The TravelMarx left on Friday, after spending two extra days being snowed in with airport and airline shut downs. I really hated seeing them leave.
Yes, those are my new boots I'm modeling in the photo. Don't worry. I already bought another pair by now. One specifically for dog walking. I'm thinking I need at least 3 or 4 more pairs. At the very least. A brown leather pair because you can't always wear black, a trekking/hiking pair, a back up dog pair for when Juno eats my dog walking pair, and a high-heeled pair even though they are not practical, but just because I like spending Mr. Wild Dingo's money. Did I mention that Mr. Wild Dingo buys his flip flops in quantities of three? He pre-purchases Juno's chew toys expecting them to be eaten. So it's only fair I do the same with my boots, right?
By the way, we had another shoe incident. I was distracted by throwing a big dinner party for some of Mr. Wild Dingo's work colleagues while the Marx were here. But don't worry Internet, the Dansko's are still alive. Instead she ate my Keens. Here's the evidence:
All you Sibe people better save your breath with defending her. If that doesn't look guilty, I don't know what would.
As I was saying: While the Marx were anxious to end their month-long vacation in Italy and Switzerland, I was secretly thrilled they were forced to spend extra time here. Can you guess why?
Two men in the kitchen: one is a gourmet chef and the other is a cleaner. I need to find a way to capitalize on this new living situation so they visit more often and I can kick back, and watch them cook and clean.
It was our first big snow in Switzerland and the local folks told me that it was unusual for it to be this heavy this early in the year. Usually villages close to the lake will see snow in February and March but not as early as December.
This is downtown Morges just after the first snow when they arrived. It was 7:00 pm. And the stores are closed. There isn't a soul on the streets besides us (in the photo). Ok, it's times like this that I can appreciate the early store closings.
One of our excursions took us 3000 meters up the Tsanfleuron Glacier. Glacier 3000, a ski and snow park only an hour car-drive from our house connects the Col du Pillon with the Tsanfleuron Glacier. The park boasts many snow activities other than skiing so I wanted to check it out.
It started with a cable car ride up the Col du Pillon and from there change over to another cable car to take us up approximately 3000 meters up the Scex Rouge to the ski and snow park. Total trip time was 15 freezing minutes. We had the cable car to ourselves on the trip up.
Here I am finding religion. "Please Snow Gods, keep the cables strong!" Mr. Wild Dingo braces himself for the unexpected.
One look out the window and we saw this dude. WTF? Crazy Swiss. This guy is paragliding and landing on his skis. Apparently the Swiss are known for all sorts of extreme sports. I guess they get kind of bored keeping a tight schedule of being up at dawn, home by 5 and in bed by 9 PM. That coupled with all their anti-noise laws, it's all making sense. They find their thrills on the mountain tops. I wonder if there's a law against screaming while paragliding or doing all the other crazy stuff they do on the mountains?
Leaving the second cable car station and on our way up to the next level. The first cable car ride looked like it was going to land straight into the face of the rock. I had to close my eyes.
Here it is a little further up from the second station. Now can you see why I'm about to toss my cookies?
The views were absolutely breathtaking on the way up.
I don't ski. I never wanted to ski and I'll probably never ski. I don't like the cold unless I'm moving fairly hard in it to stay warm. So I'll never down hill ski but I'll probably try cross country and snow shoeing. Since the park boasted hiking, cross country skiing, an alpine coaster ride and husky dog sledding, I thought it may be fun to check it out.
The Alpine Coaster (in this photo above) is closed in the winter. I can't imagine why!
When we got to the top, we were dropped off right at the downhill skiing. It was so cold, I had no desire to hop into the ski lift to go to the hiking or dog sledding areas so we opted to try the famous Restaurant Botta, designed by renowned architect Mario Botta. It was closed. Now there's a shocker. All we had left was to climb the stairs to the peak so we could take in views. But the stairs were temporarily closed due to the weather and a staff person shoveling the snow. (Anyone out there know of a portable snow blower for the poor bloke?) So we ate in the "self-service" cafeteria where I paid $5 for a cup of Lipton tea.
After our over-priced and uneventful lunch, we were able to climb up the stairs to the peak just above the restaurant. The staff person had been shoveling the stairs for 2 hours prior to our climb. He was clearly tired and out of breath so at the top he promptly lit up a cigarette. It was so Euro.
I started climbing the stairs with gusto, but soon ran out of gas. I didn't realize how thin the air was! Let's see, if I do the math, 3000 meters is almost 10,000 feet? Oh my. I don't think I've ever been that high, except in a plane. And maybe in college. But I didn't inhale. So it doesn't count.
Marc and I share a bit of nervous laughter over something funny. I think we just figured out how high we were and we became hysterical. On the other side of the chain is a "cliff face" that drops down.
At the top. It was so fun to have my brother here. He knows me so well, he sent me a new song that is now my current favorite. It has HBO words in it so, don't say I didn't warn you. I don't know why, but it totally cracks me up.
At the top. The view offers a 360 degree panorama of Eiger, Monte Rosa, Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva and the Jura mountains. It's also quite surreal so I keep telling myself that it's just a painting just to keep my overpriced lunch from revisiting.
On one of their last nights, we stayed in to make dinner. Or should I say Mark made dinner.
"So Mark, what are you making for me? Err, what can I help you with?"
Juno likes to place herself right where she believes she will be most useful. Unfortunately, she is most in-the-way.
I'm anxious to lend a helping hand and give the sauce a quick stir. That's about all the work I did their entire time here. Mark's like, "Quick take the photo so she doesn't try to stir anything else."
Oh my, I'm starving just looking at this. Mark showed me his secret to making a great sauce: a really long slow roast of the garlic. Now it's not a secret!
Juno tried her best to help ransack, set the table.
While Loki pulls: "I'm just un Chien du Montagne de Tawain, who was once starving on the street and nobody loved me."
"This is a most advantageous spot. I'm keeping Marc's feet warm and the floor clean should any pasta noodles or prosciutto find their way down here."
Sigh. The Marx are gone. And they left their lousy Seattle weather behind because it's now raining. But we'll relive the rest of their trip later this week with our visit to Bern and Geneva's Modern Art Museum.