I know. I know. I never write anymore. I never visit anymore. I could be dead or worse, you could be dead and lying in a ditch and did I even take the time to check in with you and see how you're doing? No. I'm an ungrateful child to my Internet family. I'm so sorry. But I have a really good excuse. I have to move all my furniture across the country and then over the Atlantic ocean. Life is hard.
This past month, Mr. Wild Dingo, with the help of a wonderful real estate agent, went house hunting. He visited probably 10 homes and narrowed it down to three, then called me out. Loki and Juno insisted on joining me on the final house hunting chore, since after all, it's going to be their house too. They promised me they'd fly home after we made a decision. And you all know what happened when they got home.
When we got to Lausanne, we decided to look at our top two choices. The first home was in the country, in a little village called Dommartin. The location was so remote, the address isn't even found on Google. However the house was newly built, with all the comforts of a modern high-tech home. It had 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a killer laundry room, a pool, a back yard that had farming and mountain views, a detached garage and tons of storage.
"This looks like a house suited for a Princess like you, uh, Princess!"
"Ya, I sure dig that fountain in the front. Oh the fun I can have with some Formosan dunkings.
The dogs took the opportunity to explore what their main hangout would be, the back yard:
“Look Princess! This trampoline gives me wings!”
“That’s just great. Cujo on crack and a trampoline. Did anyone call the cops yet?”
Juno found the pool.
"Ya know, I kind of miss my physical torture treatments. I should go check out the deck."
(Cue the music from the movie Jaws.)
An out door human-pup / dog agility course was included.
"Daddy-O, I don't like the way those cows next door are giving me the stink-eye."
"Princess, I'll just cipher the trajectory from this slide. Maybe I can scare the fon-doo out of them."
The house even came with a state-of-the-art out door grill.
"Hey Princess, before we go, let’s have us a quick BBQ. I’ll put the stuffie on."
"Did I hear “sauce de beurre et frites?”
Without going into too much detail, the home was gorgeous. It was well-designed inside and had beautiful views from every window. It even had a retractable awning over the patio that would automatically retract if wind conditions were too heavy. The contractor left nothing out. Well, except a shower in the master bath. It was weird.There was a jacuzzi (with no hand held shower), a toilet and double sink, but no shower. The only shower was located in the guest bath down the hall.
Still, the home was beautiful and even had a vegetable garden and killer cherry tree. The neighbors were near enough to borrow a cup of sugar but far enough away for privacy. The village was drop-dead charming with farmers literally using horse and buggy on their farms. But in order to do the main shopping, I'd have to drive a bit to Echallens, another charming village. I was drawn to the home. This was not going to be an easy choice.
We left Dommartin to visit the second house in Tolochenaz. On the way to Tolochenaz, Juno found this modest home and asked for a visit. She instantly fell for it and wanted to bid on it immediately. Only the owners weren't selling.
“This one should keep the barbarians out.”
“Princess, stop playin’ games and let me in.
I’m not a barbarian! I just get a lot of bad press.”
We arrived at Tolochenaz and found a very traditional Swiss home. It was an older home, and a bit plainer than the other, but it had three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and a two-room, kick-ass master suite with its own kitchenette for coffee and a snack. The inside was very light and airy and the kitchen and baths were newly remodeled.
Thank Dog for the basement because there isn't a lick of storage anywhere in the house except for the master bedroom. It has a garage and a serious wine cellar with a gravel floor. The gravel is used to keep humidity level and so you can spit your wine in it after opening a bottle for a taste.
“This one should do fine. A huge back yard for endless games of tug and smack down.”
“And not a whole lot of props to get us into trouble with the cows or the cops.”
Tolochenaz is a tiny village outside of Lausanne. Audrey Hepburn spent her last 30 years living there and is buried in the cemetery. When I say tiny, I mean, if you drive down the village's main street and blink, you'll miss the entire town. But a lot of Swiss villages are like that. What they lack in size, they make up for in charm.
The choice was difficult. A brand new home in a remote location or an older home (with remodeled kitchen and baths) in a killer location?
We chose the home in Tolochenaz. It's older and lacks a lot of the modern conveniences of the other home. There's not a single closet on the main level, which has the two guest bed rooms and 2 of the bathrooms. The laundry room is located in the garage, which is dark and dank and the basement is, well, there's a whole lot of room in the basement.
One of the biggest draws of the house was its huge back yard. That grass is for reals and isn't photoshopped. It's that green. There's an area to the left of the back that we can fence for a good-sized dog yard in order to keep the garden and grass looking good.
The second biggest draw is it's location. Tolochenaz is a 2-minute drive and 10 or 15-minute walk to Morges, a sweet little downtown village which is right on Lake Geneva, or as the Swiss call it, Lake Leman. Morges offers plenty of boutique, cheese and grocery shopping.
"Princess, look at those big mountains over there. Oh the adventures we'll have!"
"Adventures can wait. Is that fondue I smell over there?"
There is a lot to do in Morges. In our California home, we live in the mountains. Its a pain in the neck to go into town and I don't have any neigbors, something I miss, actually. We decided that even though the country home in Dommartin was gorgeous and practical, it was better to experience something very different and live close to a larger town. I know the dogs will love it. They always love taking walks in downtown Los Gatos or Santa Cruz, but I have to drive to those locations. Being able to walk there with them will be a special treat. Dogs are welcome in Morges and all the Swiss towns. There are tons of walking paths and along the way, doggie bags and mini trash bins to pick up and dispose of their "treats."
Anyone who's been to Morges will recognize it's Miliarty Chateau and museum.
The next town over is Saint Prex, an equally charming, albeit smaller village filled with hole-in-wall art galleries and a lake side walking path to lose yourself for a day.
There are flowers everywhere in this Morges and Saint Prex.
The nice thing about Tolochenaz, is if I'd like to walk in the country next to farms and vinyards, I just head north. If I want to go to the lake, well, I'm right there. There are even beaches (YES! beaches!) close by for swimming. The lake is so beautifully clear and lovely to swim in it. In some no-beach areas, dogs are allowed to swim as well. Location is everything. Luasanne is a short car-ride away. And Milan and southern France are literally day trips by train.
Oh and did I mention, there's a view of Lake Geneva from the back yard? I didn't? Well, there's that. And a view of the lake from the master suite where we can have a snack and contemplate what country to go visit on the weekends.
The next step is the move, which should happen sometime in August, depending upon ship dates and a few other loose ends to tie up.
I never dreamed of living in Europe. It's just not something I ever considered though I've travelled there. Yet, here I am going to live in the center of so many countires I'd love to visit but would need at least 35 more plane rides to accomplish it. And National Geographic Travel just rated Switerland's Chocolate Train as one of the top ten Eurorail rides. Someone pinch me.