Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Only in Europe

You may now cross the street with your pogo stick...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Authentic Bavarian Princess

Friday, June 25, 2010

Come Back Mr. Sun, We Miss You!

When I originally started to post these pics, the sun had disappeared for DAYS! I had to go back a few weeks to find some sunny pics to cheer me up!
Thankfully, the sun has returned for at least a day or too, which means pool date tomorrow!

Geneva, Ella and Mia
Playdate at the park

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Munich, Germany

Next stop on our list - Munich!
Technically, we have been there before on a whirlwind tour of Oktoberfest, and John had done some work in Munich for a few weeks. But, we really had not experienced Munich, and this was our chance. Our hearts were really set on visiting Berlin, but that trip was just not in the cards for us this year. It just got added to our very long list of cities that we want to visit in our lifetime.

As you can imagine, there is just too much to do in Munich to do it all in a couple short days. So, we did our best to see most of the sites within the city of Zurich, and left more to do if we ever make it back to Munich. To my disappointment, much of the WWII sites were pretty far out of the city, and just not manageable on this trip. With so many other sites to see in Munich, the trip was still wonderful!
Our friends, Jess and Lindy, also met us in Munich! We got to meet up with them on Saturday night for dinner, and spent the next couple days touring the city with them. What a great treat for us!

First stop - c'mon, we're the Fillmore's - our first stop was the Augustiner Biergarten, complete with a playground to keep every Fillmore family member happy  :o)

This is only a small portion of the garten- they're huge!

Our meals in Munich pretty much consisted of chicken, bretzels and sausages

Happy kids!

Happy Parents!

New Town Hall built in 1874. It houses a Glockenspiel that performs three times a day. Sadly we missed this performance!

Guards in full armor marching through the streets of Munich

Naturally, we made it to the Hofrbrauhaus

Don't get the wrong idea, she couldn't even pick up the glass! But she had a great time listening to the Bavarian Bands play.

Touring Munich on Sunday morning

Inside the Munich Residenz. It's the former royal palace of the  Bavarian Monarchs. Absolutely gorgeous museum. It's the largest city palace in Germany, with 10 courtyards and 130 rooms. There was a lot of damage to the palace in WWII, however, they have reconstructed much of the palace in a simplified manner. 

Enjoying some unexpected sunshine (while E naps) in the Englischer Gartens! These gardens are 1.4 sq miles, bigger than Central Park.

Great game of Domino's at our THIRD beirgarten! Note, the playground in the back- E was a happy kid

Did you think our trip to Munich would be any different?

The local surfers! They would stand in line on each side of the river and take turns jumping on the waves for a ride

Strolling the gardens 

Last stop, the Nymphenburg Palace. Completed in 1675, this palace was built by Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy. A gift for his wife for giving birth to his son. Hmmm.......
It was the main summer residence for the rulers of Bavaria. The park behind the palace consists of 490 acres of beautifully manicured grounds, one of the worlds biggest inner-city parks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lyon, France

Knowing that our time in Switzerland is coming to an end, we were trying to find a good balance between enjoying the country we're living in, and traveling around as much as possible. A few months back we sat down with a list (of course!) of places that we wanted to go (a very long list) and tried to narrow it down to cities that were actually possible to travel to given time, money and toddler restrictions. We quickly took that list, booked up our weekends, and we were pretty happy with the trips we planned. I feel like we came up with a pretty good balance of traveling to other countries, and also traveling within Switzerland.
After booking all our weekends, John got staffed on a case that has him traveling most of the week. So between work and our travels, the poor guy spends about 1 night a week in his own bed, and this will continue for him through the end of July. We're hoping that he can actually catch up on his sleep sometime in August!

Lyon, France- Knowing we had a few trips coming up, we purchased our second EuroRail Train Pass to travel through Germany, Switzerland and France. Lyon is about 4 hours SW of Zurich, just across the Swiss border. Lyon is known as the French capitol of gastronomy, and if I had not known that before our trip, I would have quickly figured it out. The food is amazing, there are cafe's, bakeries, restaurants, and gelato shops on every street.

First stop after we checked into our hotel : lunch! It was recommended to us to stop at Le Sud for a meal. It is one of 4 restaurants owned by chef Paul Bocuse, who is considered the ambassador of modern French cuisine. I'm so happy for the recommendation, the food was excellent!

Salmon with capers on flat bread 

Next, well, a carousel of course!

Then, we spent some time wandering around and enjoying the city. We've learned that one of our first stops in a new city should be the tourist office, if not only to grab a map to make Ella happy. She LOVES maps, and making sure she checks them to tell us where to go.

The next day we marched ourselves up the hill to see the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, large 19th century basilica on the top of Fourvière Hill. 

As we were coming down from the church we stumbled upon a farmers market along the river. We were thrilled to find fantastic produce, fresh breads, and fresh chevre to put together for a picnic in the park. For me, this may have been my favorite part of Lyon.

The next day we made sure to make it to Les Halles de Lyon. This is a fantastic indoor food market complete with 59 booths, all filled to the brim with their local specialties. We actually brought a bottle of wine, grabbed a snack and had our own little picnic before getting on the train.

Les Halles

Bloodwurst - I have heard all about it, but never seen it. Can't say I'll be trying this during my stay. 

On the move!

On our last day, we spent a few hours in the Tete d'or Park. It was gorgeous, complete with a deer park, rose gardens, botanical gardens, a lake, a play ground, a carousel, and giraffes! Because you can't have a city park with out giraffe's.


Of course, our trip wouldn't have been complete without a stop at The Beers, with kegs for tables - brilliant!

Loving Lyon

Friday, June 18, 2010

Elephant on the Run

A circus elephant performing

Courtesy of

A couple weeks ago, a circus elephant, Sabu, decided that he would leave his life in the circus behind, and roam the streets of Zurich! His day out on the town included an hour long stroll, and a dip in the river. That gave our proper Swiss friends quite a shock.

Watch some amateur footage HERE

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Constant Language Confusion

One of the Ex-pat bloggers I read occasionally posted a great description of learning/using German and Swiss German, and I had to share it with you!

"There is a clear progression of how English-speaking foreigners deal with learning German in Switzerland. It goes kind of like this:

1. Grüezi. Sprechen Sie Englisch?
2. I'm so excited to learn a new language!
3. I'll be fluent in no time!
4. Hallo, Schweiz! Der, Die, Das, ich kenne etwas!
5. Was? There is also a Den, Dem, Denen, and Des? Echt?
6. Now I'm too scared to talk. I'll get it all wrong.
7. Fine I'll talk. I'll just turn every der, die, das, den, dem, denen, anddes into a "duh".
8. I can talk now! I'll go to the flea market and show off! Was kostet das? Was? What is this "foyf" you're saying? I know my numbers, dang it!
9. Crap. I took three years of German and still understand nothing on the streets in Switzerland.
10. Grüezi. Sprechen Sie Englisch?"

For more great posts from Chantal, visit:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friday Fun

We woke up to...... (wait for it....) SUN on our Friday morning. We nearly ran outside in our pj's, in fear that if we didn't get out soon, we would miss it! The weather changes so quickly here, that we are still packing around our rain gear in the sunshine b/c you never know what the next hour will bring.

With that said, we made some quick plans with our friends to surprise Ella after pre-school and take her and her buddy, Mia, to the forest for a picnic and a sunny hike. What a great day we had! We're so thankful for our friends here- they're always up for our crazy adventures!!!

In search of the perfect stick... I'm sure it exists... somewhere

Found it!

Fields of wild flowers - best playland, ever, when you're two

You know you're in hiking in Switzerland, when there are cows hiking with you!

On a 'Yellow Diamond Hunt!'
It's a great game to find the trail blazes along the trail.
The prize - a Haribo Gummy Bear. Oh the little things in life!

Searching for their next Yellow Diamond

We love hugs!

The girls were rewarded for their great hiking with a stop at a fantastic park at the Uetliberg.
You can never have enough park play time :o)

Mia first...

Ella's next...