Summer in Switzerland and a Touch of Paris

‘Switzerland with kids? Won’t they get bored?’

‘Oh yes Switzerland and no they absolutely won’t get bored!”

That was the conversation I had with a friend a few days back.  I shared with her my previous itinerary and thought that perhaps I could share it with you, too, convince you to make it your family’s next destination for an epic summer.  But hey, you’ll need a couple of things to make it work – an adventurous heart and a willing mind.DSC_0710

Here are the little adventures we had and the beautiful places we visited which your family may enjoy too.

#1. Spend a day in Atzmannig, which my kids called the ultimate playground and whose main attraction was the toboggan ride.  If you have time for an overnight visit, do stay at the wooden igloos.  Bring jackets, it’s cold in the mountains! Details here.

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Do you see Joaquin in this picture?

#2  Kids would love to ride the Gelmerbahn, it’s the steepest funicular in Europe. Walk around Gelmersee Lake once you reach the top. Walk through the ice grotto in Rhone Glacier. And if you’re the ‘Fast and Furious’ type, feel the exhilarating turns at Furka Pass, known to be one of the worlds most dangerous roads. Details here.

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Future hikers walking down to the glacier and ice grotto.

#3. Experience the wild and beautiful Zermatt.  Let your kids run free.  Allow them to pick flowers in the meadow.  Hike in Sunegga, around Leissee Lake.  Nothing can beat a playground on top of the mountain.  Take the scenic train to Gornergrat Station to see Mount Rosa.  Experience -11 deg Celcius in the height of summer at Klein Matterhorn via the highest cable car ride in the world. And finally, relax in a heated pool at sunset while taking in all the beauty around you, and yes, enjoy the silence of the mountains especially that of the majestic Matterhorn.   And when you’re ready to move on, take the Glacier Express train back to Zurich or to another destination.  Details here.DSC_0748

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#4 Fancy another toboggan ride? Head to Lucerne’s Mt Pilatus for the longest toboggan run in Switzerland.  Do the Golden Round Trip itinerary which can start with a cruise on Lake Luzern, then ride the world’s steepest cogwheel from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Klum and then do a few runs in your toboggan. Spend a few hours in Swiss Transport Museum and if you have small children let them play in the road construction playground. And yup, of course, there’s the Chapel Bridge that you should also try to see, it’s probably the most pictured structure in Lucerne anyway. Details here.

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#5 Don’t forget to check out Europe’s largest waterfalls, the Rhine Falls. And hang around Lake Zurich, have coffee or tea.  Cruise. Relax.  Feed the ducks. Details here.15

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#6 There’s also Geneva, which, if on the way, is another place to spend a relaxing time with your kids. Have some Movenpick ice cream while walking on the banks of Rhone River.  Ride the mini train around Lake Geneva and check out Jet d’ Eau, the city’s most famous landmark. Details here.

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Jet d’Eau in Lake Geneva

#6 If you are like our family, which visits the zoo whenever there is one, then by all means, spend a day at Zoo Zurich.  Let the kids loose.  They are in their element anyway. Details here.18

AND, since our kids love Disneyland and wished to ride the bullet train, we included PARIS in our itinerary. Details here.

#1 Don’t just look at the Eiffel Tower, climb it or at least take the elevator up to the highest viewing deck. Imagine a game of I-spy for the kids up there and champagne for mom and dad.  Beware of pickpockets though and get your tickets online early. IMG_0928

#2 Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris is beautiful and if you have active kids like ours, climb the tower.  Get up close and personal with the gargoyles.  They will enjoy the challenge of climbing the narrow stairwell.  But make sure you’re not claustrophobic though.

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#3 My family loves picnics and so we did it, right there, on the grounds of Champs de Mars, in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower.  20.jpg

#4 Go to Musee de Louvre with your kids.  Show them Mona Lisa. You’ll be surprised that they may actually enjoy the museum.  Kids love gadgets right? Borrow the audio guides, tell them to listen to it carefully, let them be your guide. They’d love the challenge. IMG_0967

#5 And of course, see Mickey in Disneyland.  It’s not every day that you can be in the happiest place on earth. And while your kids still enjoy hanging out with you, hang out with them, even if it means taking the carousel twice.  Details here.DSC_0323

There you have it, our summer in the Swiss Alp and a touch of Paris… Check out the detailed post for each adventure by clicking the words in blue. Or click here!

Here is our itinerary per day

  1. Day 1  Zurich
  2. Day 2 Atzmannig
  3. Day 3 Gelmersee Lake, Furka Pass, Rhone Glacier and Aare Gorge
  4. Day 4 Rhine Falls, Lake Zurich and Zurich city centre
  5. Day 5 TGV train to Paris
  6. Day 6 Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame tower, Champs de Mars
  7. Day 7 Chateau de Versailles and Musee de Louvre
  8. Day 8 Disneyland
  9. Day 9 Champs Elysees and rue saint Florentine
  10. Day 10 TGV to Geneva, Patek Philippe Museum, Lake Geneva
  11. Day 11 Zermatt
  12. Day 12 Klein Matterhorn and Gornergrat Station
  13. Day 13 Glacier Express back to Zurich
  14. Day 14 Lucerne, Mount Pilatus
  15. Day 15 Zoo Zurich and Zurich city centre
  16. Day 16 Head back home to Singapore
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Posted in 2013 Switzerland and France, Europe, Switzerland and Paris for Family | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Shangri-la Mactan’s Resort & Spa (3)

Food, Party and Fireworks

I had the most relaxing time during our holiday at Shangri-la Mactan in the Philippines because I did not have to think so much about Joaquin’s peanut and fish allergies.  The resort could very well cater to our family’s food restrictions.  At breakfast or lunch they would ask, “What can we cook for your son today?”  For me, that was very important because that meant I did not have to bring my own pot, which I always do during our trips.

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Pandesal (local soft bread) and cheese for breakfast

Buffet breakfast is usually served at Tides, a restaurant in the Main Wing of the resort.  I remember being spoilt for choices.  There was an extensive spread of Filipino, Asian and other international cuisines.  They have a separate breakfast corner for kids too.

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Fresh pancake art for Joaquin

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I had this every single breakfast – suman, sikwate (thick chocolate drink/syrup), and puto maya topped with young coconut meat and slices of mango

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Tri-color: wheat grass drink, tablea tsokolate and ube ice cream

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Specially-made pasta for Joaquin, and Benjamin enjoying his Filipino food during lunch at Tides Restaurant

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Creative and absolutely delicious Western and Filipino desserts

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Mangoes for dessert, or main course 🙂

One night we had an al fresco dinner at Cowrie Cove, a seafood restaurant in the resort by the sea.  The ambiance was calm, there was a light breeze, and I remember the atmosphere being perfect for dinner under the stars.

Some parts of the sea around the restaurant were lighted that they made the water look like a big aquarium.  After dinner, we played the game of ‘I Spy’ spotting colourful fishes in the sea and constellations in the sky.

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Dinner at Cowrie Cove

Joaquin enjoyed Acqua the most.  It’s an Italian restaurant located in the Ocean Wing which he said served the best Hawaiian pizza.  Euben said their vongole is also the best one he has ever tasted.  I had truffle pasta in white sauce and Benjamin had carbonara.  The portions were just right so you may want to order a dish of each one.

The meals at the resort were not very cheap though and so perhaps allocate some budget for this.  Don’t worry, you’re gonna love the food there.  Otherwise, there are also other restaurants (seafood, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, etc) not far from the resort.

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I think I’ve mentioned in my previous blog that this holiday was almost impromptu so we did not get to check the events at the resort.  We were pleasantly surprised that at the time of our visit, during New Year’s Eve, there was a masquerade ball and a NY’s countdown.

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Masquerade Ball teaser at the breakfast table

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Underdressed for the Ball but not for the countdown party

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Pre-countdown cocktails at the lobby

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Cheers Joaquin, don’t get drunk.

The countdown was held at The Marquee right after the Ball.   They provided masks, glittered hats, clappers and the likes.  There was a cocktail buffet and unlimited drinks, but most of all there was a band and a super energetic host that keep the guests entertained till midnight.

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Photo op before the countdown

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The Marquee was elegantly decorated to welcome the New Year

16Five minutes after the countdown, the guests were led to the beach for the fireworks display.  There was that cool December breeze and that wonderful feeling of anticipation.

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Everyone waiting for the fireworks

For 15 or 20 minutes, the fireworks lit up the sky and the water below…18

Fireworks are always pretty for me, but against the water, they were dramatic, beautiful and of course romantic.19

And there we were – our family of four, enjoying, hopeful and looking forward to more adventures together.

Cheers to family!

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Here are Part 1 and Part 2 of my Shangri-la Mactan series.

Posted in Asia, Shangri-la, Mactan, Cebu, Philippines (3) | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments