We are a married couple who adopted our little Russky, Nikita {aka Nicky, Nicky noodle, little man, Nikoli, the Nickster, crazy dude, goofball, puppy love, etc...you get the picture!} from St Petersburg, Russia four years ago. Join us as we stumble through the joys and perils of parenthood, while our son teaches us a few things along the road...


August 22, 2008 - Swiss Family Johnson

We are here in Basel, Switzerland...we arrived last Saturday the 16th. We are staying with my friend Rachel, her husband Jeroen and their beautiful daughters Tess & Meret. We've spent our time hanging out in the laid-back town...strolling along the Rhine River; shopping; eating; napping; and enjoying great company. We are getting tons of practice taking care of a two year old...we are even being trusted to stay home alone with the girls tonite...scary! lol! We spent this past Tuesday - Thursday in the towns of Locarno & Ascona in the southern canton of Ticino, Swiss. It was so amazingly beautiful and relaxing. It's one of those places you would not think of visiting, but after doing so, you want to go back again & again. We stayed in a hotel right along the Lago Maggiore with a fabulous view of the lake and the surrounding Alps. We just missed the Locarno film festival by a few days, but I think we're better for it...a nice, quiet trip is exactly what we needed.
The first morning we got up and walked about 5k to the town of Ascona...wow - so pretty. Since Ticino borders Italy, the national language is Italian, and the architecture matches. We wandered around through the back streets and did a bit of shopping. We ate lunch at a restaurant that had a salad bar...can you say heaven?! It was right up my alley...the Russians aren't that big on green, leafy salads, so needless to say, the vegetarian in me was ready to eat a tree if I didn't get a big salad soon! Our waiter brought our beer, and he must have felt sorry for me just eating salad, as he didn't charge us. Kris had a bowl of pasta & we each had 2 large Swiss beers, & our total was still $50! Oh well...if you look at the pictures I've sent from snapfish, you'll see that it was well worth it! We'd love to scoop up Nicky and bring him back there to live if we could. After lunch we took the ferry back to Locarno...we decided we had had enough exercise after the walk to Ascona. Although - once we returned to Locarno, we somehow had the energy to rent a paddle boat and cruise around the lake a bit. Kris' legs were too long and he kept getting them caught up in the steering wheel, so I was the lucky one entrusted with driving! Good thing too...Kris kept running over the bouys, so we weren't getting very far!

Sidebar...laundry is a very daunting task in other countries. You'd think it would be universal, but the machines over here are not only in German, but they also have many different settings! I'm used to my simple "cold, warm, hot" and "permanent press, normal, heavy" and whatever else it says!
Anyway...we left Locarno via train back to Basel on Thursday morning. I thought it would be easy to take a nap, but the scenery is so beautiful, it's hard to sleep...I was afraid I'd miss something! We just hung out and watched a few episodes of Dexter (Rachel has the full first season on DVD and has gotten me hooked too!). I mentioned we were babysitting...well...Rachel & Jeroen fed, bathed & put the girls down, so really all we're doing is listening out for any cries...so far so good!
We are gearing up for our trip back to Peter on Sunday...6:15am...not my favorite time of day! :( We received our itinerary for our trip back...we will do some paperwork on the 28th & 29th and will then get Nicky on Monday (Labor Day for you Americans! Althou we've only been gone just over a week, it really feels like decades! So different than a normal vacation.). Monday we'll fly to Moscow and will do more paperwork & we'll get to fly home to the US on the 4th! We're pretty anxious for that part to be over. If you've been keeping up with the news, there's a bit of unrest with Russia and Georgia & now that the US has said their two cents, we're nervous to see how we could be treated. I'm sure things will be fine, but... Anyway - I'll bother you all with some more chatter and pictures from Peter, I'm sure.:) After spending this time with Tess, we can't wait to have Nicky and see all the fun stuff he does! Kids are so amazing!!!

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