Confession: my drafts folder is full of travel entries in various stages of completion, dusty and forgotten for months. Honestly, after hours of reading and planning and packing, not to mention a trip itself, then sharing our experience with local friends, uploading photos and settling back into “normal” life again, writing about it is not very high on my priority list. But I can’t leave these forever and not feel more than a little guilty– to tidy up these entries feels like closure on these trips; a chance to reflect on where we’ve been and all that we’ve had the chance to see and experience. I fully realize that travel burn-out is a serious privilege, and one day, I’ll appreciate having somewhat organized thoughts to reflect upon. Here’s a start: the rest of our epic road trip with John’s parents this spring.
After our weekend in The Netherlands (read about that here), we enjoyed a day back home in Germany to rest and repack. We ate a leisurely breakfast, took walks, napped, did laundry, and spent a few hours in the afternoon at the Gartenshau, one of our favorite places in our local area.
The Gartenshau is possibly the coolest park we’ve ever been to, complete with life size replicas of dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts. A shallow creek weaves through picnic areas and playgrounds, meant for play. On warm days, it teems with kids in their swimsuits, splashing and and catching minnows. The playground equipment itself is creative, varied and, in some cases, borderline dangerous—so all the better! There’s a rock wall, big basket swings, giant slides, a kid-sized ropes course, a water play area with pumps and fountains, castle-like forts and a sandbox with dinosaur fossils you can uncover. It’s a big place with no shortage of open green space and gorgeous flowers, lounge chairs, a mini golf course, a skate park, a soccer pit, a couple cafes, a chapel made of willows, and just in case John wasn’t already sold, an impressive LEGO exhibit.
The next morning, we drove about 4 1/2-5 hours to the Lauterbrunnen valley, Switzerland. Because it’s the off-season, past peak ski season but still too snowy for most summer hiking and tourism, we landed an affordable chalet right in the heart of the valley. This is the view from the deck, where we pretty much spent all of our “indoor” time.
The mountains themselves are staggering. The hills are impossibly green. And the only sounds are birds, the bleating of new lambs, the thunder of waterfalls and rivers full with snow melt and occasionally, the rumble of an avalanche above. Basically, with the exception of some light hiking, our only agenda for our time in Switzerland was to sit on the balcony with a french press and chocolate, staring at the mountains.
30-ish weeks and the gorgeous Swiss Alps
In our not quite two years of living in Europe, we’ve been to Switzerland four times. We’re definitely not tired of it yet. We’ve joked about scratching the rest of our travel ambitions and just coming back here at every opportunity. It’s so tempting.