Giving Thanks

(This is another picture-heavy post. For the TL;DR of you, there’s a Google-made video at the end with pictures from the whole weekend.)

Our first official, pre-planned visitors were Andy’s aunt and uncle, Jane and Eric. They live on the coast in North Carolina and have been gracious enough to host us at their house twice, so we were more than happy to have them in our (admittedly much smaller) apartment.

They flew into Zurich and rented a car so that they could drive up to Basel and then spend some time touring around our little corner of Europe. Then they drove back to Basel on Thanksgiving morning so we could spend the holiday and weekend together. It was a great few days!

On Thanksgiving morning, I took G to preschool while Andy prepped the turkey for roasting. He chose an Ina Garten recipe and it was so delicious! We had ordered a farm-fresh turkey from a farm in France. It arrived at our apartment ready to go and I’m so impressed with Andy for the way he handled that bird, from start to finish. Never would I ever be able to do that, but he prepped it for cooking well and then carved it like a pro!

Then I came home and made some cranberry sauce. I’ve made this recipe several times before, but it was a bit too tart this time. I think the British brown sugar I got wasn’t as sweet as the brown sugar I buy in America. (I have no idea, but that’s what I’m choosing to blame it on, haha.)

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Look at that expert turkey carving action!

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Andy made roesti instead of mashed potatoes as a nod to our Swiss locale. He also made stuffing from scratch, which is resting in the casserole dish in the back on this picture.

True to form, all I made for dinner was the cranberry sauce. Everything else, Andy made or prepped. I’m the worst.

Dinner wasn’t the worst, though.

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Just like being back in America! Jane even brought us turkey napkins!

Jane immediately became G’s favorite person during this visit. She wanted to hold Jane’s hand, sit next to Jane on the tram or bus, and play with Jane. I only felt marginally rejected.

Friday morning we headed to SBB, grabbed breakfast from Sutter Begg, and took a train to Lucerne.

Our plan for Lucerne had been to go up Mount Pilatus, but the visibility was really poor that day and we didn’t want to spend the money to go up the mountain and not be able to see anything. So we just walked around town instead.

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Really glad that this is one of the things America has exported to Switzerland. (It’s still nothing like the craziness of Black Friday in the US. Thank goodness.)

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This is Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge and water tower. It’s named after St. Peter’s Chapel, which is located nearby.

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Lucerne is cute, though. You can see the Chapel Bridge in the middle of this picture and part of the old city wall over on the upper-right.

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Holding Jane’s hand, obviously.

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Model of Lucerne. This was the first scale model we came across that weekend.

We had lunch in Lucerne and walked though a good portion of the city, along the city wall and the water. Then we decided it was time to head back to Basel for dinner at the Christmas market.

While Andy and Eric got glühwein for us all, G tried to make friends with a Santa Claus.

We went from Barfüsserplatz to Münsterplatz, looking at the wares for sale and heading for the ferry. (I told you it was something every tourist in Basel needs to do.)

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Apparently this is called a Christmas pyramid. I never knew what it was called, but I remember my grandma having some out with her Christmas decorations every year. Obviously nowhere near this big!

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While we were waiting for the ferry, G convinced Jane to help her climb the wall. They were super successful, haha.

We walked along the Rhein on the Kleinbasel side towards the middle bridge to head back to Marktplatz.

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I’ve walked over there several times and hadn’t ever noticed this model of the city before.

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Marktplatz has a small, really understated Christmas tree in the middle for the season.

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Then we went back to Barfi to grab dinner (schnitzelbrot for the win), after which we went home and all watched Frozen together.

Saturday morning, G had ballet class and then we loaded into the rental car to head to the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, which is in the Alsace region of France.

G was really excited about going to castle, of course. The only castle she’d seen in real life so far was Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland Paris, so her expectations might have been a little high. It was lucky that we had bundled up that morning, as it was really chilly and occasionally spitting snow down on us.

The castle was still really impressive, though.

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One of several models of the castle. This one shows what the castle should have looked like in its prime. There were other models inside that showed what it looked like before they started renovations, etc.

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Definitely could’ve done with a real fire in this fire place. I came away with a real appreciation for all the layers of clothing that people used to wear. Because brr.

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Decorating goals.

Here she is hiding behind Andy. #lavieve #latergram #waylatergram #canonrebelsl1

A post shared by lizneilvoss (@lizneilvoss) on

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G actually forbade me from taking a picture of this canon, so please don’t tell on me. It was BIG and she was scared of it, too.

I mean seriously. #datviewdoe #latergram #waylatergram #canonrebelsl1 #nofilter

A post shared by lizneilvoss (@lizneilvoss) on

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A view of the castle before renovation.

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And after renovations.

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We grabbed hot chocolates and coffees in the cafe before heading home. While we were there, G told us that she definitely did not want to live in a castle. Too cold for her tastes.

We drove back to Birsfelden and walked to Pizzeria Feldschlösschen, our favorite restaurant here in town, for dinner. There was live music there that night and G and the guitar player really hit it off.

Jane and Eric had to pack up their rental car and head for Zurich early on Sunday morning. We absolutely loved hosting them!

And as promised, here’s the video Google made for me with the pictures I took that weekend. It sums things up pretty well:

 

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