Mercer's 2010 quality of living survey rates Vienna as the number one city in the world to live in. I like to think me living here helped nudge her into the top spot.
Zurich is number two on the survey.
I think that's because of these folks.
After 3 1/2 days in Vienna, Mrynn, Moira & myself boarded the Zürich-bound overnight train. Like three monkeys in a cage, we nested ourselves down in our bunks for a series of short naps. I'm fairly certain there's no such thing as a full night's sleep on a train.
But zleep or no zleep - Zürich iz a lovely Zity, with a tram zystem that'll get you anywhere (if you can figure out how to buy the ticketz.) It'z a zity full of friendly, helpful Zwiss people, yodeling away and zpeaking English cheerfully to vizitors.
And if you get lost in the surrounding mountains they'll send up a St. Bernard with this on his neck to rescue you. I'm telling you, they're a very helpful people.
Zo, what did we do in Zürich? We had a wonderful neighborhood World Cup BBQ at Michael's church.
We heard Beethoven's fifth in the old city.
We strolled the shores of Lake Zürich where we met a band of Hari Krishnas dancing, singing and throwing free fruit to the crowd.
We hiked along the hilltops on the outskirts of the city where we met this dapper fellow...
...saw some spectacular scenery...
...ate some delicious mountaintop food...
...and took a gondola down towards home just as a wild, windy storm blew in. Maryanne almost s*** her pants in fear while me, Michael & Moira alternately teased and reassured her.
About the halfway point in our hike, we went from the tower in the distance to another tower a couple hilltops away. It was a glorious (though sweaty) day.
Of course the REAL highlight of any trip to Zürich...
...are these little babushkas. Here Moira shows off her new dress as Silas prepares to enter the runway wearing his special World Cup jersey.
World's most patient older brother Juri poses for Silas who spent about an hour snapping artsy shots on Mrynn's camera after dinner on our last night.
Actually that last night was a highlight of the trip for all three of us. The kids had really loosened up with us, and dropped the last of their shy schtick. The sun set, the evening cooled off, the food was delish, the wine & beer flowed and we chatted and laughed as we took our time and really relaxed into the lovely summer night.
You can tell Moira enjoyed herself too - look at those happy eyes!!!
Michael hammed it up (as usual) and Silas even got the nerve up to look straight at the camera! Maybe it was his new haircut?
All told, it was a marvelous three days. Many thanks to Michael & Gabi for juggling three guests, a flooded basement, three kids, a neighborhood party and one cat with style and grace.
Stay tuned for the final installment of The Adventures of M,M & K in which our heroines tackle the city of lights (and by tackle I mean sit at sidewalk cafés and eat cheese.)
p.s. Happy birthday Momma.