Friday, June 22, 2018

Finley's School Picnic

Today was Finley's end of school picnic. She has made some really great friends this year and has had a great first year. Year one in Switzerland is just about complete (they have one week left of school). She is becoming fluent in German, and has met kids from all over the world. We are so pleased with how she has done. And I am grateful for the girls in her class - such a nice group. 5th grade is almost a wrap!

Finley and her best friend.  Such a sweet little girl from India.  We are so glad Finley has her!
 Her class and her teacher in the middle
 Such a nice group of girls in her class
This is Finley's German teacher.  On Thursdays and Fridays, Finley's entire day is in German.  Finley was so nervous about this at the beginning of the year, but her teacher was so lovely, that Finley took to her right away.  She made learning German fun and she was nothing but encouaging.  She would take the kids on impromtu outings when they were learning.  Sadly, she will be leaving at the end of this school year to take a job closer to her home in Germany.  We are sad to see her go.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Afternoon in Zermatt

After lunch and a rest, we headed into Zermatt to catch a train to Randa. Just 15 minutes from Zermatt, this was where we were going to hike. We were going to the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. The Charles Kuonen suspension bridge opened a little over a year ago, and Mat had it on his short list. Since this was his father's day trip, off we went. Arlington's knees locked and she wasn't able to make the climb, so just the 4 of us went. The hike was one of the hardest we have ever done. Almost 2 hours straight up a mountain was intense. Stright.up. We didn't take any pictures on the way there because we could barely breathe with the strain and the altitude. Once at the top, we crossed the 1600 foot (494 meter) bridge. Took 20 minutes to cross.I thought Finley was going to die right there. (not a big fan of heights that girl). But we made it. Down the mountain another 1 1/2 hours of very steep hill and we were finally back. We rewarded our hikers (and poor Arlington) with a delicious dinner in Zermatt and some shopping. 

Bridge for the train

 Church in Zermatt.  We had to walk into town to take the train to the bridge area.

 This bridge was Crazy

 Finley started out okay, and then it swung a little with the wind and she freaked.

 view from the bridge

 View of the bridge on our hike back down the mountain

 That bridge is a one time experience

First visit to Zermatt

This past weekend Mat and I took the kids to Zermatt Switzerland so we could see the Matterhorn. 

We got up early Saturday morning and headed for the Matterhorn. We took the cable car to the top and enjoyed some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. The Matterhorn stands at 4478 meters (14,691 feet) and it one of 38, 4000 meter and bigger mountains in the Alps. (we saw just one taller today - Weisshorn at 4506 meters/14,783 feet). The highest we could be was nearly 13,000 feet (3900 meters), and we were lightheaded and short of breath. But it was beautiful. And people were still skiing! Skiing here is a year round sport. The ride up was terrifying and thrilling. (made the cable car at Luzerne seem like a kiddie land ride). We also explored the Glacier palace before heading back down.

The view from our Airbnb.  We could see this from our balcony.  Just slightly better than Disney World's Matterhorn. 

 The view from the back of our Airbnb.  The village of Zermatt.

 An early morning view of the Matterhorn from our Airbnb.  Incredible
 We loved the village on the hillside

 On our way up the mountain.  The ride was 45 minutes in total and 3 different cable cars

 First look out on our way to the top
 We saw quite a few paragliders while we were up there
 At the top!  These mountains face Italy
 Zermatt from the top of the mountain

 All of these mountains are over 4000 meters

 Cainan made an Alpine snowball

 The air at the top was very thin.  It took awhile for us to not feel dizzy and short of breath.  We saw a lot of hikers (with a guide) going up this snow mound.  That would be such hard work at this height
 It was bitter cold at the top  (for June).  Around 30 degrees F.
 We went inside the ice caves to put our hands on the glaciers

 It was a scarier ride back down
 I took this because this was our final cable car stop - on top of a little rock

 Another stop on the way down.  It looks like Arlington is standing in the middle of the scenery, but she is actually on the edge of a cliff.

 Zermatt below