Monday, December 21, 2009

A day trip to Engelberg

Oh flexibility of having an automobile, how we miss you! But, with another thanks to Bain, John was able to provide us with some wheels for the weekend. This weekend we were sporting a little Mini Cooper. Great car. Can't tell you how much fun it was to put a huge toddler car seat in the back, get it buckled in, and then repeatedly wrestle a big toddler in and out of the seat. Ella, on the other hand, loved it. She thought it was the perfect size for her, and is still asking us to get the White Ella Car so she can go for another ride. Can't say I'd recommend this for a family car, surprised? I didn't think so. BUT, that said, we happily drove it all weekend, and didn't complain once.


As winter arrives in Switzerland, the day trips we've started planning have naturally been much more centered around the ski towns and snow activities, and this weekend we were directed towards Engelberg. Hmmmm, heading up to the mountains in a Mini, yep, sounds safe to me. Most of the locals leave their little cars at home and hop on the train to head to Engelberg. That's the easy thing to do, but why would we follow the trend. We'd rather make things difficult, it's much more fun that way!
The drive over to Engelberg (about an hour south of Zurich, past Lucerne) was stunning. We chose (or googlemaps chose) to drive over the hills rather than through the fancy new tunnel under the hills. I must say, I'm glad we drove over the hills. The snow covered scenery was breathtaking. We then started to climb the mountains with great anticipation of our family snow day, and we were greeted with thick fog, falling snow and un-plowed roads. John did a fantastic job maneuvering up the road, but I'm still pretty sure that I left and imprint of my right hand on the door handle.
Ahhh, we made it. Where are the alps? Hiding in the clouds. Bummer. Maybe they'll come out another day.

 
Because there was no view, and the cable cars were lost in the clouds, and the sledding runs were closed, we opted to stay around town and play in the snow. First, John teaches Ella to make a snow angel.


 

She's a quick learner...


 

Over the river and through the woods - perfect horse drawn carriage in the snow covered town. If you can find the mountains in these pics, you're doing better than us  :o)

 

After a couple cold hours of some good snow play, we were starving and ready for something warm. The Cheese Factory at the Engelberg Monastery was right on the way, and just begging for us to come in. I was thrilled, because, although we've been living in the land of fondue for four months, I have yet to actually EAT fondue. Hooray, today is my day, complete with bread and pears for dipping! And what better place to do it than in a small town that has been known for it's cheese since the 17th century. This little bistro highlights a cheese maker, making cheese using old-fashion methods. It was a great little stop that I would recommend to anyone visiting Engelberg, and Ella was completely entertained by watching the cheese maker make his brie, and all of their meals are homemade. It was an easy place to take kids, nothing fancy, and free entertainment. I hope we will go back.


 

Below is a perfect way to describe Ella.... Dad pulls her around in the sled (the toboggan runs were closed today, so pulling is the best she got).
Ok, fun at first, then a little boring...

 

Better take matters into my own hands....much better


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