Wednesday, February 24, 2010

EuroSport Live - Olympic coverage

It feel so good - several days now - without dressing in long-johns, wool socks and ski-pants. As much as I love the skiing part, I do get tired of wearing the same thing over and over (yes, we wash the necessities as needed). I almost have all the laundry done. Yippee! Just in time for this week's piles to overflow.

While we were in Wengen, the Olympics had begun. Thanks to the cable TV access we were able to watch a great deal via EuroSport Live - in Deutsch of course. At first I wasn't thrilled since the Opening Ceremonies were in the evening Pac Coast time and therefore we were sound asleep in our beds and I didn't see anything but a 5 min. recap. But then - the events started and we got to watch a good part of those we were interested in seeing during the evenings (morning PacC time) - and have continued to do so since coming home.

Only now (thank you satellite dish) it's in English - the Queen's English to be exact with a little Irish thrown in. It cracks me up to listen to their play by play on downhill/super G, etc... in an accent and using words/expressions that you wouldn't hear at home in the States. I think they've done a great job at not taking things too seriously but serious enough where it's warranted.

What we also like - we get to see all of the participants and very few commercial breaks (maybe one/two an hour). There is also very little in the area of human interest stories - some people like that, some don't. I'm lukewarm - I like to see the competition personally. I also like getting to see all the participants - ex. we watched all the women ski the Downhill - every single one.

Curling? No curling here! It's on at like 2am - Whew!

And I never see the newsreporters, only hear them. Which is fine - they're not in the Olympics!

So thank you EuroSport Live. The Olson family is enjoying the Olympic games and enjoying the difference in coverage.

Note: although we were in Switzerland during the Bejing Summer Olympics it was during holidays, we were in Italy and there was nooooooo cable TV. :(

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ski Week - 2010

Here's the picture story:

Arrived at the Lauterbrunnen Train Station and Car Park - entry made easy as my name was on the list (made the parking reservation in September!). Almost makes you feel like a VIP; "yes, Mrs. Olson, you may drive in."

Then 4 bags & 2 ski bags were loaded up with everyone elses on the luggage cart attached to the train and off we went up the hill. This is what our favorite mountains look like in the winter (and my favorite guy):
Toward Grindelwald:
Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau (Maennlichen/Lauberhorn peaks in foreground):
There is a beautiful, long run from Kleine Scheidigg back down to Wengen - goes right into town and happened to go right to the street we were staying on. This piece required a little work if you didn't have enough speed - we learned quickly....
These black birds thrive in the mountains - mostly on tourists french fries!
Enjoying lunch - pic courtesy of the US military dads from Germany at the next table:
Ski School begins! After the classes were all set at the meeting point, they load all the kids up in an extra train to head up to their drop off point. Ski's are all placed (dumped) in the cargo wagon and then everyone heads on board with poles in hand. You're lucky if you have a seat - please don't get used to it during Ski Week in which the UK, Holland, Belgium, Germany, France and half of Switzerland are on Half Term for school. More on the crowding issue later....
It's an absolute torture to sit in the sun and drink hot chocolate/coffee while waiting for your child's class to come in at the end of their session. Doesn't Bart look miserable?
Bart and I took advantage of some free time to take a hike up on Maennlichen on his last day (Monday - he had to get back to work for the week). There was SOOO much untouched, perfect snow up there. I couldn't resist messing it up a little. We did have to test depths with our poles though, to make sure that once I 'went down,' I could get back up. :)
The ice rink in town - free for kids under 16 - OH YEAH! And they practiced wheeling their old mother around:
A pic of one of the little 'cars' - there are some bigger but not much. You can see it's crowded too? I had never seen so many people in this place - ever! Not my cup of tea. The 2 trains and
2 aerial gondola's that transport people up to the skiing were absolutely packed. I sat in a seat once on a train and the rest of the time stood - not comfy for 30 minutes squished up against people in ski boots - for my knees or my psychie. But I loved the skiing part so..... Kendra at her end of the week race!
Rachel at her's (2nd place!!!). As you can see, this is a picture of a picture - their group raced early! So even though I got there in time, I missed them :(. But the village photo center takes pic's so I was able to get one. :) For only 10 chf.......
So - we had a great week and the 3 things that made a huge difference were:
1. Chalet Adler - a small, basic apartment that just fit our needs and was right on the Kinderhill/run coming into town. We basically put on ski's outside the front door and skiied down the beginner slope into town and to the train station for the ride up to the 'real skiing.' The convenience was wonderful and the landlady very nice.
2. Half of the UK was in Wengen. OK, maybe not half, 1/3. While this disturbed me from a "too many people here and I am a wee bit claustrophobic when squished on trains and overheating" level, it was great for the girls in Ski School. Previous Ski Weeks had them in primarily Swiss German speaking groups so they often felt left out as instructors didn't switch to English as much. This week, they made friends and had a terrific time - never complaining about going each day. We also liked the variety of mountain this area has to offer - they skiied a lot of different terrain. (Maybe that's another point itself)
3. Two daughters who were a delight, good-natured and like doing things together. What more could a mom ask for?
Thus concludes our successful Ski Week for 2010 - more stories will filter out I'm sure but hope this satisfies Gma E. :) Love you and missed you Mom!

Friday, February 12, 2010

We're off to see the Mountains...

Ski's, ski-boots, poles, helmets - 4 pair; Ice-skates - 2 pair; snow pants - 7 pair (never know when you need a spare); jackets - 4 pair; countless long-johns, fleece, turtlenecks, wool socks, etc...; and books, games, entertainment items...... For 1 week.

Obviously not going to a tropical destination during the Ski Week holiday. We are going here: To see what our favorite hiking grounds look like all covered in snow.

So - almost everything is stuffed into bags and I'm sure the girls are tired of me saying "If you don't really, really need it; we aren't dragging it up the mountain."

Wengen is "car-free" so we drive to Lauterbrunnen, park in the giant parking garage and take the train up to the village. Then we will get a little 'taxi' to get our stuff to the rental. The taxi's are, hmmm, bigger than a golf cart and utility oriented - I'll have to take a pic. I hope the pic's will be good. Decided not to take the big camera as it will be soooo cold and it becomes a hassle - we'll see how the little one does.

Praying everyone stays healthy and safe - no injuries this year!!!!! I'm taking it easy as the knee is still cranky.

We'll be skiing/winter hiking this instead!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Swiss sport link

If you enjoy the technical aspects of sports, "behind the scenes" if you will, here is a little video from re: weather prep. for the ski teams:

It's in English with delightful Swiss accents (I've become quite fond of the sound).

Appropriate for yet, another snowy day. Yesterday teased with some sun and enough melting that green lawns were partially visible. Didn't last for long. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


And I'm not talking about hair!

It's that crazy, loud, entertaining sport that involves heaving a giant weight across the ice and by way of brushing the ice frantically with brooms, getting it across a finish line. Yay, go team. Do we have a US curling team?

There are 11 curling lanes/rinks in Wengen. 11!!! And competitions! I know most of you have never heard of/seen Wengen but it's the home of the annual Lauberhorn Downhill ski race (go Mr. Miller!) and is a quiet, car-free village above the Lauterbrunnen Valley - great view of the Eiger. It's a small village. With 11 curling lanes!

AND - I already checked the viewing schedule for the Olympics while we're in Wengen - we will be able to watch curling almost every, single night. The boring sports such as downhill skiing, ice-skating, ski-jump and hockey appear to follow a day-time schedule. Good thing we'll be able to ski, ice-skate and take winter hikes during the dull parts.

Hmmmm - maybe a week will give me an appreciation for the sport. It appears that I'll be watching it - like it or not. :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

15 Years!

I still love this picture! I am thankful every, single day that I'm married to Bart. I always tell the girls that I fell in love with him because he made me laugh. Still does. Did tonight with the anniversary card. I also thought he was pretty cute - still do.

He puts up with me and my quirks (I do have them!!!), supports me in everything from worship leading at church to taking naps because I'm tired, does dishes (especially on my Birthday - thank you!!), has a huge work ethic and is ethical, can watch a chick-flick with me, loves God, loves our daughters, keeps me moving (he's a mover & a shaker), lets me read in bed once in a while as he drifts off to sleep, teases me and knows when not to tease me.

Happy to celebrate 15 years!

All I can think about when contrasting this recent picture to the wedding photo is: "Wow! My hair was really dark and my bangs were big!"

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

We took a wrong turn...

Today, a school mom friend and I went to check out a new "Outlet shopping Mall" about an hour out of Zurich. Landquart is the jumping off place for those going to Klosters/Davos. I thought we were heading for the 'regular Swiss' warehouse-like 'outlet' stores. Note - one goes "Outlet" shopping in France, Germany, Austria or Italy - not Switzerland.

But today was different - I was pleasantly surprised. It bore a striking resemblance to Outlet Malls in the States (with snowy mountains surrounding it) - and even, for Switzerland, had some low(er) prices and different items. Apparently, since opening, the Mall has been a subject of controversy - it's open 7 days a week! Sunday hours have ruffled a lot of feathers!

So if you need a variety of different stores, some bargains and happen to be passing by Landquart, stop by the Alpenrhein Village.

BUT - as we left the Village (FYI - have to pay for parking as in most Swiss parking lots) we took what appeared to be the exit. It had the little ticket collecting machine and the bar went up and off we started. It was a strange little road. Complete with narrow channel-like drive under a bridge. We joked about how it was good I wasn't driving a Suburban it was so narrow.

The road (no other turns or exits) ended at a series of buildings labeled: Kadaversammelstelle.

I hope I don't get a lot of weird hits by posting that word.

English speaking friends, you should be able to figure out the first part. Yep. Same as our word "cadaver." And the second part 'sammelstelle' basically means "collection place" - normally used in conjunction with garbage collection/used clothing collection. Uh, Oh!

Then we saw the "Tier" sign which is "animal" - so we took a trip to the Outlets and found ourselves at the deceased animal disposal facility. How many of you know where that is in your neighborhood? Oh - we were laughing hard. And the only way back around to the main street, alongside the parking lot, was on a bike path.

We looked back and saw an additional exit from the parking lot but, seriously, there was no warning or indication that the exit we took would lead anywhere but in direction of the main road. ????????????????

There are days............ :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Igloo Fun

Today - I am very thankful for the gentleman who came to fix a little electrical glitch with the heating system. I am thankful it happened on a Monday morning and not - say, Saturday night. Which would have caused us to be without heat - until Monday morning.

Because as much as it sounds like a 'cool' idea, this is not how I like to live:

This new addition to our household space went under construction yesterday afternoon. We decided we had a 'little' snow on the patio and, while it really looked pretty, it should be put to constructive use.

Laborers (Mom labored when not taking pictures): Bart working on an expansion as we quickly realized, the girls are a bit bigger than we thought. So - we now have an igloo on the patio which houses two young ladies who can sit up in it and stretch out. First pic shows the final product complete with additional snowfall from last night. Hmmmm, "if you girls don't stop that, you're going to go sit in the igloo!" That probably sounds like a reward instead of a punishment, doesn't it?

I thought a visual of the garage situation helps with the story from last week. No room left on the left side to put any snow. And I was soooooooo right and the SnowMan sooooooo wrong as it continued to snow - til sometime last night. Off and on. If we get much more snow, we might add onto the igloo for the grown-up kids. :)