We became a little more familiar with a couple cities the past few weeks. Andrew’s parents came to visit and just a week after they returned, our good friends Chad and Claire arrived! Some home feels away from home was just what we needed. In both cases, they travelled to various places around Europe and we were able to join in here and there. Paris was one of those places. We’re happy it made it on both of their lists as there are endless things to do there. After touching down in Paris, we rented a car to see Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Caen Memorial, and the Normandy American Cemetery for the day before spending time in Paris. The history here is so substantial. We visited the museum in Caen and despite how much you think you know about the history surrounding Normandy, there’s always more to learn. Omaha beach was very open and quiet. We looked out and pictured what it must’ve looked like when our troops landed and the physical obstacles that they faced. It was eerie. Even more eerie and breath taking was the cemetery. A mass of over 9,000 white stone crosses. It was quite a sight and feeling to walk through them. Makes us feel that much more appreciative of the sacrifices that were made.
Our experiences on each of our trips to Paris have been completely different (other than stopping by the Eiffel Tower which is always welcome). We left quite a few “touristy” things to do there, perhaps knowing we’d make our way back a few times. Arc de Triomphe was one of them. When we visited for New Years Eve, we were so far away from the Arc that it looked incredibly small.. up close and personal though, its bigger than we imagined! We actually went inside the Louvre this time which was perfect for the unpredictable skies we had during our stay. It has to be impossible to see every part of the Louvre in a day. We picked two of our favorite floors and explored until we were Louvre’d out.
It was fun having our friends and family visit us in Lausanne. Showing them our favorite spots, some of the history of the area, good foods, great wines -it was awesome. And fun to act as a tour guide! The weather was cooler while his parents were here so we shared some cheesy fondue over board games. There were several spots we stopped by with them that we typically walk by not thinking much of. It was neat to relive how it felt when we first moved, everything new, exploring different areas and getting to know the ins and outs of things. I found myself taking photos along the way as if it was all brand new again.
We went on one of the coolest hikes we’ve ever been on. WOW. Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest was one of the things his parents wanted to do while abroad and we’re glad it was! We had the option to hike up or take a bus. Thinking it was a steep but seemingly quick 2-hour hike we choose that option. Upon arriving, signs informed us that the 2-hour hike was actually a 4-hour hike… oops. We started the climb up and quickly spotted the Eagle’s Nest thinking it looked light years away. We gained 2,300 feet of elevation in under 3.5 miles.. basically a straight vertical climb. Vertigo was felt as we were hiking near the edge for a stint of the trip.
We aimed to finish in 2 hours as we’d planned and we did. We still found the time to look out along the way though. The views just became better and better, even with some sweat in our eyes! At one point, we heard a slow rumble and looked over to see boulders tumbling. We only saw a handful of others during the trek which made it feel that much more special. It was evident the path was less travelled as the snow had blocked a segment of the trail with only a few more feet to go. We gladly caught our breath as we waited for a plow to clear it for us, watching the masses of snow tumble below. Once we made it to the Eagle’s Nest, we had a full 360° view of Austria and Germany. -Video of this on our YouTube– It’s no wonder he used this spot to impress guests. Photos don’t do it justice! So much travelling has been done since his parents arrived and we want to share it with you! If you want to hear how our road trip went with Chad and Claire we will post soon! Spoiler: It. Was. Awesome.