the europe adventure starts – in switzerland

we spent a month in europe this past summer. it was a wild adventure with our four little ones (and a couple trips to the e.r. – more on that later…). but it felt so good to be back and we made some epic family memories.

our first stop was switzerland, to visit my brother talmadge and his family. and to be in spectacular switzerland 🙂 my sister saydi dropped us off at the airport and we were a circus flying to amsterdam and then onto zurich. aaaaand the airline lost one of our bags. we headed to a hotel near the airport after our perilous journey with our minds racing on how we were going to replace the things i super carefully packed for our month abroad – including beds for the babies, booster seats for the car, clothes, toiletries, etc. it was not a great start to our trip…

but we decided to go back to the airport the next morning to just see if we could find the bag (no word from the airline) and guess what…? we did! ooooh sweet relief, hallelujah. we stuffed everything and everyone, jet lagged as all get out, in our little rental car and met up with my brother, sister-in-law and niece in the alps!

because the weather looked fab, i headed straight out on a hike i really wanted to do with tal. i had seen pictures of him taking other visitors on this epic “via ferrata,” and i was so wanting to experience it myself! (a via ferrata is a climbing route that employs steel cables, rungs or ladders, fixed to the rock to which the climbers affix a harness with two leashes, which allows the climbers to secure themselves to the metal fixture and limit any fall. – thanks wikipedia) i was dead tired after sleeping on an airplane and in a cheap hotel worrying about our bag … but i got the hugest burst of energy as we started up the path. exhilarating!!!

it was, yes, a bit scary … but also so fun. the views kept getting better and better. i was freaking out a little with beauty and adventure joy pretty much the whole time. and it was so fun to be with my brother! ian and my sister-in-law anita took all the kids to the lake and they had lots of fun. ian would hate this experience because he has a pretty extreme fear of heights … so it worked out well to split up for a bit 🙂

here we are at the tippy top! we got to see a steinbock – a wild alpine ibex – perched on a ledge of the mountain and that was pretty cool. it was so sunny and clear and beautiful and i just could hardly believe the grandeur.

we hiked back around in a loop (rather than coming down the ladders with the cables) and the scenery continued to be stunning.

we went through a forest and a wildflower meadow and hung out with some horned and belled goats…

and then reunited with our families. what a start to our time in switzerland!! i loved every second.

we all went up to tal & anita’s “hut” – a little old cabin right on the mountain above where anita grew up that they bought a couple years ago and are fixing up. it was so fun to see, and we can’t wait to go back and experience it when it’s all finished! it was such a pretty night and the cousins had lots of fun together.

everyone was very pooped by the time we made it to our airbnb. but we popped up the babies’ tents in the bathroom and everyone got a really great sleep – we all slept in for ages which felt so good.

the next day tal & anita brought us to a little lake area near where they live. we cooked some food over the fire and explored and played and it was beautiful and relaxing and fun!

we spent the evening back at our airbnb, which turned out to be in a pretty spectacular spot. when we were driving to it in the dark the night before we were taken back by how high up the mountain it was – so many switch backs and big inclines! but we woke up to a wonderland! so it was nice to just enjoy the surroundings that evening. we took a sunsetty walk and enjoyed the wildflower meadow and breathed in that sweet alpine air.

the next day we went to church with tal and his family and then went on a little hike in the most gorgeous canyon that overlooks the canton they live in. we saw lots of cows, a rainbow, their town from above, and so much stunning scenery.

we all went back to our airbnb for a slapped-together dinner and some last fun together. love these people so much!!

we headed to italy the next morning. on the way we explored the engadin valley a bit. i had been to this part of switzerland before with my sisters, 7 years ago, and ian wanted to see the beauty i raved about! the visibility was really bad at the spectacular point at the top of a gondola ride that i wanted to show him, but we still got to see some amazing scenery, and my favorite little town – guarda – perched up the on a mountain.

headed back to the car, which we had gotten really good at packing in tight! we drove through st. moritz and more stunning alpine scenery…

and crossed over into italy!

next stop, milan!


  1. Love this!! So happy for your family to be able to experience this amazing trip! Thank you so much for posting your every day moments and your trips. Reading your post it really encourages me that travel is possible with littles!! Thank you!


  2. What a lovely trip! It was a pleasure just to read. Which car did you rent? We are a family of six and always have troubles finding cars that can accommodate us.


  3. Hi Charity! This trip looks amazing. I admire your dedication to keeping your blog complete even during this tricky time with little kids.

    I have a question unrelated to this post. What do Moses and Gabriel do to earn money? You often mention that your kids are excited and proud to spend their hard-earned money. I have a 3.5-year-old and almost-5-year-old, and I would love for them to start earning some money so I can stop fielding questions about buying stuff every time we go to Target. I’m curious what other families do for kids this age for jobs. My internet searches haven’t been very fruitful so far. Thanks for any help you can offer!


    • We started an allowance (kind of like an unconditional basic income). That stopped the whining, because my child mostly respected “Do you have your allowance with you? Have you saved enough money?”

      Apart from that, I give little cleaning jobs like cleaning the mirrors, weeding or dusting (the goal isn’t that it’s done well, just done 😉 ). Those jobs are for helping all of the family and therefore aren’t paid.


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