Monday, August 3

Swiss National Day in Murren

Oh what a feeling! Although we often wished our kids were hikers on this trip so we could take to the real hearty trails, we had a great day catering to the kids and taking in the local scene.

Morgan kept with her regular wakeup routine nice and early. It worked out alright as we made it down for breakfast to see our pension owner nice and frazzled by the early bird crowd.

We took the cable car up to Murren to walk about town. If we were to do this trip over, I think we would have chosen to stay here rather than Gimmelwald because of the stage we’re in. WHY didn’t I bring the stroller?! Lesson learned: Never take another trip without the stroller! We stopped for a mid-morning snack across from this cute house with its great garden.

I took my picture of the house and turned around to take this one of Ryan and Morgan. Love those mountains!!!

Ryan showed the boys how to play hop scotch. The boys loved it, but the locals got an even bigger kick out of it! A few even stopped to watch.

Mount Eiger in the distance as my guys walk the town.

That mountain behind Ryan and McKay is Schilthorn. You can take a cable car up to the top and eat at the revolving restaurant made famous in the James Bond movie,“On Her Majesty’s Service” (1969).

Lauterbrunnen Valley down below us. It was so amazing to see how steep the mountain faces on each side of this valley were!

We came upon the SportZentrum and that’s where the fun began! Morgan got out of the carrier and scavenged to her heart’s content giving us big happy grins of freedom.

How do you do a back flip when your legs involuntarily give out? Man I hate getting older AND being out of shape! I sure miss our trampoline back home! We all spent a lot of time on this trampoline. McKay was really able to hold his own up there and Easton loved showing us his tricks.

Across the way was a great little playground. Ryan would spin Easton on this toy and when Ryan and I got on it with him spinning ourselves real fast, we even illicted some cheers from some old ladies on a bench in the park! What a rush to be a kid again! We were laughing our heads off at how silly we must have looked and how fun it was to let loose!

After seeing an older boy go up the ropes to the slide, Easton was a little eager to give it a try. It is so fun to see our kids try unfamiliar things as they get older and are more willing to take chances.

McKay tried the other rope walk and I loved his unwavering concentration!

The boys love going swimming and we had free passes from the Pension. It was a nice break from the hot sun. McKay fell in love with the bucket of toys in the kid pool, specifically the teapot and cups. Hmmm, never occurred to me to get a tea set for the boys but it was a hit! Morgan was ready for a nap the whole time but loved the water so she put up with us.

Easton is getting pretty brave with his doggy paddle and swimming under the water, but can’t go very far yet. Once he saw another kid with the water wings on, he wanted to give that a try. Fearless! Boy did he love the freedom of the floaties! He went up and down the length of the pool without a care. I didn’t bring any towels so we had fun drying off under the warm air dryers in the bathroom. Now off for some ice cream cones! Ryan even clandestinely snuck off for seconds on the pistaccio.

On the way out of town, we stopped in at the grocery store for some bread for lunch the next day. You should have seen the huge blackberries! I was admiring the baskets of the couple in front of me in the checkout line and she gave me one basket after paying for them because they’d taken the last ones! Chatty nice strangers are the best! The boys loved them and the nectarines! They both ate two nectarines right there on the sidewalk outside the store!

Morgan was so tuckered out from all this fun!

We walked down to Gimmelwald to pick up our jackets and have dinner at the Mountain Hostel. Walking down this path is so much more fun that walking up it! I love standing back and watching my guys. These little guys are growing up so fast!

We hadn’t decided where we wanted to enjoy the National Day festivities. After hanging around and eating dinner at the bustling hostel, we decided to head back up to Murren for a more family-friendly atmosphere – via the cable car.

The boys enjoyed the trampoline and park again until the festivities began. Our camera battery had died on our way down earlier so I don’t have pics. It all began with the local Swiss band leading a local procession of lit paper lanterns through the village up to the SportZentrum. The 15 member band performed a few songs including the national anthem and were followed by a long horn player. A couple representatives of the village gave some remarks in both Swiss-German and then English. Tourism is the lifeblood of Murren.

The Height Lights were lit. Bonfires along the many mountain faces of the valley lit up in unison commemorating the solidarity and independence of the three Swiss cantons uniting against the Hapsburgs 700 years ago. Kinda like the mountain top communication beacon/bonfires used in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.” It took me back to my study abroad days in Jerusalem - the lights of Lachish going out as the result of invading Assyrians.

Then it was time for fireworks! Locals everywhere had been lighting off firecrackers and fireworks all day. The village put on a good show which McKay sacked out for in its entirety. Figures! The kids had their light sticks to keep them entertained through the ceremonies and were just itching to use the flashlights for our walk home. As we began our walk and locals were shooting off their firecrackers and such, McKay exclaimed, "Look! Fireworks now!" Ryan had to carry him on his shoulders the entire way down to Gimmelwald.

It took us 35 minutes to walk down to Gimmelwald in the pitch black. Easton was my flashlight leader and he is such a fun good kid! I loved holding his hand and letting him lead me even on the steep steps. Ryan had to keep McKay from dozing off on his shoulders by chatting. Ryan and I are still both a little sore from our heavier loads bouncing our bones down the trail.

I’m no lover of darkness. So when Easton took a little stumble and Ryan got a bit ahead of us, I was a little anxious to catch up. My blood really got a pumping when I kept hearing a jostling bell getting closer and closer. When it was finally upon us, Easton and I turned around to find a local right behind us. No flashlight, just a big friendly grin for us two scaredy cats! Ryan got a piece of my mind when we quickly caught up to him. I just really don’t like the dark and strangers! But the night sky was perfect for seeing the other Height Lights and fireworks around the valley still going off. The sound echoed off the mountain walls all day and night. Ryan was hoping to witness some glacial avalanches in the distance. Such a boy!

Our crew once again settled down quickly for a good night’s sleep. Or at least until the partier who stayed upstairs came stomping in at 2am each night! Gotta love old creeky houses!