Part 1: planes, trains, (helicopters, trucks, buses) & automobiles

My main agenda with starting this blog was to catalogue all of the pictures we take as a family. For the last three or four years they've been stacking up in iPhoto - never printed, never seen. And I wanted a way to accompany our pictures with stories that I could read years later and so could our kids. At the end of the year, I'll have it printed in a book, so we have a hardcopy 'yearbook.' There are a whole slew of website companies that will do that for ya. You just give them the number of that magic piece of plastic in your pocket and BAM. You've got a book.

So, in the spirit of resurrecting old photographs to be catalogued, remembered and eventually printed for our family, I'm going back to February to chronicle our trip to Switzerland. It was a BIG trip, so I'm breaking it into three parts. Hold on tight. There are a lot of pictures coming your way. 


At the end of last winter Annie, John and I took a 10 day trip to visit old friends in Switzerland. We took advantage of just about every form of transportation there is out there - Annie even more so. You can add stroller and Baby Bjorn to her list. Anyway there was a long enough list to merit a whole post. 

So that I never forget this relaxing day, here's a condensed itinerary for our first 24 hours of travel:
  • Drive an hour from Branson to Springfield. 
  • Hop in my mom's car and drive to the airport. 
  • Fly to Chicago. Nurse baby. Change planes. And change diaper.
  • Fly to Washington, D.C. Nurse baby...again. Squirt squeezable baby food all over the seat. Oops. Change planes. Change diaper again.
  • Fly to Geneva. Nurse baby. Nurse baby. Feed baby. Change baby. Nurse baby. Rock a sleeping baby through customs. Try not to cry when they make you wake her up to check for contraband. 
  • Get on a train for an hour to Fribourg. Try not to pass out.
  • Drive a half an hour to Valentine's house. Eat a bowl of spaghetti. Slip into bed and feel your eyes shutting as you hear your baby daughter scream awake, READY FOR THE DAY. 

It was a fantastically long day. A day that flew over the night. So really it was like two days. Two long days.

But let's begin at the Springfield airport. That place is redonkulous. They knew our names when we walked in because we were the only people flying with a baby that morning. Talk about a small population! 

Planes. Annie was a real trooper on all of the flights. I think they said that there were around 175 seats on our international leg and only 18 or 19 filled - slow season. We had rows (plural!) to ourselves. We tucked her into this seat back bassinet, layered her with blankets, and watched Downton Abbey on demand. It was glorious. (Don't worry, we left a corner open so she could breathe. No, for reals, her head was at the end - cropped out of this picture - and totally exposed to air!)

Clearly, however bad a mother you now think I am, she survived as evidenced in this picture below from the Geneva airport.

Alright, so we've now done two car rides and three plane rides. Whew. 

Trains. The next mode of transportation was a good ole train. We spent a lot of time on those guys the ten days were were there. And Annie lurved them. No car seats. Woot woot! 

I can already hear the judgment flying before I type this. But one of the days as John took an exhausted nap on the train and Annie restlessly kept pushing herself out of my arms, I most definitely let an Asian couple with whom I could not communicate one word take Annie and walk her up and down the train aisles to calm her down. They seem tickled by her and I was tired. So there you go. Another strike against my parenting. I hand my baby to strangers. 

Helicopters. My host mother's brother is a helicopter pilot and we swung by his hanger a few days into the trip to say hello. Next thing you know we hopped in and took a tour of the alps. With the baby. You heard. You're never too young for some chopper time. 

Some of the jaw dropping view:

So, it's clear now where I got the inspiration for this weekly picture back in March:

(See all the weekly pictures here.)

Trucks. Betty's connections don't stop there. Her husband Dominique (my old host dad) used to be a firefighter. Hmmm....Just like someone else I know. So what better way to bridge the language gap - John and Dominique's conversations during the week never went beyond 'hi' and 'thank you' - than go to the fire station to bond over trucks. Big RED trucks.

Just in case the helicopter ride didn't offer quite a high enough view of Switzerland, we tested out the fire ladder and peered out over our little Swiss village. Crazy. 

Buses. For accuracy's sake as far as concerns our transit, we ventured around town by bus most days as well. And after visiting our friend Katie in Crans-Montana, we took the funicular from her house to the train station. Sadly, though, Annie had thrown up all night and that morning we were in an exhausted hurry. So no pictures were snapped of the funi.

To round things out, at the end of the trip we jumped back in the car to drive to the train station, where we rode to the airport, where we flew to America, where we drove home, where we walked to our room and collapsed in our bed. 

Here's us in Toronto on a layover, before the bed collapsing took place:

Part 1. There it is people. How we got our bad selves around Switzerland. 

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