Some time has passed since my last post, we have been a bit occupied with house guests. In fact, our touring schedule kicked up a notch over the last few weeks with the successive arrival of Todds (drumroll, please).
Amy's parents arrived first. Within moments of their United flight making contact with the tarmac, Clara and Maurice promptly ordered fondue and jumped on a boat to tour Lac Leman (or Lake Geneva - not sure the French side of the lake likes that name). I was impressed with how quickly they took to the trains, planes and ferry boats necessary to navigate the mountainous country of Switzerland.
One of Maurice's goals while in Switzerland was to see some snow-capped peaks. Sometimes you need to be careful what we wish for (read - foreshadowing). In an attempt to realize Maurice's dream, we jumped on a train to Interlaken and headed for Jungfrau - the purported "Top of Europe." Unfortunately, the weather had taken a turn since we were in Interlaken the week before. The Jungfrau cam was a white-out. What does one do when the weather does not permit you to go atop a mountain, crawl inside a mountain and view the Trummelbach Falls (or Trümmelbachfälle in German :-). Trummelbach is a series of ten glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible by tunnel-lift. The falls drain the glacier defiles of Eiger (3970 m), Mönch (4099 m) and Jungfrau (4158 m) and carry 20,200 tons of boulder detritus per year. (*Thanks Wikipedia).
It was quite and adventure.
When we noted that the weather was not going to improve, we decided that by golly, we are going to hit up a mountain. We jumped on another train, to a gondola, to a cogwheel train, to two more gondolas to mount Schilthorn. Again, quite a different experience from the first time Amy and I made this trip. See antarctic snow gear here - It was quite insane, but the Todds took it in stride and were actually quite light-hearted about it all.
Maurice wanted some sno-capped mountains, he got blizzard conditions in October. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but my goodness there was a lot of snow. See white out here - Fortunately, during our multiple gondola rides to reach the 9744 foot high peak, there was a break in the snow and clouds and Maurice's shutter moved so fast smoked started to fly. Once at the top, we rewarded ourselves by eating overpriced food in the revolving restuarant - the famed location of the 1970s filming of a 007 film. Good times. Fortunately, the weather let up a bit and Mom/Pop Todd got to visit some castles in Gruyeres and Montreux and tour around Geneva a bit. They also managed to consume a lot of cheese, wine and chocolate - completely necessary evils here.
The next batch of Todds arrived a few days later. Amy's brother Mike and his wife Kara operated on an extremely expedited schedule. With only 4 days to pack in the fun, they got off the plane, dropped their bags and jumped on a train to Gruyeres. Similar to our other house guests, we immediately took Mike and Kara for mid-day wine and fondue. We were the first people at the restaurant and apparently the only ones crazy enough to want to sit outside. Who could pass up this bodacious view?
Mike and Kara had some QT, sans their adorable one year-old son Evan, to reconnect, take in the views, drink a beer, etc.
They also had some severe weather conditions of their own. One day Team Todd was almost taken out on Pont Mont Blanc. Gale force winds, or otherwise known as light breezes in Geneva, swept through and they were flying. It made for some mid-trip entertainment.
On Mike and Kara's last day in Swisse, Amy took them on an adventure to Matterhorn. They rose at the wee hours of the morning to jump on a train that was apparently full of snooty people and/or peeps with a train reservation. Determined to reach the snowy summit, the Todd crew occupied some comfy floor space on the train.
It appears that the long, annoying train trip to Zermatt to view the Matterhorn was all worth it. They got an immensely sunny and beautiful day on the summit. I think both Maurice and I are a bit envious, but we are happy that many of the crew saw this beautiful sight. And yes, it does look just like the one at Disneyland! Cheers!