More good views of the Matterhorn. We had clear blue skies for the last few days of skiing. Amy and I were totally sore and only skiied half days, but Chris was a super all day skier the last few days. He took some great pictures of the views while he was out.
We went out to a fancy french restaurant one night. It was so awesome. The people who worked there were super nice, there was a fish tank that Elora and Oliver loved, they actually had a kids menu and a high chair, and the food was amazing. Here is Elora with her schnitzel that actually came with the toothpick of lemon and melon on it.
Heidi and I got fish, and it was the best fish I have had in a really really long time. And! The best part was that when I had eaten most of my rice and vegetables, the server came by and asked if I would like some more. What?!? Who ever heard of a restaurant asking if you want seconds? Then she brought pretty silver platters of rice and veggies to dish out onto my plate. I also asked for butter for my fish and they brought it in a cute mini silver chafing dish. So fun! With our salads they brought out little pottery bowls filled with all different choices of salad dressing (I have never even had a choice for salad dressing before, usually in Europe you get what you get...) If you look in the background you can see Elora looking at the fish in the fishtank. They were not fancy looking fish, so I assume they were there to be eaten... Elora said that they all liked looking at her.
Chris had the fondue and it came with a huge tray covered in dipping sauces, as well as two kinds of meat and a selection of sliced fruit. Oliver enjoyed his french fries and schnitzel.
The last morning we were in Zermatt, I took the morning off skiing to take the kids up to the top of the mountain. They were so excited to ride in the cable cars.
We went up to the viewpoint at the very top of the Klein Matterhorn. As soon as we got off the elevator, Elora said, "It feels like butterflies are flying in my tummy!" I think everyone feels a little bit of vertigo when they go up that high, and it is also super cold! If you look at Elora's face you can see just how cold it is up at the top of the mountain.
This picture is actually blurry, but if you just look at the small one, it is the only pic we have of the four of us on this trip!
The funniest part about being on this crazy high viewpoint is that Elora was freezing, I was out of breath, and Oliver? Was happy as can be, running back and forth over and over again, giggling hysterically. Maybe the lack of oxygen was making him giddy, or maybe he was just born for cold winter sports.
The big lifts on the way up were so crowded that we had to hold the kids with no room to move. On the way back down, there was no one in the lifts, so the kids got to run around and dance to the music playing on the radio. Oliver was so excited every time I told him we would be getting on another cable car. (You have to take three cable cars to get to the top of the mountain). Elora on the other hand was disappointed that Daddy was not coming back down with us, and told me she wanted Daddy to hold her as he skied down the mountain.
After taking the kids back and putting them down for naps, Amy and I went out to meet Chris for our last day of skiing. When we left the apartment, the wind blowing the snow off the Matterhorn made it look like the Matterhorn was smoking.
Here we are at the top of Europe's highest mountain lift, altitude of 12,736 feet. Wow, no wonder I felt dizzy.
It was amazing to be up there and see the mountaint going on as far as the eye could see. There were also great views of the glacier up at the top of the Klein Matterhorn. People can ski on the glacier in the spring when there is more snow pack, but at this time of year there is too much danger that people will fall in crevasses.
We decided to ski down into Italy one more time, while we could actually see the runs we were skiing on. It was super cold, as you can see by top of the mountain. This is a really neat run to ski on because you can see amazing views of the alps on the way down to the Italian side.
We stopped at a little cafe on the side of the mountain to enjoy more Italian pasta! The big question in this picture is who's the lady and who's the tramp? Note the large bottle of water. Everywhere we went we asked for tap water, and they wouldn't give it to you. They make you buy bottles of water that cost 9 francs. That is 9 dollars for a bottle of water!!!! And we were in the alps with freshly melted glacier water which tastes awesome and cold straight from the tap! Crazy Swiss people.
This was Amy's first time ever going to Italy.
Oliver loves to play outside, no matter what the weather. Every day when we got back from skiing, he would run and get his shoes and sit by the door. Here he had taken Daddy's beanie to wear and was attempting to put on his boots all by himself, while saying "shoe shoes!"
Our last visit to Sparky's bar! The owner (Sparky) could recognize us and would greet us on the street. My small hot chocolate cost the same as Amy's huge beer!
Sparky with Amy and Heidi.
Our last morning in Zermatt! Toasts with Swiss Miss hot chocolate with plenty of whipped cream left over from ice cream sundaes we made the night before. We bought ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped crema and made huge ice cream sundaes. The Americans all finished ours in about 5 minutes, while poor Heidi had probably never seen an ice cream sundae like that and had only eaten like a fourth of hers!
The taxi from the hotel to the shuttle service out of Zermatt was like, 40 francs, so we decided just to walk with all our luggage in the morning. It was a long walk with a lot of bags, but the kids did a great job holding hands and walking together. Very sweet.
We gave Oliver a box of cereal to hold because he was sad when we got in the car. It kept him occupied for at least two hours as he held it, ripped it, ate the cereal. And when Elora said she wanted cereal, he very sweetly got a piece out for her too. Then she cried and said she wanted more than one piece... Hmm... it's going to be a long drive...
We got out the handy dandy map to get us most of the way to Zurich before we bothered with the GPS. Go navigator skills. At one point we were listening to the top 100 greatest guitar solos of all time on CD when Elora said, "Turn off that music. Turn on church music! I want music about peace and love!" You know, when feeling stressed about finding the right highways in a country with too many street signs, I like music about peace and love too...
To break up the drive, we stopped at the Lindt factory store to buy some discounted chocolates! Yum.
We tried to make it to a nice town with cafes to eat at, but the kids were starving so we pulled into an Austrian McDonald's to enjoy the wonderful Austrian ingredients. We also got to play the Monopoly game and won a free hamburger and a free ice cream cone. Nice.
While driving through Salzburg, we saw a kebap shop called Popeyes. That strikes me as so funny that instead of Popeye's Fried Chicken, we found Popeye's Original Turkish Kebap shop. Really?
We decided to go to the Christmas market in Salzburg. It was in such a beautiful location with the fortress all lit up on the hill, and churches all around the square.
At the first stall we came to, there were wooden ornaments which I love and have been searching for since moving here. Amy and I were very excited to pick out some new Christmas ornaments, and Amy also got her very own smoking man, a traditional decoration in Bavaria and Salzburg.
Amy and I both liked this market best out of all the ones we have gone to.
After more driving, we decided to make one last stop about an hour and a half from home at a Rosenburger rest stop. The rest stops here are awesome. They have huge restaurants with little toys and treats for the kids and good salad bars. We were all a little silly from lack of sleep and being cooped up in the car, and laughed hysterically at Amy's antics with the kids toys. Elora told us all to stop laughing because "we aren't at a silly party!"
Fun with static electricity! And then we finally got home after another whole day of driving. If anyone would ever like to go to Zermatt in the near future, the snow is supposed to be the best in April or March. It is a really amazing place to ski.