So this morning, the kids participated in their first Swiss Faith in God program - it's Activity Days for both boys and girls! Here's the program with everyone's different talents that they displayed...
Kas chose ripsticking (or wave-boarding, as she explains in detail here...) and demonstrated for everyone. She looked great zooming around the room! It was a hoot.
Stephen showed his new bow and arrow, which was a hit - everyone had fun trying it out after the program was over.
We ate lunch in the car, and then went exploring... stopping at this random Trojan Horse on the road ~ very cool ~
And then came the Cailler Chocolate Factory. About an hour away from our home. Nestled (play on words) right beneath the gorgeous Swiss Alps.
Who knew we were in for such a wonderful experience today??? Usually, in America, you pay to go on a tour of, say, the Bluebell Ice-cream factory, and you get a puny little tiny lick of free ice-cream at the end. It just ticks you off because you just want more, so you have to buy more (you all know what I'm talking about). I was expecting the same thing. But we had much, much more greatness in store for us.
So Mr. Cailler was the first Swiss producer of chocolate. He invented the process of smoothing the chocolate to make into bars. His son-in-law later took over and joined with friend Henri Nestle, who contributed his condensed milk idea, and thus 'milk chocolate.' In his factory, which was just renovated and reopened last year (praise the stars... hence catering to more free chocolate), there's even a section where the kids don frocks and make their own chocolate bars...Anyhoo, we watched a neat film about the history, then walked thru a guided tour describing all the way back to Quetzalcoatl who gave his people chocolate ~ then later when Cortez came they offered him some too, but in return he just destroyed their Aztec empire. During that part of the tour, Kenny was holding onto my leg because they had very realistic, Disney-like animatronics with theatrical lightning and thunder. It was great. Then we saw the real cocoa beans and nuts that they use... here, the sampling began. And I was happy, but not overly ecstatic, since I had no idea of what was in store for us.
This poster below does an excellent job of explaining why all people should eat chocolate and be happy; you just feel yourself becoming a believer as you read it:
So then into a more exciting chamber, where we actually see the chocolate being made...
And then came the first opportunity for filling the pockets... the big tray of pretty chocolates at the end of the production line. (And believe me, all the other little tourists were jamming their pockets full too.) Of course, we're thinking - oh yes - we get to eat our admission's worth in chocolate! So we're practically sick when we leave this room.
But then we enter the next room. I am telling you, I think I'm going to start keeping a notebook of 'firsts'. Because I have them regularly, and I say outloud - "hey guys, this is a FIRST - what I'm doing right now!" Like when I drove in Germany last week - I had never actually done that before. But then later I forget all the firsts. Well, THIS first, I shall not forget. We walk into a room where 3 lovely skinny ladies who I'm sure never eat this stuff are replenishing trays filled with every kind of chocolate that Cailler makes. Like MILLIONS of little squares, laid out in pretty little rows, in sections, with signs for what they all are. And the ladies smile, and welcome us in, and beckon us toward the trays of chocolate. Then they trot their skinny little selves out the door and say 'voila!' AND LEAVE US WITH ALL THE CHOCOLATE TO JUST EAT! Have you ever?!? It was like nothing I've ever experienced before. Truly, I stood there with my jaw dropped. When does this happen?
I think Daron wanted to pick up the whole tray and put it in his pocket. I know I did. And there's no one there to say JUST TAKE ONE! (I bet the skinny ladies are on the other side of the wall, which is probably a fake mirror, just watching us and laughing their little rear-ends off, thinking, those folks will never be skinny like us. And they're right. We won't. And that's OK.)
So here we have more sampling... you, unfortunately, don't get to see all the footage of the gluttony. Not because I didn't want to film it, but simply because I had to put down the camera so as to facilitate my own swinish feasting.
When the sickness started to set in, we knew all good things must come to an end. Although I regretted leaving the room the INSTANT I left the room, sick as I was. (In Christopher's words, Why's it gotta be that way?) So we left, with pockets (and stomachs) bulging... and the children wanted to vomit. But it was still a good feeling.
In this video, we see the beautiful scenery behind the factory... and to end it all -- Kassie, making vomiting noises. (She doesn't really throw up though. Just a convincing actress.)