We were finally in Europe! Unfortunately the joy I should have felt at the momentous achievement of actually arriving in one piece, was tempered from my body doing what bodies have done all through the ages when they finally slow down after a period of hectic and stressful activity - I got sick. But I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed and we went to explore Zurich. We had a morning to look around a bit before we were to catch a train to Stuttgart, Germany. We knew that once we got there, we would meet our friends who had very kindly helped to arrange the purchase of a car, and we would no longer have the horrible stress of trying to move our luggage around. We could pile it all in the car, and things would be great.
It was nice seeing a bit of Zurich, the day was grey and a bit chilly, but it is a lovely city. We had our first look at a love lock bridge.
We enjoyed some parts of the walk....and we stressed out for the rest. We did actually find it hard to enjoy being in a new city with the kids. In hindsight, I think it it was because we were so tired and wound up and we were yet to figure out our own family's traveling rhythm. We spent a chunk of our time panicking about the kids walking too close to the traffic, they were fighting, and Bo was crying. We did manage to find an enormous 3 story toy shop which pleased the kids immensely. However, as soon as Ross and I saw the prices, we were ready to leave. It turned out that all of Switzerland was so expensive that in just one day, we had managed to blow 3 times our daily budget! The food was particularly expensive, we were ready to run out of there. As it turns out, that is exactly what we ended up doing....literally.
I insisted we stop and eat some lunch before we went back to get our luggage. We had plenty of time before our train, and we had also scoped out the station so we knew where we were going. Ross wanted to eat after we had collected our luggage and come back, but I just couldn't handle the thought of managing all of the luggage, kids and baby gear while we tried to get something to eat. It turns out, I was wrong again. We stopped at the station and had an outrageously expensive yummy lunch. The kids needed the loo, oh yeah, Europe makes you pay. At 1 Euro per person it was going to cost us $10 AUD to pee. No way, not happening. We made everyone hold it.
We got back to the hotel and wrangled our luggage downstairs and into 2 taxis. Everything took way longer than we expected. Everything. The tram back was long, the kids took forever to pee and get their packs, we had to change Bo and order the taxis....We hit some traffic on the way to the station and then we were really panicking. If we missed that train, aaargh, we would have to do so much organizing, and we would have lost the money for the tickets.
We piled out of the taxis and it was pure mayhem. We had to run. Fast. The kids were cracking it again about everything being too heavy and in the interest of time, Ross and I were dragging and running with as much as we could carry. I thought my arm would break off at one point, but I pushed through, reached down into that cold survival place again, and ignored pain, crying, and the collective meltdowns of the kids and hauled all of our crap to the train.
We made it. Literally 30 seconds before the doors closed and the train took off. Most stressful moment of our life! Ross was so worked up he refused to speak for at least an hour and even sat in a separate compartment while he cooled down. The train ride was smooth and full of glorious views of Europe, we all relaxed and chilled out, well, all except poor Ross, who still had stress steam blowing out his nostrils!
Bo managed to have a snooze, and then we made it into Germany.
We met our lovely friends who helped us carry everything out of the station.
We also met our new car. Actually, it's an old, slightly too small rust bucket that we have affectionately named 'whistle and squeak', but it was new to us.
We settled into our new temporary home, spent a few days recovering with friends, exploring the surrounds and enjoying gorgeous views of a hot and stormy Germany.
Germany turned out to be full of adventures for our family, lovely never-to-be-forgotten adventures, and horrible 'oh please let me run away' kind of adventures. Thankfully though, there has so far been no more sprinting for train platforms or running away from super expensive lunches.