Saturday, February 27, 2010

So back to these incentives...

Last night, despite the best efforts of the Y bus to keep us apart, a group of friends got together from different parts of France and Switzerland to endulge in a little raclette goodness, good wine, and lots of "I laughed so hard my face hurts...again" moments. From microwave plasma science experiments with currants and chocolate, to schemes of the future Team USA at the International Cat Show, a really great time was had by all. Thanks to K and D for putting together such a beautiful spread of everything delicious under the sun (and raclette grill), as well as for the delicious desserts and espressos. I will be dreaming of that apricot dessert for some time. And as if I wasn't in love with Thoiry enough from our day trips, nighttime offers a whole new realm of "it's sooooo prettttyyyy" over the huge sky, vast amount of visible stars, and views of Geneva. I. Need. To. Live. There. Now.

Today we spent the better half of the day at the Ferney Saturday Market, and it was a gorrrrgeous day (despite a little of this partly sunny biznass) with a ton of people and a ton of vendors. I feel like we are getting really good at developing an attack strategy over pain au chocolat and cafe prior to delving into the market because otherwise it's easy to get pulled in a hundred different directions. More on that to follow. As for now it's time ot enjoy a little espresso, raspberries, grapes and chocolate with my hubby.

Bon weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tall fountains, angry swans, creepy mannequins OH MY!

Two days ago I went into Geneva, Switzerland with a friend for a good couple hours of exploring the city. I know we only just scartched the surface of what Geneva has to offer, but I'd say we got a pretty full day in. It rained most of the day that we were there, but it was actually quite comfortable (none of this angry-sideways-cursing-at-you-as-it-comes-down Philly rain I'm used to). We started out the day meeting at CERN and then hopped on the bus and then the tram for what turned out to be about a 20-30 minute ride on public into Switzerland.

[Love birds.]

We first took a walk along Lake Geneva and took pictures in front of the fountain -it's actually the tallest fountain in the world. The clouds began to roll in as we walked towards the main part of the city towards Old Town, but we first stopped off to see some swans and ducks...even the seagulls are prettier in Europe!

This swan bit a duck, (or maybe it was a geese) on the tush - I never knew swans were so mean!

From the lake we saw a big purple globe thingy-ma-bobber which we thought was supposed to be a Darwin exhibit, but it turned out to be a slightly creepy exhibit about the human genome. Then it was on to Old Town Geneva...

There were lots of neat little shops to explore but most were closed for lunch. (Lunch here is 12-2...pretty sweet, eh?)

We came across St. Peter's Cathedral and ventured inside - I forgot that I had never actually been inside a cathedral and wasn't prepared for how huge it was! The stonework, woodwork and stained glass were beautiful. I can only imagine how cold and scary it must have been inside in the 1500's though...After the cathedral we spent some more time checking out Old Town and the surrounding areas of Geneva, and stumbled upon a really cool gallery. I learned the hard way that rain boots are not made for 5+ hours of walking hilly cobblestone streets, and we eventually called it a day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Well hello Jayson, please introduce us to your new friend...

Pic via Todd Zolecki

I'm, I'm just speechless. It's beautiful. I just can't stop starrrring at it. It is none other then the wonder, the evolution, the testament of my dear adopted-but-he-doesn't-quite-know-it-brother, Jayson Werth's beard. Ya know, I've been looking for a good picture to really address the fact that Pitchers and Catchers have reported down in Clearwater, but THIS my dear reader friends gives me my reason to put on a Phillies cap everyday (as if I needed anymore reasons). I wonder if they will give the beard it's own number, or if it will become #28A. The philosophy of Jay Wert's facial conundrum could flow down many avenues, however, I think the most prominent and irrefutable is that it is common knowledge amongst those in civilized society that men are most prepared to handle any scenario, such as bears, when bearded in such a manner. Nothing says, "Jeter I am gonna eat your babies for breakfast covered in Cholula" quite like a beard like this. Or "I'm ready to hit a line drive to yo' face Chan Ho Park" (who just signed with those bastard Yankees) like this mug shot. And what I am most excited OF ALL for is the faceoff (ha) between Jay Wert's beard and Myers Chin-beard when they take on the Astros for a facial hair throwdown. Ahhh I can smell the dollar dogs right around the corner...


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday in Thoiry...

After a lovely day in Ferney and Gex the day before, Dan and I decided to head into Thoiry to shop the Sunday market and meet up with some friends. This market was busier than the previous week's, maybe due to the nicer weather or because of the ski holiday. My favorite vendor was the wicker basket maker who had adorable little picnic baskets (I resisted the urge...this week). We then had a nice lunch at our friends place and took a walk up into Haute Thoiry (essentially higher up the mountain but walkable - depending on how you feel about 45 degree inclines...uphill...) where there were just surreal views of the Swiss Alps, Mont Blanc, and another mountain whose name I can't remember...Cevessy? (Something like that.) I'm excited for the warmer weather and to start hiking...or to at least start attempting to hike in the Jura. It'll take some time to adjust to the hills and altitude as I definitely talked myself out of breathe multiple times while walking up to Haute Thoiry, but I imagine I'll get used to it!

Tomorra is gonna be a big day as I'm going into Geneva for the first time which will mean first bus ride in Europe, first tram ride, first time using Swiss Francs (as compared to the euros used in France), first time in Switzerland aside from the time spent at the airport last week...and this time I won't forget my passport!

French word of the day: Marché

[French Bruno.]

Marché (with an accent on the "e" because otherwise it commands someone to walk), is french for market. There are tons and tons of markets throughout the country as the French take their food and quality of food very seriously (essentially it's the national pastime). These pictures are from this week's edition of the Ferney-Voltaire Saturday market. My favorite is the picture of the St. Bernard who I was just waiting for to just engulf an entire wheel of brie and no one even see it - I mean, if a Jaffe Bruno can take down 3 McDonald's double cheeseburgers and the newspaper they sit on in one silent gulp, I have no doubt in my mind that a French St. Bernard couldn't do the same with a wheel of brie. This week was much busier at the market than last week as the weather was nicer and some of the country is on holiday - yes, France takes a lot of holidays and I believe this one is the national ski holiday (1 week), however in order to keep the ski resorts in the Alps from getting too overcrowded they schedule the holidays for children in varying weeks. I think the French have a good thing goin' for them right there. Seriously why haven't we thought of this? This week could be Pitchers and Catchers Holiday Week in Philly where Philadelphians migrate down to Clearwater to watch Spring Training. Boom. You're welcome.

Friday, February 19, 2010

British word of the day: Gherkin

British word of the day courtesy of Jimmy Degs: Gherkin. I would like to credit myself for the inspiration of my fine olive and gherkin tray this evening. Now time to eat your brain in a game of "Last Night on Earth." Thanks buddy! More french words to follow tomorra!

Pic via here.

Have a sunny weekend!

[View from our kitchen window.]

[View of the Jura Mountains from our living room balcony.]

[Swiss Alps.]

Good morning! It is a rainy, grey, damp morning here in Ferney, so I thought I'd share some pictures from the beautiful, sunny, warm day we had here yesterday. I wore a light jacket and scarf and was more than comfortable trapsing around the streets, garden roads and alleys of this pretty little town that we will call home for the next 3 months. I wish I could have bottled up the sights and smells from yesterday, because it was just so wonderful and peaceful. Today the mountains have completely gone back into hiding like stealth ninjas who will remain invisible until they are ready to strike again, but it's not like I'm going anywhere anytime soon, so I've got time to kill...your move Jura!
BT-dubbs: Can anyone remember the last time they saw a bunch of kiddos playing a game of tag? Because I honestly cannot. The kids in our building were outside playing tag, riding bikes, making up games, playing soccer and jumping in puddles (cliche but adorable) for hours yesterday. I haven't seen one kiddo with a cell phone/gaming system/high-tech ipod/electronic toy since we've gotten here, and it's been so refreshing. Viva la imagination! Made me smile. :)