Lausanne: SO MANY HILLZ – Switzerland, Day 3

Good morning! Right now I’m in my hotel in Lausanne, waiting for the chocolate stores I want to go to to open…thought I’d write about yesterday in the meantime.

I really can’t describe to you the number of hills that there are here. I kept trying to take pictures to document how ridiculous it is. The other time I felt like this (but not to this extent) as in the coastal town on Helensburgh, Scotland, where coming up from the coast up into the city was one big uphill. That is how it is here, but there are lots of streets that overlap and wrap between each other. So…Just hills. Everywhere. After these past three days (and since I haven’t been to the gym in like a month) my calves and feet could use a serious massage.

I got more of a leisurely start yesterday – ate breakfast at 7, and headed to Lausanne at 10. The hotel is only supposed to be a three minute walk from the train station…they don’t mention its up three steep flights of stairs and a hill, after that!! My room wasn’t ready here, so I just headed back out. The SUN was out, and it was a beautiful day. Probably about 80 degrees. This town feels a little more “normal” than Geneva and Lucerne. Geneva was very overly wealthy, and Lucerne was more of a tourist town. This place has tons of graffiti, and I actually saw a homeless person yesterday. Feels more like any other metro city you might visit.

I started out by walking down to the Olympic museum. I first walked into the building at the top, where the restaurant is. Many people were there for lunch. There was a place labeled. “La Galerie” there also, so I thought that was the museum. It was a bunch of blown up photos from photographers at Rio. It was cool, but I was a little disappointed because I thought that was all there was.

I walked down to the park part, where there are lots of bronze sculptures of different athletes and an Olympic fire. There, I found doors to the actual museum part! The museum is AMAZING. It was recently renovated (2012), so everything looks new and pristine. It’s well taken-care of. There are three levels, and they have all of the torches and medals from every Olympics, as well as memorabilia and displays of things like how all the paper stuff (ID cards, forms, etc. for the athletes) had a color scheme and a “look” for the Munich games. Equipment and uniforms, many of them autographed, and finally, a section of interactive stuff, like a biathlon, balance, and coordination exercises, as well as info about the villages and what the athletes eat during training. The outside was awesome as well. I walked along the lake and peered into the mountains in Italy. I ate ice cream for lunch and then made my way back to the hotel. I cooled off, and took a short power nap before dinner.

Dinner: A wood fired pizza with a thin cracker-like crust. It was very good. 10/10 would eat again, but I’d bring some flake salt for the top. I explored the north of my hotel after dinner. It’s the bustling area of restaurants and shops. There is also a beautiful cathedral at the top of the hill (I feel like it’s not really the top), but they are setting up for a city festival that starts today! I’ve gotta wander back up that way this morning to go to the chocolate places, so I’ll probably try and check it out today.

That’s pretty much it! Pretty low key, I have been tired! So I went to bed about 9:30. First day of the conference starts tomorrow, but I’ll be headed up there this afternoon! until then…I’m going to take another nap for like 20 minutes. 🙂

-h

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Lucerne – Switzerland, Day 2

Welp, I thought I’d go ahead and write about today on here since I didn’t want my carrying around this laptop to be for nothing (besides posting for the blog later this week!). I’ll write about yesterday later… This may be TMI for people, but I’m not going to write in a journal or anything, so this is more for me than it is for you. HA. Enjoy.

This morning, I woke up at 6 am and headed out to Lucerne. It’s about three hours by train from Geneva. I tried to read (brought The Alchemist to reread), but was mostly really tired, so I slept for the middle part. I arrived in Lucerne at 10, and luckily, my room at my hotel was already ready! So I threw my stuff in, emptied out the backpack, and headed to explore. Weather: overcast and lightly misty all day long.

Lucerne is broken up by a river down the middle. The north side is called “old Lucerne” and looks straight up like the pictures of  Bavaria and Oktoberfest wrapped up in a town. Lots of gorgeous Alp-style buildings, with huge murals on entire buildings, fountains, and tiny, winding cobble streets.

The south side is more modern, and looks like any normal European metropolis looks. ALSO EVERYTHING IS CLOSED BECAUSE SUNDAY. I walked around both before meeting at a Starbz four a mountain tour. I met a guy waiting for the tour too, and our conversation went like this:

Me: I’m just going to wait out here in the hall until our leader shows up, it’s too hot inside that room!
Him: I agree!
Me: Where are y’all from?
Him: New Jersey, you?
Me: Oklahoma (not obvious by the “y’all?”).
Him: Oklahoma? Wow, I was uh…expecting you to say something like..China. Or Japan.”

Overall, a really unnecessary addition to the convo. Obvi we are all on an English-speaking tour, so we are clearly all tourists, so it’s not weird to ask people where they are from in that situation. (And I asked first)! But…”I was expecting China or Japan?” Are ya kiddin’ me??! Then his wife also was surprised that I was married and told me I looked like a teenager. Thanks kbyeee.

Anyway, the tour was of Mt. Pilatus, home of the steepest cog railway system. 48% grade at its steepest. The cars are literally built diagonally so that you aren’t laying down on the way down. Insane. But before that part...Let me tell you. Mt. Pilatus is named after PONTIUS PILATE. Because people used to think his remains were there? and that he HAUNTED THE MOUNTAIN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Dying. 

Took a small gondola up most of the way, and rode with a sweet older couple from Texas that were on the way home from a mission trip in Kenya. Then we took the entire tour group (like 60?) up in a huge-r gondola the rest of the way up, but you could not even see a THING. Clouds. 😦 We had a few hours at the top, so I went on the hiking trail up to the summit. It was not for the faint of heart. There were lots of steep stairs, but also a lot of tunnels that they made into the mountain, it was a cool experience. Then we took the cog railway down.

Once we reached the bottom of the railway, we got on a ferry that took us across the lake back to Lucerne. I hung out with a bunch of high schoolers on an EF tour of England, France and Italy (they just stopped here for the day). It was hilarious because I just remember what it was like to be on an EF tour, both with people you know and the other school from another area. The social dynamics, man…funny to watch. I met a lot of nice people on this trip; families from New York, Chicago, Alberta, Phoenix.

Once back to Lucerne, I had to make a quick turnaround for my dinner reservation. I was able to change clothes to look a little more presentable and made it right on time. When I got there, there was a table set for me with a little chalkboard that had my name on it and a cute little quote. It was a fixed menu restaurant, and it was good!

Drink: Prosecco Cocktail – Rhubarb, lemon, thyme, rosemary

Water: (WHICH THEY CHARGED 4 CHF for): lemon, lime and orange peel and mint

Soup & Salad Course: parsley pesto vegetable soup (tasted a lot like broccoli cheese soup) and a salad with fresh veg. Contained: quinoa, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, corn, some kind of seed (black), sunflower seeds, carrots, watercress, green onions, radishes. Sweet viniagrette.

Pasta Course: Penne bolognese. I’m not a super bolognese fan, but it was good. Topped with cold tomatoes and watercress.

Meat Course: Veal shoulder with red wine gravy, carrots leeks and turnips, and potato wedges. The potatoes were wonderful. Everything else was just okay.

Cheese Course: 5 Jumi (company) cheeses.  AMAZING. A soft spreadable garlic cheese with pepper on the outside, a soft blue cheese (my fave), hard goat cheese, semi-hard (aged cheddar-like) cheese (my second choice), and a weird chili one. The last cheese was kind of fruity, like, when something has gone bad in your fridge and you have to figure out where it’s coming from.

Dessert: Dense brownie square with raspberries inside (she said strawberries, but definitely were not), served with macerated strawberries and vanilla whipped cream. I did eat all of this.

Overall evaluation of dinner: it was good! But it didn’t change my life or anything. I’ve set the bar very high with creative farm-to-table fixed menus…top place: Aizle, in Edinburgh. This one wasn’t innovative, and I didn’t feel like all the elements in the course complemented each other in the way that Aizle’s did.

On the walk home, I called Justin to talk to me. Now I’m home, showered, and ready for another day tomorrow! Headed to Lausanne as my last stop before the conference!

TIDBITS I DON’T WANT TO FORGET:

I was very very apprehensive about traveling to the German side of Switzerland. Because…I speak no German. I literally ONLY know “Danke.” But this is such a tourist town, that everyone I’ve needed to talk to has been English-speaking also. Going on an English tour today helped too. I liked having the opportunity to talk to people. I don’t think I really spoke to anyone besides shop keepers yesterday.

I had to buy shampoo today. Because I got to this hotel and it’s a community shower and toilet situation and there wasn’t any. Luckily most things here are labeled in both German and French, and shampoo in French is “shampoo.” Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of the words to describe the hair types. I got one that said: “egg and oil.” Thank God, it just turned out to be a moisturizing shampoo (cheveux secs means dry hair). I thought maybe it would smell like eggs, but I actually smell like custard…

When I went to bed last night, I was awoken by a sound. I looked at my fitbit and it said 10:55. I suddenly panicked, thinking I overslept and it was 10:55am. Nope, I had only been asleep about an hour.

Their keys are cool here. They’re rectangular and have lots of dents and lines. Probably not easy to duplicate.

There. Typing that out makes me feel not-so-bad for bringing my stupid heavy computer.

xoxo

-h

 

hellurrr!

Holy moly, I haven’t been here in a long time.

I’m not sure if I’m going to use this space quite yet, but this weekend I am departing on a trip to Switzerland, and thought I may want to post some thoughts here!

I am attending the Just Governance for Human Security conference in Caux, Switzerland.

To learn more about it, visit http://www.justgovernance.net/

I can’t wait to share the things that God places on my heart to ponder regarding how to be a better member of society and advocate for human security in my community.

living vicariously

Right now, I’m procrastinating reading about Venezuela’s national oil company by keeping up with everyone who is using a blog to talk about their study abroad experiences. I don’t think anyone from TU is blogging about Aberdeen, but the girl from Tennessee is. Her pictures on Facebook and her blog are making me crazy…t’s weird to think I started school there 365 days ago.

My dot just arrived in Siena, Italy.

Another girl in EM is in Singapore.

A couple sisters are also in Ireland.

Pictures just make me excited to explore more of the world. I can’t wait to see these places for myself. As for the places I’ve been, it’s hard to not feel like that “place” is yours and nobody else’s. For example, I had a facebook friend that took a vacation to Korea. Why would he go to Korea? That’s MY place. You know?

I was not an annoying facebook overposter (I hope) when I was gone, but now I have to be careful of being the annoying home from abroad poster. (You HAVE to go here, and MUST do this!, When I was here, THIS happened!) It’s hard but honestly, they probably don’t care. This is their experience now, and you just gotta let them live their life…Good luck, little ones. 🙂

 

 

7QT16: Ketchup

This is the first time I’ve had QT out on a Friday in AWHILE, y’all. Here’s Jen’s. Enjoy some stories from the past two weeks:

1. My little family came for Homecoming last weekend! My mom and Mimi came and brought the little boys, who are not so little anymore…Look at how big NT is…!IMG_1086 IMG_1094We lost our game pretty badly…But this was a pretty happy part of the game:
IMG_1087I love that Kettle corn business.

HOUSTON
2. I went to Houston with Ed for HAPL’s Executive Night last Thursday. The keynote speaker was none other than Mr. Ted Cruz. His opening line was: “I’ve been in Washington DC all week. It sure feels good to be back in America.” Oh, Texans.

3. I ended up sitting next to Brent Smolik, the CEO of EP Energy. I immediately regretted my glitter nail polish choice, but tried to own it.
IMG_1045

4. We got to see some friends, and also got to skip class on Friday. Sometimes it sucks to be away from home, but I really couldn’t complain about some me time/sleep time. I had a big bed and cozy room to myself, and casually watched Cupcake Wars to wake up/until checkout. It was a wonderful morning. Our stay in Houston ended with a delicious lunch at a restaurant with no menus…
IMG_1080This baby was $32. Whoops.

SCHOOL
5. I withdrew from Chemistry instead of taking my second exam on Monday. I feel pretty good about it, after having a bit of a cryfest in the library with J. I went through a “I feel like a failure and shouldn’t ever try to follow my dreams again” moment, but I think I’m doing okay. Mostly I’m okay because I don’t have any 9am class MWF anymore.

6. I stayed up until the end of time on Monday and Tuesday (as you saw from my procrastination blogging. Since Wednesday, it’s been all downhill. Relaxing.

WEDDING
7. Cat freaked me out about all the things I need to work on. BM stuff will go out this weekend, and I just pulled out the timeline checklist again. AHHHH. Also. I mixed up our caterer and met this guy at the bridal fair a few weeks ago that acted like he knew me and our emails. He apparently didn’t, as he operates out of a different city. Awwwkward.