From Switzerland

Hello from Switzerland. We arrived a few days ago and the host family was super welcoming. We were picked up from the airport after clearing immigration. The flight itself was pretty good. We had a flight from Florida to Philly and then Philly to Zurich. This gave the girls ample time to enjoy the airplane experience before being on the night flight across the pond.

The first flight was great. The girls were super chill and the American Airlines crew was super kind. The girls were on their best behavior so that worked out extra well with the crew. The second flight was a bit different. I was expecting a less shitty aircraft but this one was freaking prehistoric. No outlets, no personal screens at the seats ... seriously, this aircraft was like cool in the 80s but in 2018 was like ... "this shit still flies?" Not cool, American Airlines. Oh, and to make matters even worse, the freaking headset jacks for the community movie screens on the flight didn't work in our specific row. Seriously, what's the chance of that shit? LOL Again, NOT COOL @AmericanAirlines.

The food was garbage but I had a few snacks for the girls. They managed to sleep most of the flight so that made things a little easier. Anyway, we survived and arrived on time. By the time we worked our way off the flight and through the passport check, we were greeted with smiles and a croissant!

Sometimes when I housesit, I meet the homeowners. Sometimes they just leave the key for me along with directions. We chat beforehand so I am aware of the house, the pets, and any tidbits I need to know to keep things running smoothly. I chatted a lot with this homeowner AND they planned to spend a day or so with us. Quite nice of them to help us settle in and orient us to the area.

The drive from Zurich to Schaffhausen was pleasant. The roads are in good condition, the signage is obvious (enough) and Camilla filled me in about the intricacies of driving in this country. I think driving in another country is always a little intimidating so I appreciated her personal insight.

We settled in and I was determined to stay awake until a proper bedtime to help bypass some of the guaranteed jet lag. Their kids (in 4th grade) came home for lunch. They get 1.5 hours for lunch a day!!! Can you believe it? They bike ride to and from school and have a nice homecooked meal. I don't really know what dual working parents do with their kids coming home from lunch if they aren't there though ... ? Anyway, we had a nice family lunch, chatted a bit and then they started planning out dinner. We snuck into town briefly to feed the girls some apple soda (eek! but the girls loved it.) and also a slice of chocolate cake. The town is super pretty but it started raining so we bailed and headed home.

My oldest had fun playing with the kids when they got home from school at the end of the day. My little one stayed pretty glued to my leg. We settled on some simple pizza and wine for dinner. Who could pass that up?! A few bottles later, it was time to call it a night. We showered off and slept like rocks.

The next day we had breakfast and then drove into town so I could grab some groceries and learn about how to gas up the car. There are some basic things that learning from a resident makes a lot easier -- like how to gas up a vehicle! Their process is different than the states. They don't have a credit card reader at the pump. You fill it up, remember the pump number then drive off and pay the cashier (in route to exit the station). That makes it easier than going inside, at least.

Oh!! We also went for a walk in the forest near their home. It's a nice (but totally dangerous) trail through the eastern edge of the forest (google Schaffhausen and you'll see a HUGE forest and you'll see what I mean). The woods are gorgeous here and the hills are not super easy for my Florida legs. I mean, back home we barely have mounds let alone some big ass hills. Here they don't have mountains but they feel like mountains on my legs. HAhhHAhahah

They had the neighbors over for a cookout - another super wonderful act of kindness that I've not experienced before. We ate well, chatted endlessly, drank beer, and then headed off to bed. Early in the morning, the family left for France and when we awoke for the day, we were in the home alone.

It's always a bit nervewracking trying to figure things out alone. I do it but it's not always easy. I decided to take the girls to the Rhine waterfalls but even that short drive was a fucking mess. LOL It took me entirely too long to drive only a few miles. The place was not the best for young kids. Too much walking, too steep of hills. There was a lot of complaining. We saw enough and left. We went home for lunch and then went out to the local park.

Here's the cool thing about the local park: there are two slides, a little wooden fortress, swings, a huge sandbox and also a TUNNEL! It's a cemented tunnel that goes under the little hill between the slides. There is also a pretty walking path on the far side of the park that has a nice sculpture garden as well. Super cool. The girls loved it. There is ample shade and that's totally a requirement. Although it's less hot here (Florida is practically a fireball with humidity), it's still nice to get a break from the heat in the shade.

The night ended well. Tub for the girls, dinner on the outdoor patio.

All in all, pretty damn great.

I travel for super cheap by house sitting. This seems like a super foreign concept for some people but for me it's the easiest and most affordable way to travel as a family. We travel on our own dime, live on our own dime but our basic living is covered and we stay for free in someone's home. Our job is to take care of the home and also care for whatever pets they have. This family here has 2 cats, which are pretty low maintenance. I realize that house sitting isn't for everyone but for me, it's my preference. I much prefer this lifestyle of being able to cook our own meals, wash our own clothes, clean up after ourselves, etc., ... instead of living out of a hotel. 

The husband (pushing Sofi) is from France. The wife is from GB. They are all multi-lingual and incredibly global. So cool. I love how families function this way. I wish I had more of an excuse to be multi-lingual. 

Their daughter (on the right) ended up teaching Sofi how to swing on her own by swinging her legs properly. So, my youngest experienced her first swing in Cyprus (the island) and my oldest learned to self-propel herself on a swing in Switzerland. How cool for them! 

Dinner with the host family and the neighbors. Dessert was equally lovely!

Rhine Waterfall - known as the largest in Europe. Maybe because of the amount of water passed through and not necessarily the height of the falls? Dunno. 

Sculpture Garden 

Note the tunnel and the HUGE metal slide. That would burn kids alive in Florida. LOL!

At the sculpture garden with the girls 

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