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Archive for June, 2012

First day in Zermatt

What an amazing part of the world this is! So beautiful, so untouched, so quaint, so peacful (except when the kids are awake!) just amazing!

Today we went into town to look for snow gloves and pick up some food for dinner.  Mum and Dad stayed at home, the memory of the walk back the day before still on their minds! We managed to buy three pairs of very expensive snow gloves, really happy we decided to pack the other snow gloves last minute! We came back for lunch and then set off for the moutnain peaks and the snow.

Unfortunately the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest peak in Europe and the place we were looking forward to visiting is still shut for this season, so we had to ascend to their second highest peak Trockener Steg at 3000m. I underestimated how unerving the cable car ride would be…and how exciting it would be.  The first cable car we took could hold about 30 people and was a bit like riding on something from the royal show! It took us to Furi, the first station where we changed to a smaller car and so had to separate from mum and dad. Mum was amazing and was anxious at first but by the end of the trip could actually look down and out of the car! I have to say, that I loved the cable cars. It was very different to begin with but by the end of the trip, I didn’t notice the swaying and speeding up at parts.  It even stopped a couple of times on the way back with us in the middle of the trip and it didn’t phase me…in fact it gave us valuable marmot spotting time, which we used to great effect. J was the official marmot spotter even seeing ones I couldn’t see (but the others could!)

We got to the top and found some snow (on a piste that was open) and spent quite a bit of time having snow ball fights, building snowmen (Derek and Z), making huge snowballs and bricks (C and E), making a snow model of the alps (J), building a snow cave courtesy of Bear Grylls (I) and sleeping (N). Mum and Dad stomped through the snow and watched the kids and collected snow in a bottle to bring down the mountain!

We had to rush down as the last cable car was leaving and we had to be on it! The trip down was lovely though steep! We had to walk back to the apartment which was a very steep walk but we got to a small park and let the kids have a play. Derek, dad and I had a go on the flying fox (not all together!!), E caught a bird (and we let it go!) and mum and I went to a small shop and got us icecream to eat. A lovely stop after a hard walk.

Got home at about 5pm, nice and early and had a lovely dinner and chocolate for dessert and I got to blog – yay!!!

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From Paris to Zermatt

Today was quite stressful.  We had to go from Paris to Zermatt via train which included boarding three trains with all our luggage!  We had to catch a taxi to Gare de Lyon (which I had to book beforehand!) at 6am which meant we had to wake at 5am to get kids ready. We finished repacking at 1am the night before so we were pretty exhausted! The train for Geneva didn’t leave until 8:11am but I was paranoid about the taxi not arriving for us and so we left extra early so we had time to go by metro if we needed…thank God we didn’t have to, the taxis arrived right on time so we got to the station very early!

Derek was amazing. He loaded all the luggage onto the train pretty much by himself, with mum, dad and me organising the process of it, but not actually doing much lifting. The kids were fantastic, helping cart the luggage around and helping mum and dad with their luggage.  I love watching them all pushing the luggage through the station to our destination. I have so many photos of it!! Even Z pushes (and then rides!) a small suitcase.

So we arrived at the station at 6:20am ready for our departure at 8:11am….time for coffee, pain au chocolat and chocolat chaud for me! The train ride to Geneva was lovely because we all had a sleep, well Derek and I and the kids did, mum and dad were sitting in another cabin…not sure if they did or not!  I was formidable as I got through the 31/2 hour journey without travel medication, though I felt quite queasy at the end of it.

We got to Geneva and had to find out where and when the next train to Visp was leaving from, and how we could get on it.  We couldn’t reserve seats on this one so I was a bit anxious about how things were going to pan out….it worked out perfectly!  We left easily on a train to Visp and then onto Zermatt which was another 31/2 hour journey. And what an amazing journey that was.  We climbed into the alps and travelled until we got to Visp. I slept through most of this as the medication took affect. Poor Derek was left to deal with kids and dirty nappies…and me!!  I woke up and was ready to go when we arrived in Visp and changed trains ready for our trip to Zermatt.

This leg of the train was incredible. It was the first time we had seen real mountains and we were all in awe. I stayed awake the whole time and didn’t even feel queasy! Even the photos in this post don’t convey the granduer and beauty of this place. So awesome!

We were met at the train station in Zermatt by the company tha manages the apratment we are staying in.  The apartemnt is lovely. Such a difference from the one in Paris.  It has four bedrooms and two bathrooms and three toilets!  But ht ebest part of all is the view from the balcony at the back…we open the doors and can see the most amazing view of the matterhorn and the town of Zermatt. Just spectacular.

We took a walk into town to get supplies and then decided to walk back up the mountain to the apartment…what a walk!  The kids met a gorgeous beagle puppy in the field which was J’s best part of the day! The kids went to bed very excited about playing in snow the next day.

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Our last day in Paris

We had a lot to jamb in on this day.  We hadn’t had a chance to climb the Eiffel tower (which I really wanted to do) or go on a river cruise or see Sacre Coeur or go to musee D’Orsay so we decided to do all of it! We started out early, trying to get to the Eiffel tower before opening time at 9:30am, but got there about 10ish. I looked at the queue and thought that we were never going to get to go up.  We walked a bit further on and realised that the queue everyone was in was for the lift that would take you to the second level…and we wanted to climb, so we went to the queue for the stairs and got in in about 5 mins! The climb was great.  The kids loved it and Z trekked up the whole thing himself! When we go to the second level we had a short queue for the lift to the top. The view was amazing and a great way to end our trip.  We spotted everything we had visited during the week. The wind was blowing strongly and was cold so we sheltered on the side that was slightly protected from the wind.  We had a snack and then made our way down. Derek and Z had a race and the others went down ahead of us. I was quite surprised at how easy the climb was.  I expected it to be near impossible, but it was actually quite manageable and enjoyable!  My legs were wobbly at the end though! Mum and Dad waited at the bottom, got very cold and waved to us on the way up!

We then walked over a bridge to a carousel where the kids had a ride and then had lunch in the park next to it. We then decided to find ut about river cruises and chose one that took us up to Notre Dame and back in an hour.  It was great to see the city from the water and great to see a lot of the places we had been to during the week.

We were pretty tired by this stage, but went to Musee D’orsay which is a museum that houses mainly impressionist artwork.  We were able to see some Monets, Renoirs, Degas’, Van Goghs and Manets among others.  Well worth going to, but nothing on the Louvre.

We left there at about 5:30 to go to the basilica of Sacre Coeur for mass.  The basilica was beautiful, on top of the highest hill in Paris. We had to get the funicular to get there which was fun. Mass was okay.  It was in French and we were all very tired so it was hard to stay awake.  N was very noisy and so I took him out only to be told to be quiet numerous times by a person at the back telling tourists to be quiet as they viewed the church.  I was a bit annoyed at this as the man was quite rude about it even after I explained that I was actually there for mass.  I didn’t end up going to communion as N was being way to loud! I cam out of there quite tired and cranky!!

Absolutely knackered and knowing we still had to pack, we made our way home.  I think we may have pushed ourselves too hard on this day, but it was worth it!

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