The drive there was probably our worst roadtrip ever, and I have a very short explanation for that: Lyla's first road trip sans pacifier. It made for a very loud, exhausting, and patience-testing drive. We about cried with relief when we finally arrived at our first stop: the Bern, Switzerland temple. We about cried again, for different reasons, when we realized it was closed for maintenance. We made the best of it, and still were able to soak up the sweet spirit of the temple grounds. My girls were giddily running and squealing and pointing to angel Moroni. Smiling widely as if they had already figured out that this place is heaven on earth.
We arrived to our tent we rented from airbnb that we were going to camp in for the next 3 days. Borderline glamping, since we had cots and a table with chairs and a deck where we spent every evening eating treats and soaking in the beauty surrounding us. It'd be extremely hard to convince me that there is a more scenic and beautiful campsite in this universe than the one we stayed at. The girls were so happy to be out of the car, they ran around, and had a celebratory dance party on the deck.
All I had to do to take this picture was step behind our tent and snap my camera. Unbelievable!
Right up the road from us ^^^ there were lots of awesome hiking trails. I went up and explored them one morning on a run, but never tried doing the whole hike with the girls. There were a lot of things we wanted to do here that we couldn't because of our girls. There is a reason you hardly EVER see families in Europe out and about with small children.
These sheep on the hillside across the street were Lyla's favorite part of the whole trip I think. "Sheep!!! BAAAAA!" she repeated, excitedly, each and every time she got a glimpse.
A little park on our campsite! The girls could've stayed here all day, everyday.
We took a (very expensive) tram ride up the mountains to another village called Murren. We later realized we could've driven up here! I guess that's what happens when you're flying by the seat of your pants and nobody is answering your questions, and kids are screaming, and we were ready to fly to the moon if it meant sitting down and finally handing out snacks... But it was a beautiful town with views that looked like fake paintings but were actually real, and right before your very eyes. It was so cool to see so many paragliders in the sky. We were so wishing we could do it....one day!
A picnic in Murren.
The next day we drove about 45 minutes away to Thun, a town that was right at the tip of the most beautiful and colorful lake I've ever seen.
So many layers of beauty.
The picture that revealed my newest bald spot. (I have alopecia, which is a fancy and kind of scary word for unexplained bald spots. I get them every time after I have a baby (or miscarriage.) So this is my 4th one. No more high buns for me....)
I was thoroughly enjoying the backdrop....
That night we went home to our campsite around 6. But I decided to run home instead of ride home in the car. 8 kilometers of breathing in, then breathing out the freshest alpine air. Feeling like the smallest speck amongst the snormous cliffs and mountains all around, but also feeling empowered, strong, and grateful. Absolutely the most amazing run of my life, I told Jeff that one of the reasons I was born was to complete that run. Sounds dramatic but it seemed so climactic in the moment.
We slept one more night in our tent. (our girls absolutely loved camping and it went pretty smoothly!) Then made the trek back home. It was awful, again, for Lyla. She cannot stand her carseat all of a sudden. But Jeff and I were able to keep our cool, and our sanity, because of all these amazing views. This was a random lookout point on our way back that we had to get out and capture! So unbelievable.
Sometimes, in the middle of a new and unfamiliar place while we are trying to orient ourselves + decide whether or not we want to spend $60 on cable-car tickets, and my kids are both having tantrums and jeff's veins are starting to pop out the sides of his head, I wonder....why do we do this to ourselves? HAHA LIKE SERIOUSLY WHAT ARE WE THINKING? But the moments when we are all enjoying nature together and Jane says "I want to be camping FOREVER" and we are relaxing on chairs outside with the triumphant feeling of navigating a new place with a small family, it becomes clear again. Creating memories. Capturing them to hopefully preserve them. Seeing and appreciating beauty in different people and in nature. It helps them, and me, to realize that the world goes on outside of their little bubble. There are so many good teaching opportunities while traveling, and my girls are flooded with opportunities to appreciate beauty in so many different forms. I've been trying to teach them to use their ears to hear goodness, and to use their eyes to see goodness. Because it IS everywhere. There were a few times this trip when jane pointed to something and said "Mom, I'm using my eyes to see that goodness" I guess that's what makes it all worth it.
I have to mention too that when we finally rolled into our driveway after another long drive, we were all SO ready to get out and unpack and relax. But before we could get out, Jane pipes in requesting that we "say a prayer to tell Heavenly Father that we are SO grateful that we could get home safely!" That sweet soul.