you’ve been Alsaced

 

We pulled the kids out of school a day early and started our vacances de Noel by driving up to Alsace.

 

Day 1 – Mulhouse (pronounced “muh-LOOZE” just to throw everybody off)

Pretty much the first thing we did when we got there was stop and grab a Bretzel.

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The Mulhouse market was mostly set up in the square directly in front of the Cathedral – complete with a huge ferris wheel.

 

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Day 2.

In the morning we decided to head out and grab some breakfast on our way to see some WWI trenchs.  We never really did find any place to eat -and it ended up taking a bit longer to drive there than we hand anticipated, thanks to the road being “technically closed” -but luckily we were borrowing the Big Rig – so we made our way up the unplowed windy road and made it to the memorial site at the top of the hills.IMG_0114

 

At the start of WWI the French dug in at Viel Armaund – as it was  a high point to be able to survey the German troops. For that exact reason the Germans also really wanted the crest at the top.  For most of 1915 they attacked and counter-attacked each other – but neither one really advanced. From then until the end of the war they bascically entrenched themselves and by the time the war was done, everyone was pretty much where they started – except that 30,000 lives had been lost in the process.

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By the time we got to Colmar it was noon – so we decided that we should probably have breakfast and then go see the sights..

Colmar was incredibly decked out for Christmas. The whole city centre appeared to be a a market.

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We made a few stops for chocolat chaud and other snacks to warm up.IMG_0167

 

IMG_0197IMG_0201 The kids got to ride on some “Christmas Horses” that went around a track – bucking them fiercely all the way around. On their second lap – they were pelted in the face with artificial snow – just to make it a little more Christmas-y.2012-12-22 15.10.07

 

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OK – so now it just looks like we ate a lot.  I suppose we did. But we had a great time.  It was great to be able to have a family vacation at Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa – despite living so far away from them.

 

 

Genève

When my mom was here we took a day trip to Geneva. It’s only about 2 hours on the train, and there is plenty of beautify scenery to see on the way – or play Uno – whichever you prefer.

We walked around the city and took in many of the most important things to see and do.

 

Editors note: how is it that this historic European capital has, as one of its most well know displays, a simple clock made of flowers? Something that basically anybody with a small yard and a large clock motor could create. Strange.

We wandered over to the Reformers Wall, which is in a park where there is also a large collection of outdoor chess sets, which we took full advantage of.

After we went over to the UN complex.  It is actually a very large and impressive set of buildings.

We had a fantastic guided tour that lasted over an hour -and our kids absolutely loved it. Yes, I realize that this does say something about our kids. (namely – how cool they are)

Of the whole group we were the only ones with kids – but they were right at the front – following as close as they could – asking questions, and answering when they could.

When we were leaving Micah pulled on my arm and said “Papa, that tour was awesome!

Of course our boys showed the respect due to such an important and historic institution.

When we got out of the UN it was dark. There was a section of fountains – about a city block – where the different jets of water seemed to start and stop at randomly interspersed patterns.  Micah decided it was a good idea to start running through them – like some kind of aqueous-full-body-Russian-roulette   Apparently the force is strong with that one – as he came out dry – I have no idea how.

When we were grabbing something to eat before getting back on our train – there was some kind of organized social movement along the streets of downtown.  We had seen signs that traffic would be disrupted etc. But when w got there – we saw a lot of this:

Fully armed riot police. Which seemed a bit over-the-top since the ‘demonstration’ was people walking down the street carrying large signs asking for improved wage equity or something. Just a bit unnerving of an environment to lead your family through.