figured that the hot baths would be that much nicer after a visit to a cold castle. The castle itself was great, except for the 20 minute movie, which we all fell asleep in!

The baths were fantastic! They are in a place called Centre Thermal, and for 25 CHF (that's ~$20 USD) you get complete access to all 5 warm-hot pools (three outdoor) and several dry & hot steam rooms. The outdoor pools are heated naturally from the earth. They are very warm, but they would be nicer if they were about 5 degrees warmer. The fact that we were even outside in swimsuits this time of year is amazing to me (the metal hand rails outside to pool had ice on them!) The second outdoor pool even had a current! We never did figure out how it was created, but it was pretty cool. After much searching, we finally found the real hot tub and the steam rooms. There was even a room called "inhalations", so of course we had to go in. It was a hot, steamy, eucalyptus scented room. Very nice. We were there for hours and very relaxed when we finally headed home.

The next day was our "trifecta" day. We had breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in France and dinner in Italy. Unfortunately, Gary had to work, so it was just me, Pat & Kevin. We headed out to the ski town of Chamonix, France which lies at the base of the Mont Blanc Mountain in the heart of the French Alps. We braved the almost vertical cable car (like a big gondola that holds about 75 people) ride to the observation deck at 12,602 feet above sea level. The ride was a bit scary, since at one point our car seemed to stall out and go backwards for a bit, but soon enough we were on our way up once again. Nothing like a little excitement to get the old heart pumping! But it was all well worth it once we got to the top. The views from the top were breath taking! It was truly one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. You can see into France, Switzerland, and Italy! Even the cold didn't bother us (too much)... it was 30 below zero Celsius, but the cafe at the top had delicious soup to warm our bones. And does anyone know how to avoid altitude sickness (Pat has heard that ginger pills work well)? We had a slight bout of it, but not too bad, and certainly not anything to prevent me from going to the high Alps again! It was wonderful.

Back on the ground we had an afternoon coffee drink (we deserved it!) and hit the local casino (my first time gambling outside the US, unless you count Aruba) before heading out to Italy for dinner. The most direct way to Italy is through the five mile long Mont Blanc tunnel. It is long! We arrived in the town of Aosta and found a cute little restaurant in the wall of an old castle. Very cool. We each had the sea bass, which came whole, head and tail intact! The waitress (who spoke no English) though it was so funny that we had each carefully severed the heads and put them on a plate which we hid in the corner. "Decapitatia! hahaha" Since our Italian is extremely limited, we realized that our response to almost every question and comment was a very enthusiastic "Grazi! Grazi!" Silly Americans! :)

So, I could go into how I "misplaced" my wallet, which I though was "lost" at the parking garage in Chamonix, and how Kevin & Pat had a run in with the local police while they were circling around (and accidentally ended up driving in a pedestrian area) while I was trying to break into the garage (I was successful!), and how we befriended the local New Zealander bar owner who directed us back to the police station (where we again ran into the same rude French policeman), and how after a seeming defeat, on the way home we discovered the wallet right where I left it in the car! But, that isn't very interesting so I will skip it and bring you to our next chapter... on to Paris!

Part TWO

On the London Eye Ferris Wheel

"I think Big Ben is off!"

Two Leos at Trafalgar Square

We made it to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral!

Outside The Tower of London (with the Tower Bridge behind us)

On display at the British Museum

Who should we call?

Merry Christmas!!

New games to play

Hannah & Debbie

Jessica & Hannah

The "local" Ely Cathedral (in the village of Ely)

Chapter II: England for the holidays

We arrived in London right at the heart of... rush hour! We finally found our hotel near South Kensington and headed out to eat. The next morning we got an early start and began our two days of whirlwind sightseeing! We did all the touristy stuff, which is actually great to do in the winter because there are NO CROWDS! Even our audio guide at Westminster Abbey kept saying things like, "it may take you 5-10 minutes to get up the stairs to the next room because of the crowds" Meanwhile we were up the stairs and through the next room!

The city itself was quite crowded though because it was the week of Christmas, everyone was running here and there and all the department stores were a mad house! Especially the big toy store, Hamleys, where we picked up gifts for Gary's nieces, Jessica & Hannah. We also got completely lost (we though we would never get out!) in Harrods, which is the very big department store owned by Mohamed Al Fayed, (father of Dodi Fayed). I wanted to see the shrine dedicated to Princess Dianna and Dodi, and Gary wanted to see the $40,000 TOY Hummer (next to that, the $20,000 TOY Ferrari looked like a steal!) These toys are for KIDS! What's on your Christmas list? :)

So, not that it sounds like we spent the whole time shopping, we also went to the British Library (The room labeled "The Treasures" has the oldest known bible, the Magna Carta, original works of literature, music, original notes from The Beatles and much more!), we saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace (Gary thought this was the most boarding thing ever! But it was interesting to see EVERY tourist in London in one place at one time!), we went to Westminster Abbey, saw the House of Parliament & Big Ben, rode the London Eye, saw the longest running play in the world, "Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie, listened to a choir in Trafalgar Square, visited St. Paul's Cathedral, took a cruise down the Thames, toured the Tower of London (& saw the crown jewels), and we finished off our sightseeing at The British Museum, home of the Rosetta Stone (and the world's greatest collection of artifacts from Western Civilization). Whew! All that in two days! And there is so much more to see! We will definitely be back!

So, very tired from our touring marathon, we were thrilled to spend a few days in the English country side visiting Gary's cousin, Erik, his wife Karen, and their two kids, Jessica & Hannah (and Busker the dog). They live in a small village called Burwell which is near Cambridge. We were there for three days, including Christmas and Boxing Day! They took us in, showed us the sights and cooked us some incredible meals!

One of the highlights of the trip was heading out with the family to the pantomime of "Dick Whittington and his Cat". What is a pantomime you ask? (We didn't know either!) It is a British theatrical comedy based on fairy tails or folk legends that is geared toward children (although there is some definite "adult" humor woven in! - i.e. Benny Hill) The primary female role is played by a man and the male roll (Dick in this case) is played by a woman. The key to the performance is audience participation, complete with booing the evil King Rat and screaming "He's behind you!!!" when the characters can't find someone. It was fantastic and hilarious! I don't know why they don't have this kind of theater in the US! Meghan, Matt... this could be a good project for you! :)

We also had fun learning some British Christmas traditions, including Christmas dinner "poppers" with trinkets inside (fireworks at the table!) and Santa gets port (instead of milk) with his cookies! Nice! So, after a wonderful Christmas filled with endless gifts for the girls and scrumptious meals (thanks Karen!) it was time to head back to Switzerland to meet up with Pat & Kevin. We had such a great time and it was so nice to get to know our British side of the family a little better! We look forward to seeing them again soon! Cheers! :)