What a special trip this is to celebrate Vern’s 50th Birthday.
Currently traveling
  • Day30

    A Sad Goodbye

    January 8, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    I am writing this blog update from Frankfurt Airport after a very sad goodbye to all the Karallus’s. We had such an amazing time with them for three weeks. So much was shared. So much love. And so much fun!

    Memories were created that will be with us all forever. The kids did not want to leave but unfortunately our wallets ensured that we must. It’s much harder leaving when you have no idea when you will be back. Hopefully not too many years till our next visit.

    We had a great ICE train ride to Frankfurt Airport, with a check in desk for Lufthansa at the station, eliminating the need to endure the main check-in hall. Due to there being plenty of seats to Haneda, we got boarding passes straight away, and all of us seated together! Always a bonus for the Parker’s. Nobody but us at passport control so we wizzed through and had a brief snack whilst we waited and watched the planes. A very relaxed departure so far

    Oh and dad, the aircraft is a B747-800. Vern tells me that Lufthansa was the only carrier to buy that model.
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day29

    Last full day

    January 7, 2019 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Well here we are at the end of our trip. Today was our last full day and we spent it shopping!! Not anywhere near the scale that Kyles’ does but I was pretty happy with the shoes I bought. Vern got a new north face jacket and the boys bought a great t-shirt and hoodie from the big sports store.

    We had our last lunch at our favourite spot on the Rhine and discussed how great the trip was. Nobody wants to go home, but I told the kids we were totally out of money.

    It is going to be so hard to say goodbye knowing we will not be back for quite a while. Fingers crossed Philipp and Katrin might come to Australia in the next few years. We will really miss them.

    Tomorrow we head out to Frankfurt on the ICE train and start our trip home.
    Read more

  • Day28

    Birthday Cake at Sonja's

    January 6, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Today was a slow start with the big traditional German brekky followed by an unpack from skiing and a partial pack to head home.

    Silke arrived about lunchtime and then we all headed to Sonja’s house for the famous Black Forest cake for Vern’s birthday. Karla spent a few days preparing her famous birthday cake especially for Vern. Three other distant cousins joined us and it was such a wonderful afternoon with 5 different cakes in total and yes I sampled them all!

    I totally love the way the Germans have turned coffee and cake into a whole meal on its own. Unlike in Australia where everybody holds back because of the calories, in Germany they all just dig in and enjoy not just one slice, but one of everything!

    It was so wonderful for Vern to enjoy some time with his extended family that were his age and to exchange stories. They also made me feel so welcome. We all can’t wait to come back one day.
    Read more

  • Day27

    Fiescheralp to Cologne

    January 5, 2019 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 6 °C

    Today we had to leave behind the stunning Swiss Alps we had all fallen in love with. The snow groomer collected all our luggage and took it as well as Jonathan and Will, to the cable car for the trip back down to the valley. It had started to snow which we all felt was just magical.

    After a quick stop at the supermarket Vern drove us out of town, through the beautiful towns in the valley, to join the queue for the train through the Furka Tunnel. It was now snowing quite considerably and with all the school holiday traffic we had to wait an hour before getting our slot on the train. Such fun on the train and it does feel a little strange to be moving along at such speed without doing anything.

    The snow was really coming down when we exited the tunnel and as we had a very steep descent with many hairpin bends coming up, Philipp drove from there. Wow was it steep and icy on the descent down the mountain. That’s why you have the winter tyres! It was quite a learning experience for Vern and i as Philipp explained all about driving in the snow and ice. The snow just kept coming down, and didn’t stop till we were north of Zurich. We passed some snow groomers clearing the motorway in the other direction but our side had quite a bit of snow.

    We stopped to see the Rhinefalls but due to the snow, and more importantly ice, the paths down to the falls were closed. We walked a little way down but it was steep and the second half of the walk had a sheet of ice over it so back to the car we went.

    At about 10pm we all arrived back safely in Cologne after an amazing week. One we will all remember as a very special experience with some very special family. Lochie said he loved it so much that skiing in Switzerland may even be better than going to Bali. A big call from the kid who adores Bali.
    Read more

  • Day26


    January 4, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ -7 °C

    Today was a picture perfect day yet again! After another superb brekky Katrina, Philipp, Nikko, Jonathan, Ethan, William and Lochie headed out on an adventure to ski across to the next village of Bettmeralp. Louise wanted to practise her skiing here so Vern stayed with her. I took the cable car to the valley, the train down 4 stops to Betten and then another cable car up to Bettmeralp, to meet them for lunch.

    Although it was the long way around it was very relaxing on my own and I really enjoyed the view on the train and then to enjoy another village.

    Bettmeralp is much larger than Fiescheralp with more restaurants, shops, Chemist and teller machines. Probably 4 or 5 times the size of Fiescheralp and therefore much busier. Absolutely spectacular scenery though. And maybe a bit more posh! For many reasons I think I preferred where we stayed.

    Kids did incredibly well on their big adventure with no complaints or cold fingers, just lots of great skiing according to Philipp and Katrin. We are so grateful to Philipp ad Katrin for all the time they have spent teaching our boys and taking them on ski runs that we could not.

    Lochie and Will say that skiing is right up there with going to Bali and maybe even better! I guess we will have to come back.
    Read more

  • Day25

    And more snow grooming!

    January 3, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌙 -13 °C
  • Day25

    Snow grooming!

    January 3, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌙 -13 °C

    Well today started out with a couple of cranky boys but ended up awesome. The boys had a brief ski after brekky but then decided to play in the snow and have a few runs on Jonathan’s sled. After just missing a few skiers the boys decided to head back inside for a bit which gave Vern and I a bit of time to ourselves. We took advantage of the deck chairs outside our hotel restaurant and enjoyed the sun with some morning drinks. It had warmed up to minus 8 by now so we settled in with the complimentary blankets and soaked up the amazing view in the sunshine. We just reflected on how awesome this holiday has been.

    Katrin offered to take our boys on the big chairlift run last thing in the afternoon and of course they jumped at it. Problem was as the temperature started to drop again lochie had cold hands and feet but Katrin sorted him out whilst Philipp and Vern helped me arrange something I had wanted to do all week. Snow grooming! You can book to go with one of the many snow groomers who groom those runs every night. They are huge pieces of machinery but we were told they only accept guests on Monday’s and Wednesday’s. That didn’t deter Philipp who convinced the man in charge to give me a go cause I had come all the way from Australia! It was amazing!

    The guy I went with really only spoke Swiss so that did limit some of my questions cause he only spoke a small amount of English and about as much German as me, but we muddled through.

    Wow the view from the top was breathtaking but boy are those ski runs steep. You felt like you just dropped straight down. So steep that the groomers have to hook on to 1km long cables to stop them sliding down the mountain. The photos don’t do the experience justice but it was absolutely a bucket list experience.
    Read more

  • Day25

    Ski Jumps

    January 3, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ -12 °C

    Here are a few photos that Katrin took yesterday when she took them skiing. The boys found a couple of little ski jumps and had a go. Probably best I wasn’t there.

    Al - I have included a photo of the empty fireworks boxes from NYE just for you.Read more