Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Easter Roadtrip

Easter weekend we took a fantastic road trip to Dijon and Lyon...

First stop was Dijon where we sampled mustards, started our quiche per day addiction, and had an owl lead us through town.

The "Owl Trail" leads you to points of interest throughout Dijon, and ends at the Notre-Dame church where a good luck charm owl is sculpted into the exterior wall.  We did use the trail to find the owl and rub its belly Buddha style, however as the day wore on we became more dependent on the trail to lead us home after an afternoon of French pastry feasting, mustard sampling, wine and cheese tasting, and shopping in the village market.
Maille Dijon Shop
Colorful varieties of mustard for sampling.  My personal favorite was raspberry infused.

Nougat stall at "Les Halles" - Dijon's market.  We bought a wedge of caramel-almond nougat to help sustain us on our wine cave journey to Lyon.

Wine Villages on the Way to Lyon
Vineyard lined highway

First wine village stop - Fixin

Mya got to come too

Inside wine cave #1

Wine tasting in cave #2 

Feeling a bit peckish after two wine tasting sessions, we headed to the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune for lunch. During the trip I think we had dessert with every meal.  So so yummy, mmmm.....

On the way to Pommard, our last stop before Lyon

Outside the wine cave in Pommard

Theoretically the drive from Dijon to Lyon only takes two hours.  Seven hours in, three wine villages and 18 purchased bottles later, we still had an hour and a half to go until we reached Lyon.

In Lyon we bakery and cafe hopped our way through town.  We also managed to take a break from our two hour feedings and wine tastings to visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (a beautiful church on top of the hill in Lyon) and Parc de la Tête d'Or  (one of the city's parks).
Outside the church 

Inside the church

Mosaic murals lining the church walls
View of Lyon from the church

Parc de la Tête d'Or

Lavaux Wine Region - Lake Geneva
On the way home to Zurich we drove through Lausanne, a city in the French region of Switzerland, and onto the Lavaux vineyards on Lake Geneva surrounded by the Alps...breathtaking.  We even visited a fairytale castle.  This place was unreal, and I can't wait to see it in summer.

A triple threat with the Alps, Lake Geneva, and wine vineyards

Chillon Castle
View from within the castle

Monday, April 22, 2013

Occupy Binz

After a peaceful nap-filled train ride home from our Mt. Titlis adventure, we were welcomed back to Zurich with a riot at our doorsteps.  What? craziness!  From our living room window we watched the madness unfold.

At first I thought it was some soccer hooligans celebrating a win, but later we learned it was a political demonstration.  From what I understand there's an abandoned factory site in our district called the "Binz".  Squatters have been living there since 2006 and have created a type of artistic/political activist commune there.  However, the city now has plans for the abandoned site and has in effect evicted the squatters.  Apparently they didn't take their eviction notice very well, so they took to the streets in protest.  There were music trucks á la Trini Carnival and a massive crowd of people filled the roads.

I guess it all started off peacefully, but then mob mentality set in and they began to loot and vandalize the city.  Teams of riot police raced down our streets as they launched water cannons over our neighboring rooftops, threw tear gas canisters down our roads, and used rubber bullets against the protesters.  Looking around our smokey apartment I was like, "Maybe we should close the windows now".  It wasn't scary though and the demonstration was broken up and dissipated in 15 min.  Swiss efficiency boy.

It did leave quite a mess.  The next day we walked around to find a whole new slew of graffiti decorating our neighborhood buildings and multiple businesses with smashed windows including our bank.  The rioters favorite graffiti phrase was "F.T.P".  Yeah, it didn't take long for the city to paint over those on the police station walls. Thankfully our building was left unscathed.  Who knew we had to leave New York City to get this kind of action?  Those Occupy Wall Street jokers have nothing on the Swiss.

Check out the footage...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another post about a mountain? Seriously?

I know right?  But this one is so so pretty!  I couldn't resist.  So at the risk of starting to get obnoxious with all the beautifulness, I just had to share pictures from our day trip to Mount Titlis in early March...

We started the day off with some snowshoeing

Views from Snowshoeing

Then we took the Rotair up to the top.  Supposedly it's the first revolving cable car in the world. Kinda silly, but whatever. 

And this is the gorgeous view that awaited us

Titlis Cliff Walk - the highest elevation suspension bridge in Europe, or so Wikipedia says.

I put one foot on it, felt it sway side to side, and got right back off. Kevin, braver than me, went for it.
Don't look down 

A sea of clouds

No need to be alarmed.  Just a friendly reminder that you might fall to your death.

Say What?!?

Deciding not to risk it, I retreated to the glacier cave.

And so our glorious day at Mt. Titlis came to an end as the Rotair descended back into the sea of clouds from whence we came.

Monday, April 8, 2013

We Climbed a Mountain

In early February we went for a hike in our very own backyard at Üetliberg Mountain.  We could have taken a 25 min train to the top, but I'm proud to say we climbed it instead.  No ropes and pulleys were required, but it was a lovely scenic two hour walk nonetheless; one that we'll be doing again for sure.  

This is the view of Üetliberg from our kitchen window.  See the red and white TV tower on the mountain?  That's our destination.

First photo op of the hike
Mya checking out her city

Break time
Starting to get snowy the higher up we go

Somehow we took a detour into Narnia

We made it!  That's the same TV tower you can see from our apartment.

View from the top

Mya loved this hike as she found some nice stinky deer shit to rub herself down in, hence the brown wet spots all over her.