Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Countryscape on Camera: Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, Switzerland

Note: If this post is too long for you, at least skip to the bottom half to see my special announcement! :)

After a week traveling through Amsterdam, Prague and Berlin, we headed to my mom's condo in Switzerland for the weekend. She moved to Switzerland a few years ago when she received a promotion, so this was the second time I'd gotten to visit her new home. I had also been to Switzerland once before, in high school, when she took my brother and me along on a business trip.

This weekend was the perfect little break, especially for Jonathan and me. My sister and brother had been able to fly to my mom's first with big suitcases and then pack in smaller backpacks for specific trips, but Jonathan and I had had to bring everything we needed for the six weeks in just backpacks. Because the cities we were visiting ranged in climate from Amsterdam (rain jackets and boots) to Sevilla (shorts and tank tops), it was pretty challenging. After our first week, though, we got to leave most of our warmer clothes at my mom's, which made our backpacks so much lighter. :)

Enough of the logistics: I know you only come for the pictures! ;) Below are views of Lake Geneva from my bedroom at the condo and the deck, a photograph of the marina we walk by any time we go into town for dinner, and some French Harry Potter books I found at the farmer's market in Montreux.

On our first full day in Switzerland, my mom decided we should go on a walk through some nearby vineyards. She lives near Vevey, so we got on the train to Cully (see map below). We meant to go to St. Saphorin, but we missed our original train and the next one was an express train. Whoops! This is where my obliviousness started: My mom told Abby to hurry up because we were going to miss the train, so she came running down to the station. I had no idea we were in a hurry to get on a specific train, so I apologized to my mom, but she just said, "Oh no sweetie, it's fine. We're not in a hurry." Hmm....

After walking through the adorable Swiss towns (see pictures above) to the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, we wandered along the "Swiss Wine Route" and had a picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruit and wine. Below you can see our entire group (except Abby, who took the picture) wandering along the route. I was still completely oblivious at this time to what was about to happen.

This is kind of random, but these signs were everywhere in the vineyards and I thought they were hilarious. They looked like they were saying not to exploit pets, but of course my mom gave me the correct (and much more reasonable) French translation, which I think had something to do with only approved vineyard vehicles being allowed. But I don't quite remember; whoops!

Finally, we get to the story! Let me give you a little background: I woke up early that morning to the sound of Jonathan doing push-ups and sit-ups on the bedroom floor. I thought it was a little odd, but I figured he just wanted to get a workout in because he hadn't really had time yet on the trip, and as a former college athlete, fitness is pretty important to him. What was more strange was that he didn't wake me up to keep him company but let me keep sleeping. Hmm.... Later on, after we got back from the farmer's market, my mom offered Jonathan a beer. Sure, it wasn't even 11 a.m., but I figured, Hey, we're on vacation! She had also jokingly offered him a shot, but even that didn't set off any alarm bells. Then there was the little disparity in how my mom treated Abby and me at the train station, and finally, as we approached a gorgeous lookout point in the Le Dezaley vineyard during the walk, my whole family disappeared.

I was telling Jonathan we had to go because my family was leaving without us, and he kept assuring me that wasn't the case. Finally, he pointed out Abby, who was creeping behind some bushes. She came up to take a picture of us leaning against the railing, and then she asked, "Is this cute or a little creepy?" Jonathan answered, "A little creepy," and she laughed and wandered away again. Jonathan and I were standing at the railing looking out at Lake Geneva, and he said he had a question to ask me and I felt him reach into his pocket. For a split second, I even thought, "Haha he's trying to make me think he's proposing. I bet he's just going to give me a piece of chocolate or something," because I was so sure he wasn't ready to buy a ring yet. Lo and behold, he pulled out a big gold locket, and I thought maybe he was going to give me a necklace. But when he opened the locket, it was pretty dang shiny for a necklace. And then it hit me: He was proposing.

The first thing I asked (after I said yes) was, "Does my mom know?" He laughed and said, "Of course, why do you think she's up there creepily taking pictures of us?" Sure enough, I looked over his shoulder and saw my mom up on a terrace. She peeked out from behind her camera with the biggest smile on her face and waved. So thanks for these great photos, Mom!

Then the family came over to congratulate us and take some more pictures. Apparently everyone in the world knew except me, including Jonathan's boss, his receptionist at work, my little brother's friends, my sister's friends ... EVERYONE! Thanks for keeping it a secret, everyone. :) I definitely thought Jonathan would propose, but I was expecting it to be next year (or at least this fall/winter) after he started his new job and got settled in San Jose. I'd always wanted to be surprised with the timing, though, so it was definitely the perfect proposal!

So whew, there's the story! If you follow me on Instagram you probably already knew, but hopefully I surprised at least a few of you with this story. :)

To wrap up this recap, we did a little tour of the vineyards again the next day (but this time we actually debarked the train at St. Saphorin) for a wine-tasting event with my mom's work colleagues. Here's a lovely picture of the whole group:

From left: Jonathan, me, Mom, Michael, Abby and Abby's boyfriend, Scott

This was my third time in Switzerland, but I think it will always be my most memorable. :) It was great to visit my mom for a weekend and have a little break from hostels and constant walking, but we were definitely excited to head to Greece after three days in Vevey. Check back next week for those stories and pictures! Please link up below with any travel-related posts you've published in the past. I only ask that you include my button in your post to link back to my Travel Tuesday page. I can't wait to hear your travel stories!


  1. how amazingly romantic! I love that your family was creeping around taking pictures ... and fully aware of how creepy they were :)

  2. Yay congrats! I love that your mom was able to get some pictures of the special moment.

  3. My first thought while reading this was "How cool that her Mom lives in Switzerland?!" My Mom went to college in Lucerne and I visited there when I was about 6 but unfortunately don't remember much.

    My second thought? CONGRATULATIONS!!! My husband is terrible about surprises so I knew exactly when my proposal was going to happen. That's so wonderful that your proposal was a complete surprise!!

  4. Great proposal story! :) Also, the views from your mom's condo are amazing! You are definitely lucky to always have a place to stay there. :)

  5. Ahh! Congrats! That's incredible news - and OMG! What a perfect setting and story for an engagement! It's absolutely stunning!

  6. Congratulations! I guess you can cross your proposal goal off your list now.

  7. I knew you had gotten engaged but the story is so sweet! And he's quite a hunk ;) Congrats!!

  8. What a great story! I'm so happy for you, Megan - and congrats to you both!

  9. Congrats! How awesome that you have pictures of that moment!

  10. That's such a great proposal story! And wow, Switzerland is beautiful!! Congrats. :)

  11. Beautiful photos! And congratulations on your engagement!!! What a wonderful proposal, and it's so cool that your family was able to catch it and take photos! Congrats!!!

  12. I was totally reading the entire post and had some comments to make about the vineyard stuff and all the pretty pictures, but then I forgot all those things during the proposal story! Haha very sweet, and I love your mom's creepy picture taking! Congrats!!


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