Monday, June 25, 2012

June 19 - 20 Cailler Chocolate Branche Design Project

So I have been put on a design team to come up with a proposal for the Cailler company , a division of Nestle.  They have a chocolate bar called Branche that is an old tradition in Switzerland.  It has been around for a long time and the  store brands are encroaching on their market with generic branches.  It is a branch shaped hazelnut chocolate bar that traditionally has been eaten at snack times stuffed in a roll.  We have been doing tons of research since we got the assignment.  Frankly, I got really tired of talking about it.  I would be terrible on a team for a company.  I just wanted it to be done.  We had two graphic designers, 2 MBA students, and me.  We had some really good ideas, but we had so many restrictions from the company it was very difficult.  I did some chalk drawings for the presentations and came up with some story lines for the marketing campaign.  All in all, I thought our team presented well.  The executives from Cailler came to the hotel on the 20th and were very receptive to our team.If you want to see our proposal email me and I will send you a copy!! haha.

June 18 30th Anniversary and St. James Pilgrimage

Ugh.  Had to get up at 5:00, breakfast at 5:30. bus at 6:00.  We got to Swartzenberg, got some lunch supplies and started our journey.  The weather was perfect, not too hot and not raining.  The way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years.  It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times.  Legend holds that St. James' remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.  Several legs of this journey pass through Switzerland.  We all carried scallop shells as the pilgrims did in ancient times.  There are small signs (with the shell)  and little chapels along the way.  We went for about 45 minutes and took a detour to visit the Grasburg Castle Ruins which are through a forest and up a steep hill.  Think holding onto branches and swinging over streams at a 45 degree angle.  I tried really hard not to embarrass myself.  My Keens came through even though I stepped in the stream.  I knew this day would be hard for me, as anyone that knows me I have suffered so much foot pain I didn't know if I could do this.  We had 21 km (or 13 miles) to cover.  NOT including the the castle ruins, that was about 1 hour off the path.  So after a while we really hadn't gone that far!!  Of course we got a little separated by different speeds.  The funny thing though is when people wait for you they wait until you catch up to them and then they start going not remembering that you didn't get a break!  We were right at the back of the group.  As we looked ahead we saw four or five people going so as we walked we talked and followed them.  BAD!  We made a wrong turn.  We figured it out after 25 minutes SO we had to backtrack another 25 minutes!!!  By this time we had been going for 7 hours.  They were super surprised that we caught up to them.  Yes, you guessed it, when we got to them, they stood up and started walking again (remember they have been resting for 1 hour we didn't even sit down)  Are you kidding?  We finally got to the city of Friberg and then the leader says this is where we take our shoes and socks off to walk through the old city on the cobblestones to the cathedral as penance.  HAHAHA.  I didnt take my shoes off mostly because I knew my feet would grow too big and I wouldn't get them back on, but the second reason was mostly due to broken glass and urine in the streets.  The cobblestone path was long and the last bit was straight up hill VERY STEEP for about 5 blocks.  I was sure my feet were bleeding but I wasn't going to check.  Konrad was looking faint.  We made it to the cathedral and we sat down.  The worst part was to come.   Get up and  walk uphill for 15 minutes to the train station.  I tried to hide on the train with Konrad but my team that I was team leader for a design project came and found me.  Rats.  So I had a meeting on the train home.  I had been sweating for 9 hours by this time.  Crazy, but very proud of myself and Konrad for finishing and EVEN doing MORE then most of the students.  Happy Anniversary.  I'm thinking something different next year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 17 Geneva with Lucas

Today Konrad had to get to some work that was piled up.  Kate Peterson, a student on the trip, asked me if I wanted to come with her to have a good friend of her older brother, take us around and show us the sites.  His name is Lucas and he was born in Austria, raised in South Africa and Sri Lanka. He picked us up at the Aigle station and we got in his awesome Audi and headed toward Geneva.  So fun!  I loved driving through the vineyards and above the lake.  So incredible.  As we went we learned so much about Switzerland and the Swiss people.  Lucas is a trained hotel manager who has worked in Bhutan, Turkey and Bali.  He is starting a job in Gstaad soon so had some time to entertain us.  We parked underground in Geneva and he showed us the hotels and waterfront.  There were lots of people out enjoying the lake and the nice weather.  We went for lunch at a restaurant that only serves one thing, steak, salad, fries and bread.  They cook the steak to your liking and bring you half of it, then when you are done they bring more fries and the second half.  It is swimming in a good sauce.  Guess how much  - $45 each.  Geneva prices.  Crazy.  It was really good though.  Too bad you had to work Konrad.  I loved it.  We walked around quite a bit and then stopped and had some swiss ice cream.  It was a pretty fun day.  I felt like the weird grandma in the back seat.  Lucas is pretty good looking so Kate and I kept looking for picture opportunities.  At the end of the day Lucas said goodbye and said "let me say it the swiss say" so I went in for the 3 kisses on the cheeks.  Kate was happy to get three kisses too.  We got back to the hotel and were met with an outdoor bar b que.  Konrad and I always come right when dinner starts so there is rarely a seat together.  I sat with 3 boys who I knew would eat my sausages that I am sure were made of horsemeat.  Sick.  I was pretty full from the day so when we had waffles and cream for dessert I got it and gave it to the piggie boys at my table.

June 16 - Vitrahaus - Well-am-Rhine GERMANY

Most of the students felt this was a wasted day, but I secretly loved it.  Yes,  we were on the trains and buses for almost 7 hours for only about 2 hours of visiting, but I thought it was worth it.  This past year I have taken a course on History of Architecture and Furniture.  We went to Vitrahaus.  Vitra is a furniture company and Vitrahaus is the home of the collection built by Herzog and de Meuron, architects.  I LOVED seeing so many of the chairs and furniture I have studied.  Can you see some of the chairs I sketched?  Check out the website .  I am sure you will recognize so many iconic designs.  We had to take so many crazy buses to get to Basel and the train station.  Everyone else ran off to explore Basel, but  Konrad and I just sat at a street side cafe and ordered a giant strawberry sundae and watched people.  Super fun day.  Long train rides.

June 15 - Frutigen and Spiez

Konrad worked today so I went with the students to a place called Frutigen.  We stopped in the town of      to buy lunch and enjoy the medieval castle and grounds.  We then got on another train and went over to Frutigen.  This was where we visited Tropenhaus.   Kind of hard to explain but a sturgeon caviar farm with a tropical greenhouse producing bananas and exotic fruits.  It is supposedly a model of sustainability but frankly I felt more like we were entering the Island of Dr. Moreau.  Very very crazy concept by someone that has lot of money, (or owes a lot of money)  We took the tour and saw the sturgeons.  Did you know the Beluga Sturgeon takes 13 years to grow to produce cavior?  The cavior costs about $1,275 for 250grams.  Check out the Oona website  .
We then had time to visit the town of Spiez.  So far this was my favorite and I hope to take Konrad back here next week.  It is on lake Thun and there is a castle with huge manicured grounds swarming with flowers and beautiful stone walls.  Benches everywhere to sit and medieval stone pathways.  Absolutely charming.  The lake is surrounded by mountains and there are sailboats dotting the lake.  I have never seen anything so picturesque.  Our swiss pass covers all trains and buses and ALSO boats.  We have gone on one boat on Lake Geneva but I would like to go on Lake Thun.  Wish us good weather.

June 14 - Zermatt - Matterhorn

This was an amazing day.  We left pretty early on the train to get to the town of Zermatt.  The last train up the hill was absolutely amazing.  For over an hour we climbed up the alps through tunnels and through valleys.  Tons of waterfalls and rivers.  I think some of the students have never seen mountains.  It is so much like Banff, except there are green pastures and little villages and cookie cutter houses on every hill.  When we got to Zermatt it was perfectly clear and the Matterhorn just showed itself completely without clouds for about 5 minutes.  It almost always has a small veil of clouds that kept circling around the summit.  Apparently it is VERY unusual to even see the summit!  Lucky!  We toured the church and were given the assignment of interpreting the story of the fresco on the ceiling.  Awkward painting of Noah in his ark with skiers and crazy unhappy people falling off the boat.  We then had to study the cemetery of the lost climbers.  It was pretty interesting.  Most people that died were young and trying to climb the face.
We then had time to get lunch.  Konrad and I saw the locals going into a little shop.   You could get a half a grilled chicken a hunk of bread and fries.  Why start eating vegetables now?  We don't get them at the hotel.  We sat down within view of the Matterhorn and ate our lunch.  We had the option of 2 hikes, one more water and bridges, one to a better view  of the Matterhorn, or pay $40 to go up a cable car.  Konrad opted for the cable car, I opted for the hike and view.  Are you surprised?
I should have realized as we began our hike that I was in for some intense steepness.  There were some ropes to hold on to.  The fact that only 6 people went on the hike should have tipped me off.  So 10 lbs of sweat later we reached a small village way up the alps.  Our leader turned his iPod speakers on and played sound of music.  At least that gave me a beat to walk to.  The view was out of this world and i was happy I went up.  Think Waterton Bear's hump on steroids.  For me the coming down is more difficult.
When we came down and I willed my leg to stop shaking we toured the museum, then took the train and got back to Leysin late. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 13 Bern

We went to Bern and I just loved it.  It was kind of sprinkling on and off all day.  Bern is the capital Switzerland.  We arrived in the huge train station that is literally a giant mall.  Our leader gave us one hour to eat lunch, then meet back to visit our sites.  Konrad and I walked around and he saw a McDonalds.  Just when we were going to give in a buy a sandwich we noticed that they started at $12 each.  Not worth it.  So we walked a bit and found an Italian take away that actually had a place to sit.  We shared a pasta bolognese salad and drink for $12.50.  Way better.  It was pretty good.  We met the group and then went off walking through the old town.  Bern is really amazing with lots of beautiful architecture.  We stopped at the clock tower that apparently prompted Albert Einstein  to come up with the theory of relativity.  We jumped on a bus to go to the Paul Klee museum.  I had interest in this mostly because of the architect that designed the museum, Renzo Piano.  It was amazing, but the weather was terrible - think sideways, wreck your umbrella wind and rain.  The art of Paul Klee, the Swiss' favorite artist is fairly marginal to me.  I was quietly looking at it trying not to exclaim that I did virtually all of his drawings when I was in kindergarten.  Apparently everyone of his drawings and paintings can call over $1 million.  Now that is crazy.  We had time after that to explore the city.  We saw the bears by the river - Bern is for "bear"..
Konrad and I walked around downtown and then went to the fine arts museum.  Now that is art, Manet, Cezanne, Guagin, Momet, Picasso, Chagill and all the other artists I remember from playing masterpiece.  HAHA.   Then we went over to the shopping area, which is long boulevards with covered loggias.  Really nice for rain.  We went in a shoe store and a really cool book and paper store.  I bought some black paper for my sketching assignment.  Getting nervous about that.  We got on the train at 5:00 and were home for dinner at 7:30.  The train rides are long but I don't mind them because I get my homework done and have time to discuss the day with Konrad.  A good day.

June 12 Dornach

Super rainy day and we rode the train (with connections) all the way to Dornach, which is just south of Basel (near Germany)  We went to visit Rudolf Steiner's center for the anthroposophical movement.  He was a philosopher, social thinker, architect and esotericist.  Can you say WIERD?  He built a building called the Goetheanum for learning and performing arts.  We had a tour and we got to sit in on a eurythmy dance.  Eurythmy dance involves people dressed in white gowns with flowing gossamer scarves moving their arms to different heights according to the notes in the music.  Interesting and super crazy.  The really liked the architecture of the building.  It was built in 1924 and it is completely modern and cool.  We were to explore different design thinking.  It had some really strange and (to me - amateur) stained glass.  The tour guide kept talking about numbers and their importance to everything we saw.  I thought the building was really amazing.  Inside the doors were asymmetrical and had giant carved handles.  So different than anything I have ever seen.

June 11 Broc-Fabrique

Woke up to a herd of cows and their bells walking right outside my window. We didnt have to be up too early, I was glad for that because I was still kind of sick.  We headed out to Broc.  IT is a small  town with the Cailler Chocolate Factory.  It is owned my Nestle and makes a lot of the chocolate consumed here in Switzerland.  We have a group project to help with one of their lines of chocolate.  We have been assigned to groups to rebrand, help  with marketing ideas,  etc.  The Cailler people  are coming to  our hotel next week for our presentations.  We had to catch 4 different trains but the scenery on the way up was just amazing.  The chocolate factory experience was not too far from Willy Wonka.  Think walking through automatic rooms with Disneyland  like displays,  music and animations.  Super  cheesy.  It told the story of the history of chocolate and the Cailler family.   You end up in the factory seeing the candy being made and then you end up in a room  with all  their chocolates and you can eat as much as you want.
  I started to feel sick half way around the table.  I could not believe how much chocolate some of the students ate.  Then I  couldn't believe how much chocolate some of the students bought!! When we got  back to the hotel they assigned us our groups for the project.  I  was voted the leader of the group.  Mostly to communicate with the other groups.  Thankfully I dont have to present next week!tasting room

June 10 Sick in Bed

I actually did not leave the apartment all  Sunday.  Dripping nose and eyes.  Konrad and I listened to 2 conference talks and I tried to sleep.  I felt lucky that it was my day off, at least I didnt miss anything.  It was fun to skype with Audrey and Alison.  We miss  everyone so much.  Especially James

June 9 Lausanne

It was a bright and sunny today and we got on the train early.  Lausanne isnt too far from Leysin so we would have a shorter ride.  Lausanne is a beautiful city on Lake Geneva.  We first rode the metro up the hill to the Rolex Center, which is built on the EPFL campus as a library, cultural hub for public and students.   

Our assignment was to study the design.  It is very modern and new in concept.  There is giant ramping in place of stairs.  The first thought I had was I would like to roll down that.  One of the students dared me so I did but accidently the director of our program saw me and apparently had to tell the security I was special needs or something.  At least I can use the special  needs toilets legitamately now.  Some of the kids videotaped me so it will probably turn up on youtube.  Hope not.   I didnt think it was a big deal because no one was around.   After the Rolex Center we went to the old part of town.  Since it was Saturday, there were open air markets everywhere.  Everyone was giving samples,  mangoes, nuts, cheese, bread, olives.  We walked for quite a while through all the stalls.  Konrad and I picked up a calzone and a pretzel hotdog.  Both marginal.  We found a street flea market and browsed through it.   It was interesting to see European junk compared to American junk.  Just more expensive in Switzerland.  I  saw two Bernina sewing machines.  Konrad bought a little leather key and change holder.  We had an appointment to be in the cathedral at 2.  This is the biggest cathedral in Switzerland. There is an incredible organ and the main organist arranged to give us a tour of the organ loft and give us an organ concert.  Absolutely  amazing to go up the turrets into the tower with the organ.  The concert was amazing too.  I was started to feel sick so I knew the cold was coming on, as many in the group have had it.  So now I was getting it.  We spent quite a long time at the cathedral and then took  in a contemporary graphic design museum.   After that, we walked down the hill, rather than take the metro and met the train.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 8 Solothurn

Solothurn June 8th
today Konrad stayed in the hotel to work. It was raining and we left early to catch the train for Solothurn.  It is a small town in the northwestern part of Switzerland.  It was beautiful and quaint and there is an incredible Baroque church there.  Our assignment was to study the baroque architecture and also study the city clock that is from the 12th century.  The most impressive thing about the city was the armory museum.  Housed in a 13th century building it had 3 floors of amazing military gear.  I  didnt think I would like it as much as I did but there were over  1000 swords, hundreds of suits of armor, and a whole  display of medieval cross bows, some with repeaters.  Really fascinating.  We went into the museum to see the art, but it was mostly empty as they were between exhibits.
I bought a piece of pizza on the street, looked a bit sketchy but the sauce was really good, I was pleasantly surprised.  SInce it was raining we wanted to sit under the street umbrellas.  We found another student drinking coffee so we went to sit with her.  A waitress asked, in German, if we wanted a drink, I said "nein" then she proceeded to tell us we couldnt sit there because we didnt buy anything.   I just kept eating my pizza and she walked away frustrated because she couldnt tell me in English.  I needed to finish my lunch.  HAHAHA.  There were lots of nice shops and I went into an antiques shop.  Some nice prints of the town looked good but were 250 SF. ($250)  Everything is uber expensive.   

June 7 Luzerne

We woke up to a sunny day, ate breakfast and walked up to the train station.  We headed to Luzerne  Luzern is the fifth most popular tourist destination in the world.  Narrow cobblestone streets, slender spires and turrets, covered bridges, frescoed houses and fountains.  Right out the train station is the KKL (Culture and Congress Hall) an amazing building designed by the architect Jean Nouvel.  Very interesting for me as I just finished by History of Architecture Class.  Everything is built around Lake Lucerne and there are swans everywhere.  Extremely picturesque.  We went to the Dying Lion monument which reminded me of Stone Mountain.  It is a giant dying lion carved out of the side of a mountain representing the swiss mercenaries who were killed or executed defending the French king in the French Revolution.  It was sculpted by Bertel Toraldsen, who sculpted the Christus that is at temple square.   We ate brats on the street, walked around a lot.  It was a catholic holiday so most of the stores were closed.  I did want a watch I saw in a window.  We then went to the Ronstag museum which is the premier museum for Picasso works.  I just cant understand why Picasso couldnt get the eyse streaight.  Super wierd.  There were many Paul Klee (famous swiss artist) works (think kindergarten sketches).  We got back on the train for the long ride home and a great storm of pouring rain burst.  Glad we were on the train.  It was a long day for train rides 2 1/2 hours there and back.

So I just tried to upload some photos and I spent 2 hours and then they cancelled.  Sorry folks, I ll try on the photos later.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 4 to 6 - St. Bernard Hospice

June 4

We had to leave Leysin by 5:30 to take all the trains and buses to get over to the St. Bernard Pass.  We were participating in a pilgrimage through the mountain pass to Italy that has been used for over 1,000 years.  We walked uphill for more than three miles through streams, across snow, up cliffs and through the clouds.  I wasnt sure I could do it, but I didn't want to hold anyone up.  I think the hardest part was carrying a backpack with overnight stuff for 2 days.  Two-thirds up the hill we stopped at a " chimney" (a large chimney hole in the mountain that gives air to a road that actually passed through the mountain)  The last one third we went on the road and walked continually through clouds.  Other than tired legs and barb wire cuts on my hand I felt pretty good.  At least I wasn't the last one up.  There were a contingent that went the "death route" which is straight up for the last mile.  I opted to stay alive.

When we came to the monastery we had to go in the dungeon and take our shoes off and put on slippers. (you could bring your own - which I did thankfully or wear slippers that pilgrims have been wearing for 100 years, no thanks)  The single students were put in 8 bunk rooms, girls on one floor and boys on the other.  The monastery was built in 1049 and it has old stone floors.  It was super cool.  Konrad and I got put on the boy's floor in another wing with a nice room with two beds.  Way nicer than the students rooms.  We had a sink in our room.  All the bathrooms were communal at the end of the halls.  I felt weird about using the boy's bathroom so I always had to go up to the girls floor.  It is a giant stone staircase with statues and giant bells.  Exactly what you would think about a monastery.  We were then went to the kitchen and they served us mushroom soup and bread and cheese at long tables.  This was only about one and a half hours after our lunch.  We then attended the mass in the crypt which was in the basement.  It of course was in french but interesting and most of the workers from the kitchen were there, singing the songs along with the priest.  I noticed Konrad singing the songs and I kept thinking "why does he know these songs?"

We then had dinner and out comes the mushroom soup again.  We went and looked at a room with gold treasures from the church.  Some pieces dated to 300 A.D.  We had a meditation exercise which was hard to take seriously for me, but I tried.  You could hear the wind howling outside.  Konrad was tired and I was just walking out to use the girl's bathroom and some of the kids were coming to get us.  I had told them on the walk earlier that Italy is only 1/3 miles down the road and there is a restaurant we could go get gelato. (a student from a previous year had told me)  They wanted us to come because they thought we knew all about it.  So I got Konrad out of bed and we went down to the dungeon, put on shoes and I borrowed gloves and a warm hat and we set out.  Everyone thought it was so funny I borrowed a hat and gloves.  The hospice is open all night long, no locks on any doors, is free to all pilgrims.  I just figured sharing a hat and gloves was fine.  There were only 7 of us (the group is 44) and we walked past the frozen lake into Italy.  It was kind of exciting to do something NOT on the schedule as we are told all day where and when to be.  I saw an Italian family eating delicious looking Italian food but we only had gelato and hot chocolate, The funniest thing about this adventure was that the priest and the kitchen workers were at the restaurant getting tanked.  We laughed and waved at them.   It was SUPER freezing and windy, think top of mountain cold.  We came back and went to bed.  Now I was kind of freaked out because it is an ancient monastery, stone floors and I don't have a bathroom in my room, and not even on my floor.  I didn't sleep very well, imagining what if it isnt a monastery, they just get you there, come in your room at night while you are sleeping, etc. etc .  Konrad just snores through all these thoughts.  I did get up about 4:30 and just layed there listening to the wind, then Konrad got up and I followed him in the dark to the boy's bathroom, hoping no one else was up.  THe good thing about Swiss bathrooms is cubicles come to the floor and they facilitate both sexes, but I was still nervous.

June 5

The priests ring a giant bell in the staircase at meal times and I made the mistake of being in the stairwell the day before and having it ring.  Just about blew my eardrums out and I turned into Quasimodo.  I told Konrad I wanted to ring the bell sometime.  We then were given assignments to help in the monastery.  Konrad and I got put in the chapel cleaning group.  We cleaned everything from statues to mopping and scraping wax off marble floors.  It was pretty cool. We had lunch, long tables, family style, always mystery meat and reconstituted vegetables.  I guess the monks live up there all year long, and it is snowed in for at least 5 months.  They eat out of the cellar, hence old mushy apples and tons of mushroom soup.  The monastery is famous for the St. Bernard dogs which were used to help pilgrims lost in the snow.  You know, cliche Swiss pictures of dogs with kegs of alcohol finding people in the snow.  We were asked to build the kennels because the dogs were coming up within the week.  The dogs don't rescue anymore, they just are up there for tourists.  The kennels have to be taken apart because the 20 feet of snow ruins them.  There were heavy steel barred cages.  Think more small building construction.  Super hard work and dangerous because we are carrying these over uneven snow.  Some of the boys had been shoveling the whole time we were cleaning the chapel.  There was a serious language barrier.  There was a funny moment though when a french man in charge of the kennels was trying to tell us what to do.  I knew what he was saying, he said use only one bolt.  So I interpreted.  The funny thing is lots of words are coming to me from my compulsory french in Canada.  Oh funny language story.  When I was coming down the stone stairs in the morning the head priest was standing there.  I smiled at him and said "Buon Giorno"  Brian would have been proud but then he replied with a bunch of Italian words I just smiled and said "Fantastique"  HAHAHHA. We had a chocolate break in the afternoon.  Best part of the day. They keep giving you herbal tea with every meal and break.  Not working for me.  We had some free time so Konrad and I walked outside up the hill on the pilgrimage trail.  You are completely surrounded by mountains and it is so beautiful  Then we hung out and looked at French books in the library. The dinner bell rang and then about 10 minutes later the dinner bell rang again.  I come to find out Konrad rang it and ran down the stairs.  So funny.  Ding dong ditching in a monastery.  We had dinner, mystery meat, fruit cocktail and noodles.  We had a film about the monastery. Everyone was getting eager to go back to our hotel in Leysin.

June 6
We had breakfast, did our homework writings and meditation and went over to the hospice museum.  It actually was a really cool museum and the curator spoke very good English.  It was pouring rain, not good news for the walk down.  One of the kids was having severe leg problems and I guess was going to ride the bus down, he took we aside and asked if he could take my backpack on the bus for me.  YES.  We ate more food storage food for lunch, then the St. Bernard's came.  They are huge and cute.  We walked down the mountain and honestly down is harder than up for me.  We saw fighting marmots and we were literally the last ones down.  Not a problem because we waited for the bus in rain for over a hour, STANDING.  We finally got on the bus, got to the train station and were met there by the man we helped on the kennels.  He brought fresh cherries from his orchard and we all ate tones waiting for our train.  When we got home our hotel host at the traditional Swiss dinner of Raclette for us.  It is a giant block of cheese where the exterior is melted and scraped onto whatever, we had potatoes.  It took forever to get your little pile of melted cheese.  He said we could have as much as we wanted but I only stayed for 2 rounds.
We are staying in a very nice house next to the student's hotel.  There is a dryer, or so I thought.  I had washed all my clothes in the sink took them down to the "dryer" and put them in.  Turned it on and NO it's a washer, so I washed me clothes again and then hung them to dry.  Next time I used the "washer" I put the clothes in, and all night long I kept waking up to put clothes out to dry.  It kept going, in fact after 5 1/2 hours it was still going.  So I just thought I would forget it.  I got up in the morning to pull them out and hang them. THEY WERE DRY!  So some cycles are wash/dry.  Of course they were wrinkled permanently now and I had to find an iron.  I found the iron it is a cool one with a giant steam stand.  Europeans have some cool appliances.  It was good to be back in our village.
I apologize for the lousy pictures, together with the internet connection that goes in and out, it takes about 2 hours to post this blog.  I will try to catch up, but they don't give us much free time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am having problems with internet but I am determined to update the trip. (Actually having trouble finding time to blog)  We go until 10 at night.  I should put up a new post tomorrow.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

 Medieval witch prison

 Basilica at Valere - Sion
Street Acrobats
 Chapel at Valer
 In the pulpit in the city cathedral
 Going up our cogwheel train to Leysin.  Below - priest on stilts walking with red staff. Wierd,
Oldest playable organ in the world,  We had a concert by a french lady who can play it.  Very difficult, small keys, can't use thumbs, octaves are not laid in DO-RE-MI order.

I wrote a 45 minute blog about our 2nd day and LOST IT.  Too bad not doing it again.  I am climbing up the St. Bernard Pass on Monday so I won't blog for awhile.  Wish me luck. snow, 40% incline, monks feeding us soup, and St. Bernard slobbering.  Glad I b rought my slippers, if you don';t bring any, you have to wear the ones they have that travellers have been wearing for 100 years.  Sick.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First Day June 1st - Arrive in Leysin

We had our hard day on the airplanes, I'm glad it's over.  It was just as bad as I imagined.  We left SLC at 11 and flew to Seattle.  I sat by a nice kid out on a weekend pass from a drug rehab. With great trepidation we got on our plane for Amsterdam.  We talked the counter agent into putting us together (somehow we got separated seats)  I didnt want to drool on a stranger, or worse, have them drool on me.   After a night of flying and about 5 ten minute naps we arrived in Amsterdam. Konrad didn't sleep much either.  One screaming baby and two large people in front of us constantly moving and banging their chairs - tough night.  Amsterdam was about a 3 hour layover and we tried to sleep in the airport.  Forget it.  So we got on our plane to Geneva and I dozed a bit.  
Picked up our luggage and met the group and got our month long rail tickets. Our host professor told us to run to the right platform.  I didn't recall running being in the plan.  So I am pulling a 45 pound suitcase and carrying a 20 lb. backpack and I'm running?  Made the train and we rode around Lake Geneva.  Very beautiful , Switzerland reminds me of British Columbia.  We arrived at the town of Aigle and then boarded ANOTHER train to go up the mountain to Leysin.  This was a cogwheel train, very cool and very steep.  When we got off the train we were met by the hosts of the hotel who started grabbing luggage.  I must of looked like ground meat because the nice Swiss gentlemen asked if I wanted a ride to the hotel (in french and I surprisingly knew what he was saying) because we had another 1/2 mile to walk.  I just let him take my luggage and I got in the  back of his van and sat in a dog bed and rode UP the hill to the hotel.  Konrad and I are in a house next to the student hotel,  I was nervous about this, NO WORRIES IT IS SUPER DELUXE.  Pics to follow.  We then had dinner which consisted of salad, cold peas and carrots in mayo, spaghetti bolegnese, bread that has been left out on the cupboard all day, and hot waffles with cream.  To get us on Swiss time we went on a hike.  HAHAHAHA.  I actually thought my feet were bleeding inside my shoes.  I petted a cow with a giant bell around his neck and saw a beautiful sunset on top of the hill.  This picture is Konrad and I on top of the hill.  I will blog about the 2nd tomororow.  You are all 8 hours behind anyway.  I'll catch up.