Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salut, Ciao, Hoi zsamme and Hallo!

Once again, for two great weeks, the Marcus family spent their summer vacation touring through Europe. David flew out a week early to enjoy a 400 mile bike trip starting in Switzerland through northwestern Italy then along the French Riviera to Le Lavandou, France. There he joined Kirsten's sister Astrid with her family camping.

Meanwhile, Kirsten was a single mom for a very, very long week. Working full time and taking care of a baby was not easy. But it all worked out. Zoey missed her dad, asking 'Papa, Papa?' a lot for the first few days. She then began to cling more and more to her mom, following her whereever she went and panicking if she thought she was left behind.

Kirsten and Zoey then flew out to Frankfurt, Germany for a stop-over with Opa Matthias and Omi Elisabeth. After a brief but sweet visit they flew on to Marseille, where -finally!- they got to see David again. Zoey was under complete shock when he showed up, and it took her quite a long time to warm up to him again and start smiling... after all, how come Papa was lost for a whole week and then he shows up again all the way in France???

Camping on the Riviera was great. The weather was beautiful, the air fresh and clean (what a change from home), the beach busy but with a great view of the bay, the water perfect, and the food French and delicious. Zoey fell in love with a certain kind of French sausage and would eat nothing else for breakfast. She was so obsessed with it that she tried to steal it from her cousins' breads! She also absolutely loved to play with Lynn (6 1/2) and Liona (4). They helped her discover sand toys and they dug holes in the sand for her to stick her feet in.

This is Zoey with her cousin Liona in the hammock:

Relaxed, healthy, tanned and good-looking, the Marcus family left this oasis via train along the beautful Riviera. A stop-over in Nice was interesting but stressful due to a melt-down of the youngest family member... travelling is hard for a toddler. At night we arrived in Milan and checked into an amazing AND affordable 4-star-hotel right by the train station! HEAVEN! This is Zoey taking a well deserved bath in the hotel room sink:

We still made it out at night to eat by a canal in 'Naviglio'. A band pulled up on a canal boat right by our restaurant and played great music. Meanwhile Zoey was eating huge amounts of shrimp, calamari and pasta. The evening was a great success.

The next day we headed to Milan's Parco Sempione and the Sforza Castle, where Zoey finally got to chase some pigeons! She made them run fast.

On we went through the pedestrian zone with a stop at a great cafe...

...finally to the Duomo and the famous Piazza Duomo shopping mall. Stylish Papa Marcus stopped at Massimo Dutti to purchase a fine suit, suitable for the CEO of a hip and successful internet business!

Zoey was dropped in the middle of the piazza amongst hundreds of pigeons and didn't know which ones to chase first!

The next day we went on to Lugano, Switzerland, an insanely expensive though beautiful lakeside town surrounded by impressive mountain scenery.

In the late evening, we made it to Zurich, the city of love... (this is where David and Kirsten met on a romantic summer evening on the rooftop patio of Bergstrasse 57 in 2000!) The city was fun and beautiful, the weather surprisingly bad for Kirsten and according to David typical for a Zurich summer day (this is a discussion we have been having for years).

Kirsten finally got to eat breakfast at the famous Cafe Odeon, where Albert Einstein and others have been before. David is convinced he ate the same Roesti, bacon and egg breakfast that Albert enjoyed.

A long train ride later we finally arrived back in Wiesbaden, close to Frankfurt, at Astrid's house. Zoey was in paradise there: Toys everywhere and 2 fun cousins to play with! The days were happy and relaxing and went by way too quickly... lucky for us they opened the Wiesbaden Weinfest (wine-festival) in the center of town on our last evening. It was crowded and fun, just like last year. -Can we make this a yearly routine, please?

A much happier family returned back to Connecticut, except that we already miss family, food and places from Europe!