Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Baby Crumpet does Swiss Alps

Baby Crumpet took us to visit the Swiss Alps - specifically the town of Murren - which is only accessible by cable & sits on a dramatic cliff and faces the three biggest peaks in Europe - Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau (Ogre, Monk & Maiden). Murren sits in the Bernese Oberland region (home to Bernese mountain dog) - full of wonderfully named towns such as Grimmelwald, Schilthorn and Wegen.

Yes we ran into many cows (with cowbells) blocking the road (see photo). Yes we ate a lot of cheese fondue (photo). Yes Crumpet played at a playground 13,000 feet high (photo). Yes we saw fields of flowers (Alpine meadow). Yes we saw Alpine cottages. Yes we sang songs (but did not know how to yodel).

The view is spectacular, the food is rich (cheese & meat). Walking around the village it is easy to forget there is another world out there. Better have another cheese fondue.

Baby Crumpet does Amsterdam

Baby Crumpet took us to visit Amsterdam.

Inspired by the Red-light district she immediately decided to go topless. Later we took a boat tour (hop on, hop off) of the canals which was definitely a highlight. We also went to the flower market and bought tulip bulbs & had Dutch pancakes for dinner.

Amsterdam is one of my favorite city. The canals reminds you of Venice, the lively scene feels like New Orleans and the charming brick lanes & bike riders can be Prague or Salzburg. It's also home to the wonderful Van Gogh Museum and the Hennken factory. Go Orange!

Baby Crumpet does France

Baby Crumpet took us to France to visit our uncle Lyman & his wife Doris - who has done a house exchange with a professor in Geneva.

The house is located in Collonge sous Saleve - a beautiful little hamlet just minutes from the Swiss border and featured a massive mountain cliff that's heavily visited by para-gliders.

We spent 4 days here. Every morning begin with a walk into town's bakery to buy breakfast, then we don't leave the porch the rest of the day as we enjoy wine, sausages, cheese and more wine. Occasionally we'd go into ''town'' to eat some snails.

Baby Crumpet does Pimonte/Itlay

Photos of Baby Crumpet eating prosciutto in Val D'Aosta, doing a wine tasting in Barolo and eating Targine pasta in Asti.

Baby Crumpet took us to the Pimonte region of Italy. This northwest area borders with France & Switzerland and it is known for wine & pesto.

We arrived at the region from France by driving thru the famed Mont Blanc Tunnel and stayed in a small town in-between Savigliano (a lovely medieval town with the liveliest square that I have ever seen) and Bra (birth place of the Slow Food movement). Map in hand we (meaning Adrian as I don't know how to drive a stick) drove around the region for 3 days drinking wine and eating stupendous Italian food.

Highlights includes visiting the outdoor market in Asti (as in Asti Spumante), wine-tasting and a 4 hour meal in Barolo (as in the wine) and visiting a wine cellar in Cannelli. Oh, and we ate gelato everyday too.

Baby Crumpet does Geneva

Baby Crumpet took us to visit Geneva - the home of Swiss Army knife, expensive watches, chocolate & numbered accounts.

Also home to some of our very good friends.

We had dinner (take-out Thai) with Ion-Marc, his wife Krsytel and son Julia.n (top photo) at their apartment just north of Lake Geneva. Ion was my neighbor in Seattle, briefly a roommate in New York and now a successful private banker. If you need a numbered account he is your guy.

We then spent a lovely afternoon out in the backyard of Sonia & Sergui and their twins, Maya & Gala (middle & bottom photos). I had originally met Sonia - who is from Madrid - in Seattle when she was working as a translator for Microsoft. Now she and her husband (formally a Red Army translator) both work for the U.N. Their twins were born in NY and we had attended their Baptism. It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and now we're all parents!

We also spent a few days just walking around downtown Geneva as well as around the lake. Geneva felt like an European version of Seattle - medium size (800,000 people), cosmopolitan with a love of outdoors. The only difference were the watches advertised in the shop windows that cost more than our car(s).