Beeps, Byron, and the Suckling Pigs.

Bonjour all! The Kenny’s, Ted and I are thrilled to announce our newest residency: Monthey, Switzerland! We are so happy to be continuing our overseas adventure together and hoooly cow, this place is stunning. I don’t know how you guys are at geography, but Monthey is located on the French side of the country, a little south of Lake Geneva, near the Rhone River. As you cannot escape the beauty of the Swiss Alps in this country, it provides such an incredible landscape to gaze and gawk at. We are so fortunate to get to live in such a beautiful place.

Check out our patio view.

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Chimney Mountain/ we don’t know the name

This is all rather new to us, as it is our first experience in a French speaking land. It certainly presents new, fun little challenges daily. Though, nothing that awkward forced laughter and Google Translate can’t handle.

We’ve only been here a month and 10 days and this place is already starting to feel like home. The team was very accommodating with our living situation. Many of you know that to be a source of great anxiety at the start of every season for me and it is safe to say we are very pleased! There is plenty of room for Beeps to run around like a maniac (and for visitors!) and even a little garden for the Tedster.

Anywho! To make a long story short, we are happy! Now, on to our adventures.

Montreux, Switzerland: 25 minutes away and absolutely breathtaking.

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We had visited Montreux a few weeks ago and with the intention of taking the train up to Rochers-de-Naye Mountain. The timing didn’t work out then so we made plans to come back and instead visited the city’s castle. So before our mountain scaling adventure, let me first show you the castle we toured; as it is also quite beautiful and merits a mention.

So! Chateau de Chillon.

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AKA… Chillon Castle. How cool is the word Chateau though, am I right? I mean I gotta say Deutschland… Chateau kicks Burg’s butt every time.

Chateau de Chillon is a medieval castle. Medieval. Meaning the first written mention of the castle appears in 1150. What? I mean to say: that its freaking nuts. Though it did take another century to become the imposing structure it is today and in its current form it is the result of several centuries of constant renovations and restoring… but still! 1150. Wowza.

It is quite a sight to behold. Standing strong on the banks of Lake Geneva with the Swiss Alps it’s majestic backdrop. The place has everything you’d look for in a castle: turrets, a moat, thick stone walls, a hole in the ground toilet, and even underground torture tunnels, really the whole nine yards. Kenny and I have seen many castles in our day and the first thing we both said was, this place ain’t defendable. Every other major castle we’ve seen has been up a mountaintop. Thus you can just pick intruders off one by one with your mad archery skills. Chillon though: lake one side, (hello ships!) and mountain side on the other, meaning the intruders have the high ground. So basically Kenny and I were walking in thinking these guys were idiots. Turns out… it was only taken over a handful of times. Largely due to the fact it was mostly used as a prison and nobody really gave a crap about it.

Enter: Lord Byron (Suuuuper famous poet, c’mon guys!)

He wrote a poem titled: The Prisoner of Chillonthus immortalizing the castle and its imposing dungeons. The poem was about Bonivard, a monk that was imprisoned there for years, basically just because he ticked off the Savoys, (main castle dudes from 1150-1536) and guys, the poem is long, but boy is it beautiful.

Lord Byron was so enamored with the castle that he carved his name into one of the pillars and can still be seen today!!!

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I was floored.

These tunnels were spectacular. They are cut right into the rock base of the castle. Thus, making them very narrow, uneven and believe it or not, difficult to navigate with a 28 pound squirming child in your arms (See horrible quality photo below.) So I was in and out, but you can really feel the history down there; it was truly amazing… in a dark and twisted sort of way.

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Possibly the worst photo I’ve ever posted, but you get the idea.

Though I did find something down there of immeasurable value…

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Gimme

Chillon, being a medieval castle and one mainly used for arms and prisoners, does not possess the lavish gaudiness of the Bavarian estates we are used to. It certainly has its own charm though, and we enjoyed it all the same.

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Kenny3 in a Where’s Waldo situation wielding his great sword.

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“So much space to run” – Beeps thoughts

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K4 tired after battle aka running from mom like a maniac

As you can see from the above photos our little guy got a souvenir from the castle gift shop. Oh my goodness did he love this sword, almost as much as he loved hitting mommy with it. Oddly enough, he did not hit his father once. Needless to say, he lost his sword privileges pretty early on.

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Moments before thwacking mom on the head

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Dad?

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No… dad is safe.

We did not get a chance to tour the whole place but what we did see was pretty awesome. All the typical things you’d find in a fortress were present. Such as…

Thing #1: knight’s armor display. Again I ask, why were people so tiny back then?

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Might fit Beeps next year.

More on that… (and since it wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t make fun of Kenny)

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The life of a giant.

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Note the normal sized woman in background.

Making fun of him for this, as it always does, threw him into his, “I would’ve absolutely dominated back in those days” tangent. Clearly though, this cannot be disputed; just look at the Mountain (GOT ref #1)

Thing #2: Old cannon.

Fact: Castles looooove displaying their old cannons.

Thing #3: Cool arrow slits for slaughtering foes.

Thing #4: Strange toilet with on opening to the land beyond.

The heads up toilet room was complete with some rather excellent cartoons depicting medieval pooping practices but I foolishly did not snap any photos of them. One of the great failures of my life.

As you can imagine these castle commonplaces provided a sort of comfort for us… as only pooping and murdering holes could.

A new, fun thing we got to see was a medieval cookbook! I’ve never seen its equal.

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Way to utilize the whole page guys… not. So wasteful.

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Chillon Castle holds a cooking workshop inspired by the medieval cookbook. You solely use ingredients available during those times and even cook in a cauldron. They had a pretty primitive dining table set up to showcase how they would’ve dined back in the day. Not much to it really. Very simple, just a few wooden tables with a raised table at the head for the Lords and Ladies (think Winterfell… not King’s Landing… GOT #2)

The last castle photo I’ll post was something that, in it’s intricate design, was rather out of place in a castle that was, in itself, pretty rudimentary. My photos do not do the hall justice, unfortunately. It is quite impressive in person.

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As usual Beeps was unimpressed.

The castle was very cool to see but it was almost overshadowed by the beauty of the Montreux Riviera.

This place is stunning. Before I sign off I need to share some of my photos. Plus, the excellent Freddy Mercury statue.

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It was breathtaking. Again, Beeps was unimpressed.

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“bored”

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“lame”

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“don’t care”

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“no kisses ma”

Even when a giant boat went by… it even blew the foghorn… nothing.

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“Not turning around, don’t care”

Not even Freddy Mercury impressed him.

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“BIRDS. THERE ARE BIRDS OVER THERE.”

Kid is a tough critic. Only playing. Playing and birds.

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“I will give you a hint of a smile atop this slide, mother, no more”

Speaking of playing and smiling and also (mainly) because here, in real life, Kenny is still watching Beeps without complaint… let me share with you some photos from the festival we attended! Lots of happy baby time there! Where enchanting history and stunning scenery failed, carnival rides and farm animals triumphed.

Okay, so for the past month in Monthey we’ve been seeing these strange signs of an old British woman sipping tea and the words “It’s tea time!” with dates listed. This is literally it… no info about what we are supposed to go crazy at…

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What? Also where? Why even? When, I’ll give you. You’ve made When clear.

What am I supposed to get from that? Very strange and vague ad. Anyway, fast forward to the 9th when Kenny gets home and says there is a festival in the town over we should take Beeps to tomorrow. Super, I’m in. We get there and these are plastered all around. Mystery solved! but also what the heck! I could be been taking Beeps to this thing all along.

Because holy cow he was a big fan.

Sooooooo happy on this car ride.

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Such joy.

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Pure bliss.

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“Mom, I love it!”

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“Dad, this is so great!”

Until we had to pry him off it, then came the shrieks. Short lived though as we soon entered the random farm animal tent.

Mini horses! Cows! Goats! Sheep! Suckling baby pigs! It was a party!

Though looking back on my photos… I see, true to mom form, the majority of my photos are not of animals but are just pictures of Beeps looking at animals… Oops, but I mean, we’ve all seen a goat right?

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Keeping his distance from the cows

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Thinking this is cool but remembering when he got to pet and feed the goats in America, so…….

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Watching the baby pigs aggressively nurse with mild fear in his eyes and not thinking its funny when I say they remind me of him.

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There are 4 more pigs behind Mommy Pig and at one point they were all nursing/ravaging her and honestly it gave me anxiety.

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Mini horse! Yes! I got another one.

After the farm tour, Kenny had to win his son a prize. This time, said prize, came in the form of a tiny beige turtle. That of which was thrown to the ground instantly and it might’ve just been me but I definitely sensed a bit of mockery coming from the kid. One more turn on the merry-go-round car ride and we were off for home. Another excellent day for the Frease’s:)

I hope you enjoyed my photos and ramblings. More to come from our trip to Rochers-de-Naye!

Here’s a sneak peak and also because it fits with my sign-off…

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Cheers!

Baby Jetlag: A look into self-inflicted parental torture

Buongiorno, from Lugano, Switzerland! After a long hiatus, “Emily&Kenny” returns with the vigor of a baby going after an unattended iPhone (i.e.: with unbounded enthusiasm.) Folks, we are very excited over here; as many of you may know, it has … Continue reading

The Descent

As per usual I need to preface this blog post with an apology to my avid readers out there (moms/grandmas). I have no legitimate excuse for my excessive delay other then my addiction to the Game of Thrones series and that Kenny bought me a gym membership… However, to make up for it, I have some excellent photos for you guys! This post will finally conclude our trip to Zugspitze! Holy cow, that was a long time ago…

Mountain peaks are really cold, guys. Once the exhilaration wore off I could no longer feel my face. Thus, due to that and my admittedly incessant whining, we decided it was time to go! Lucky for us, a train was headed out within the hour. Except that the mountainside is too steep for trains and we had to take another lift car just to get to the train station. Kenny was hoping he had seen the last of these…

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Fortunately, this one was a larger than the last. Plus! There was the softest most adorable Lassie-dog on it! The “Lassie-dog” was named Duke.

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Contrary to my initial thought, the dog was named after the monarchical station, rather than the university. At least that’s what I gathered from his owner’s blank stares in reaction to my Blue Devils reference. My awkwardness strikes again.

The ride was short but, naturally, I managed a few breathtaking photography feats for you guys.
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Not even the Hogwarts express could work with those angles.

Not even the Hogwarts Express could work with those angles.

Also, awww… look how cute we are.

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And here is my happy Kenny about to step on solid ground.

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The train station turned out to be quite the charming little stop.

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The gift shop was pretty standard. Although we did find giant gloves for Kenny’s giant hands! The best part is that he has not even lost one yet; its been months! Additionally, there was an outdoor café. Clearly, it’s a popular place.

The view was incredible. The lack of guard rails provided equal parts excitement and terror.

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Also, there are some truly remarkable snowboarders out there, check this out.

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Those zigs and zags were intense.

Next, we visited the highest chapel in Germany: Maria Heimsuchung.

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Apparently this chapel, known as the “Chapel of Visitation” was consecrated by the Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI: very impressive. The inside was modest, yet beautiful.

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The quaint little chapel was well suited for the serenity of the mountainside.

We only had a few minutes before the train was to arrive so we took it all in, one last time.

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Kenny and I were both exhausted when we got on the train. We had such an amazing day. Here I am with a happy, tired Kenny.

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Now, here is a happy, crazy Kenny.

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Haha. Cheers!

Zenith of Zugspitze

I can’t lie to you guys, the fact that Kenny was able to wake up before 8am in a good mood almost impresses me more than the mountaintop scenery, and that is really saying something because -let me tell you- this stuff is GOOD. I can’t be sure whether it was the complimentary breakfast buffet or the excitement of the day that got him out of bed without x10 “snoozes,” but it truly was a moment of shock and awe.  After our traditional European (aka weird) breakfast and coffee we packed up our things, checked out, and put our stuff in the car. Luckily the mountain scaling business takes place right across the street from our hotel. After a little bit of awkward conversation we purchased our tickets for the train and the sky-lift and boarded the train. It was around this point in time when Kenny began to show signs of mild anxiety, however, he was not to the point of admitting it… yet.

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The train ride up the mountain was very scenic, which was fortunate because I could have moved faster than that thing. The outskirts of Garmisch have not yet reached the 21st century, to say the least. Goats, cows, horses and pretty much every barnyard friend you can imagine were were roaming the fields. Also, there were dozens of very primitive little wooden sheds with gigantic spikes jutting out of them (unfortunately we neglected to get a decent picture). These were either for storing hay or killing people… I can’t be sure.

Anywho! Finally the train managed to crawl it’s way to our next stop: the sky-lift station. PS Maddie, every time I say “sky-lift” I think of “Skyward Sword”?

Kenny, at this point, was visibly nervous. I think his biggest issue was the size of the thing… or lack thereof. After all, he is an extra large human being and this rather small “vehicle” will be scaling the mountain at an exceedingly sharp incline suspended over jagged rocks and ice…

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There was probably less than a foot of room above his head. Here is Kenny just lovin’ life…

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I, on the other hand, loved it! It was incredible, with every gradual movement more wonderment was revealed. This is Lake Eibsee mirroring the treetops from the surrounding mountains. It was really cool to the see different angles reflected as we ascended. DSCN0368

One of the lift cars in action.DSCN0377

Every time we went over one of these things it shook the car like crazy and Kenny was sure we were goin’ down. DSCN0370

There is no way to capture the magnitude of this angle we were traveling but that didn’t stop me from taking 15 pictures of it… Here are the best ones.DSCN0382

(Hey, it’s that tiny lake.)DSCN0391

At last we completed our ascent!DSCN0394

Next, we walked in the building and into tourist-land! Overpriced everything with a side of uselessness:) Except for the café section… coffee is never useless. Nevertheless we bypassed it, climbed three flights of stairs, and (finally) opened the doors to the most mind-blowing spectacle I ever did see.

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Fun fact: the “Summit Cross”marks the highest peak in Germany. It has been taken down twice, once on account of multiple lightening strikes and once after an American soldier shot it at the end of WWII! Third times the charm, I guess.

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We took a couple of lovely solo shots and waited for more people to arrive…DSCN0418DSCN0419

A nice German fellow helped us out with this one…

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We felt like we were on top of the world. We could stand in one spot and turn 360 degrees and we were able to see 4 different countries. No foolin’! Mountain peaks from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy were all visible! This particular mountain in the Bavarian Alps officially belongs to Germany but the border between Germany and Austria divides the mountain. Fun fact #2: apparently there used to even be a border checkpoint at the summit… although I cannot imagine how that would work.

Before I end this I just want you guys to know, because I know how you worry, I did get to drink coffee on top of the world…IMG_0467

Next post follows our journey down the mountain! Cheers!

Oh, just scalin’ some mountains…

Hey guys! Aren’t these breaks fun?!

Kenny and I have been a couple of boring turtles these past few weeks. So we decided the time was ripe for an adventure. About two weeks ago (mind you, this was at about 4AM after I had waited in the car for an hour at his away-game pick-up point) my darling husband announced a fabulous idea for a weekend getaway! First we will head to the Zugspitze mountain, the highest peak in Germany! Following, and on the way home, we will see Schloss Neuschwanstein, the castle Disney modeled Cinderella’s castle after! Needless to say, we got home, booked our hotel, and packed that instant. The next morning we got up bright and early (10AM) and began our (my) drive to the city of Garmisch – home of the tallest mountain in Germany! It really was a gorgeous day for a drive…

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Kenny wants it known to all that he -not me- took this photograph.

The drive was really excellent. As everyone knows, highways in Germany have large sections without speed limits. Let me just say: I was flying and Kenny was extremely jealous. I was going about 109 mph for probably 30 minutes straight and it was AWESOME.

Also, as Garmisch is located just near the border of Germany and Austria. I got to drive a manual car through the mountains of Austria like a badass. Meanwhile Kenny was holding his breath and white-knuckling the door handle… Some of those sharp turns had no guardrails. I mean, this is a mountain people,  c’mon! Anyway, we made it in one piece and arrived in the adorable town of Garmisch.

The town was set in a valley of the Nördliche Kalkalpen Mountain range… which in English we just call the Northern Limestone Alps (not as cool sounding.) We checked into our hotel, ascertained a map, and walked around the wee little town.

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DSCN0350We walked in the direction of food because I was famished and had been whining for the past half hour about it. We sat down to dinner just as the sun was setting behind the mountains. It was beautiful.

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We enjoyed the view with a couple of German beers and some tasty homemade pumpkin soup at a little corner restaurant. This is one of the many fantastic things about Germany: there are no Applebees or Ruby Tuesday’s types anywhere. Ma and Pa places are all around and everything is homemade and delicious.

After our relaxing dinner we walked around the village and popped into a couple of Christmas shops. Germany LOVES Christmas, almost as much as I do.

Anyway next we headed to the hotel and got freshened up for our big Sunday night on the village! We barhopped around to a couple of hotel bars (walking not driving, parents) and finally settled on the fabulous, “Salsalito’s.” This is where Kenny and I may or may not have gotten extremely intoxicated. Entirely not our fault – we had not seen a selection like this since the States…

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Kenny and I were going on about 7 hours of sleep between us and had to wake up bright and early to catch our train up the mountain, thus we stumbled home at a decent hour.

Next post will be a big one! Our trip up the mountain of Zugspitze. Cheers!