Thursday, January 19, 2017

Europe Adventure: Day Twenty, part Two- Zermatt, Switzerlan

We checked into our lovely chalet style hotel, The Hotel Antika
 This place was great. The people were friendly, the place was pretty and clean, they had a free breakfast, and we got a room with a view of the Matterhorn for just over $100. 
Such a pretty setting. 
Also, the outlets were different from my adapters. I had some for England and some that were generic European that worked in France and Germany. Neither fit here. I went to the front desk to ask if they had any for purchase but they gave me some to borrow for free. 

Our room:

Our little patio with our amazing view. 

View of the river...

Our view of the Matterhorn didn't pan out too well as it was shrouded in clouds. 
Every once in a while we would get a little peek of it but for the most part we couldn't see the peak. 
Still gorgeous though. 

After settling in we went out to walk around town. 

Just up the road from our hotel there was a church with a graveyard. 
It is called the Mountaineer's cemetery. 
It is filled with the graves of those who have died in the mountains around this area, most from the 19th century.
One of the gravestones is for two climbers that died of natural causes, not on the mountain. It is that of a father and son, both named Peter Taugwalder. They were the guides for the first person to climb the Matterhorn, Edward Whymper. They were the only three that survived that first climb. They made the ascent on July 14, 1865 but on the way back down the other four members fell.  All are buried here except one that they couldn't find. 
On some of the headstones it tells you how they died whether it was falling, an avalanche, etc. 
One headstone says, "I chose to climb." The climber's red axe is on his stone. 
There is also a memorial to accident victims in recent years. 
It was really interesting to walk around looking at the different headstones and memorials.

The church that watches over the Mountaineer's Cemetery

We did a little shopping as well. 
While we were in this little shop I started feeling like the ground was moving when I was standing still. My mom mentioned feeling the same way. We realized over the next few hours that we were experiencing something normal to people after long train rides where it makes you feel a bit dizzy and like you are still moving for hours afterward. It didn't really go away until I went to sleep that night. 

We stopped in at a cool two story McDonalds to get ice cream. 

We then walked back to our hotel to warm up a bit and make a plan for dinner. 

We really wanted to have fondue for dinner as that is kind of an iconic dish for this area. 
We looked up reviews for a few places and then set out to find them. 
We walked through Old Village.
This old part of Zermatt is known as the "Hinterdorf" which means rear village. 
The old houses, stables, and barns were built between the 16th and 18th century. 
The buildings are made of larch. The roofs are big slabs of rock which were supposed to make the structure more sturdy. The wood in particular was supposed to be resistant to pests and would turn black through the years which made it better at storing heat. 
Many of them were built on stilts to keep out pests, especially mice. Also, the animals would often live on the ground floor or under to provide heat for the above floor.

The places we went to eat were not open so we walked back up by our hotel and found a little spot in a building up the road. It was an interesting place with a very laid back vibe. They seemed surprised to see us and we were the only women there besides the workers. We wondered if maybe it was mostly locals.
They had fondue so we were happy to try it out. 

I told my mom that in her striped shirt and cap she looked like the hamburgler and she did this... so funny.

There were a few kinds of fondue. It was crazy expensive. I think about $25 a person if I am remembering right. 
There was the basic cheese fondue and then one that was more expensive that said "with herbs". I assumed that meant herbs in the cheese but it actually meant vegetables. So ours did not come with veggies like I thought it would. 
It was only the cheese fondue, chunks of bread, and little baked potatoes. 

It was really good at first, especially on a cold evening... but after a little while it got old. 
It was a fun experience but I would recommend if you are trying to keep cost down to just go ahead and eat at the McDonalds and then use your cash for some of the other things like the yummy Swiss chocolate shop. However if you want the fondue experience and don't mind spending the money, it was fun. 

After dinner we went back to our room, relaxed for awhile, and went to bed. 
I bought three souvenirs in Zermatt....
I got these St. Bernard beanie boo stuffed animals for the girls and a Zermatt keychain to use as a Christmas ornament. 

It was a very long, exhausting day but ending in such a beautiful place was a wonderful way to get over the stress of the trains. 
We wished that we could have gone up the mountain on the little train or tram but we knew we didn't want to spend the money (it is expensive) when the Matterhorn was hiding in the clouds anyway. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Christmas Day 2016

The family room was visited by Santa Claus! 

The girls woke up with their new slippers and stuffed animals from Santa in their rooms. 
Maddy had a Pusheen cat and Abi had a homemade Starlight Glimmer. 

Before the chaos...

When Christmas falls on a Sunday we only open stockings before church. We save the gifts for after church. Santa usually does a lot more in the stockings on this kind of Christmas...

They were both so excited looking at what was laid out and looking at their sister's stuff as well. 

Abi thought it was really funny that she had hair elastics in her stocking. 

She has been searching for this pony for a long time. I loved this expression!

We had a Christmas miracle and woke up to snow!

I make the same breakfast casserole every year because you make it the night before and it cooks all night so that it is ready right when you need it Christmas morning... but this will be its last year. 
I love it. It is hearty and delicious. But the kids hate it. So from now on I will be doing something else. It is just way too much wasted food. 

After playing with her stocking stuff for a while Maddy got on the couch for a little nap as she was battling a bad cold. She was pretty miserable. 

Normally our kids stay home from church and/or school for any kind of sickness but I really wanted us to be at church today. I figured that since it was only Sacrament meeting it would be okay to take her. She was pretty tired and was spread out across the bench and next to me most of the meeting but then about halfway through she perked up and was much better the rest of the day. 

When we got home we put our Christmas jammies back on and had some lunch. Then we began the gift opening. 

I love this reaction!

"Mom! They don't even sell these in stores anymore!"

Abi's face. Haha.

Maddy didn't have as many gifts from Santa because her gifts were more expensive than the things Abi asked for, so while Abi continued opening Maddy helped Daddy with his gifts. 

Doug, like me, usually knows what he is getting. I managed to finally surprise him this year with a few things.. one of them was this Tintin toy tube. 

I knew he had made a stained glass window for my library but I didn't know what it was. 
Harry Potter!

Abi with her gifts:
From Santa- Twilight Sparkle tree house, three MLP Equestria Girl dolls, two smaller pony sets, and Baby Flurry Heart.
From Maddy- Lego set

Maddy's gifts: 
From Santa- Zoomer Kitty, Gemma Stone doll, Shopkins Bakery
From Abi- Shopkins Kinstructions set

Family gifts: 
From my Aunt Maureen we got the cool light up glass cube and some chocolates
We got some treats and ornaments from neighbors. 
From one of my uncles we got the cutting board, crackers, ornament, and two movies. 

My gifts from Doug and the girls: 
 3 Harry Potter themed Funko Pops, 2 Once Upon a Time themed Funko Pops, The Case for Beasts book, The Illustrated Chamber of Secrets, Lucy Maud Montgomery's journal volume 2, an Anne of Green Gables themed journal, the stained glass window, and the mini series Doctor Thorne. 

Doug's gifts from the girls and I:
Two of his posters framed, 3 long sleeved raglan style shirts, some Ferrero rocher, the Tintin toys, a book about Coat of Arms, a toaster oven.

This is what was in our stockings: 

Maddy: 2 cat books, candy, an Animal Jam surprise pack, Animal Crossing and a DS case, an animal magazine, a little animal craft kit, drawing set, drawing paper, 2 Shopkins, Shopkins toothbrushes, Pistachios, Zootopia, hairbands, and cookies.

Abi's stocking: 
2 MLP books, cookies, candy treats, a make it yourself MLP pop up book, a magazine, mini pony sets, a pony, a cross stitch set, a MLP toothbrush, MLP pens, a small Lego set, a MLP/ LPS movie. 

Doug's stocking: 
lots of candy and treats, hair gel, toothbrush, The Emotional Thesaurus, and the Goonies. 

My stocking: 
Candy, Independence Day, a few sets of markers and pens, planner stickers, watercolor paper, toothbrush, makeup, nail polish, hair bands, bookmarks, and The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. 

After we were done with presents we all settled in to enjoy our things. 
Abi wanted to go out and play in the snow. 

Maddy loves her Zoomer. 

That evening we hid the pickle inside the tree and they went searching.

Abi found it and got an extra gift. It was an MLP Equestria Girls doll. 

Finally that evening we got the family room looking mostly clean again. 

It was a wonderful Christmas.