I had just moved to Switzerland when my mom, my sister Linda and Linda's three children came to visit.
Linda has no fear of traveling with three small children and seems to do it with ease. However, because it can be complicated and expensive with so many people, we didn't travel to any other countries. Instead, we showed them as much of Switzerland as we could. We'll save the rest of Europe for their next trip.
We rented a large van to get around and together we learned how to get to all of the places.
We stayed at Herbert's parents for a few of the nights because they live on the lake of Thun, which is so close to many of the sites. Herbert had to work most of the week days that they were here and, except for the last evening, wasn't able to join us when we stayed at his parents. We did our best to communicate with Hans and Frieda using hand motions and the incredibly limited Swiss German that I had at the time.
I think it was a good time for all of us and even now, three years later, the kids still talk to me about the things they saw while they were in Switzerland visiting their Aunt Sue.
(My mom takes as many pictures as I do and I at the end of their trip, we gave each other copies of all the photos we took. Some of the photos on this page were ones that she took. I'd like to thank her for taking them and thank her for sharing them with me and everyone who views this web page.)
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|1 - My family (with Herbert) after their arrival to the airport in Zurich. We had an hour or two to drive to Oberwil, so we had a quick cup of coffee before we left.||2 - Evan and Emma, looking happy to be here and not tired at all.||3 - There are many places along the roads in Switzerland where you can pick your own flowers and pay on an honor system. We stopped on our way home so that the kids could pick gladiolas.|
|4 - They arrived on July 21st which just happens to be my birthday. Herbert's parents came to meet the family and help me celebrate.||5 - Herbert and I with birthday champagne and faces that show how happy we were to have our families together.||6 - Frieda with Elliot. She spent a lot of time with him during their trip. She seemed to really enjoy being with a little one and we all appreciated the help.|
|7 - Evan helping me with the candles on my birthday cake.||8 - The first morning in a different country... Evan had come into the kitchen for a glass of juice and fell asleep on the floor while he was waiting for it.||9 - Herbert's parents and I took everyone to the Blue Lake. It was a rainy day and we ordered hot chocolate for the kids. They had fun dipping the chocolate sticks in it.|
|10 - Hans and Frieda at the Blue Lake.||11 - Hans, Linda, Emma, Evan and I went for a walk around the area surrounding the lake.||12 - Mom and Frieda with Emma.|
|13 - Elliot, all ready to head for the Alps.||14 - Emma, Frieda and Hans in Grindelwald, on their way to the train that would take us to Kleine Scheidegg.||15 - Mom and the kids on the train.|
|16 - Mom took this photo of a sisterly moment.||17 - We had lunch up at one of the outdoor restaurants on Kleine Scheidegg.||18 - A man playing an Alp horn and a curious, uninhibited Evan checking it out.|
|19 - While Hans and I went for a hike and Linda, Mom, Emma and Evan checked out the area, Frieda stayed at the table taking care of Elliot.||20 - Hans, Herbert and I took everyone to spend a day in Ballenberg - a living museum of Swiss houses and culture. Here, Linda's helping the kids try on some of the old clothes.||21 - All kids seem to like dressing up and I think it's even more special when the clothes are from another country.|
|22 - Emma and Evan playing with some simple toys from the past.||23 - Hans showing Evan how to carve wood.||24 - ... and then letting him do it himself.|
|25- We took them to a special island on the lake of Biel. It's not really an island because there is a narrow section of land that you can walk across, but we decided to take a boat there.||26 - We walked around the island and Evan and Elliot rode.||27 - My family.|
|28- A drink and a snack at La Mozot, one of mine Herbert's special places in Bern.||29 - Evan completely engrossed in a new toy and oblivious to his surroundings.||30 - Mom and the kids found enjoyed listening to a band from the Andes that were playing on the street in Bern. Mom took photos, talked to the band and bought on of their CDs.|
|31- August 1st is National Day in Switzerland and is similar to the Fourth of July in the US. The kids were very familiar with using sparklers to celebrate.||32 - This is one of my favorite photos that I've ever taken.||33 - My family was invited to the annual neighborhood picnic for National Day.|
|34- Emma and Evan playing on the sculptures at Shoppyland mall.||35 - Linda and I had discovered that there were great hiking paths in all the forests around our village. We brought Mom and the kids up there to see them.||36 - The kids needed to keep busy all the time and so Linda and Mom would take them to the swimming pools in Büren while Herbert and I got things done at home.|
|37- The kids also woke up earlier in the morning than Herbert and I. Mom and Linda let them color on the patio so that they wouldn't wake us up.||38 - Herbert's son Yves taught Evan a new game of ball.||39 - The kids helped me plant some edelweiss into a pot.|
|40- Evan still remembers today that he picked blueberries in our garden and asked me if he could come over to our house and pick them again. Here he is on one of the daily strolls he would take to pick them, and that was three years ago.||41 - The kids didn't just enjoy the fruit from the garden, they also helped out too. They watered plants...||42 - and took food scraps out to the compost bin.|
|43- Herbert and Emma enjoying a moment on one of our quiet evenings on the patio.||44 - We borrowed strollers for Linda to use with Elliot ant the kids, but we didn't have a small tub for Elliot's bath. Linda was clever and used the sink in the bathroom.||45 - Our cat Sid took over Elliot's car seat on most days.|
|46- A quiet afternoon on one of the last days of the visit, Herbert's parents were also there.||47 - Frieda asked if we could take a photo of the kids with her and Hans.||48 - We decided that it would be nice to have a photo of everyone. (We didn't have a tripod, so it was everyone but me.)|