Saturday, April 21, 2012

Heading Home From Zurich...

Breakfast in Dudingen...  Still overcast and rainy...
I arrived home safely around
1 AM on the 18th.  I had been traveling for about 22 hours - 4 planes, 5 airports.  All went smoothly and home was a welcome sight - especially the man with whom I've shared over 45 years of married life.

I have taken care of some basics - sleep, bookkeeping, grocery shopping and will now post a final blog to share the last photos and stories of my wonderful month in Europe as Tour Nanny.
Amazing fish in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Zurich...  That was my destination after Earl, the drummer had been taken to the airport for his return flight to Berlin, Germany.
Sharing the excitement with Cozzie also...


"Wish I could get in the water with the fish.  Mama?  Papa?..."
"Yeah!!!  Walking on the wall around the fish pond!"

Watching the trains from the window in Grandma Lee's hotel room.
Last moment of togetherness is coming.  Must have hugs and photos...
Love these guys...
Mama catches some great smiles....

We're taking our time before the last Good-bye....
Papa loves his boy...
Treasured times for a whole month....
It was noon in Zurich when we decided the time had come to say Good-bye.  Son James and his family had a long drive ahead of them.  They would continue from Zurich to Prague where they would return the rental van, spend the night and fly back to Detroit from there.

I had a flight to the states from Zurich and would spend the night there before my return.  Having my "last" hugs, kisses and photos wasn't so easy but it was precious.  It had been a wonderful month together.  Lots of great memories have been made. 

My son left me with instructions to enjoy myself at the hotel.  Eat what I wanted, have dessert and put the cost on his generous send-off.  Since it was cool and rainy outside, I spent most of the afternoon in the hotel reading and enjoying a little BBC TV. 
Bouquets of white and green asparagus...  locally grown vegetable delight!
 The hotel had a Thai restaurant with an interesting display at the entrance.  I didn't stay and eat there but I did get a photo of the white and green asparagus which is currently in season in Switzerland.  We had eaten some the day before in Dudingen.
Such delicious molten chocolate within this delicacy...
I had light fare at another restaurant option in the hotel for supper and decided to take my son's advice to "have dessert" when one of the options included molten chocolate on the inside of a delicate crust.  It was very delicious and I wasn't sorry for yielding to my son's suggestion.

All went smoothly as I was shuttled to the airport the morning of the 17th. 

Guess what!!!  The skies had cleared, the sun was shining and I saw mountain tops.  My best view was after take-off as we climbed above what clouds were still in the area and saw gorgeous mountains all around.  My camera was in the overhead compartment so no photos were taken.

I had a comfortable trip home - some sleep, some reading, some TV movie viewing...

I am very grateful that all went well for this full and fun month of travel and team work.  It is not a small thing that there were not accidents on the roads or troubles with the vehicle. Thanks to God for answering prayers and guiding us throughout the days of this tour.  It was very special and I'm very grateful that I could be part of the tour and the lives of my child and his family.

I have plans to be in Detroit the end of May while MBD goes to Australia.  Will probably post more Granny Nanny blogs at that time.

Thanks for praying and following this European journey I've had.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Zurich Hotel...

I am in the Rennaisance Hotel in Zurich.  Lovely hotel but not free wifi.  I have 30 minutes free and have printed my boarding passes and checked my email.  I may do a blog update after I return to the states.

All is well though saying "Good-bye" wasn't easy.  Had an emotional moment as I talked to the nice lady at the front desk about a couple of things.

Will add some photos when I have more time.

Thanks for your prayers as we all travel long distances tomorrow.

From rainy, gray Switzerland,  Grandma Lee off duty

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lausanne to Dudingen, Switzerland...

Aware that the last full day with my family was beginning this morning, I decided to get a few shots with my guys after breakfast.

Lausanne was a lovely stop - hotel, Jardin Botanique and the experience at the Cully Jazz Festival for MBD.

We took time to show Papa and Mama the play area where Cozzie spent sweet time yesterday since we were not in a rush to leave for Dudingen.

But the day was rather cold, very cloudy and rainy and therefore our entertainment came inside the hotel for Cozzie today once we arrived in Dudingen.
Captured a great Cozzie smile...
Wearing a Red Wings shirt as they're having a play-off game today...

"I'm ready for this to be done..."

Flowers for MBD at yesterday's show...
Another area of the Jardin Botanique which we didn't see yesterday...

Spring is just underway here so there'll be more beauty as the season unfolds...
Having fun showing Papa and Mama the Archimedes Screw set up..
Cozzie was getting tired so we headed to the van and to Dudingen.  Cozzie was asleep quickly and awoke an hour later when we arrived at our next hotel.  It proved not to have been enough sleep, however, so he was ready to finish his nap as soon as we found our room.  He slept until 5:40 PM and woke up in a good mood.  Papa and Mama came back after sound check and arrived just as he was ready to get out of bed.  He showed them how he can get out by himself.  He usually gets to sleep in a sleep sack and that prevents being able to "do the splits" and get his leg up to the top of the bed.  But he is agile and fearless. 
"I can get this leg over without too much effort..."

"and the rest of me is over without any help!"
Cold, Gray, Rainy day...  View from the hotel window...

Note raindrops on the window glass...
Must be a beautiful city but we only saw it through the hotel windows today...

Lovely chimes on the hour from this church tower...
A few minutes for Father and son to catch some of the Red Wings play-off game.  Oops, 3-2 not the Wings today.
 So this final whole day together was a little disappointing because of the weather but we still had good times together inside without seeing the glorious mountain vistas which must be all around here.  We had a spectacular day as we drove into Switzerland last Wednesday.  I didn't know then it would be the only day to see clearly the mountain tops in their full grandeur.  But because I did have one day of seeing clearly, I know those mountain tops are still there and will be enjoyed fully when the sun shines again another day.  It may well be for other people to enjoy after I've left the country but I do have some photos and my memories. 

Life is not always lived experiencing or seeing the glories of the mountain tops but when life obscures those scenes, we can know that the mountain tops are there and when the sun shines again, we'll see and experience that beauty.  And as someone said, "the gardens are loving this weather!"  That's so true.  There'll be bountiful harvest of flowers and vegetables and fruit when conditions have provided for their nurturing needs.

We will drive away from here at 9 AM tomorrow morning.  Earl, the drummer, has a flight to catch in Zurich around noon.  I have a hotel room there as my flight to the states leaves from Zurich Tuesday morning at 10 AM.  I will arrive in San Antonio just before midnight Tuesday night if all goes as scheduled. 

James, Shara and Cozzie will travel on to Prague tomorrow to turn in the rental van.  They will fly to Detroit from Prague on Tuesday.

I hope to add a word tomorrow from Zurich - if the hotel has working internet access.
Until then...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jardin Botanique in Lausanne, Switzerland...

Cozzie and I were sleepy heads this morning and didn't get up until a little after 9 AM.  We headed for breakfast when we were ready and found a beautiful buffet of yummy food.  Mama and Papa joined us before we finished.

Papa took Cozzie with him as he rode the train to the parking place for the van.  They returned to load for the activities of the day around noon.  Soon Papa and Mama left for the day.  The show would be at 3:30 then there would be dinner for them plus they would probably take in some of the other groups performing here for the Cully Jazz Festival which is a week long event.

At the entrance of the Botannical Garden...
So Cozzie and I were on our own for the rest of the day.  First thing to factor in was a nap for my sleepy little guy.  He fell asleep easily and slept until 4 PM. 

While he napped, I decided to check some Lausanne maps, literature and do some on-line search to see what might be of interest within walking distance of the Alpha-Palmieres Hotel.  I narrowed it down to the Jardin Botanique or the Tour de Sauvabelin.  As we were ready to leave the hotel, I consulted a gal at the desk about my options.  She highly recommended the Botannical Gardens as she said it was a 5 minute walk from the hotel and the other place would require a bus ride to get there.  It was also threatening rain and perhaps I didn't want to go so far away.  She said there was a children's playground there so that's where we decided to head.  It would prove to be a good choice.

Not sure there'll be time tomorrow for a stop at the Tour de Sauvabelin so I may have to return on another trip to see this:
- in the middle of the wood, a 35 metres high wooden tower overlooking the city of Lausanne which invites you to enjoy a magnificent view of the Lake Leman, the Jura mountains and the Alps.
But since we had a very cool and heavily overcast day with sprinkles happening quite often, we were better off fairly close to our hotel home. 
Have my little fellow pretty bundled up for this outing...
Pushed him to the top of a fairly high hill and had nice panoramic views of Lausanne...

A little sad that the mountain views are hidden...
Found an amazing play place for children.  Started our time there on a horse with 2 little girls and their Papa...

Cozzie enjoyed the ride...
He really enjoyed this slide though it was fairly wet until he and some other children made some trips down...

This circular item has many climbing options.  The slide is behind Cozzie.
There's actually a better view of this play place in the background of the above photo showing Cozzie on the horse with the 2 little girls.

I heard about the use of an Archimedes Screw for a children's playground from a teacher in Kerrville, TX who got a grant to have one installed on an elementary school playground there.  This above installation dwarfs the Kerrville version but this is a wonderful way for children to play and learn physics at the same time.
Children and parents were playing with this today...

Elaborate item for children.
Money well spent in my opinion...

A Garden must have flowers but this one has a very special flower who appears to be holding a ball....
Even more beautiful on a chilly, gray day...

Hasn't God designed magnificent tulips?
Could the Flintstones have left something behind?

A little too advanced for Cozzie but other children were enjoying this contraption...
Several swing options...  He has a head; it's just down and covered by his hood.  Swings are a little new to him.
This was his favorite.  When I stopped pushing, I heard, "Again, Again..."
 After being in the chilly, drippy weather for over an hour, we decided to head back to the hotel - about 10 minutes at least to push a stroller and climb the steep hill to the hotel.  This place would keep a person in good shape.

We changed into dry clothes, read some stories, ordered food from the hotel restaurant for our room, had a bath and got into our jammies.  We've had a good day.

Talked with James late this afternoon for a few minutes and he said the show was fantastic - a really amazing performance, audience and setting.  He says Lausanne has lots of very interesting things happening here and people involved in them.  He's sorry I'm missing the excitement of the venue but I'm not so sure I'm sorry I'm missing it.  I'm pretty happy with my assignment.  How could there be anything more interesting or exciting than building a relationship with a Grandchild with whom God has blessed me?  I'm content.

We'll leave here at noon tomorrow and head to the last place for a show on this tour.  Our together time for this trip is drawing to a close.  And going home will also be sweet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On to Lausanne, Switzerland...

Getting to watch the "diggers" during breakfast.
Our day started in Basel, Switzerland.  Cozzie and I had the hotel breakfast together and he was so excited because large street repair equipment was just inches from our window so he could watch "the guys" in action as he ate.

 There was not a show tonight so the others slept late.  Cozzie and I strolled along the Rhein in a different direction this morning from our stroll last evening, found another playground and by noon were in the play area across the street from our hotel.

By then the others were up so loading in began.   Cozzie was getting very ready for a nap by the time we left Basel about 1 PM.  He slept the whole way to Lausanne which took about 2 hours.

Will share some photos from our day.  It did not rain but it was hazy so we did not have spectacular views of mountain peaks as we had on our drive Wednesday.  Still a beautiful country.

 
 This little boy - as is quite typical - loves to play in rocks and sand.  He also enjoys digging and throwing those items.  So he had some fun this morning before leaving Basel.

We left Basel about 1 PM with a sleepy child who promptly fell asleep and napped the 2 hours it took us to drive to Lausanne, Switzerland.  We drove through a wide valley with terrain that reminded me much of Wisconsin.  Saw a number of cows plus farm fields planted with grain.  Orchards are in bloom and the countryside scenes took me back to my childhood roots. 

The closer we got to Lausanne, the more we began to climb, drive through tunnels and see snow capped mountains in the distance.  We did not have rain today but there was a cloudy haze which prevented us from having the spectacular sights we had on Wednesday. 

Lausanne is ringed by mountains and is built on high hills.  Streets are steep, narrow and winding.  Many buildings have elegant, old facades.  We did some exploring on foot so have a few photos of our first evening here.  We will have 2 nights in this city.
Papa found this playground near the place he parked the van.  He took us there, parked the van and we took a tram back to the hotel.
Close to the play scape I spied lovely flower beds.

The coolness of the altitude is the ideal condition for tulips and pansies.
Lovely groupings with complimentary shades...

Cloudy haze prevents us from viewing the mountain tops...
A clock within this slope of pansies...

Back to the playscape to find Papa and Mama helping Cozzie maneuver along the challenging levels...
3 slides at this playground...

And now for a fun tram ride back to the hotel...
Before dinner, we explored an area in which Shara remembered there was an interesting clock which had fun things happening on the hour.  We hoped for some action on the half hour but were disappointed so we waited until the hour.
At 7 PM we were treated to some creative characters who entertained us pleasantly.
  video
 Hope the uploaded video clip works.
Example of elegant, old architecture in Lausanne...
Narrow, winding, climbing streets...
We are again thankful for safely in travel as we have been on the road so much in this past month.  I am still enjoying the passing scenes as we travel the highways connecting all the places Shara has had shows this past month.  

She will perform at 3PM tomorrow afternoon and the final show will be Sunday evening.

Cozzie and I are tucked into our hotel room and will get to be here for 2 nights before moving on Sunday.  We'll explore some more tomorrow and keep you informed through this blog.