Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Week 4 (September 19 to 25)

All the pictures should now be up. I don't know what was happening before.

This week wasn't that exciting -- everybody was away so we spent most of our time watching Scrubs (we have seasons 2, 3, and 4!!) and reading. We received a lot of mail this week (I didn't know anybody knew we were here!). All from the different Swiss offices wanting money for health insurance, fire insurance, just because they want money, and so on. So many forms and so much stuff to take care of. We got our living permits which you need to get almost anything (phone, tv, etc). I guess its like getting the equivalent of an SSN back home. Aaaanyway....

Friday night we went to Jan's wedding reception in the cutest little spot in Switzerland. I had no idea the cutest spot was so close to Lausanne. It was in Grandvaux in an old winery overlooking the lake and a vineyard. We don't have pictures though.

Then on Saturday we went to Zermatt to do a little hiking. We were supposed to go from Lausanne to Visp and then Visp to Zermatt but we weren't paying attention so we ended up taking the train past Visp to the end of the line. Just as we were musing about how nice it was that we were the only ones in the train car, some maintenance guy came on board and was like "Um... this is Brig..." and we told him "oh, its fine, we're going to Zermatt." Idiots that we are, we had to change trains and had like 5 minutes to make it. We would have just stayed there and wondered when we were going to get to Zermatt if he hadn't said anything. Here's the map of the area: you can see how we screwed up:

Anyway, we caught the train which was a cutesy wootsy Disney-style train (red on the outside). Here are some pictures from the ride:

Once there we took a "metro" to the middle of one of the mountains and hiked from there. Here's a picture of the "metro stop"

The hike was really pretty. We had a clear view of the Matterhorn and the day was beautiful. Perfect hiking weather. Here's Dave looking for the Matterhorn (shh! its behind him!):

And the Matterhorn from the far side of a little lake.

And I'm a birdie:

And Dave's a goon:

A nice view on our way back:

Then on Sunday we took it easy (we jogged and went for a couple of walks -- hah, easy). On our walk we stumbled into a community garden (you can rent plots for the summer or something). Here are a few snaps:

What are these giant gourds?? They are not less than four FEET long. They're mutants.

And we ate some raspberries...shhh.

And the scarecrow giving us a wave:

Monday, September 26, 2005

Week 3 (September 11 - 17)

We have discovered some wildlife along our metro stop -- foxes! Yep, they live behind some trees where nobody ever goes. We've only seen them once but they seem like a friendly enough couple.

Tuesday we got together with Imad and his friend Dani to watch Seinfeld: I'm telling you for the last time. It was really funny and we stuffed our faces with popcorn (home made!) and lebanese nuts (no, not imad). Wednesday we went to Markus's house again but still no pictures. It was really nice: just the two of us, Markus, and ... and... somebody else. We had really good peanut butter and jelly toasted sandwiches.

Thursday, September 15 was our 3 year anniversary. While I went out jogging, Dave snuck out to the Coop and got a yummy breakfast and flowers. Which he kept hidden away and I wasn't able to find them despite my hunting efforts (I knew he was up to no good!). If you look closely you can see my pain au chocolat.

Then, that evening we went to a local German pub with Fabien, Yannick, and Steve (Steve is leaving for a 3 month holiday to Asia). The beverage of choice was the Berlinoise: a sweet syrupy beer in a goblet into which you pour hefeweizen beer.

We were in Paris over the weekend since it was our anniversary and because it happened to be a long weekend (Monday was "un jour ferie"). We took the TGV from Lausanne directly to Gare de Lyon in Paris -- the trip took only 4 hours and was quite pleasant. Paris itself was freezing but we didn't let it get in our way. We did all the standard touristy stuff (the Louvre, a cruise on the Seine, Notre Dame etc.). On Sunday we went to Versailles and met Emilie for dinner which was very nice. Here are some pics:

Notre Dame:

Seine at Sunset

Infront of Paris's Phallus

And at night

Walking down the Seine

At Versailles:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Week 2 (September 4 to 10)

This week we got to see a soap box derby - just one block away - sponsored by Red Bull. They had a bunch of wacky vehicles and passengers whipping down the road that were judged for wackiness and speed. They took all day about it though. There were maybe 20 soap box entrants and by the time they got to the last few, hardly anybody cared. The guy on the loud speaker was screaming his head off for no reason, too, and we couldn't think straight in our apartment.

Here's a candidate; you be the judge.

Then Wednesday night we watched "What's up doc" at Chris's house and had some nice lasagna. Thursday night is non-movie night at Markus's house, but this time we actually watched a movie ("Crash"). It was so good we stayed past the last metro, which was not so good. Its over an *hour* walk home from Markus's place by EPFL and we didn't get home til 2am. Markus and Chris took some pictures; hopefully we'll get our hands on those soon.

Also, Thursday Dave got his butt whupped running with some regulars. They did the "Trois Collines" (three hills) run around EPFL and I guess its pretty tough time. Especially when they go, at 11:30. Freaks! Its soooo hot at that hour.

We spent Friday night in the worst way: at McDonalds trying to download the season premiere of the OC (the McD's has IPASS wireless). And we got 97.4% of the way through and then it died. It sucked horribly. So we wen't back the next day to try again and..bum ba bum! Same thing! Oh yeah, Saturday was a bad day at Ch. du Funiculaire 4 (2eme etage).

Saturday morning was nice though; we walked around the Centre Ville with its cutesy farmer's market (meanwhile, we were desperately looking for the big Migros, which we passed three times before we saw it). Here's some snaps from the morning. Nice picture of the cathedral. And the giant tower.

Then Sunday we did our almost daily walk around Ouchy. It was a really nice clear day and we could see pretty far. We jog along the waterfront in the mornings.

And here's France (Evian, to be precise. Like the bottled water. The very same.)

And Sunday night we had the guys around for some good old fashioned Poker and Beer and Pizza. We made fries and pizza which turned out quite well on giant Italian loaves. Fabien kicked our butts hanging on to the lucky fours.

Lastly, we booked tickets to go to Paris this weekend! We're going to see Emilie for dinner on Sunday.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Week 1 (August 28 to September 3)

We're here! Its been one week and we have a cutesy apartment in Ouchy (down by the lake) with a tiny refrigerator and everything. Here's the view from our pad:

And Nidhi cooking and Dave eating. Typical.

This week we got settled in and sorted out. We faced some major sticker shock (the cheapest shower curtain we could find was 20 Francs! ~$17) and have started to come to grips with just how wealthy this country is - the minimum wage is 15 Francs! We're the poorest people in town :). Everything is beautiful and everyone is nice. C'est tres jolie!

We've also been to a couple of really nice dinners with friends. Saturday we had crepes with Anh-Thi and Klaus (Fabien's housemates), Sunday we had fondue with Fabien, Yannick, and Steve (we are going to be huge when we get back). Today (Saturday #2), Steve, Yannick, and Fabien took us for a hike near Steve's chalet in the mountains (called Bellevue). It was quite the hike for peenie me. Here's some photos and here's really nice video of the mountains from the top: [link]

Nice, huh? Then for lunch we went for some typical swiss food in the middle of nowhere. (We had to hike to get there!) Here's the lunch and the bull we had to fight to get to lunch. Nidhi was scared but Fabien showed it who was boss.