(In random order)
10-The Food: We ate the most amazing food! (and I was pretty much over my morning sickness and could enjoy it). We had the best Chinese food we had ever eaten. We ate delicious crepes in Lyon, France (the cuisine capital on the world) in a tiny restaurant where we watched the chef smoke while he cooked our food and licked his fingers to test the temperature of the dishes. We ate fondue, Indian food, french cuisine and pastries. But my favorite by far was the fresh bread Steve brought in for breakfast each morning from the bakery across the street.
10b: Chocolate: We were in Switzerland, so it gets its own subcategory. We loved sampling the chocolates in the little shops, visiting the Nestle factory, admiring the window displays, and bringing it home to share.
9-Cathedrals: These beautiful buildings were such a testimony of the people's love and dedication to God. (yes, I know that there were also a lot of politics and evil dealings involved with their building, but the faithful people dedicated all they had to glorify their God.
8-Castles: I had never seen a castle before, so I was pretty excited to see several on our trips and to visit Chillon. We climbed to the very top and Chad took these great pics from the highest turret.
7-Swiss Alps: So they might not have been the same mountains that I dreamed of seeing ever since I first saw Sound of Music or Heidi, but they were still the Swiss Alps. The sky was clear enough for us to able to see Mt. Blanc when we went for a Sunday drive. Breathtaking.
6-Chateaus: I loved the beautiful architecture. Having never left North America previous to this trip, I had never actually seen homes that predated the US. We saw the home of Saint Bernard and several other beautiful mansions.
5-Life on the Streets: We loved watching a classroom of children having recess in a gated area on a sidewalk next to a busy street in Lyon, the Music grinder, the outdoor cafes, and the thousands of pedestrians who walked everywhere. The fountains that you and your pets could drink out of were fun. And of course the shopping! (Did not love all the smoke).
4-Diversity: Geneva is such a culturally diverse city. We heard dozens of languages spoken as we jumped on the bus. There are so many world organizations headquartered here, people from around the world are contracted here like Chad's parents.
3- The Countryside and Villages: It was the peak of fall while we were there and the beauty was breathtaking. I loved the red vines that grew on all the walls. and the vineyards on the hills. My favorite place we visited was Annecy, France.
2- That My little ones were at home safe with their Nana and Aunt Rachel having a great time! I was very hesitant to leave them. (okay terrified is probably a more accurate word, I knew my mom would take great care of them, but I know I have my own separation anxiety issues when it comes to my kids). I was truly weighing the consequences of canceling right up until the night before we left and wondered if our travelers insurance covered maternal paranoia. But the longer we were away, the more grateful I was that they were not on 8 hour flights, having to jump on and off buses and subways with pushy people, eating dinner at 8pm or having to climb ancient roman ruins in Lyon. No, they were having a great time and did not miss us at all. They loved spending time with Nana and Rachel and even Ryan asks for her everyday still. I missed my guys terribly, but actually enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would be able to. In fact, if I thought my mom might say yes, I would actually leave them now occasionally for a weekend getaway with my hubby. Something I would not have considered before our trip. I did think about them all the time and we had fun shopping for them, but I am glad for them that they were not there. These train pics are for them, the only two things I think they would have enjoyed besides seeing Grandma and Grandpa.
1-Spending time with Chad's parents. Thank you for such a wonderful week. We appreciate your hospitality and generosity.